8 countries visited: Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, Germany, Austria, Netherlands, Singapore.
27 cities visited*: Sydney, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Auckland, Wanganui, Ohakune, Orlando, Boston, Montreal, Quebec City, Munich, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Würzburg, Nuremberg, Salzburg, Leipzig, Berlin, Potsdam, Osnabrück, Wuppertal, Bonn, Cologne, Aachen, Maastricht, The Hague, Singapore.
(* I define visited as having deliberately gone to that city for work or leisure. Transiting through a city is not counted.)
16 train journeys taken between cities in four countries (Canada, Germany, Austria, Netherlands).
Experienced jet-lag in 7 time zones: AEST, AEDT, NZST, EDT, CET, SGT.
15 hotels slept in for a total of 36 nights and 14 nights spent staying on friend’s couches, floors and spare rooms.
Finally, some good and bad highlights from the year:
Missed connections: 1 due to late inbound flight.
Best Airport: Gold Coast – due to Virgin Australia’s fantastic ground staff
Worst Airport Terminals: Abu Dhabi terminal 1 and Boston terminal B.
Best food: Etihad Amsterdam to Abu Dhabi (dinner) and Eithad Abu Dhabi to Sydney (breakfast).
Best flights: Etihad Amsterdam to Abu Dhabi and Scoot Singapore to Sydney (both red-eyes!)
Worst flight: Air Canada Boston to Montreal – grumpy cabin crew.
Best planes: Etihad’s A340 and Scoot’s 787-9.
Worst plane: Air New Zealand’s 767-300.
Best ground staff: Virgin Australia at Gold Coast.
Worst ground staff: Delta at JFK.
I have now caught the travel bug, nine years ago I had never been on a plane, six years ago I’d never been outside of New Zealand, less than three years ago I had never been outside of Australia or New Zealand.
I’m unlikely to repeat this much travel in the coming year, or years. But I’m scheming plans for more amazing places I now want to visit. Returning to Europe remains high in first place in those plans.
Okay I am getting sick of having to explain what happened to just about everyone I see. So now I can just tell them to read my blog.
When I flew to Wellington last Sunday we had an engine failure. Well actually a complete APU failure. Luckly we were on Taxi and not in the air.
This is how it went down:
We were push backed from the terminal like normal. While the engines were being started they were doing the safety demonstrations. It was pretty obvious from the start that something was wrong with the engines because they were not making the normal engine starting noise. Halfway through the safety video all the power died in the aircraft. I mean the video stopped, the air con stopped, all the lights cut out, the engines stopped we came to a complete halt with no power or engines.
We sat for 20 mins parked sideways on the taxi way in front of the domestic terminal before we got pulled back to the terminal. All other aircraft had to detour around us by using the B runway. Thank god for that second runway at Auckland! Once we were pulled back they decided to jump start us off a ground power unit that they had to call over from the International Terminal on a truck!
We had no power, lights or anything for more then 40 minutes. Did I say we had no aircon. Also this was an Airbus A320 a medium range aircraft normally used on international routes. It has 170 seats and I can only assume that it was being used as a domestic aircraft because it was a long weekend and school holidays. We had about 40 kids on board which was fine for all of 5 mins and then the crying began! Once started again we made it safely and without incident to Wellington 50 minutes late. Fun!