The loooong flight to Europe

On the 2nd of November, Fem and I flew to Amsterdam in the Netherlands. This was to be the longest flight in my life! 31 hours all up! There were two stops along the way. One in Taipei (with a 5 hour wait) and one in Bangkok (with a 1 hour wait).

After saying goodbye to my parents and my Aunty Jan and Ruth we were off at about 10:45am on the Sunday morning.

Family saying goodbye (taken by Femke)

Luckily the plane for the first part of the journey was comfortable. Everyone had their own movie screens to which we could watch movies of our selection. This really helped to pass the time. After a few hours, we looked out the window and saw the last of the Australian continent for a long time!

Farewell to Australia (taken by Femke)

After about 9 hours we touched down in Taipei. It was very hot outside so I was glad for the air conditioning in the airport. We had five hours to kill, so Fem and I had something to eat and then just either tried to sleep or surfed the net on the laptop with the free wi-fi.

Softdrink cans in Taipei Fem eating noodles in Taipei

I was not too impressed with the Taipei airport. It was old and dirty looking.

After what felt like a lot longer than 5 hours, we were on our way to Bangkok on a jumbo. This time our seats were not quite as good (less legroom than before) , and there was only one massive screen on front of us which had the white contrast set waaay too high.

There was also a screaming kid two rows back who was either very tired or didn’t like to fly. He just screamed and screamed and his sole “parent” did very feeble attempts to calm the child. Luckily I was able to turn off my hearing aids, but the normal people had to suffer. 😉

After 2 hours we touched down in Bangkok, bid goodbye to screaming kid and his hopeless dad and had to walk a long way to just get our carry on luggage re scanned and then to return to the same gate. At least it was good exercise to stretch our legs. The airport at Bangkok was much nicer and modern and clean. I was impressed with the immense size of it as well. By this time, we were both very tired and wanted nothing more than a big bed to just lie down and go to sleep.

But this was not to be. We boarded the plane again and set off on our longest leg to Amsterdam. Since this part of the flight was done in the early hours of the morning, we were able to get little snippets of sleep here and there.

Me on the plane trying to stay awke The GPS path showing us closing in on Holland (taken by Femke)

Finally when 9am Monday morning arrived (Amsterdam time) we arrived! The plane touched down, we got our things and were not hassled by customs. Fem was finally able to meet up with her mother and her eldest brother Mark.

Fem and I then decided that for our return journey we would stop somewhere roughly half way for a day or two. Doing the whole trip in one go just shatters you!

After an hours drive to Waalwijk, which is a smallish town to the south of the Netherlands. We arrived at the family home. Out on the front of the house (on a main street) we were greeted with the following sign:

A very welcome sign

I was greeted like old family which I was very grateful for. I also met Fem’s father and her other brother Erik who visited by that evening. I then found out that both her dad and Erik are about 6’9” and Mark was 7’, So I would actually be the shortest man in the family!! Can you believe that! 🙂

The first day was very foggy. We chatted a bit and then just crashed for 2 hours. We then had to try and stay awake until about 9pm when we finally got a great night sleep.

The second day was even more foggy. We found out that Amsterdam airport had cancelled a lot of flights. Phew… we timed our flight well!

We had arrived!