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the long flight home


View New Zealand - 2014 on Ils1976's travel map.

Although I slept fairly well, when I looked at the time, it was a little after 4 AM, so this meant that I still had a bit of time left to close my eyes, but all of a sudden I hear Tania shouting that it is time to wake up.

Still completely out of this world because of lack of sleep as well as the medicine I was taking, I jumped out of bed. To me it felt like I just closed my eyes, but apparently I slept better than I thought coz it was already a little after 5 AM, time to wake up indeed!

First I was surprised that I didn’t hear the alarm clock going off, but as soon as I was standing on both my feet while trying to open my eyes properly, Tania mentioned that something went wrong coz her alarm clock didn’t went off.

In other words, it was a bit of luck that she woke up, otherwise we had missed our flight, but on the other hand, who invents these inhuman hours for flying anyway!!!???

We got dressed in speed mode and as soon as we splashed some cold water in our faces to make sure we were quite awake, we grabbed our bags and were on our way to the reception of the hotel to hand in our key cards.

Luckily we weren’t that late and as soon as we found our taxi, I noticed it was raining quite heavily, so it seemed that we chose the right day to fly back home again.

The taxi ride itself took about an hour and although I still feld a little bit sleepy, I couldn’t close my eyes, unlike Tania who seemed to had more trouble with it. But can you blame her, it was still the middle of the night and the wipers of the car going back and forth were certainly no help at all, at a given point I just stopped looking at them because I was a bit afraid to become hypnotised!

As soon as we arrived at the airport, we said goodbye to our friendly but quiet driver and than the search was on to find the right check-in, which on this early hour wasn’t too big of a problem.

They weren’t open yet, but we made sure we got in line behind a few other early birds and about 15 minutes later, we finally saw them arrive and half an hour later we were rid of all of our luggage and the search for a bit of food could finally begin.

Hungry as we were, we didn’t really wanted to opt for fast food in the morning and to be honest, there is not so many to choose from besides burgers and pizza, but at long last, we saw a French bakery and after a bit of looking around the decision was made, an almond croissant and a cup of Earl Grey Tea was going to be our choice of the morning and although it wasn’t the yummiest one I ever ate, it certainly was the most expensive one, boy, they certainly know their prices!

With a bit of food into our system and a bit of time on our hands, we just walked from store to store till it was time to board and this time, believe it or not, our flight was on time.

Unlike our arrival into the country, this time we were seated back in economy again and as soon as I found my designated seat, I wished for that business seat again. It is strange how quick you get used to something like that! :)

During our flight, I had not only the company of my best friend Tania next to me, but also a friendly woman from the UK, who went for business to Asia for the last half year. After take off, she and Tania started talking to eachother while I on the other hand wanted to make the most of this 7 hour flight and tried to finish my blog.

While we were on our trip, I don’t exactly had much time to write every evening and now with all of our adventures still fresh in my mind, it was now or never.

I don’t know how I did it, but during the entire flight I did nothing else but type and type and for a moment I thought I was going to become one of those rabbits with a Duracell battery in its behind! Okay, I know this isn’t exactly a right comparison, but now that I had a bit of inspiration, I might as well make the best of it.

When we finally descended into Dubai, my blog was as good as finished.

I was surprised to notice that those 7 hours went by so very fast and I didn’t even had a quick powernap. Unlike most of the people on the plane, I was quite awake and I was starting to think that maybe they had put something extra into my orange juice!

Not really thirsty but hungry as hell, the both of us went on the lookout for something to eat. Like usual, there was of course lots of fast food thingies and bakeries, but for some reason we didn’t immediately found something to our liking.

After checking out all the eateries, we finally decided to give the "Giraffe stop" a try. They had all kinds of things like sandwiches, soups and sweet things, but once I saw that they also had oatmeal with honey, I was sold and together with a big mug of tea, I was a happy person again.

