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14th March 2015

Here we go again. The countdown clock is close to zero and today we head off to Brussels via Abu Dhabi.

Firstly our very best wishes to my sister Cath. She is unwell, we saw her yesterday and it was sad sayng goodbye. We will see her in 4 weeks, I hope she follows our travels as we will be thinking of her. Best wishes to her hubbie Chris who is doing all he can to make Cath as comfortable as possible. 

Our bags are packed and we are ready to go. The house is as spik and and span as it has been for years. Scott and Shannon will be here till Thursday and then they head to the USA. We have a lovely lady coming to house sit the soon to be 14 year old Hunter, our beloved Jack Russell. I hope she is happy for him to follow here around all day, sleep on the bed, etc.

So for those you who are interested, and I am surprised at how many there are, I will try and entertain you for the next few weeks as we travel around Europe. Needless to say there is many millions of things to see and do in Europe but we have a specific plan and are happy enough with that.

The forecast is for 8C in Brussels on Sunday then up into the mid teens next week, nice. Of course having survived another long and hot summer here in Perth, we leave just as there is a rain and the potential for storms that should make for an interesting take off.

The Flight

Our Etihad A330 prior to departure.
Our Etihad A330 prior to departure.

Scott and Shannon got us to the airport around 1:40pm. We found it was better to line up in the Etihad line and not the Emirates line. Check in was pretty quick, immigration and security a breeze. Perth Airport is under major redevelopment but not too bad for comfort.

Etihad boarded nice and early. At least 50 minutes before scheduled departure. We backed our around 2 minutes early and all good. Smooth take off and headed west. They have Internet access on the flight so it is nice to be able to communicate.

At 9:15pm we are approaching half. Due to Cyclone Olwyn we are are travelling much further south than the usual track this flight takes, normally fly over very bottom of Sri Lanka and India.

Approaching half way.
The blue dot is us,


We started decent at around 1:35am, we will be landing at around 2:15am Sunday Perth time. Good flight, service was Fine. Just a little warm for me although Rayls and Ryan were both rugged up.

Abu Dhabi

We landed around 22 minutes early but there was a long time taxiing. You would think they would put the runway somewhere near the airport.

It was dark when we landed so didn't really see much. There is a lot of construction going on and we had to be bussed to the terminal. Nice modern terminal, lots of foreigners Here.

The terminal has a nice dome roof with blue and white mosaic tiles. 

So so we are sitting under the dome waiting....... Is this all worth it?

My Belgian friends tells me it us cold there. I don't mind that. 

Abu Dhabi to Brussels

Flight path over Persian Gulf
Flight path over Persian Gulf

The boarding system at Abu Dhabi is pretty bad. You go down through security into a holding area. There are two gates, gate 3 was for a AirSeychelles flight to the Seychelles which left a half hour before we did. 

I watched he'd the guy monitoring the bags through the X-ray machine. He was talking and paying very little attention to what was coming through. Many bags came through without monitoring whilst I was watching. 

After boarding we we were all very tired and fell asleep, I was only vaguely aware of taking off. 

Now we are flying over the Persian Gulf. My dozing has cost me the light meal they served. Bummer, now I have to wait till brekkie. This flight is just 6 hours and 45 minutes, short when you come from Perth and want to go somewhere other than Bali.

Later now, about 11:30am Sunday Perth time -somewhere over Romania after crossing the Black Sea. All good, they are serving brekkie and we are just a couple of hours from Brussels.

Around noon we will cross into Hungary, then Slovakia and the Czech Republic - looks like we will fly right over Prague. Then across Germany towards Brussels. Still dark outside, must be around 5am.


We landed in Brussels around 6:45am. Immigration was a breeze and baggage was quick and it was 7:30aM when we arrived at the rental car counter. We ended up with a Peugeot 308 Diesel wagon. Fits our luggage so all good.we had told our friend Viviane we would be at her house around 10am. We were very early so we went to a Maccas to kill time. No luck, the Maccas didn't open till 11. 

Viviane lives half way between Brussels and Antwerp. Lovely unit with a great view of a park. Her husband is unwell and in hospital. I met Viviane through my Scott McKenzie web site, she visited us in 1998. We had a pleasant visit with her and had a nice early lunch.

Around 11am we headed for the Netherlands and my mothers home town of Hilversum. We were early for check in at our unit so visited my grandparents grave in the Hilversum cemetery. Last week  Ryan and I watched a video of my father and I visiting the cemetery back in 1987 so we knew exactly how to find the graves. We walked straight to the spot but alas the graves are no longer there. I gather the cost of upkeep was not maintained and therefore the graves removed.

We then went to the house where my parents lived during WWII. We had an interesting time there.

At 2pm we arrived at the unit we had rented through Nice unit in the middle of Hilversum. Settled in and went for a wander, quite cold and overcast. The centre of Hilversum is closed to traffic, just pedestrians and bikes allowed. It was very quiet, nothing much open and nobody around. No restaurants open so we settled for Maccas.

We arrived back at the unit around 5:30 pm. I lay on the bed whilst Rayls had a shower, next thing I knew it was 1am. Long day. Good to be in Holland.