Last night I slept very badly and spent most of the time in the toilet. I think the amount of different food has finally caught me and I’ve got a little food poisoning. This morning we decided to cancel all our activities and have a restful day so I would feel better for the flight.
We went out to the pharmacy to buy some tablets to help if my stomach still stays bad on the flight, I also bought a newspaper to read and some very boring bread to eat. By lunch time I was feeling a little better and the pharmacist just advised me to drink lots of water before the flight.
By mid-afternoon I was feeling a little better and after eating some bread (how exciting!) and taking the medication I was feeling well enough to fly. After finishing packing Clara and her parents had their last meal together and I rested watching TV. I took a shower and prepared for the long journey home, I was hoping it would be boring and uneventful!
We set off for the airport at 8pm by taxi from Clara’s parents house. The taxi managed to cram both bags into the boot and held the boot closed with an elastic band – this was better than when we arrived and I had much more faith our bags would actually still be there when we got to the station! The taxi took us to the Hong Kong Airport Express Station which is just under the IFC2 building we had been to the night before. The airport in Hong Kong works a little differently to other airports – being Hong Kong this has to be expected! When we got to the MTR station we had to buy tickets for the Airport Express. One of the perks of travelling by Airport Express is that you can actually do what is called ‘City Check’ and check in for your flight at the MTR station. We went to the Virgin desk where there was no queue and checked in – our bags were a little heavier than when we came but we still managed to just about be under the limit! It also seemed that the hand baggage regulations did not count on the return flight – more on this later!
After the quick check in we had our boarding cards and the desk was able to tell us which gate the plane would board from and at what time. We went back through the turnstiles and walked down to the platform for the Airport Express train. We now had to say our goodbyes to Polly and Andrew who were not coming to the airport. This was quite upsetting for Clara and it was sad to leave them as they had looked after me so well!
We boarded the next Airport Express train and set off for the journey to the airport. Of course the benefit of City Check is that we did not have our heavy luggage with us – however it was probably on the back of the train travelling with us to the airport! The journey took the usual 23 minutes and was as punctual as ever. The train wasn’t too busy, which was strange as once we got to the airport there seemed to be plenty of people around.
At the airport we went straight through immigration and the security check and then took a look round a few of the shops in the airport. There were about 2 hours until the plane left and we needed to board in just over an hour. The airport in Hong Kong is very different to many other airports. As it was newly built it feels much better and the sense of space is massive! The roof of the airport is around 10 meters above where we were walking and you could see across large areas making the terminal seem massive! This is definitely something more terminal designers should learn from as its a pleasure to walk around the terminal and I think it makes you feel much calmer.
After the shops we took a walk down to the boarding gate. The layout of the gates in the terminal is a big Y shape. When we landed we were at one of the gates on the two arms of the Y and so we had to take a train back to the arrivals lounge. This time our gate was on the join of the three prongs and we decided to walk as we had plenty of time. The walk is fairly long and while we were walking I wondered how much it had cost to carpet the whole terminal! We sat at the gate for a while and looked out of the window at the plane. It was now obvious that the hand baggage regulations were not in place as many of the Hong Kong people travelling back to the UK had about 3 pieces of hand luggage – some people take way too much!
We boarded the plane about 11pm and were sat in the same seats as when we came (we choose these through the Virgin website on booking). As we sat waiting for the plane to set off it was obvious this flight was much fuller than when we were coming and it seemed every seat was taken. The captain made an announcement that a passenger had not turned up so they had to take the luggage out again and take out their bags – this is a very annoying situation as we sat waiting on the tarmac – how can someone not turn up at the plane after checkin?! We eventually set off about 11.45pm (20 minutes late) for the 12.5 hour flight to the UK – an hour longer than going due to the wind direction.
The flight went much as the outward journey with an evening meal served – Clara had mashed potatoes and beef but said it wasn’t as good as the outgoing meal, I had plain bread and crackers to be on the safe side! After the meal the lights went out and we settled down to sleep. We both slept quite well although we woke up many times we managed to get a few hours sleep. We were both still sleeping when the lights came on about 10 hours into the flight at 3.30am BST. We were then served breakfast – unfortunately they ran out of English breakfast – so I had an omelette and clara dim-sum. I was feeling better now and decided it was probably time to try and eat a proper meal. Once breakfast had finished and we watched a little TV it was just about time to land, the approach to London was quite good in the dark and we could see a number of the sights including London Eye, Tower Bridge and Canary Wharf all lit up.
The landing was a good one and as we landed the rain was pouring down – looks like the British weather had come to welcome us! We got off the plane and passed through immigration – this was the easiest one I’d done and no more forms to fill in – yippee! Our bags arrived about 5 minutes later and we moved through customs and walked to the London Underground. We boarded a train in the station and set off on our 24 station journey to Kings Cross. The time was now 7.30am and the trains were starting to fill up with some commuters, it seemed they were mostly migrant workers from Eastern Europe and Africa and a couple of Businessmen. As we approached Piccadilly station the driver came over the tannoy that a train had broken down ahead and there might be some slight delays – typical we though, we never had one delay on the MTR in Hong Kong! As it happened the delay was about 10 minutes and we were in no rush!
We arrived at Kings Cross in the middle of rush hour and managed to fight our way up the stairs with our heavy bags to the station concourse. We found the new GNER waiting room – worse than the old one and in a strange place outside the station – and sat down to wait. We both got some breakfast from Upper Crust and a paper to catch up on the news – the most shocking of which was the news about Richard Hammond, looks like its been a bad time for celebrities after Steve Irwin!
We were booked on the 10.30am train and as our tickets were cheap we had no way of going earlier. Karen, Clara’s sister came into Kings Cross about 9am and met up with Clara for a quick chat in the station. At 10.15am we were allowed to board the train, which seemed very busy, this seemed odd at 10am in a morning. The journey was pretty uneventful and the train was quite fast so we arrived in York about 12.30pm. We took a taxi back from the station to our house and finally ended the mammoth journey!
So that’s where the holiday ends. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading and hopefully learned a little along the way. If you find anything useful or enjoyed what you read please let me know by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s hope I can go somewhere just as interesting soon!