Bang! And we arrived in Europe!

Surprise to many, this is the first Christmas vacation without the traditional companionship of our extended “family” – Tracy, Harshad, Kalinda or Lionnel. Due to our little disagreement in this year’s travel destination, we decided to go our own separate ways.  Felicia, Elkan and I head out to Europe while Harshad, Tracy and Kelly head for Bhutan (earth’s happiest kingdom). Europe has always been one of my top travel destinations since 2007. I am so glad that we finally made it this year. (At least, if the world really did end in Dec 2012, there will be one less regret to ponder about.)

We took red-eye to Rome and Tracy was very kind to escort us to our gate! I was very touched by her gesture and company! While waiting for our flight, I managed to take a photo with the work I created on the last day of its promotion. (Hahah…I am so proud to pose in front of the concourse shop! The security guard thought I was a weird tourist posing with the bottles.)

It took us a total of 22 hours and a few heart-attack moments to fly from Hong Kong to Rome and to London. We suffered 2 very unpleasant flights. Our flight to Rome was a terrifying one. 15 minutes before landing, there was a bright blinding orange spark inside the cabin, followed by a loud bang. The spark came from the wing. Passengers on board were whispering “what was that?”. Seconds later, a big lightning strike near the plane. I feared for the worst. Thankfully, we landed safe and sound  – this goes down as my worst flight ever.

Blame it on my kiasuism, I booked our next flight to London with a 5-hour gap. We parked ourselves at a cafe – no wifi, 3G. We were restless and bored. I went to the post office to send out a couple of postcards to my dear pals in Hong Kong. (It was more expensive to send postcards (€12) versus signing up for a 1-day €10 wifi package! No wonder not many write postcard these days.)

Our next flight to London was just as bad as the first one. It was a small plane and there were a lot roller-coaster moments due to the severe turbulence. The worst was the landing. The pilot failed the first landing and we had to attempt a second one. We were heading down too fast and the pilot made a steep climb. When flying over the Alps, Felicia took this stunning photo (below). At least, there is one beautiful moment on board.

The good news for me is there will be no more air travel from now till 17th Dec. For the next 10 days, we will be on the road (taxi, foot and rail) from London to Paris to Venice and to Rome. This will be one very exciting Europe trip for my wife and kid and I can’t wait to share more photos and stories here with my family and friends back home!

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