The decision to hire a car to go from Canberra to Sydney turned out to be a good one. It was far more relaxing getting up at our own pace, piling into the car and driving to Sydney Airport with the usual stop at McDonalds for breakfast. It took about the same time as flying would have (after the waiting and transfers), was a whole lot cheaper and a whole lot less hectic. We were able to drop the hire car right at the terminal. Budget was the hire car company of choice as they do not charge a return fee for one way between Canberra and Sydney.
We had a five hour lay over in Singapore which also prove a bonus. It was the perfect amount of time to catch a cab (approx. $40 Singapore Dollars one way) to the Night Zoo, do the Night Safari and Show, have a quick bite to eat and then return to the airport. Keep your Singapore Airline boarding passes for a discount off the Zoo entry fee. The Zoo was a chance to stretch our legs and have a break from the flight. The Night Safari takes you through purpose built enclosures where you get to see the animals showing a bit of life given their nocturnal nature.
Out flight from Singapore to London was on the A380 – fantastic. The plane was only a few weeks old and provided a bit more room in economy that 747. The Upper Deck is mainly business class with a small economy section at the rear. The main (lower) deck is First Class up front and then a sea of economy class. We were in the economy section on the Upper Deck which I would recommend. Quicker to get off as most of Upper Deck is business class which clears quickly. Slightly better ratio for toilets and staff than Main Deck. The TV screens were wide screen and something I really liked is that the TV control stows into the back of the seat in front of you instead of your armrest. I am always knocking it out of the armrest – an increasing problem if I continue to put on weight!!!
The most noticeable thing about the A380 is that it is super quite. You do not realise how much noise takes out of you until you fly the A380 and arrive relatively rested. Even landing and take off is not loud. The setup of seats in Upper Deck was two – four – two which meant we could get a two seat setup with me and Kerrie behind the girls. Means I can get them not to put their seat all the way back and I get a bit more room – selfish I know but hey they are our kids not our grandkids so they do what they are told!!!
Good Friday we landed at Heathrow at 5:30am – quick through Customs and Immigration and then a hire car out Bath way to stay with Shane and Dianne Glassock (Jess and Ash as well). Emily and Ash renewed their puppy love for each other with Ash promising to write – in fact the two of them payed constantly, maybe Ash was glad for an Aussie to play with, someone tough and rough like Emily. Their house is nice, a good size in a newishly estate. I think it is hard to decide whether I would prefer a new house in an estate of a older house with more character in a village. There are pros and cons of both but I think as they are going to be doing so much travelling they have a good setup where they will not have to worry about the house and they shouldn’t have any issue with it.
We drove through the kids school grounds and around a few villages. There school was lovely and an experience they the kids will forever remember.
On the way to Shane and Di’s we called into Stonehenge. An experience that lasted all of a few minutes a most piecing wind was in play and tore straight through us – I was still in shorts and the girls not much better. We got the self guided audio tour to follow and at the first checkpoint as you went around the audio said “Pause here a minute and look at the formation…” – we paused, heard a loud “bugger off” come fro Kerrie and we quickly reversed our steps and ran back to the warmth of the visitors centre.
All I can say about Stonehenge is that it represents one of many things that I will never understand about the British. It is in the middle of nowhere, there are no obvious feature that say build this thing here and the distance they would have had to cart the rocks is ridiculous. Like my wife you has got me many times to do a task that is pointless in origin and result but somehow meaningful to her British nature, Stonehenge represents an pointless achievement that somehow means something to some British somewhere.
By the way, I am not going to comment on the weather as nothing can describe the bitter cold and piercing wind that we have endured over Easter. The kids were running naked through a sprinkler only a few days ago now they are experiencing a cold front that is chilling to the bone.