Tag Archives: air travel

Addis Ababa (unexpectedly)

Friday 20th January 2023, 7.05am (day 4,166)

Addis Ababa, 20/1/23

Until late morning yesterday, if you’d have suggested this blog might feature the capital of Ethiopia at some point in the near future, I would not have treated you seriously, but it’s amazing where one ends up (at 7 in the morning) when airlines are obliged to work out alternative routes of travel for passengers let down by non-optimal handling of local weather conditions (see yesterday). In fact I have always quite wanted to go to Ethiopia, it’s definitely on the bucket list — but a 90-minute stopover in Addis Ababa airport won’t really count when I come to sum up the itinerary of my life at some future date. It looked good from the plane, though, and one day I might come back. I like the flash of sunlight off the building to the right. Always get a window seat — always.

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

View from Terminal 2

Thursday 19th January 2023, 4.20pm (day 4,165)

Airport sunset, 19/1/23

At the point in time that this photo was taken, I should have been somewhere over the Congo, maybe Zambia. This, however, is definitely not the interior of Africa. Having got up at 4am, by 6am I and a few dozen other people were sitting on a plane at Manchester Airport waiting to depart, only then the powers-that-be decided that due to a few snowflakes falling, nothing could move. Time passed, and by 9am we were all back in Terminal 2, the MAN – AMS leg of my journey wiped from existence. (Other excessive flight delays to have featured on here: Bergen, Nov. 2012; Keflavik, Jul.2019 [still the epitome].)

I finally left the ground about two and a half hours after capturing this shot. I will still make my final destination, and already know that a completely unexpected new country is going to make the blog tomorrow, perhaps that can be seen as a minor compensation. At least I won’t be seeing any more snow for a couple of weeks, that’s guaranteed.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

The dune sea, at sunset

Wednesday 1st December 2021, 4.45pm (day 3,751)

Dune sea, 1/12/21

The flight home. The Sahara looked astonishing: this was a day when I wish I could break my own rules and post more than one photo. The River Niger certainly was worth seeing, a braid of blue and green running through a sandy wasteland. We must have crossed that somewhere in Mali.

But instead I will go with this shot; for much of the three hours it took to cross the desert I was thinking, hmmm, well it’s certainly barren, but more rocky than sandy. But then came this sea, this ocean of dunes, tinged by the setting sun. This must be far enough north to be somewhere in Algeria. Not that national boundaries really mean a lot here. If anything this is Arrakis. Had a gigantic sandworm crested out of this stuff with Fremen on its back, I would not have been surprised.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Arrival on St Helena

Tuesday 9th November 2021, 12.25pm (day 3,729)

Arrival on St Helena, 9/11/21

Is this working? Hmmm, seems to be.

OK then, I am successfully online on one of the world’s most remote islands, 1,200 miles from the nearest other land. The landing — on a bare airstrip perched on top of piles of volcanic cinder — was not as rough as I’d been led to believe it might be. Ten days of quarantine await, however; you and I both will have plenty of opportunities to inspect my accommodation between now and my release on Friday 19th.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

A burned bit of Iceland (not the UK!)

Sunday 10th October 2021, 2.40pm (day 3,699)

Iceland view, 10/10/21

Yes folks, after 615 consecutive days on the island of Great Britain, I have finally left it. It was February 2nd 2020, in Bucharest, that this blog last featured anywhere outside England, Scotland or Wales. You know the reasons why. And yes, I appreciate travel can be seen as a privilege, and I’m grateful that I’ve finally broken the run, for all that the last 20 months have, at least at times, seen plenty of interesting sights.

This is not my final destination: instead this was taken on my first descent, into Keflavik airport, where I and the family were last seen waiting out the 12-hour flight delay that EasyJet (never, ever again) subjected us to in July 2019. I changed planes here and moved on. You can tell it’s Iceland, though — only that island has random burned bits like this, huge lumps of volcanic cinder that just seem here to be a normal part of the landscape.

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

This is how close we are to Europe

Wednesday 29th January 2020, 10.55am (day 3,079)

Strait of Dover, 29/1/20

I know that on my ‘About’ page I claim that this blog is intended to be apolitical. But now and again I make exceptions, and this is one of those days.

