Reflections on a 10th anniversary in Europe

More than a month has passed since our trip to Europe. The story of the trip is written on allrite@, but now I wish to sort out my impressions of the journey. After the excitement of the journey itself what you are left with is your memories, the ultimate souvenirs of your holiday.

Highlights for me were the sight of the Malaysian Airlines 747 waiting like an old liner in dock to carry us on an adventure. The red Australian desert and the dry but snow capped mountains of Afghanistan, mysterious lands with few inhabitants but many stories to tell. A relaxing transit hotel at Kuala Lumpur’s International Airport that was just what I wanted and modern and spacious accommodation near Paddington station.

Standing atop Het Gravensteen castle and gazing across the amazing historic skyline of Ghent in Belgium. Belgian chocolates, waffles and fries. Eating a continental breakfast in our deluxe sleeper compartment while outside the pretty villages of the Elbe Valley rolled past outside. The look of joy on Alex’s face as he discovered the toy grotto in Aparthotel City 5 in Prague. Likewise when he found the toy box in the A-Train hotel room in Amsterdam.

Our wonderful apartment in Paris, the fresh food market outside, the restaurants, the chocolate cake on Alex’s birthday and the views of the Eiffel Tower from out the window. Ascending to the top of the tower and the amazing views of Paris. Memories as we climbed up to the Place du Terte in the Montmartre.

Schipol airport, possibly my favourite.

Drinking Milo ais at a hawker stall in Kuala Lumpur, watching the black storm clouds approach. Sharing my mee suah with Alex in a kopitiam, as Malaysian as it gets.

The were some disappointments too. The changes to the Novotel Brighton Beach and the very ordinary service and facilities on Malaysia Airlines. Rail service issues, breakdowns and queues in London. Leaving a bag behind in Belgium, B getting motion sick on the sleeper trains. Waste of money on a rail pass due to ticket printing issues and a lack of onwards travel in France. Not seeing much of Amsterdam. Hype of substance in Kuala Lumpur and being stuck for an hour by a tropical downpour.

Overall, a fantastic trip. But I do find myself reevaluating some of my travel dreams in light of this last trip. Many were laid down by our original honeymoon ten years ago. I’m not sure that the Novotel Brighton Beach is quite my dream hotel and the late afternoon 747 flight into the northwest wasn’t quite the one that I imagined on my walks back from work. I wonder if I am so used to Japan flights that they consume my dreams now. I wonder what I’ll dream of ten years from now.

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