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Leaving Australia: Flying Abu Dhabi, Amsterdam, London with one hours sleep!

This post is about my flight to London from Melbourne. Through Abu Dhabi. And Amsterdam. And then a train to Durham from Kings Cross. I was so tired I ended up having to stand up the last half of the journey so to not end up in Newcastle. I didn’t sleep much on the journey as you can tell.

But before that, my last coffee in Melbourne. I went back to my post People of Melbourne, what should I do? as I remember being recommended this place, Dukes, and never visited. And for that reason I went on the day of my flight. I went to tell the blogger I had been and… realised the recommendation was on another post that I can’t find. Now I am pretty confident I remember who it was, but don’t want to say for sure in case I am wrong.

So if you told me to go here, I did. And thank you it was great coffee! It was just jam packed in there so had to have it in a to-go cup.

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My goodbyes were said to this great city, I made sure I had everything and headed to the airport. A long 35 hours (at least) were ahead of me and I got to it.

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I had an evening flight, and the first flight was the longest. Melbourne to Abu Dhabi is just over 14 hours, plenty of time to catch a good amount of sleep. If you’re one to fall asleep easily on flights that is. I am not one of those people, partly because of the mild anxiety I have before each flight and being in that seated position for so long. The coffee was long before the flight so I don’t want to blame that.

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Waiting to board

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It’s finally time

What didn’t help my insomnia was browsing the movie section, the first thing I usually do when aboard. Well the first thing was listen to an Islamic prayer over the tannoy being an airline from the United Arab Emirates, it was my first time flying through the Middle East. And this was quickly made apparent looking at the temperature in my first stop, Abu Dhabi.

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46C!! The last and only time I have ever experienced such madness was in Sydney when it reached 47C a couple years back. I remember waiting for a breeze to hit me only for it to feel more like a hairdryer to the face. Brutal, brutal weather that I am just not used to. Thankfully airplanes are prepared for the elements, it is pretty crazy how the air temperature goes from such lows at high altitude to such highs when we land. Technology is amazing.

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Etihad displays the distance to Mecca on it’s flights. I am not sure if Emirates and other UAE airlines do this, but it was interesting to see.

But back to the movie. I liked Deadpool, I like how both movies don’t take themselves seriously. I need this kind of humour in my life. And another reason not to sleep was the meals and drinks being offered during it. I feel it would be a waste not to make the most of it, especially travelling for so long. A feed every now and then is pretty important as I lose track of time and what day it is.

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And a few hours and a couple of movies into the flight and I was just leaving Australia. One thing I was really excited about (and still am of course) is living inside a continent that could fit inside of Australia. So many countries within a short distance of one another, no great oceans to cover, no jetlag.

It reminded me that Perth is regarded as the most remote city in the world, that is what I though until about two minutes ago when I googled it and read this article from the Guardian. It states that although it isn’t the most remote city in the world, it probably is when looking at any city of it’s size. It is closer to other nations cities than it is Sydney, and the closest big city is Adelaide which is 1,300 miles away.

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Perth is located just above the ‘M’ in Melbourne on the in-flight map above

14 hours later….

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I could not comment on the heat in the UAE, but despite the sun only just rising it was still in the mid 30’s. And one thing I wanted to mention here was that this is the best sunrise I have ever seen. The photo really doesn’t do it justice due to my iPhone not focusing properly. But have you ever been able to see the actual sun itself just as it is rising or setting? When the brightness is at it’s lowest and you can see the half circle as it descends/rises beyond the horizon. This is the only time I have been able to actually observe the sun without the glare preventing it. This time round, the sun had fully risen above the horizon and I am not sure if it was behind dust, but I was able to just stare at the sun in all its perfectly round glory for a good few minutes before it got too much for my eyes. And not like a blurred view, it was like looking at a full moon in all its glory. It truly took my breath away and walking through the terminal I was caught by surprise.

I am sorry the video isn’t the best video in the world. It is just a tribute as Tenacious D would say. And a reminder to buy a damn camera.

And a five hours later, I was off again.

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I enjoyed these flights with Etihad. The journeys were pleasant, the service was good and my neighbours in the seats next to me were friendly. They also had Muse’s latest album in the playlist, Simulation Theory, and this really got me in the mood to see them for the 6th time in Berlin.

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I arrived in Amsterdam. Tired as hell, I managed to get one hours sleep on that previous flight. One. And by this point the frustration about being so close to home but so far really hit home and I only had an hour in this airport. Enough time to find an Irish Pub and down a pint of beer to pass the time as I really didn’t trust myself trying to have such a quick nap. If I managed to get some shut eye it would have probably lasted a week. So I had a quick drink, a quick bite to eat and headed to the gate. I was in two minds about having a coffee, should I force myself to stay awake and maybe struggle to sleep when I get back?! I opted against it and the stress that comes naturally with such travel made me head to the nearest beer.

