Hey my boozy friends, today my article will be slightly different. I wasn’t planning on blogging about my UK trip, however, after receiving so many personal requests from both family and friends. So here we are… I will share my experiences, food, booze and everything along with it. I may even share a few homemade versions of some of the food we enjoyed. 🙂 Right are you ready, because I am!
UK Trip: The BIG Build Up!
How can you start your story without starting at the beginning, today you will read about my first ever proper experience flying, evidently flying in a Virgin Atlantic airplane is almost poetic for a first time flyer.
This is all the boring bits but it will get better I promise! I will also try to keep it short and sweet. So here goes…
Personally, I can’t believe it was almost a year ago when I had my ticket booked. So about the 26th of November, I had such a lovely dream about visiting my dear friend in the UK. You know that feeling like why was it only a dream? It felt so real. I mentioned to hubby about my dream, and how much I miss my friendy. He asked me would you like to go and see your family and friends? I said I would love to… He proceeded to to say: “contact your sister (who by the way… works for flight centre) and find out what will the cost implications be?”
I then immediately proceeded to WhatsApp my sister: “hey you… could you see what flights are available and what is the best deal you can get me to the UK please?”
About three days later – she phones! (firstly, my sister, SHE NEVER phones! 😂) Super excited she tells me: “Abby – Oh my soul, Virgin Atlantic has a special for a limited time only. I can book you a return ticket right now – direct (Heathrow) for only R7900!!!! This is a flipping amazing deal and you will not get anything better. If you want to book you must book NOW!!! I said with a deep breath… and a “Yes!! Let’s Do This!!!”
Ticket booked! Flight date: 29th of July 2019!! I promise you, the time flew by so quickly – not once did I actually think: ” aaah man this is taking forever!” In fact every time when I thought about it – I panicked. So much to do and so little time!!!
Never been overseas! Never flew in a proper plane. Heck, I didn’t even have a passport, never mind about still applying for the Visa… my nerves was shattered. The closest I have been to overseas was Robben Island!! Flip I have never even been JHB! 😲😲
Fast Forwarding Eight Months: My Trip to the UK Arrives!
Fast forwarding the boring bits of Passport and Visa Applications, money exchanging, itinerary planning and packing. Oh – perhaps I should share my packing tip.
Packing Tip: 101!!
So I had no idea in how I was to pack. Received the best advise ever… Should you pack say 20kg you only have 2kgs to come home with. I definitely wanted to come home with stuff! So how am I to pack everything for 2.5 weeks?
In the end, I a found YouTube video of a Pilot, giving a few tips in what to pack and how to pack. He basically said pack everything that you plan to take with and spread it out. … right… now minus 2/3!!!! He mentioned that we, especially us ladies – we pack far more than what is needed.
So true! I am guilty !! We tend to pack far more than what is necessary. Both my aunt and my friend has washing machines, I could always just have my clothes washed. In the end I was 16KG minus 4 KGs for gifts. I can come home with an extra 10 kgs!! Whooohooooo and that is exactly what I did! The clothes I packed was actually just the right amount. Shoes, I only packed in 4 pairs!! I was super impressed with myself.
You know what – it worked perfectly. Coming home my entire luggage could fit into my hand luggage, leaving my suitcase with all my souvenirs and gifts. Do you see what I did there!! 😀
So My Journey Begins… Thanks to Virgin Atlantic!
Ok, so I have flown before, but hubby says whatever I flew in… It can’t count. 🤣🤣 I took a flight to Port Elizabeth in a sixty seater plane, with a two propellers. Promise you, I never prayed so much in my life, I honestly thought we were going to die. The entire time all I can see is the propellers coming off slicing the plane in half. Or an engine catching on fire…. I guess I watch too many movies. Anyhow know fully understand why Fallie (my ex-colleague) hated me booking him on those flights. I fully agree with him!!! It is horrendous!!
Firstly I cannot begin to describe on how I felt when I arrived at Cape Town International Airport – mixture of both sad and excited. Sad because I was leaving hubby behind, but super excited as a new adventure was about to begin.
The flight to OR Tambo was amazing!!! My sister hooked me up with a window seat. I LOVE TAKE-OFF – it doesn’t feel like we are doomed to a horrible death!!
The best was when I left Cape Town, it was cold, raining and cloudy but breaking through and flying above the clouds was absolutely spectacular!!