Today I have travelled to Romania (which you will see photos of over the next few days) for a conference that ironically is on cross-EU collaboration in higher education (a.k.a. the Bologna Process). I say ‘ironically’ because while I have entered Romania as an EU citizen, with rights here and indeed in 26 other countries across the continent, I will leave it on Sunday without these things, thanks to the piece of childish idiocy that has become known as ‘Brexit’, a shorthand term for the spasm of ideological, racist stupidity which a minority — and it is, be most assured, a minority of the UK population (do the maths) — decided in 2016 that they wanted. This then being reinforced by basically the same people who last month elected a lying, lawbreaking, over-privileged, credential-free buffoon to lead the country at this critical time.

On my way this morning from Heathrow I got the chance to take this shot: apologies for the alarming tilt on it but it was the only way to do it. Just below is Dover, its harbour walls clearly visible. And over there, under the plane’s wing, can be seen Cap Gris-Nez, near Calais. This is how close we are to Europe. I have flown over Lake Michigan and you can’t see one side from the other even from 30,000 feet. Here it took less than a few minutes to cross the Strait of Dover — or Pas de Calais, if you prefer.

And what do the Brexiteer morons and lunatics and bigots think will happen now? Do they think that the island of Great Britain is just going to float merrily off into the Atlantic, to engage in some blissful rendezvous with the Trumpiters somewhere near Bermuda? Are we supposed now to think that this narrow strait, this tiny defile that could still be walked across 6,000 years ago, is going to become a gulf and we will all get on with our Little Englander lives as if Europe, and all its economic and intellectual strength, its culture and history, wasn’t still there? Especially now that we have consciously revoked all ability to directly influence its politics, to vote in its elections, to oblige its ministers to hear us, as a member of a union, with all the deep legalistic meaning of that term?

I am ashamed.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Snowdonia (probably)

Thursday 23rd January 2020, 3.15pm (day 3,073)

Snowdonia cloudscape, 23/1/20

Up in the air again, from Manchester airport heading roughly north-west, though not very far (so if you want, you can deduce where I travelled to before I post from t/here tomorrow). Not long after take off, visual interest was added to the flight to the south, where this cloudscape revealed itself. I wasn’t sure at the time where this might be but a subsequent look at the map suggests the hills in the background must be Snowdonia, in the north-west corner of Wales. It’s the general golden wash that I like about this photo, however. Far better weather up there than down on the ground today — as is often the case, of course.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Loading the plane

Monday 4th November 2019, 1.25am (day 2,993)

Jeddah old city, 3/11/19

Artistic merit is one thing but the photos on here have to somehow epitomise the day, and as my journey home occupied the whole of the first ten and a half hours of 4/11/19, this was what had to be shown. It gets the ‘very early monring’ photo count up a notch, as well. Shot taken out of my window seat at 44K on the Jeddah – Frankfurt leg of my trek.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Mountains/islands

Friday 1st November 2019, 3.15pm (day 2,990)

Mpuntain/islands, 1/11/19

I am speaking at a conference this weekend, so today was my first flight since the EasyJet Iceland debacle back in July. (NeverĀ ever again, EasyJet.) Fortunately all went perfectly today. As to where I flew to — well, you can find that out tomorrow. The flight meant it was my first opportunity in those four months to get shots like this. All of Europe seemed to be covered in cloud today; only these peaks made it up above the grey. I don’t know exactly where this is, somewhere toward the eastern end of the Alps so maybe Austria or Slovenia, but this will have to join the list of locations in which I can’t even identify a country for certain.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Incompetence (not even peaked)

Wednesday 10th July 2019, 11.35am (day 2,876)

iIncompetence, 10/7/19

Our last day in Iceland was supposed to end around, oh, say 9am? And we were due home in Hebden Bridge by 2pm.

As you can see from this, this didn’t happen. In fact, we did not leave the airport until 9.30pm, after a litany of farce that I do not wish to begin to recount. Thus, another two hours after this take-off time was promised to us.

You can’t completely see the flight number to identify the budget carrier who inflicted this joke upon us (with no informational updates); let me just say they wear orange. A shame because otherwise this has been an excellent week in Iceland, if you get to visit it I highly recommend it.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: