The 2016 trip starts


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We left Canberra on a dull Friday morning on a Murray’s coach for Mascot. The trip was uneventful until it came time collect our luggage. Anna’s carry on was not there. A bag of similar shape and colour was there but this was not hers. I searched the bus’ hold with no luck. The driver eventually amurrays_934rij_ankai_broadbeachnorth_4_8_14told us to ring the company and report it. He then drove off. We were pretty unimpressed with the driver whose interest seemed to be in arriving at Central on time rather than his passengers.

We hoped that another passenger had mistaken Anna’s bag for his and this would explain the other similar bag but what would he do? Would he dump it? Would he take it to lost luggage? Would he ring Murray’s? I rang Murray’s and gave them the details. They said they would keep us posted.

We then went to book in with Qantas. There were two people behind the desk. Despite his advanced age, the man appeared to be in training. He asked a heap of questions about our stay in Europe and verified the visa conditions. He then gave us very good seats. As we had bought through Finnair we could not pre-book. While this was happening Murray’s rang me. Another passenger had Anna’s bag. Murray’s gave me his number and we established contact. Of course he was at the other end of the airport. We me and he gave us the missing bag. He was clearly disappointed when we told him that his was still on the bus. He range me later to tell me that Murray’s had found it and returned it by taxi – at his expense.

Sydney is still being upgraded and services are ordinary. We did find a bar and had a beer and a wine. $21! We then move to the gate. Odd, not much was happening. Sometime later we realised we were an hour early. We have not lost our touch.

We moved across the aisle to a bar. Anna ordered two dry red wines. The girl provided two glasses of sauvignon blanc. When we pointed out her mistake she said “Everyone orders sauvignon blanc”. Thanks but we did not.

a330Our aeroplane was an A330. It was quite new and comfy but I find Airbus seats a bit hard for my liking. Remarkably, the service was excellent. Was this really Qantas? The cabin staff were attentive and responsive. Strangely, there was no scotch but Jamesons was an adequate substitute and it came in generous serves. The food was imaginative but relatively small serves and my slow cooked beef cheek was rather fatty.

We had a short wait in Singapore. Time for a coffee and some water. We then boarded a brand new A350 heading for Helsinki. Unfortunately it was completely full. Anna had her window and I had my aisle seat but we had a guest between us. Still, this is a very roomy plane. The overhead lockers could7ec4293a53eb74765031a2e6bc752e01_213x148c easily swallow a teenager as well as the bags so storage was not an issue, especially as the centre row has only 3 seats.

The Finnair food was excellent and the alcohol ample. Not as generous or wide ranging as Qantas but enough to keep us happy. After a movie or two (I cant remember) I decided I would go to sleep. I took a Normison and was just on the point of drifting off when my neighbour wanted to go to the head. That pretty much destroyed any sleep for the next long while so I watched another movie. I think I got a few hours but it was sporadic.

We arrived in Helsinki around sparrows’. It was grey and overcast and pretty cool. We found a coffee and a salmon sandwich. Yummo. No one does salmon like the Finns. Finally we boarded an A319 for e5a6a1ba56124ed2da6c550fbc752e01_213x148cKrakow arriving around midday. We were collected by our upstairs neighbour, Witek and brought back to our flat.

Witek and Kasha had unpacked all our storage boxes and turned the heaters on so it was just like moving in to home. Still, we managed to go shopping and buy some necessary supplies; wine, scotch and a little food.

Sunday arrived way too early. We were up well before the sun. A few cups of coffee got us sort of going. Our first trip was to the cemetery to visit Anna’s parents’ grave. It is All Saints Day on Tuesday so the grave has to be cleaned and readied. Even though there is still 3 days to go, the cemetery is resplendent in flowers. Mostly chrysanthemums but a few dahlias and holly and lilies too.

Rakowicza Tram stop

Rakowicza Tram stop

We then head to Bonarka Shopping Centre. Wow. TK Maxx is amazing. Prices are about one third of Australia and the range is incredible. It was an effort of will to stop. We passed through Carrefour to buy some wine on our way home.

Rakowicza Tram stop

Rakowicza Tram stop closed




Mondday we visited Galeria Krakowska for coffee after another early rise. We had to wait as it open at 9am. Our tram stop has been completely fenced off. It is near Rakowicka Cemetery and they do this to manage traffic. To get one we had to walk to the next stop. There are an additional dozen services running for the next week to cope with the demand. Galeria was full of Russian speakers. Apparently mostly Ukrainians. We enjoyed a cuppa and then headed to Batowce Cemetery to dress Alnna’s parents grave. We took 5 candle lanterns and bought some chrysanthemums. When we got to the grave we saw that the other family who share the site had been there before us. They had left about 10 lanterns and flowers too.

After our visit we head back to Bonarka for some shopping and lunch. We then came home and I watched Netflix. Interestingly, even though I am logging on to an Australian account, not all the content I had in Canberra is available.