Since we still had a bit of time to kill at the airport, we decided to do what all tourists do and went from one aisle to the another while stopping a few times at different shops, but after a while even that gets a bit boring and in the end we just went to our designated gate and waited till it was time to leave for Europe again, more specifically Amsterdam.

Boarding went once again very smoothly and instead of a friendly woman sitting next to me, I now had a weird but yet at the same time, kind of an interesting older gentleman next to me, but while I was so interested in finishing my blog, I didn’t spend time in asking why it took him hours to read his booklet on how to use a watch … am I glad I don’t own one! :)

3 hours into the flight I finally finished it and as a reward, I treated myself with a few interesting movies. The first one I saw was “The Hundred foot journey”. It was hilarious and told the story of an Indian family who moved to France to open a restaurant in a very small town. I really liked this one and it had been quite a long time since I saw such a good one, I can really recommend it!

After skipping dinner, I saw another movie and this time I had chosen the Australian movie „Tracks” which tells the true story of a young woman who crossed the Australian desert. She started her travels in Alice Springs and walked all the way on foot to the Indian Ocean together with her trusty dog and a few camels. All I can say about this movie is that it is a true tearjerker and if I thought that my first choice was a good one, this one was sublime! It really was a good movie!

Time was flying once again coz by the end of my second movie, there wasn’t even time anymore to see another one. With only half an hour to go, we were as good as home again. I tried to close my eyes for a while, but it just wasn’t working. I was not tired at all, which was kind of strange coz I was already up for more than 20 hours now.

Upon our arrival into Amsterdam, it seemed to take forever to get out of the plane and even longer to wait for our bags, but in the end they arrived and that was the most important thing.

As soon as we went through „arrivals”, it took a bit of searching to find my brother and mum but once we noticed them at the other side of the hall, we could finally say hello to each other again after more than a month. Although I love to travel, in a way i was glad to see them back again as well. I just can’t help it, that’s what you get when you are a family person I suppose!?

Not eaten very much during the flight, me and Tania wanted to „celebrate” the end of our adventure with a typical dish of the Netherlands called a „kroket”. It took us a bit of searching because it was already quite late to find something to eat, but we managed and a few minutes later, after our order, we could finally set our teeth into some greasy junkfood.

The perfect ending to an already memorable trip!

With this bit of delicious junk food into our stomachs, it was more than time to drive back to our homes. After driving a bit more than 2 hours we arrived in Schelle, the hometown of Tania and after a quick hello and goodbye to her parents, we were on the road again, only to arrive at our place about half an hour later. It felt so good to be back home again, but on the other hand, a small part of me was also sad that this trip was over.

Not really tired yet, I talked to my mum for a few hours and after a very hot bath in the wee early hours, I finally closed my eyes at 3 AM while dreaming of more exciting travels to come!

Posted by Ils1976 06:27 Archived in Belgium Tagged people sky home airport shopping city clouds friends plane asia movies Comments (4)

good morning KL!!!


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I must have been more tired than I thought, coz I only woke up because Tania told me it was almost time to board. When I last remembered closing my eyes, we still had a 2 hours wait ahead of us, so I really must have slept. I just hoped that I didn't snore to much!?

Still not quite awake yet, I walked like a zombie to the entrance of the gate, but for some reason it still wasn’t open yet although it said that we needed to board. After more than half an our waiting, there was still no movement and I guess this now officially meant that we were delayed. Not that we could do more than just wait, but after waiting a few minutes more, we suddenly hear Tania’s name through the speakers and about a few minutes later even my name pops up. What the heck is going on here???

Worried that there might be something wrong, overbooking or something worse, we head towards the flight attendant like they said we had to do, together with about 10 other people. This was not good, not good at all!

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As soon as we took the elevator one level down, we were asked to give our boarding pass and guess what, we got another one back saying … BUSINESS CLASS!!! Yep that’s right! Instead of worrying that we couldn’t leave on this flight, we suddenly got upgraded because they overbooked too many people in economy. How I suddenly love Emirates, that’s for sure!