I did notice this beer below, a further reminder that I was almost there…

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Funnily enough I am obsessed with checking I have everything with me constantly. I know I do but I have a habit of checking regardless. Passports, cards, phone… check, check, check. And on this occasion I was walking through the terminal and realised I had a debit card missing… I paid for my food and left my card in the machine!! Thankfully it only took a minute to walk back but I am pleased I checked. That wouldn’t have been fun at all.

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My small ass plane on route to London. Coincidentally the girl I was talking to in the queue for my food was the one I sat next to on the plane.

I always find it funny how often I fly to the UK from often much warmer climates, and how quickly a blanket of grey blocks the view of the landscape below. I mean I don’t mind British weather, I love the unpredictability at times. Don’t get me wrong I love escaping it, but being somewhere exotic really helps me to appreciate our milder climate.

I forget I was in Melbourne during winter for a second, silly me.

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And here I am, back in Kings Cross after a journey from London City Airport to this station that took as long as my last flight. It didn’t help that I underestimated the tube and what it meant to get off at the wrong stop with a massive suitcase, but I made it. I had some well deserved fish and chips at the pub above Platform 9 and Three Quarters (the staff were lovely by the way) and waited for my train.

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And here I am, in all my embarrassing glory. 35 hours in with one hour sleep. By this point the rocking of the carriage was making me nod off, but I really could not afford to fall asleep on a train. For the first time I was fighting sleep instead of trying to get it, and had to walk up and down the carriages a couple of times.

I then found the best technique was to occasionally stick my head out the window of the 80mph train without getting decapitated, between heavy rock songs. I am sure I looked a little strange to the train staff but I know with all the confidence in the world that they have seen worse. And the technique worked beautifully as you can tell by how delighted/ high I look in the shot above.

And there we have it, 35 hours of travel and my bed had never felt better. As far as long haul goes I do not have any complaints. There were no delays, no issues on the flights and I witnessed the best sunrise I have ever seen. Will I ever see a better one? I don’t know. Will I one day by a decent camera and actually take a decent shot? I hope so. But in the meantime I hope you enjoyed the post travelling half way across the world and enjoy the posts to come. I have a lot to cover already!

Take care and I hope you are having a great day wherever you are,

Sam

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Cheers!

Sam

samoctstw

50 replies »

  1. Sam, wow that is a long flight. We try and break them up, but are thinking about a 15hours to Shanghai next spring…. we shall see. We also check our tickets (we do etix), keys, passports… all that over and over again, just to be sure. Looking forward to your next blog trip!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Fabulous blog post!! I experienced so many similarities on my trip back from Belgrade! But that was due to Munich airport chaos.. It’s also good to know I’m not the only person who checks, checks, checks.. 😆 The part about keeping yourself awake by putting your head out the window made me laugh so hard! Rock on… 🤘🏼😊

    Liked by 1 person

      • Well, I hadn’t bothered to sleep the night before as I had to set off at 3 am to get to Belgrade airport, then it was delayed for three hours! When we arrived in Munich the airport was on lock down as a random Spaniard had gone through the wrong security door!! Terminal two was evacuated and it was insane – stuck on the tarmac, people phones dinging with new flights and cancellations… Did get back home eventually, but not until 2am the following day! And without my luggage of course… fortunately I gave a list to a stranded German girl going in the same direction or I would have for sure had an accident on the drive to my parents! 😂
        I’d agree with not recommending hanging your head out the train window… Hell of a buzz though!! 😆

        Liked by 1 person

      • Geez that sounds frustrating, and even small mistakes in airports cause big reactions! Makes sense though they have to I guess. 3am is such an awkward time to travel too… shall I stay awake and suffer or sleep and risk sleeping in? Dilemma!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Total dilemma!! But it’s always stay awake for me!! I struggle to sleep at the best of times, with a big comfy bed in the equation!! 😆 It was such an adventure though, and made two new friends out of it – worth it? I think so! 😁

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Hahahaha…..at your age, I could get along for that long with little sleep, but not now.

    Wow, that quite the return trip, & I don’t know how anyone can live in temperatures like that! At least your layovers weren’t too long to tolerate, but its still a long time to be flying.

    Good thing you keep checking things over again as when going these huge distances, its damn important to be sure.

    Ryan Reynolds is from right here in my province…..good actor.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I mean at 30 I feel I need more and more sleep these days! I don’t know how I managed it. The short layovers helped me get back home quicker and for that I am grateful.
      And yes! I see Ryan Reynolds Instagram is ‘vancityreynolds’, repping that Van City!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hurrah Sam! You are back in the UK. Noticed you flew right over Sri Lanka on your journey – the flight path. 😀
    this is a great post with lots of cool photos and info. Looking forward to more.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sounds normal!

    Few years ago, I flew with my granddaughter from Helsinki, Frankfurt, Buenos Aires and finally Santiago de Chile. When returning to home after two weeks, we had partly a night flight, which meant sleeping possibility.

    Happy and safe travels.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is one hectic series of flights by the sounds of it!! Very tiring but I bet you felt as good as I did when you finally got home. Thank you and I hope you are having a great week 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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