27 March 2018
Really, really early start today. Up at 03h00 for a 03h30 taxi to Heathrow. Woke Mum up as well so that I could hug her before we left. I know that we will miss her but adventure awaits. David is on vacation so Sean collected us bang on 03h30. It was raining when we left and cold but Sean's car was nice and warm and cosy. Surprising amount of traffic on the road as well for that time of the morning. Edward nodded off in the passenger seat and I watched the traffic go by. Once we got onto the M25 the east bound side of the road was just endless numbers of very large trucks all whizzing down the highway. I read somewhere once that the M25 is the busiest highway in the world with something ridiculous like 10 000 cars on it at any one time. Seeing all the trucks I can believe it. We got to LHR at about 05h40, so a little earlier than expected. It was still raining a lot when we got there but luckily I had my nice new raincoat with me. I pulled up the hood and didn't get at all wet.
Once inside Terminal 3 we went in search of the FINNAIR desk which we found tucked behind in a corner. Self check in only with a bag drop. Luckily Edward is good at this so he did it and I stood in the bag drop queue. The very nice Polish ground crew attendant told us that the flight was full and she could check our little hand luggage bag in for free. This was great as it meant that Edward and I only had our backpacks with us. I had even stuffed my handbag and my NEW NIKON D3400 camera into my backpack. It was a bit heavy but manageable.
So there we were at the airport with just over an hour before boarding. I wanted a coffee and Edward wanted breakfast so we went to the Pret-a-Manger. WE got some muesli and a croissant with out coffee. AS it happened this was a good thing. On FINNAIR they don't serve breakfast, you have to buy it! Apparently this is because they think of this as a domestic flight - EU is domestic. :-) When we boarded we had to agree with the Ground Attendant - the flight was full! Not a spare seat at all. I bagged 14A by the window leaving Edward in the middle. He fell asleep and I stared out the window or played on my handy. For most of the flight we were above heavy cloud cover. Once we got to Sweden though the cloud cleared allowing me a good view of the snow and ice covered ground and the many islands in the archipelago. I kept an eye on the in-flight map - something I really like doing - and could identify a Finnish town called Tuuk. The ground was covered in snow and most the the rivers were still frozen but the trees were a bright green and looked full of energy.
We arrived in Helsinki on time at 12h00 and had a 4 hour layover there. We decided not to go through immigration and into the city as we thought we wouldn't have enough time (or money). Instead we had some lunch and did some walking around the airport building. Not a large terminal but nice and modern with free phone charging areas and some loungers where you could put your feet up. They are in the process of building a second terminal and I'm sure that it will be just and nice. Whilst wandering about we had a chat with a Finnish Attendant and she assured us that the next part of the flight would have food service so we didn't have to stock for the 9.30 hours leg of the journey. I was pleased about that as after a very short time any padkos starts to go soft and mushy....... Finally it was time to board. Ground staff was challenged with an out of service computer and had to check us all through by hand. Then we boarded a bus for a very long drive out to the Airbus A380 that we were flying on. Once again the flight was completely full!! We only worked it out once we got to Hong Kong - EASTER WEEK-END TRAFFIC!! The flight attendants were all Asian - Chinese, Filipino and Japanese - and all of them live in Hong Kong. I found the temperature of the flight very warm and at one point I thought I might melt. Edward accompanied my to the back where I took my shirt off and stood in my Cami under an air vent drinking cold water. The flying time is 9 hours and 35 minutes and as it is an overnight flight they served supper and breakfast. Due to all the computer problems we left Helsinki about an hour late. The flight crew managed to make up lots of time and we landed just 15 minutes late.
Absolutely no trouble getting through immigration in Hong Kong. They don't actually stamp your passport though, just give you a computer generated slip and tell you to keep it in your passport.
HELLO HONG KONG!!