Since we’ve been able to make plans for international travel again we have a busy few months coming up.
For most of December 2022 and all of January 2023 we’ve arranged a home exchange with a couple from Paris. We’ll be staying in their apartment in the Latin Quarter in Paris while they enjoy staying in our place in Newcastle and spending time with their new grandchildren: a good outcome all round.
After flights from Newcastle to Brisbane we fly West to Perth before a short leg North to Singapore, making good use of the lounge at the magnificent Changi airport, before buckling up again for the longest leg from Singapore to London, covering a lot of territory and seeing familiar names of various hotspots in Afghanistan and the middle East before picking a sky path through the Black Sea area, hoping that current hostilities in the Ukraine leave us with safe passage about 10km above the tragic events below.
With so many people with reward points available searching for flights now that travel is available again we found that it was easier to get a flight into London than Charles de Gaulle in Paris. We arrive at Heathrow around 7pm where we’d decided that dragging a couple of very large and heavy bags as well as carry on wheelie bags and a guitar made a pre-booked shuttle the best option.
After a very pleasant transfer we arrive at the Pullman St Pancras where we discover that we’ve been upgraded to a suite from which we gaze out at the lights of London: the dome of St Paul’s standing proud amongst the red lights on the buildings through the City of London; warding off errant helicopters.
It only takes a couple of minutes to rustle up an Uber and we’re off to see some of the decorations and lights around Regent Street and Piccadilly Circus.
A beautiful Christmas tree in the distance looking from Piccadilly Circus. Angels wing their way along the length of Regent Street where high end retailers tempt the pockets of passing window shoppers and, in an ironic juxtaposition, homeless people settle into doorways for the night as temperatures duck under zero and into the minus numbers.
We find The White Swan a pub where the live music has just finished and toast our arrival with a quiet drink before the clock in the steeple below the silver moon riding high in the night sky chimes out the passing of midnight.
A short walk finds us looking up to Lord Nelson sitting atop his column in Trafalgar Square before ducking down into the tube at Charing Cross and onto the Northern Line for a quick trip back to Kings Cross/St Pancras
We’re looking forward to a good restful sleep without the roar of jet engines and are happy that, despite the very cold weather, our coats and hats etc seem up to the challenge.
Off to Paris tomorrow!!