That was quite a pause, wasn’t it? We arrived in the early afternoon yesterday after travelling for nearly 24 hours (more than one connection is never a good idea…) so I’ve been trying to get myself organised and get over this stinking cold I was blessed with for the entire journey before normality tomorrow.
We started in Germany, with a quick trip to Poland, before heading to the UK where we stayed in London and Oxford. So quite a lot of travelling for 2-and-a-bit weeks. Expect to see lots from our trip coming soon!
Until then I have to rant about our horrific trip back. I was in surprisingly good spirits and nowhere near as emotional as I expected when we sat with my step-sister, Kayleigh, in St James’ park. We’d just had a huge lunch and were killing time before hopping on our National Express coach which would take us to Luton airport.
Luton was exactly as expected, full of people going on Lads’ holidays, but with a pretty good selection of food to choose from. My cold was already in full force so I stocked-up on Innocent Smoothie’s ‘Defence Juice’, which turned out to be more intense than your average orange juice.
We settled down for a quick pizza at Frankie ‘n’ Bennies as our flight was apparently delayed for another hour, until we noticed the board had changed to ‘boarding’ as soon as our food arrived.
So now we’re running through Luton with a squashed pizza in hand to catch a flight to Vilnius that we weren’t actually that eager to make.
We landed in Vilnius around 2am local time, and our next flight to Kiev wasn’t until about 7am. We laughed as we followed the signs to ‘transfers’ to an empty seating area with a scanner, directly opposite the huge queue of Lithuanians going home, before eventually tagging on to the end of the queue (at least to confirm that that’s where we should be to connect).
Instead, the lady working only communicated to us in Russian, before taking Shota’s passport away for half an hour or so because he apparently needed a visa to wait in the airport. Odd, but we waited. She returned and flicked through my passport, again flustered about my lack of visa, before Shota explained to her that I don’t need one anyway.
Next we were directed back to the seating area at the back of the room, ensured that someone would come along in maximum one hour to see us through. Apparently they had no waiting area for connecting flights and we weren’t deserving enough of food or water in the meantime…
Exhausted and amused, we sat down and complained about the peculiar Post-Soviet behaviour that Shota also experienced in Belarus until I fell asleep.
I awoke two hours later in the same position and with numb legs, and a less-than cheery disposition. The lights had been switched off and no one had came through for the last two hours, and all of the doors were locked. So we started pressing buttons to try and wake security up to come and let us through.
We were left with the bag scanners, computers and everything, is that normal? Eventually the lights came back on and three staff members came down and sat on the scanner, chatting. They didn’t even acknowledge we were there so I ranted loudly about how ridiculous it was and how I expected better considering how much I paid – y’know, the usual arrogant, British approach.
10 minutes later and we were finally allowed to receive our boarding passes, from a girl who told us that it was basically tough that we were left there because no one was working. Hmm, okay.
We finally went downstairs to civilisation, bought water and chocolate (have you ever had Day 2 on a plane?) and found the nearest uniformed person and ranted some more. This time we were told that it was weird and that, because she doesn’t know who is responsible for that area, to complain on the website. Wonderful.
We huffed about it all the way to Ukraine, and I cried a little because my cold meant my ears couldn’t pop during every single flight, which genuinely made me worry about my head exploding. I still can’t hear properly yet…
I can’t complain about Ukraine, I love Borispyl. It feels like home after 20 hours there while connecting to Tbilisi back in December 2013. It just so happened to be when everything was kicking off so I decided to stay put in the warm instead.
I’m still waiting for the emotions to hit me, as I anticipated being a wreck leaving home. So far I’m fine, I think it was a perfect amount of time away: just enough time to relax and enjoy but not quite enough to get too comfortable.
Anyway, Tbilisi greeted us with some impressive scenery on the way in. I’ve never landed during the day before but I highly recommend it if you’re visiting. Now it’s just a case of re-adjusting to the heat after getting into rainy British autumn mode…
Have you been away for summer? I’d love to hear about it!