Well, we made it! The last few days before leaving Adelaide were a stressful flurry of action and organisation, but we made it on the plane in the end. Thanks to everyone who said goodbye at the last minute, sent cards and texts, helped us out, rescued us when cars broke down and/or let us leave them with piles of household stuff we no longer need. You are all excellent and helped us a lot.
The actual trip was very long – especially after an average of four hours a night sleep for the week before we left. We were lucky that we got amazingly good food the whole way.
During the Adelaide to Malaysia leg of the trip, we were stuck in seats where the screens weren’t working, so no movies or reading lights for us! I (Ange) got travel-sickness for the first time in my life after reading for 5 minutes, becoming extremely nauseous, clammy, faint and going a magnificent shade of green/pale. So, I decided to avoid reading for the rest of the trip. Seven hours of flight with no movies or reading is pretty boring, I have to say. Also made my 40kg carry-on bag of books pretty useless.
We spent five hours in Kuala Lumpur, trying to find the least annoying place to spend some time. We settled on a cafe that had airline staff actually eating there, bought the most expensive cans of beer we’ve ever paid for ($17 Malaysian Ringgits = AU$7.20 each) and listened to a horrible clicky noise come from a drink machine for the next half an hour. Sleeping at the gate was far better in the end.
The leg from Malaysia to Amsterdam was over 13 hours. Our bodies still believed we got on the plane around 1am, so, we were wrecked. Most of the flight was darkness, so Bruce caught up on sleep while I watched all the movies I knew Bruce would never be interested in. The attendants realised I’d broken my body clock and was stuck awake, so they brought me snacks every hour or so. We then tried a Malaysian breakfast of Sambal squid and chicken curry paired with croissants. Strange, but interesting.
We found some nice, comfy chairs to rest on in Amsterdam, where we watched the sun rise and had some decent coffee while brushing up on French. We didn’t realise it at the time, but we went through immigration there. They saw my two passports and asked if I wanted a stamp as well, making some joke about it being $10. It’s strange to think I might have moved to the other side of the world without even getting a stamp in my passport. And, to think I spent all that time ensuring I had copies of wedding certificates etc and carried them on my person the whole way only to have them completely ignored. Better that way around rather than the other.
The last leg of the trip was on a teensy, tiny Fokker 100 run by KLM/British Airways/Air France (whatever logo they felt like showing you at the time). We had awesome croissants and coffee, which made us pretty happy. By this stage we reeked and were somewhat delirious. Lovely French people kept trying to get us involved in their conversations, but as I understood about 10% of what they said I just smiled at them and looked hopeless. The airline attendant who had seen me reading the French phrasebook frantically spoke to us in English as we left.
Getting into Lyon, there was no drama with lost bags or customs, as we pretty much just walked straight out. Technically, there was a customs area, but we walked under the “nothing to declare” sign and were out the other side without even talking to anyone. Crazy!
Navigating Lyon’s public transport in French after very little sleep was a challenge, however I managed to get a map, buy tickets to the right places and get directions to the right place. The train from Lyon airport that I’d read up on before leaving Australia didn’t seem to exist in the end, which was a little frustrating as we then had to catch a bus and two metro trains (subway) to get the the apartment. This is with ALL of our luggage now. Luckily, most of it was on wheels. Unluckily, most of the lifts were broken. Underground train stations are a pretty awful place to be with piles of luggage. Stairs and escalators are not much fun at all.
We found our flat and got let in and shown around. It’s this gorgeous little 1850s apartment block which is right near one of the rivers in old Lyon (Vieux Lyon). There was a little stress while we got my laptop out and paid the rest of the fee via paypal in front of our new landlord (who speaks only a little English). The landlord and friend quickly left after they realised we’d been travelling for over 30 hours and were exhausted.
By then it was nearly 3pm in Lyon, but we really needed a shower and a rest. This is where I made a very silly mistake. I set the alarm on my phone for 5pm so that we’d only nap for two hours and then go for a walk to find some dinner or something. Pity I forgot to change the time on my phone before going to sleep though. So, I slept for a good nine hours and now I’m awake in the middle of the night in Lyon. *sigh* Bruce is a champion sleeper though, and I’m sure he’ll stay asleep until morning.
So, we’re in Lyon and we’re a little less stressed now. This is where we’ll be until the 3rd January. Apparently, there’s a good market 50m out the back of the flat. So, I’ll be heading there when it’s daylight to find some food. When I uncover the camera I’ll take some photos, however it could be even longer before I find cables to get those pics online.