Iceland was the last bit of Europe before I headed back home via Australia. The plan fell apart as soon as I stopped overnight in London before my flight the next morning… which bloody BA cancelled. I always make a point out of avoiding British Airways like the plague, but I figured one flight out of London City can't be too hard for them to manage. Nope… in fact they still don't actually seem to know why they cancelled the flight, so I'm guessing some idiot just pressed the wrong button.
This was bad, since it meant there was no way I could make any of the connecting flights that took me to Australia – there were no other flights out of London that would get me there in time. Even worse, the next flights out of London to Frankfurt would not only get me there too late to take my connecting flight, but there were no seats available in economy class for the next three days – by which time I would have well and truly missed all the booked and paid for travel with my girlfriend and partner in Australia.
So after 3.5 hours sleep, and a very kind travel agent in NZ who stayed at the office late to help me out as soon as the British Airways phones opened (until they did I couldn't confirm anything about whether I could get another flight), I had a new set of bookings with a completely different airline (fingers crossed for travel insurance) going through Dubai (not my favorite place but hey).
So I had another 3.5 hour sleep there – on paper there was a 9 hour stopover, but then the plane has to get to the terminal, and then you have to spend 1.5h in the enormous queues inside the airport just to get to the hotel, which (inexplicably since it's run specifically for the airline's international transit passengers) is not airside – so you have to go through customs and passport control – I was back on a plane to Sydney.
So I arrived in Sydney a bit exhausted, on a bleary Saturday morning. Met up with some friends, met some new friends, put on antique shirts, went for drinks.
Oh, and did the washing. It turns out that that muck that I waded through in Iceland WILL NOT COME OUT. Poor Pen's flatmates were accosted by my dirty washing in their facilities – still awful after I had put it through the industrial solvents at the laundrette round the corner.
Later that day my partner flew in and we picked up the hire car and hit the road up to the Hunter Valley for some winery R&R. On the way back we came through Yengo National Park, and saw a wombat – poor bugger had been attacked and was wounded, though he was staunchly bearing it and eating grass.
After that Sarah and I had a couple of days in Sydney to catch up with one another (and my jetlag) before we headed in to the centre of the country, which we spent having a look around and seeing friends.
We made a afternoon trip out to Cockatoo Island in Sydney's harbour. Sadly the delays getting to Sydney meant I missed the Biennale stuff there which looked cool, but I was still interested in going out there having read about the place on bldgblog. It has a very random history having been thoroughly adapted and repurposed over its life – everything from an “Industrial School for Girls” to the shipyard and military facility whose remnants now line and cover the island.
Interesting place – next time I think I would grab the audio tour as there is a lot of odd old stuff built into it.