Believe it or not but we felt like the luckiest people on earth and with a big smile on our faces we went back into the elevator and couldn’t wait for boarding to begin.

It must have been a couple of minutes later when they suddenly announced that the gate was open and for once in our entire traveling life, we could go on board with the first people and sit in front of the airplane in luxurious seats while sipping some real expensive champagne. How I love my life at this moment!!!

As soon as we got seated, they waited on us on hand and foot and if we wanted something, seconds later you received it together with some real nice goodies as well.

Now this is what a call a flight of a lifetime coz that is just what it is.

As we went further into the flight, I tried one of the cocktails, more in particular, a „rusty nail” and I must say, that really did the trick. I planned on watching the movie "Transcendence" and afterwards wanted to go to sleep, but the "nail" part of the cocktail made me close my eyes even before the movie had ended. I must say that I didn’t mind one bit coz in the end I didn’t like the movie so much, it was quite a boring one.

For the first time ever I slept on an airplane, and like a baby I might at. I guess when there is a chance to recline your seat into a bed that helps a bit more than sitting all cramped next to other passengers.

When I woke up it was almost time for breakfast and we were still about 1.5 hour into flight, so while enjoying the rest of my luxury stay here on this plane, I watched an action movie called "November man" with Pierce Brosnan and this one I could watch till the end, so not boring at all this time around. And no "rusty nail" as well!

Half an hour later we gently landed into Kuala Lumpur and it is save to say that no matter what, this experience will keep to me for the rest of my life. Thank you Emirates!

Since it was still very early in the morning, getting from the plane to customs and picking up our luggage was just real easy and everything went like clockwork. Something you couldn’t say when it comes to getting out of the airport.

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Now that we had flown business class, we wanted to arrive at our hotel in style and instead of taking the airport train to the center of the city, we just wanted to take a taxi. Or putting it in other words, we were a bit too laisy to walk around the city with all our luggage, even after a goodnight’s rest.

Finding a taxi wasn’t that big of a problem, paying was something entirely else. Unlike Singapore where you can pay even chewing gum with your credit card, KL is totally different. Everything needs to be paid in cash and even when they talk English to you, you have to listen twice, sometimes even more when you actually want to understand what they are saying, but for the rest, nothing wrong with the country.

As soon as we got some currency in our hands, we tried to take a taxi for the second time around. What a little bit of cash can do to a person. In a flash we are on our way towards the centre, which is about an hours drive away. 

Our hotel is situated near the Petronas Towers in the shopping triangle of the city and although we love to shop, the first thing we did upon our arrival is head for the swimming pool and relax a little bit more, went for a swim and by the time we were dried up again, it was already after 3 PM, the ideal hour to go and have a look at the twin towers, the main sightseeing here in the city!

We're not that far away from them, but because of the hot temperatures and the humidity, we are sweating like pigs if I may be so rude. This just isn’t my kind of weather, but hey as long as it doesn’t rain, I am not going to complain too much.

Come to think about it, during our trip we underwent so many different types of weather that for some reason I know now why I am constantly running around with a cold. Now that we are here in KL it is even worse because the AC is like stepping into a freezer and once outside again, the temperatures are simply put, bloody hot and humid. 

These differences in temperature are just too much for me to handle and I begin to notice that my troat is hurting, I only hope that I don’t get too sick.
After shooting some pictures at the twin towers, we tried to find a metro station and believe it or not, after walking and searching for more than an hour we finally found it.

Lucky thing we ate something as well during our search because one thing is for sure, now I know why there are so many taxi’s driving through the city. If you ask me, they should better invest in good signs because the network system is really good and cheap as well, but you have to find it or otherwise we are just too dumb to notice the signs, which are still not present!!!

When we did find the metro, we took a single token to Chinatown and the nearby market and just like Paddy’s market in Sydney, you can find all sorts of souvenirs and fake brands here. Not that we were so interested in buying stuff, but walking through it, is already fun in our book.

