Published: May 24th 2011May 24th 2011
Friday night and Saturday 22nd
We made our way to Changi Airport in a very rickety Toyota Crown taxi that sort of squirmed sideways when the driver tried to move off from standing and it certainly did not appreciate the 2 heavy suitcases and 2 carry-ons in the boot. It was very disconcerting to think that the driver was quite happy to be hurtling down the freeway in peak hour traffic at 110 kph seemingly without a worry in the world (we made up for that!). We were there at 6.00pm for our flight at (scheduled)11.30 pm, and of course you know it didn’t leave on time.
With such a start to the next part of our journey we should have known that things would only go down from there… No upgrade!!! No understanding of the medical requirements (Marg’s Cpap) and although very polite no real concern for our distress and disappointment. Frankly the Qantas Frequent Flyer upgrade process sucks in the extreme. So much so that M is seriously considering cancelling our return ticket with them and rebooking with an airline that cares. M asked if it would be possible to have a spare seat between us so that she
could put her machine on the seat (the only other option is to have it on the pull down table) but they said the aircraft was full. However once we were on board and aware that we had a third person in our set, we found that from where we were sitting, as far as we could see to the back of the plane, every set behind us only had 2 to the set of 3! Qantas, you suck! Enough of the rant – for the time being…
We were woken at 4.00 am (local German time) for breakfast, and disembarked at around 6.15 am which is way too early for Frankfurters. Marg nearly got into a blue with the local immigration man after Geoff, after reading a sign that very clearly indicated Euro citizens to the right and others to the left, advised that it would be fine to go to the booth on the left that had a Euro citizen sign above it. Not so it would seem, but the officer saw that he had met his match with M and after looking at the queue behind her let her go through. Wise man… So it was still
bloody early and our onward flight to Athens was not until 2.10pm and after checking in for our next flight and storing the carry-ons, we decided to head into Frankfurt by train to have a look around.
Frankfurt was just starting to come awake and found a little patisserie and had a coffee and some nice cakes. Heading off from the station in the centre of town, we walked very slowly down an area that had been turned into a mall and explored the shops. There was a Farmers Market at the end of the mall and we had a look around to see what the Frankfurters have to choose from. Although there were many stalls, the range was quite repetitive – bratwurst sausages, fruit & veg, fresh meat and craft items such as knitwear and jewellery. For those who find these things interesting, very nice strawberries were €3.00/500gm and green asparagus was markedly dearer that white asparagus – and that came in several grades. We walked back to the station and got a timetable and info for the trains and then expanded our circle of exploration.
To put things in context, Frankfurt terminal covers the same area as a
small cattle station in FNQ (Far North Queensland for those with smutty minds) and when we returned from our sojourn into Frankfurt we could not find the luggage storage place and went from one side of the terminal and up and down (round and round as well). Eventually we did locate it and Marg was starting to think we were going to miss our flight as we still had to go through customs. Geoff directed us to terminal C (about 60 gates) and we lined up for immigration only to be told that our plane left from terminal A at the other end of the earth. That was at least a half kilometre away. When we got to customs there was a very large queue – hundreds in fact. We crawled along the line inch by inch and then – stop, nothing happening. The morning shift had gone off and the next shift didn’t appear for about half an hour. People in the queue were getting restless to say the least – there was much muttering going on. A few gates were finally opened and we eventually got through. Our plane was boarding in 10 minutes time from gate 32 which was at least 3 kilometres (or it felt like that) down the terminal finger: in fact the crew do not have to walk there, they have a crew bus. We got there all hot and sweaty and Marg gulped down a half litre of water in an instant. We sat for a few minutes – the plane should already have been boarding- and Marg thought she would go for a last minute pee and was horrified to see, as she passed the boarding gate, that it said HELSINKI. She rushed to the desk and showed our boarding pass which clearly said 32 and the clerk said it had been changed and was now leaving from gate 28. Thank heavens we didn’t have to retrace our steps very far as we certainly would have missed the plane. Most of the passengers had already boarded and there were only a few to get on after us. Just before take-off one of the stewards was asking for two people who did not show, but had luggage on the plane. We were advised that there would be a short delay as their luggage was removed. Geoff and I knew where they were – sitting in the departure gate for Helsinki!