The last few months have been a whirlwind. I hate that word but nonetheless, it describes my life adequately right now. When did it start? I don’t even remember but this year has already seen lots of countries, old and new, lots of changes, some bad and most freaking awesome. I have been to Finland, China, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and Scotland, all new territory for me, and have made return visits to my beloved Marrakech and to my old home New York. I have done a lot of soul-searching, have tried to establish a freelance business as a travel blogger, did one project that made my heart beat faster and met one person who also does. Yes, whirlwind is more than adequate.
Coming back from my three months in Bali I knew I needed a break. Yes, I know this may sound silly but for those of you who don’t know it yet, I did not spend my days on the beach or scuba diving. Well some, but most of the time I worked. The fact that I do my best work in bed shouldn’t matter here. I worked and the fact that I could do so in a location of my choosing makes up for my very empty bank account. I like my life the way it is but it ain’t all puppies and unicorns.
So yes, I was in need of a break – to breathe, to catch up on more work, and also to recharge amongst some of my favorite people in the world.
I had an 18-hour layover in Hamburg coming from Scotland via my dad’s house. That was barely enough time to change the contents of my suitcase and wave goodbye before I was off again to see my mum. Then I was off again to the airport and sighed in relief when I saw no lines at the counter and knew that my flight to Cape Town was direct. For those of you visiting South Africa, just know that many airlines that go to Cape Town via Johannesburg will make you miss your connecting flight. Because you have to a) get your luggage and go through customs b) re-check your luggage at a counter that seems to always have long queues and c) run to your next gate as Joburg airport is bigger than it seems. Not worth the hassle or potential small saving so if you can, I highly recommend you find a direct flight to Cape Town.
Needless to say, I was hoping for an upgrade. Praying to the Upgrade Gods in fact, but apparently, those were busy. Mind you, I got the nicest flight attendant who gave me free wine with my meal, had no screaming baby in the vicinity and an empty seat next to me. In terms of flying economy this is as good as it gets. However, there were some people close by that weren’t as gracious and so I want to include a piece of flight etiquette here:
- Seats go up during meal time. It’s that simple. Yes, I am looking at you lady in front of me and a thank you to the other nice flight attendant who kept on reminding her all the time!
- Do not shake or clutch the seat in front of you. That one is for you, lady behind me!
- And guys, please use your indoor voices! Especially if your plane leaves at 10pm and people want to sleep. Just because the lights are still on, does not mean you need to chat extra loudly.
With all that said, I can actually sleep on a plane if you will let me.
However, I will admit that it ain’t my favorite thing. Neither are the movies. But what I really love about flying is my airplane bubble.
You know that feeling between waking and sleeping? That beautiful drowsy state of just being, usually warm and comfortable, of not thinking but just breathing, of slowing down. I get that feeling on planes when I am in between countries, trips or different lives. Longhaul flights mentally relax me, they prepare me for what is to come and help me let go of what has been. I am not sure I would want a beamer, I am quite happy taking a Boeing.
Mind you, only arriving is happier. That is after that moment when I had to leave the plane as usual via business class. Honestly, airlines – why do you do that to us? Seeing the business class seats in disarray still looking better than coach when we set out – that’s just rubbing it in!
To make up for it I was last on the first bus and thus first in line for immigration. I was excited – howzit, smiles and all – the officer wasn’t and I wondered when South African immigration had become so sour. Luggage made up for the more than lukewarm welcome as my suitcase was waiting for me, sporting a big red priority sticker.
Then I was out in the South African sunshine. Home. Two months ahead of me to refect on the year I have had and to make plans for the one ahead. But most importantly time for me to stand still, to recharge and to drink lots of bubbly. After all, I have said it before but the sentiment still stands – I will travel for kittens and champagne. Even to the end of the world.
Condor Flights to Cape Town
Condor has a flight to Cape Town which is approximately 11 hours direct and they fly three times per week.
Just like smaller national airlines, they allow you to pay for only what you really need. If you don’t care where you sit, you don’t need to pay for a seat assignment and you have the choice between a basic entertainment program and meal or you can pay extra for a premium version. And if you are flying for Christmas, check out their way of saying Merry Christmas: you are allowed to bring a Christmas tree for free!
For an awesome guide about all things travel related in South Africa, check out my friend Janet from Journalist on the Run’s post here.
Disclaimer: This post was done in cooperation with Condor – thank you!