During our walk we ended up in Petalin Street and not much later, we even noticed a massage parlor, which we didn’t let pass. We wanted to try a manicure and since the ladies Beth and Brenda were so nice, we promised them to come back tomorrow.

By the time we had dinner in one of the food courts in Petalin Street, it was already pretty late and once back at our room, we just had a shower and went straight to bed. It was quite a relaxing day and that is just how the ending of a holiday should be.

Posted by Ils1976 05:53 Archived in Malaysia Tagged buildings airport city friends pool sightseeing relaxing Comments (2)

a sad goodbye


View New Zealand - 2014 on Ils1976's travel map.

Our last day here in Sydney was another early one, which obviously wasn’t that big of a surprise. We still wanted to go for one last morning run and since we were leaving late in the afternoon, it was better to get up early and enjoy the magnificent views of the early sunshine at the harbour for one last time and still have lots of time to do other stuff.

Although we left the hotel for a run at the same hour as a few days ago, there were more people up and about, but I guess that had something to do with the beginning of the week, after all, it was already tuesday. Some peole still needed to go to work!

When on holiday, you easily forget which day it is, so sometimes it is lucky that we have a bit of media with us that can tell us the exact date and day, otherwise I would be completely clueless about everything.

Once again we had a nice run and while I was waiting for Tania to come back, I suddenly realized that I loved Sydney so much that I wouldn’t mind one bit staying here for the rest of my life. Of course, when you visit a country during a holiday you can see only the beauty but still, even with daily hassle, I wouldn’t mind living here, so maybe I should apply for a green card, wouldn’t that be a nice idea!?

Wishful thinking I suppose and as soon as I met up with Tania after her run, we walked into "the Rocks" to have some breakfast at a cool looking bakery which sells whole meal scones and together with a self-made lemon ice tea, it is a nice enough start of the day. Bring it on I would say, but not without a shower first!

Being here in Sydney, we had a goal of all the things we wanted to do during our 4 days stay and the last one on the list was visiting the Imax theatre. Although they predicted rain and thunderstorms, it was still a very hot morning and it is actually a bit of a shame to spend time inside a theatre with such lovely weather outside, but if we wanted to see it, this was as good as time ever.

The movie which was on display at that particular moment was called „the hidden universe" and although it was interesting to learn more about stars and planets, I must admit that by the end of the 45 minutes during movie, I almost fell asleep. This had nothing to do with it being a bad movie, I guess I suddenly got so tired of doing so many exciting things over the last couple of days that my body just needed some more rest, either that or the fact of being in a dark room had something to do with it!

By the time we got outside again it was really hot and since we’ve got one ice cream free when you buy one, we decided to go and get one, we love freebies, or almost freebies that is!!!

After one last walk through Darling Harbour and China Town, we slowly made our way back to our hotel, making sure we passed along many shopping streets and souvenir shops to spend our last foreign currency and with tears in our eyes, about a few hours later we had to say goodbye to our beloved Sydney and were on our way towards the airport for our flight towards Melbourne.

Checking-in and getting through customs was really a breeze as was boarding the plane, but than again, it was only a 1 hour 35 minutes flight. Before you knew it, we were already landing again. Somehow I wish that all the flights were like this one, but I guess that would be just too easy.

As we arrived in Melbourne we still had lots of time on our hands and the first thing we did was grabbing something to eat. After walking for a while that seemed harder than we initially thought because due to our late arrival into the airport and in the end we just went for a small margarita pizza close to our gate.

We still had a couple of hours to kill, but since the shops were all closing or already closed, the only thing we could do was updating our blog a litlle as well as walking through the same gate a couple of times. Back and forth, back and forth ... till we got tired of it!

Since that wasn’t so appealing coz I guess we looked a bit like a few caged animals in a zoo, we went for the next best thing, which were basically the massage seats near our gate.

With still some small change in our pockets, we gave it a go and to my surprise it was really good as well. Too good maybe because after sitting there for a while I suddenly got so tired that I just fell asleep. I was just so damn tired but then again, it was already after midnight and we still had a few hours to go before our flight to Kuala Lumpur.

