Today’s travel starts from Ecuador with an overnighter in America, a red-eye flight to Iceland, stopping in the United Kingdom for a few days, followed by the long-haul flight to Australia.
Leaving South America on a classy note
If you think I’m not embarrassed enough from succumbing to yesterday’s disgusting poo scam in the main centre of Quito, today is the final icing on the South American cake.
After a night of too much drinking whilst saying goodbye to our good travel buddies that always lead us astray, it’s with a throbbing head and dodgy stomach we head to the airport in a taxi this morning.
Dropped off at one of the busiest airports in South America – Quito’s Mariscal Sucre International Airport – my reluctant timing couldn’t be more impeccable…
Picture a bustle of well-dressed passengers milling in and out of Departures, followed by several handsome-looking airline pilots impeccably dressed walking past, whilst I violently throw-up emptying the complete contents of my stomach into the airport’s gutter…
Fixing myself up and wiping my smelly mouth acting as if nothing happened, we lug our gear into Departures for the start of the very long journey home.
Quito to New York, America
Feeling much better and settling in for the Iceland Air flight to New York’s bustling JFK airport, around 7 hours of travel later and we land in New York.
With only a brief overnight stay in one of JFK’s hotels, it’s quite late and the restaurant is closed, with only snacks from the vending machine to stave off hunger.
You might be thinking, why take such an indirect flight from Quito to Heathrow. The is cost. Direct flights are very expensive 10 days before Christmas. This flight involves 2 stops and you arrive at your destinations at ungodly hours.
New York to Reykjavík, Iceland
It’s such a shame that we only spend a fleeting few hours at the hotel – today’s red-eye flight from New York to Reykjavík beckons. At least it’s a chance to stretch out horizontally.
The connecting Iceland Air flight travels for around 6 hours before landing in Reykjavík’s Keflavík International Airport under a blanket of snow.
It’s in the early hours of the morning, still very dark – looks extremely cold and uninviting.
Sleepy passengers are offloaded. Everyone heads for the restaurant and the few open shops.
Ogling at the delicious mouth-watering but very expensive smoked salmon delicacies, we succumb and indulge in sharing the cheapest choice on the menu.
One slice of freshly-baked seeded bread topped with the most delicious Icelandic smoked salmon, dressed with a couple of capers. All for the bargain-basement price of €14 – nothing else to do but eat whilst waiting for the connecting flight to Heathrow.
Reykjavík to Heathrow, United Kingdom
One lady changes seats to sit next to my partner.
Pulling out from her bag a rather large can of cold Boli (Icelandic) beer, thirstily ripping off the ring pull then starts downing the beer like there’s no tomorrow, finishing the can in one gulp – it’s 6:30 am!
The friendly lady makes brief chit-chat with my partner, then crashes and sleeps solidly until reaching Heathrow some 3 hours later.
Landing in Heathrow, immigration takes a while before collecting bags and onto the hire car for the 4-hour drive to Street, Somerset.
Lush undulating fluorescent-green hills and ominous black clouds drift by whilst travelling on the highway.
If you ever travel to Somerset in England’s southwest, it’s not long before you’re thrown back in time with surrounding stunning medieval history, the legendary King Arthur, and the mythical Excalibur sword.
Always time for a little sight-seeing and a wander through history even on a rushed trip – love Europe’s smallest city: magnificent Wells.
The imposing stone Gateway to the Vicar’s Close is fabulous as a rest-stop and to listen to medieval sounds from local buskers.
Famous Vicar’s Close is an example of a “planned street” and dates back to the mid-14th century.
Take a stroll through the meticulously manicured grounds surrounding the impressive Bishop’s Palace. Dating back some 800 years, this striking piece of history captivates with its commanding presence.
Not sure of the age of this majestic tree dwarfing remnants of the Great Hall…
A recent post with more detail for visiting Wells: Medieval Bath and Wells – Somerset, England.
Dorset: Lyme Regis
Dubbed ‘The Pearl of Dorset’ for its breath-taking scenery, this fishing port is also a seaside resort town.
Just a quick taste…
Driving back through Dorset, the sun dips presenting a gorgeous vista of the English coastline.
Everything clears to boast an incredible sky.
A recent post with travel tips on England’s Southwest: Thomas Hardy’s Beautiful Dorset.
The United Kingdom to Sydney
Time to head to Heathrow for the long-haul travel to The Land of Oz.
During the inevitable stop when travelling to Australia, keep walking – a habit of mine as I don’t want to succumb to DVT.
The plethora of shops at this airport is enough to keep any bored traveller interested – you’re bound to spend money.
The next travel leg is from Dubai to Sydney, which takes around 14 long hours.
Take music, reading material, Sudoku (if it’s your thing), and whatever else you need as depending on the airline, you may not find a movie of your choice or tire of watching movies altogether.
Landing in Sydney (Kingsford Smith) Airport is a great relief that finally ends travel on flights.
Crashing at my sister’s place overnight in one of Sydney’s northern suburbs, decide to click some shots from the apartment’s small balcony, as need to stay awake for a few hours to combat the dreaded jet-lag.
Quite a lot of haze around and bad weather looming in the distance but what a view!
Not a great hand-held shot of this brilliant vista although this view is mesmerising.
A drive north-west of Sydney for more catch-ups with family and mainly my mother is almost the end of this very long journey.
Sydney to Brisbane
After traversing thousands of miles across oceans, a brief stay in the UK and Sydney, spending Christmas with family – sure it’s my mother’s last and the reason I was called back to Australia – it’s time to head home to Brisbane.
Following the uneventful 1,000-kilometre-drive and finally reaching Brisbane, the realisation that long-term travel is over for a while sets in…
Hanging up the backpack
Reluctantly, it’s time to hang up the backpack and look for a job. Need money to set off on another long trip perhaps in a year or two.
Strangely enough, after travelling in South America for months, it takes a while to get out of the habit of looking over my shoulder when in public places…