Hi everyone,

Well, that was a soggy week, wasn’t it!

Whoever normally puts the weather order in clearly pressed the rain and thunderstorm button by mistake.  It certainly brought some challenging conditions for flying. Lots of fantastic cloud pics, extra fuel for weather delays and re-routing in a ‘road closed’ kind of style,  quite quickly became the norm.

Despite the challenging conditions, I’ve been lucky enough to make fleeting visits to Mallorca, Aberdeen, Hanover, and Glasgow with time off to explore in Venice, Frankfurt, Berlin and Belfast.  So many fabulous destinations in such a short time that I thought I would  let my photographs do the talking this week.

My addiction to travel has been more than satisfied this week with some brilliant crew and plenty of laughter along the way.

As always, please do tell me what you think…

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Departing London Heathrow and tracking south on Saturday involved a ‘double ding’ and a bit of cloud dodging until we reached 39,000ft where we found ourselves  above the majority of the weather. A tasty tailwind then helped us on our way to the sunnier climes of Palma, Mallorca.

Regular flyers are probably already well aware of the ‘double ding’.  It’s something you may hear from time to time on our flights after take off when the weather could cause a bit of a bumpy ride. We do it from the flight deck to let the cabin crew know that it’s now safe to leave their seats in order to carry out duties.

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Mallorca (PMI) is always a welcome stopover.  The 29 degrees was quite the contrast to the continuous downpour that seemed to be creating chaos in the UK. But only a few mins of sunbathing as I did the walk around to check the aircraft for the flight back home to London.

 

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Piove sul bagnato

Despite the sunshine of Mallorca it was still bucketing down in London and we were prepared for more thunderstorms too.  Did you know, statistically, you have a 3,000 – 1 chance of being struck by lightning. Roy Sullivan however, the Unluckiest Man in the world, has been hit 7 times! ⚡️ 7 separate occasions. His job as a park ranger may have contributed to his terrible luck, and what’s more, one time he was actually inside his office. I would certainly want to know if he was on one of my flights in a thunderstorm!

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10 tonnes of fuel loaded and 2 hours later we’re back in Heathrow with the A-team at the ready to re-cater the aircraft. It was now time to head to warmer climates – the city of bridges, Venice.

Venice (VCE) is a place I know little about but with an overnight stop and another trip planed in a couple of weeks, I was keen to get my bearings and figure out the best way to navigate across the city.  It is known as ‘The City of Bridges’ which may have something to do with the 400 that span across the 117 islands.  Venice is slowly sinking at a rate of 1mm a year. I suppose another way of looking at it is the Northern Adriatic is rising at 0.04 inches a year.  Either way its a challenge for the locals who often have to deal with challenging floods in the winter months.  One of the reasons Venice is particularly busy in the summertime.  I was keen to head off the beaten track and so armed with my camera and GoPro I began to quickly lose myself in the enchanted maze of alleyways, a great way to see everything from the Piazza San Marco to magnificent St Mark’s Basilica.

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Of course, I couldn’t resist the canals for long. Any excuse to feel like 007. I pressed a few of the buttons on my Omega watch and a few seconds later I found myself jumping from a bridge into a beautiful Italian speedboat as we were chased by bad guys down the narrow canals tipping up all the tourists whom had taken out a second mortgage to impress their partner with a gondola ride.  Not really, but that’s how it felt as we sped along.

Time to leave came much too soon.  I am certainly looking forward to returning for another sleepover this week.  Ciao until then.

Did you know ciao (pronounced CHOW) originates from the Venetian dialect. The phrase s-ciào vostromeans “I am your slave” – and over time, the phrase was abbreviated to simply s-ciào.

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What does this mean for you, the traveler? It means that if you want to offer a polite greeting to a shop owner, a waiter, or just someone you pass in the street, you’ll need to have an alternative to ciao… Try ‘buongiorno’ or ‘buona sera’ or if your feeling fancy ‘buon pomeriggio’ (good afternoon)

The crew and I made for the airport and found an Airbus 320 with 160 people that wanted to come with us to Heathrow.  We set up the aircraft, ran the checks and taxied out to runway 04R before being cleared for takeoff. The departure took us back over Venice and gave us the most fabulous view of the islands. We continued to climb up to 36,000ft, soared over the Alps and on towards London. Ciao.

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Buon pomeriggio!

The weather was still poor in London but had little impact on us.  After another quick turnaround we were on our way to Frankfurt, the largest airport in Germany.  The city was a contender for German capital after the Second World War. It has the largest inner city forest in the country and is home to two of Europes highest skyscrapers. Arriving late evening meant we only had time for a quick beer before bed. Of all places at a local Irish bar 🍀

It wasn’t my only visit to Germany this week we also travelled to the capital.

Anyone know what this confusing airside sign at Berlin Airport (TXL) means?

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It is PAPA. Parallax Aircraft Parking Aid that indicates when to stop. Best to know what plane you’re in.

I lived in Berlin for a few months in 2013 when I flew for easyJet. One of the coolest capital cities in the world. Dubbed “Europe’s Silicon Valley,” because of the vast start-up community, Berlin has it all: history, art, shopping, food, and bier!!

Top tip: – Über-cool Berlin locals don’t Uber. Download the Mytaxi app to travel like a native. But if you’re happy being a tourist Uber works like a dream.

After arriving at our hotel in the evening I had been recommended a bar named ‘Klo’… which translates to Loo/toilet. After a quick freshen up we met in the hotel lobby and went to the loo!

Not sure what else to say about that…

The following morning I had some time before the flight so head to just south of the Brandenburg gate and the Holocaust memorial with its 2711 concrete slabs.  Built in 1999 I would very much recommend a visit and an opportunity for quiet reflection.

 

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My other trips this week included a quick jaunt to Belfast (BHD).  I knew little about the Harland and Wolff cranes that still dominate the skyline here.  A quick google enlightened me.  Named Samson and Goliath they were constructed in the late 60s and early 70s.  The shipyard was also home to the ill-fated Titanic (built more than half a century earlier) and the White Star line.  Anyone remember the name of the Titantic’s sister ship?

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Samson and Goliath 💪 👊

Quite the week then traversing the skies over Europe.  Returning home to London, I had an old easyJet captain friend staying with me and it was time to explore our own capital city!

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Dancing the night away with the magnificent Beth Rigby.  On a table top.  In a West End cocktail bar.  We had the best time.

 

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Not bad for an all-nighter.  This was taken on Waterloo Bridge at 06:30 after a night of dancing with friends.  It will take me all week to recover.  See you next week.

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