Posted by Ils1976 05:43 Archived in Australia Tagged airport city friends plane movies oceania Comments (2)

it really does feel liking coming home!


View New Zealand - 2014 on Ils1976's travel map.

Since we started this trip we didn’t had too many days that we could sleep in, but now that we didn’t had a program to follow, that is just what we did, we slept in and it was great. By the time that we finally came out of bed, it was almost 9 AM. I know that some people don’t exactly call that sleeping in, but for the two of us, it was a bliss.

However, when we opened the curtains, we noticed that the weather wasn’t all that good. Dark clouds were hovering around us and since we didn’t had enough time yesterday evening to have a more decent look inside the botanical gardens, we were planning of doing that later this afternoon, but now with the threat of rain, we weren’t that sure anymore. We were contemplating about it and in the end we just wanted to go for it, after all, we had some rain jackets, which we knew by now where more than rainproof.

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After checking out, we walked all the way back to the centre of the city, to be more precise, New Regent Street. This place looked so nice with the Spanish style houses and yesterday evening, we also noticed a few small bakeries which to us seemed like the perfect place to have breakfast.

Dark clouds were still hanging above us and by the time that we were almost near the cathedral, it started to rain as well. It seemed that our last day here in New Zealand was going to be a wet one, I so hoped it could be the other way around, but unfortunately the weather gods aren’t agreeing with us.

As we reached our eatery, we had our eye on yesterday, it was already raining heavily but once inside this didn’t matter too much and together with a chai latte and a bagel with cream cheese the world looked a little bit better. Unfortunately it was but for a short time, so we needed a cookie of Mrs. Higgens as well, just to lift up our spirit. I don’t really know that it helped much, but the cookie itself was more than delicious.

Still raining cats and dogs, we decided to go and have a look at the shopping mall build out of containers. Now that the weather was still shitty, there was no way we were going to walk through it and this meant that the gardens just had to wait till later today.

Upon our arrival at the mall, most shops were open, so we just went from one to another to kill time. Had we known that it was going to be like this half a year ago, we probably had booked an earlier flight to Australia, but those are the downsides of traveling coz you don’t really have control of the weather. After walking in and out the containers for a while, it started to look a bit better and suddenly we had hope again that we could visit the gardens.

It was almost lunch time as well and now that we were in the mall, we wanted to try out the Greek food stall which according to our guide Helen was more than yummy. Despite the weather, it was one of the few food thingies opened, so we gave the chicken souvlaki a try and although there was not much to say about the food, the weather however changed on us again and we had to take shelter closely near the entrance of one of the containers. I am not really a big fan of eating while I am standing, but doing this in the rain, that’s even worse! Unfortunately we had to go with the flow and since none of the benches were dry, this was the only way to go.

As soon as we finished our souvlaki, it was time to go back to the hotel. It was still raining and although not really in the mood, there wasn't even time anymore for a quick visit the gardens. We just wanted to go back to the hotel and await our shuttle bus to the airport, but at the moment we wanted to leave, it started to rain even harder. The one thing we could do is to wait it out, but unfortunately it didn’t stop raining, so we had to take our chances.

With only our rain jackets on, we ran out in the rain but it came down on us so fast that by the time that we were back at the hotel we were just soaking wet. I had never been so wet and the worse part about it all was the fact that we couldn’t change into another pair of clothes, there wasn’t any time left so instead we just went into the ladies bathroom and pulled a Mr. Bean (for the once who saw the movie). Not that it helped much, but at least our shoes and jackets were a bit drier and by now we definitely know there is a limit on how much rain a jacket can handle.

Our shuttle bus to the airport was a bit early, so with wet pants and feeling cold as hell, we left towards the airport and waved New Zealand goodbye. It really is a lovely country with beautiful nature, but sadly enough the only thing I am never going to forget is how much rain we had to endure, no matter how many beautiful days we had.

