Saturday morning saw us having breakfast with the same friends at Whyte Cafe in
We heard a steam train whistle in the distance as we were eating. I queried one of our friends about it and he replied, probably the snow train. A little later Daniel tweeted about the steam train snow special. In a further moment of synchronicity, as we were leaving Daniel tweeted again about the Safeway supermarket in Glenhuntly, as we were right outside what is a construction site with the operating Glenhuntly supermarket within.
The point of us being in the area was to jointly see the travel agent in Koornang Road, Carnegie. We did and sorted out some details for next year's Euro river cruise. What a marvellous short shopping street is Koornang Road. After the travel agent, we did our supermarket shopping in the Safeway store and then found a gift for oldest niece whose birthday we will be celebrating tomorrow at a hotel for lunch. R found very cheap steak and lamb chops and chicken in the supermarket, but once home and he took the sealed wrapper off the chicken, it stunk like rotten egg gas and while I think left over food kept in the fridge is fine to eat a week later, I insisted he threw the chicken out. Too far to go back there for a refund. The travel agent informed us that us coming home with Emirates would cost an extra $1000. It has not cost her customers anything like that in the past. From what she said, we can blame Qantas, who is now sharing with Emirates. Out of the question. I have to leave a couple of dollars to the kiddies.
Then once home I sat at the computer and started looking at holiday details for next year. What a mistake. Hours later, I am still here. Our river cruise ends in Amsterdam. Our travelling companions are staying a night in Amsterdam and then going on to Brussels by train to meet up with friend who they will stay with for a couple of nights and he will drive them to Paris. We intended flying from Amsterdam on the day the cruise finished to Newcastle in England, where R's family live. Sounds easy? Non! Not unless you want to go via Heathrow or Gatwick or even London City airport. I did find an Easyjet flight, but the time was not good. The flight time is only 20 minutes, but not many airlines seem to service the route. Maybe we should catch the overnight ferry. Cheap enough and we have done it before. No! I can't forget the ball of hair sloshing back and forth in the shower, and it wasn't my hair, and the karaoke the host grumpily cancelled because no one would participate in it because everyone was stone cold sober because the drinks were so expensive. We had had our own stash in our cabins and retired to the company of our duty free bottles and snacks.
Is there a train from Amsterdam to the airport, Schiphol? I looked. Yes, but up came some interesting information. 1 hour 37 by train to Brussels. I thought, what about getting the train from Amsterdam to Newcastle? Two hours to Brussells, two hours Eurostar to London, three hours to Newcastle, plus waiting time. Not implausible. Timings are looking pretty good. What do you reckon R? "I cannot go through London without stopping." I agreed.
Our travelling companions have refused to fly home via Heathrow, as has R. While it is problematic, we will fly home from Manchester with SIA via Munich and Singapore. The problem is getting to Manchester from Newcastle. Our TC's will already be there, staying with a friend. We will probably get the train, but I think we will have to stay at a hotel in Manchester overnight as our flight is at 9.10am. Sort that out in the future.
But yes, we will stay in London for a couple of days as our Dubai stopover has been excluded, so we will have an extra couple of days in England. We will add two days in Newcastle at the end and subtract them at the beginning by a couple of nights in London.
Yesterday, Sunday, was a great day with family and R and myself surprised ourselves with finding a gem of a place. It will come with photos in a separate post as this one is quite long enough.
I will leave you with a short video of the snow train special steaming through one of Melbourne's middle suburbs, and unusually, almost on time.