Lemon chicken and sweet and sour pork in Malaysia. Oh Mum, what a waste of a meal! And what does that have to do with Europe?
My mum returned last week after spending a couple of them in Paris. She flew Malaysia Airlines (MAS) with a two day stopover in Kuala Lumpur. Fortunately, there was no need for us to be envious.
About a month ago we booked our own flights to Europe flying with MAS. This year marks our 10th wedding anniversary and we had hoped to celebrate it in Paris, the destination of our original honeymoon. Unfortunately, we didn’t plan this early enough and the earlybird fares were well and truly gone by the time we thought about it. Fortunately, MAS had an incredibly cheap sale on just when we wanted to go.
MAS flies to four destinations in Western Europe. Prior to the booking deadline I desperately tried to formulate a rough itinerary so I could work out which city to arrive and depart from. We don’t just want Paris this time, but also want to include Belgium and the Czech Republic without spending all the time on trains.
In the end it came down to the aircraft MAS uses to each destination. They fly 747s to London and Amsterdam and 777s to Rome and Paris. Much as I wanted to recreate our honeymoon by flying into Charles de Gaulle Airport’s old Terminal 1, the 777’s 2-5-2 seating configuration put me off. I want the three of us to sit in a window row and that’s only possible on their 747s, which have a 3-4-3 configuration.
At least it was a 747 that we flew in on our honeymoon with Qantas, plus we did have to fly via London. I chose London again this time as there are two flights a day and having a daylight flight from Kuala Lumpur to London means that Alex is less likely to disturb other passengers if he is active. Plus it gets in late in the afternoon, so there is no zombie day waiting for check-in to the hotel.
It also means an overnight in KL and a chance to recover from the evening flight from Sydney.
On the way back we will fly via Schipol airport in Amsterdam, spending a couple of days in KL, eating food that hopefully doesn’t include Australian-Chinese takeaway staples. Back in 2004 we flew in and out of Schipol and the airport made an impression on me. When I’m listening to the right kind of music I often find myself dreaming about Schipol.
There is something very special about flying to Europe. Those frequent flights to Asia just feel incomplete without an onwards flight to Europe. Most others dread the 12 – 14 hour flights from the Asian hubs to Europe, but they feel just right to me – at least going there. The Eurasian continent is a fascinating place to fly over, especially the mountainous regions.
Looking forward to a couple of days in KL. I doubt if we’ll want to do much but rest and eat. And eat.
We’ll be celebrating not only our anniversary, but Alex’s birthday in Europe. I’m sure we won’t have any trouble finding a nice cake for him!
I don’t know what travelling with a 3 year old will be like, but I imagine that we’ll be looking for playgrounds and parks a fair bit. At least there should be a practice run when we fly up to Queensland for my sister’s wedding.
Now I wonder what problems will affect our plans this time. We’ve had to change travel plans due to riots in Thailand, tsunamis in Japan, been afflicted by illnesses and accidents, ever since we began travelling with Alex. It’s getting scary!