I don’t know if there is ever going to be a possibility that I am visiting this country again. Maybe I will, maybe I won't, the only thing holding me back is the weather to be honest, it is just so fickle. Call me old fashioned, but I like to know what is coming and the surprises we had on this trip weren’t all that memorable, but I can't complain all the time of course and I do have to remember the good days, the fun we had and of course all the exciting things we experienced.

The one thing that was on my mind when we arrived at the airport was saying goodbye. It was a nice trip but for now it was G’bye NZ and G’day Oz, but by the time we arrived in Sydney it was already pretty late. Due to some problems on the runway we had to circle into the air for almost an hour so by the time that we landed, got through customs, got our bag, found our hotel and got into our room, it was almost midnight.

Needless to say, the only thing that I did was taking a long hot bath and jumped into my roller bed with a smile on my face. I was completely knackered, but somehow I was glad to be back in Sydney again. I really missed this city and from the moment I set foot in this country I felt like I was home again. It is a strange feeling actually, but to me it felt a bit like coming home and I don’t often get this feeling. I can only hope that it will last for a very long time.

Posted by Ils1976 02:02 Archived in New Zealand Tagged buildings airport city friends sightseeing oceania Comments (3)

land of the long white cloud be prepared coz here we come!


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It was early in the morning when we arrived into the country I love so much. Although I had a bit of sleep, I still felt really tired, but once we got out of the plane, I found my spirit again.

We had a bit of time to kill in the airport, so the first thing on our mind was to have a bit of food into our system and so went on the search for a "brekkie" which to be honest was not that difficult with all the choices in front of us. A hot cup of tea was all I really needed and together with a toast and something sweet afterwards I was more than ready to tackle the many shops we could visit during our short stay here in the airport.

Time went by very quickly and while we headed to our designated gate, we noticed more and more Maori, the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand, walking in our direction. It was sure, this clearly meant we were on our way towards our next adventure and I liked the idea more and more.

Although the flight on itself wasn't that long, a little more than 3 hours, I somehow managed to drift off to sleep more than once. To be honest, I even missed our touchdown as Tania had to wake me up.

Happy to be in the land of the long white cloud, we couldn't wait to get out of the plane, but for some reason it seem to take forever. Lots of people brought their luggage into the cabin of the plane, but boy, they don't pack light, that's for sure.

As soon as we picked up our luggage we went to the arrival gate and waited for our Belgian host to pick us up. One of Tania's uncles has a best friend living here in Auckland and today his wife was going to pick us up. Since she was still on her way and we got a bit hungry, we went for something small from the Golden Arches. Not that we love to eat at this place, but since it was the only thing available, we just went for it and with a bit of food into our system we were good to go.

It seemed perfect timing coz as soon as we were finished, Katrien appeared and with her, her lovely smile as well. It was nice to see a friendly face after a semi long flight and we quickly put our luggage into her car and on our way we were.

Driving on the Auckland streets, we noticed that it looked very European and this was quite a surprise, it was actually like coming home but with much better weather. This seemed like a dream come true.

Luckily we didn't had to drive very long and as soon as we arrived at our home base for tonight, we put our luggage into our room and went on discovery of the area. Katrien guided us on this very long, but pleasant walk and although it were just streets we walked through, I must admit I really like the small town atmosphere they were living in.

As we arrived back, we met up with Danny as well, the best friend of Tania's uncle and although I never met the guy, you can't but love him. Like Katrien, he had a big smile on his face and he was glad to hear something of his friend again. Although they chat a lot, you saw the smiles on their faces as we showed them all the gifts we brought them from the homefront. Even Kilian, was over the moon with his comic books.

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Surprised as they were with their gifts, we were spoiled as well coz the boys turned out very good BBQ masters. They really made us feel welcome and I had never seen so much food either. Together with some delicious liquids we ended our first day here with a smile on our faces as well. Feeling a little bit tipsy, I called it a night a little after midnight.

Posted by Ils1976 11:17 Archived in Australia Tagged people airport walk plane oceania Comments (2)

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