I don’t think I will see a sunset like this anytime soon again. Being so high up and seeing the sunset from another angle, it felt so surreal. I was worried any moment I was to be awaken and it was all a dream.
OR Tambo International Airport!
Gee! OR Thambo is HUGE!!!! I hated every moment! I really didn’t like OR Tambo. Cape Town airport has such a lekker vibe and feeling. It feels like home, it feels welcoming, warm and friendly. OR Tambo, cold, impersonal, unfriendly – just horrible. Was glad, I didn’t had to spend too much time there! It really isn’t pleasant. JHB can definitely learn a thing or two from Cape Town Airport.
Flight: Virgin Atlantic VS 462
If you ever need to fly to England – I highly recommend flying Virgin Atlantic. The cabin feels like you are stepping into some exclusive lounge.
I have been told Virgin Atlantic has more leg room than other airlines. You also sit in rows of three where other airlines is rows of four. The service received by Virgin Atlantic is absolutely fantastic. The air hostesses are really friendly and helpful.
Love the leg room space you have. I normally suffer from restless legs and was very concerned I was going to have to endure a 10 hour flight with ants crawling up my legs. Thankfully that never happened.
Leg room 👌🏼👌🏼👌🏼… until the stupid passenger in the seat in front of me totally collapse her seat right down onto my knee!! 😡😡 No warning, no asking, no indication – nothing…. nada – just boom. I might be sounding old, but this generation has no respect or manners. Too busy being consumed on their phones they forget basic etiquette. Just ask the person behind you if you can put your seat fully down. They might be sitting in a position where they can get hurt if the seat just comes down, or their food try might be down. Just have a little common courtesy.
Anyway… wasn’t going to let this ruin my flight. Moving on… Lets see, to drink – had some Spanish wine (3 Suns), some whiskey and then some really really good SA Wine. (snuck in straight from first class, I am even sure the glass was a Riedel) It helps when there are only 138 passengers on board.
The meal on Virgin Atlantic was quite tasty. I had a beef potjie with mash and peas. This is basically a foreshadow of what was to come while being in the UK. PEAS! PEAS! PEAS and more Peas!!
Oh my freaking soul, at the end of my two and a half week trip, I neither wanted to see, smell or eat: PEAS, mash, hashbrowns and/or bake beans for the rest of my life. I swear the Brits think the only green vegetable are PEAS. WELL Guess what guys… IT IS NOT!!!!!
Flip you get peas served with almost everything, from Fish and Chips, Burgers, Steaks, Pies and who knows what else you may eat for supper or lunch. Be sure, you will have mash and peas on the side!! 🤢🤢🤢
Departing OR Tambo at about 10pm – didn’t get to see much as we flew over Africa as it was pretty much dark below us. However woke up to one of the most spectacular sunrises ever!
Flying over Africa and France! 😍
To think this will be my last African sunrise for the next two and half weeks.
Pictures Above: I know you can’t see much, however this is taken while flying over the Atlas Mountain Range. For those who don’t know the Atlas mountains is Africa’s Highest Mountain Range. It stretches around 2,500 km through Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. It was amazing to see it.
I was sorely disappointed, as we went over the Mediterranean sea, it was all covered with clouds.
Flying over France was amazing! The landscape is just so different. It reminds me of some form of patchwork.
I totally love how you can have a look to see where exactly in the world you are! Just think… somewhere in the distance below is one of the most famous wine regions in the world!! Bordeaux… So close, yet so far!! Sigh!!
The Virgin Atlantic V62 made excellent time. We arrived at London Heathrow an entire hour ahead of schedule! We were supposed to arrive in 08H00 (UK TIME), instead we arrived at 07H00 (UK TIME)
Looking at the photo below it is no surprise why. The plane reached a speed of 980km/h. We traveled at a height of 12,000 = 40, 000 feet. That is crazy!!!!
Down below is Paris!
and then we start to say good bye to France as we approach and cross the English Channel
And then we say Hello England with a gorgeous view of the White Cliffs of Dover!!! What a magnificent sight. You can immediately see it from the air .
And a few more images of England Below! How different the landscape is compared to France?
and finally Windsor Castle…. I had no idea that within 2 hours I would be walking there.
Oh heck! We have run out of time, so you will have to stay tuned for my UK Trip Part II – Windsor Castle 🙂
See you next time – Chow Chow!