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Published: June 26th 2017
Geo: 51.4855, -0.470391
time check: 1830 Friday 4th Sept
Well we are back at my favourite place!!!!!......"the temple of travel".......London Heathrow......we are nestled in Room 249 of The Aurora Hotel Bath Road. This is a really good room.....it is billed as a 4 star Hotel but The Aurora is really a Premier Inn on "steroids" but at £69 per night this is cracking value. We have a sneaky view of Runway 27R....and can just make out a TAM (Brazilian) Boeing 777 parked outside T3. My travel juices are already flowing and the prospect of a slap up Gourmet Burger await.
MISSION: Dinner: Bed by 2100......alarm set for 0330hrs!. Our Turkish Airlines flight departs T2 at 0655.....cab from hotel to T2 0445hrs......!!!!
We are making for Baku in Azerbaijan via Istanbul. An early start followed by a total time in the air of about 6hrs 30 mins. This is the rendezvous point for a overland journey from the Caspian to the Black Sea......a "Group Tour"......
0330: Both alarms set on my IPad and phone "fleep" simultaneously off at 0325. To be frank I have been awake since about 0245! Sleep on such travel days is always spasmodic....glancing at my watch every 10 minutes.
The Kettle is soon
fizzing. An arm appears from the bathroom....is this shampoo or body lotion?....BBC World on in the background.....its time to break open a new pack of M & S Manly Slips....Cathy proudly tries on her "dual world time watch"....!.....no cunning hands that change automatically.....no sneaky digital sensor......BUT YES A TECHNO MARVEL this one....two watch faces....
0409: Nearly ready for the off...I survey the room for vital travel equipment not to be left behind....a lone fig sits on the side table....ready for international travel......probably it's second flight in the last 10 days... we have named him Figaro...
Well here we are sitting in Seat 14a and b on the Turkish Airlines flight to Istanbul (Constantinople in old money). Clearly an airline designed for undernourished midgets who have been on hunger strike for 6 months. My "window" seat is cunningly positioned by a bulkhead partition. If I crane my neck I glimpse a grey expanse of wing.......I can also touch the seat back in front with my nose!
So far this morning we have "checked in" using a the new fangled "print you own luggage label system". This in combination with "knitting" my own boarding pass yesterday has saved a huge amount of admin for the
airline......all good stuff.... BUT you still have to queue up at bag drop.....and hand over your sticker and passport. It's hugely slower!!!! Baffled staff "faff" about with the new equipment whilst very foreign looking travellers (in family groups of 10) push overladen trolleys in front of us!! They seem to have a different baggage allowance. We nervously look at our suitcases weighing about 20kg.....these people are checking in fridge freezers, sofa beds and lawn mowers.
More fun and games as we confidently head for passport control only to find we are in the customs section.
REMEMBER! No liquids or gels......punishable by instant death! "Sorry Mr Nice Security Man..Sir" squeaks Cathy as the 10th bottle of hand-cream is removed from her pack.....
We were looking forwards to freshly squeezed orange juice and eggs benedict overlooking the runway but because of the hold ups I only manage to "inhale" a cheese and ham sandwich before boarding....its 0615.
This is a good airline! Despite tiny seats there is a slap up Turkish Breakfast and an excellent in flight entertainment system in our seat backs. I settle in and listen to the latest Turkish beat.....Bosphorous Nights by DJ Suat Atesdagli..........
1400: Istanbul Airport waiting for transfer flight to
Baku.....more to follow. We have already bumped into two of our fellow group members.....this will be an interesting trip!
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