Home bound, 09.11.2019 – thank you Europe & Expat Explore for the memories!

09.11.2019 – London, England! Heathrow Central bus station. πŸ“· credit to the kind security guard who also pointed us in the right direction to the international terminal. Thank you πŸ™

After the whirlwind tour of Europe – on Saturday 09.11.2019, Iamo and I woke up to a typical London morning – grey and overcast, that reflected our mood. We were sad our holiday was coming to an end and at the same time excited to be heading back home to our family. Promising ourselves to make it back to this beautiful part of the world in the future with our family. Can’t say this enough – thank God for His travelling mercies – keeping us safe all throughout the entire trip.

09.11.2019 – London, England! View from the Novotel, London Heathrow Airport T1 T2 and T3. Word of caution, there’s two Novotels near the airport. Always make sure you get details and directions to the correct one, unlike me πŸ˜…

We slept in, as our flight was not until after lunch. However not that late of a sleep-in – we didn’t want to be delayed and miss our flight because of catching the wrong bus or correct bus, just disembarking at wrong stop & so on. We learned our lesson the night before πŸ˜… where we waited for ‘hours’ (it felt like that but I’m sure it was only 20 mins or so), for a taxi to arrive at the wrong hotel. Ha yes, yes, wrong hotel and taxi, because the shuttle bus service between airport hotels that had just dropped us off, was done for the day (apparently we’d been on the last run) – just our luck, no thanks to ME and my logistics πŸ˜πŸ™„

09.11.2019 – London, England! One last English breakfast 😍

So that Saturday morning, we helped ourselves to a hearty English breakfast, eating as much as we could from the buffet. Food was delicious and the tea just delightful! We checked out after breakfast then asked at reception about shuttle bus to airport – they advised we’d just missed one, by 5 mins and the next one would be in half an hour or so. We thought we might be late so decided to take public transport.

09.11.2019 – London, England! Novotel hotel so beautiful, this is at the reception area!

The bus-stop was conveniently located across the road from the hotel, so after taking a few more photos in and outside the hotel, we crossed over to the bus-stop. We caught the 9.41 am bus and, lo and behold, arrived at Heathrow Central bus station at 9.45am – huh!! πŸ™„πŸ˜… now that was funny. We knew we were close to the airport – just didn’t realise it was ‘that’ close πŸ˜†. We could’ve waited for the shuttle bus.

09.11.2019 – London, England! Waiting for the bus to Heathrow airport
09.11.2019 – London, England! Waiting for the bus to Heathrow airport
09.11.2019 – London, England! On the bus
09.11.2019 – London England! At Heathrow’s central bus station; the bus ride was only 4 mins – didn’t realise how close we were to the airport 😁

Anyhow, better early than late and rushing around like headless chooks! So we were an hour early, for check in πŸ˜† and that proved to be to be a good thing, because the check-in lines were quite long. We were flying with Emirates this time, and oh my, were they busy. Infact our Canadian friends had warned us earlier that morning, to get to the airport early as it was quite busy.

09.11.2019 – London, England! Heathrow International airport – sneak pic while awaiting boarding call. That’s our ride in the background

We checked in and cleared customs without any issues, then went on a ‘window πŸ›’’ spree πŸ˜… at the countless duty free shops, before heading to the departure gate to wait for boarding call. We left Heathrow at about 1.35pm, London time. The flight to Dubai was just over 7 hours long.

09.11.2019 – London, England! Heathrow International airport – waiting and relaxing 😍
09.11.2019 – London, England! Heathrow International airport – finally onboard and all set for take off from LHR😍 Dubai here we come!!
09.11.2019 – view of a very wet Heathrow airport from the plane just after take off
09.11.2019 – view of a London suburb from the air! It’s after lunch – still no sunshine!
09.11.2019 – it was only after the plane flew through the clouds that we see sunlight β˜€οΈ
09.11.2019 – sunset in the horizon, somewhere between Dubai and London
09.11.2019 – of course the 1st movie I watched was ‘the Lion King’! So why the obsession? Well, one of the wake up call on tour was “The Lion Sleeps tonight”. See next video πŸ™‚
Time to wake up somewhere on the trip – looks like Bruges, Belgium! πŸ₯°
09.11.2019 – I loved the entertainment unit – has so many nice features; 😁couldnt help switching between watching movies and checking out the flight details, which country we were flying over etc!

We landed in Dubai shortly after midnight (local time) and were there for under three hours, before boarding our flight to Sydney. Nothing exciting happened except this was our first time, so yeah, we were thrilled just to be there. I thought Kingsford Smith airport was big, until we arrived in Heathrow and then all that changed when we landed in Dubai, wowww!! In terms of size, its the 3rd biggest in the world – however apparently it’s the busiest and has just taken over from Heathrow.

10.11.2019 – Dubai airport- eagle has landed 😁 a snapshot of the view from the plane’s front facing camera

We bought a few souvenirs and gifts from the duty free shops! There were so many shops but there were also so many people from all walks of life, and for that time of night – it was just amazing to watch. Don’t think those airports (Heathrow and Dubai) sleep, they must buzz 24/7 (of course, all that may have changed during covid)!!

09.11.2019 – pictures of Dubai, taken from plane as we were about to land
09.11.2019 – picture of Dubai, taken from the plane as we were about to land
09.11.2019 – picture of Dubai airport, taken from plane as we were about to land
10.11.2019 – Dubai airport! Setting foot in another country and city/airport – even though it was for a very short time.
10.11.2019 – It was enough time to check out some, not all, duty free shops πŸ˜† such a big airport.

We reboarded our plane and were off by 2.35am Dubai time on Sunday 10.11.2019 – it was a pleasant trip back home. And we finally landed back on home soil just after 10pm on Sunday night. Sounds like a long day on the plane, doesn’t it? πŸ™‚ It was ‘just’ 13 hours, lots of time to catch up on much needed sleep.

10.11.2019 – and still have enough time to find departure gate for the final home stretch 😍 DUBAI – SYD
10.11.2019 – not long to go before landing in Sydney’s international airport. Love this pic because it shows, one half of the world enjoying sunshine hours and the other fast asleep or just falling into night time. If you see some funny looking shapes, don’t be alarmed, it’s just me, rather my fingers holding the phone up 😁
10.11.2019 – Sydney airport, from the air!
10.11.2019 – Sydney, Australia! just landed, yayyyy home @ last 😍 Thank you, Lord, for safe skies πŸ™
10.11.2019 – waited a while for our pick up because “yours truly” here mixed up her times and also totally forgot about daylight savings in Sydney!! hello, I just turned 50,that’s young old, right?!πŸ˜…πŸ˜†

Can I describe the whole trip in one word? Oh yes, exhilarating! That’s what! Or exaltant (French), esilarante (Italian), berauschend (German), opwindend (Dutch). We came, we saw, we walked, we ran, we climbed, we challenged ourselves physically and mentally, we learned and most importantly we made new friends. What a way to celebrate turning 50! What an absolute adventure!

πŸ”™ to the most beautiful and romantic place I’ve ever been, Lautebrunnen, Switzerland 😍❀

Let me conclude with my own quote:

The best journeys are those shared with loved ones, exploring places you’ve only ever dreamed of and discovering new ones you never even imagined you’d see or set foot on.

Idau Rawali, Nov 24, 2020

For anyone who may be interested – below is the link to the tour we were on, organised by tour company Expat Explore. Once you get to their page, you can check out other tours/adventures they organise. Not sure what or how post covid travel will look or feel like, but there’s nothing wrong with looking.

https://expatexplore.com/tours/europe-escape/

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