Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Long Haul

Minnewater, Bruges

The Itinerary:

- leave south of England on Thursday
- catch plane from Amsterdam Friday
- land in Melbourne Sunday
- back to work on Monday

Putting this into action:

Expecting some delays on the English roads we gave ourselves an extra hour to get from Basingstoke to Dover. Unfortunately, it wasn't long enough, as the 2 hour journey took us a little over 4 hours. The M20 which runs from London's M25 orbital to Dover had been a horror road in the week prior to our journey, with 2 fatal crashes within those 7 days. Apparently, another bad crash happened as the motorway was closed for a whole junction. As much as I might complain about Melbourne driving, the sheer weight of traffic on English roads is quite unnerving at times.

Anyway, we were put back on to a later ferry which arrived in Dunkirk after 6 pm as it was getting dark. The darkness wasn't helped by rain which made our journey through Belgium rather grim. Fortunately we didn't have far to go as we had the foresight to schedule a stop en route, in the picturesque city of Bruges.

Even the deteriorating weather couldn't stop us enjoying our final stop before heading home. We succumbed to the stereotypical Belgian treats of Chocolate, Beer and frites and mayonnaise! We also walked and wondered at the beautifully crafted old town, built around canals, with the tranquil Minnewater as the absolute jewel.

The magnificent 13th Century Belfry in the Market Square

Bruges, beautifully built around canals
 After a morning of walking around Bruges we started off for Amsterdam, arriving in good time to drop off our car and get to the terminal. Our car rental agency gave us no trouble about coming in with a new car from a different country.

The best way to deal with long haul flights is to stop over half way for a few days. However, we didn't have the luxury of doing this, so we had a 4 hour break in Dubai, before heading off to Melbourne. Our Emirates flights were definitely 2 halves of a coin. The first 6 hour flight saw poor service in our opinion, while the second flight of over 12 hours was excellently staffed, and was more spacious on the 380 airbus.

Do I suffer from jet lag? In a word, yes! I didn't sleep much on the Sunday we landed which was coincidentally, my 49th birthday. I went to sleep early that night and slept through till about 6.30 am Monday morning where I got up, got ready and went to work. After sitting around for a few hours, sorting some processes out, and getting up to speed with what I'd missed, I went home. I suffered a couple of dizzy spells during the day but I'd basically got myself back into Australian time. If past experience is anything to go by, it will take me a further week to recover fully.

I'm planning to get back into chess in a big way over the next couple of months, but there will be one last post about this roadtrip, more from a general perspective.

Belgian Chocolate



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