riding the sky...

riding the sky

A few more days of boarding and relaxing at the snow and the holiday was coming to an end. The last day was spent killing time, checking out the parts of the resort we hadn't visited previously and browsing in the village shops. For some crazy reason we decided to check out the top of the Heavenly Valley chairlift, which at the time was closed due to low snow cover on the runs it services. We also didn't have snow gear on and despite my head being covered by The World's Most Expensive Beanie it was undeniably freezing. Still fun, though :)

down the barrel

We left by bus late in the afternoon back to Melbourne, a long trip, but one that seems to go quickly at night. We arrived at Melbourne Airport around 10:30 PM and made our way to a minimalist semi-capsule-hotel nearby, checking in for a brief sleep before dragging luggage back to the airport for our morning departures. We needn't have made it to the airport so early because fog had delayed or cancelled most of the outbound and inbound flights. My original flight (with a connection) departing at 8:15 AM was cancelled and I was moved to a later flight. Similarly my friends' flight was also delayed, however by the time their flight eventually departed I was still stuck in Melbourne, waiting for my new flight to board. It was further delayed and despite assurances from the staff that my connecting flight in Sydney would be held to ensure the connection was made, upon arrival there I was informed that the aircraft was in fact already taxiing.

Why they couldn't wait two minutes is beyond me, but that's the way things go. The airline's plan was to put the 13 people who were supposed to be on the connecting flight on a later flight to Brisbane, then bus them the rest of the way (an extra 4 hour bus trip)! After much venting and complaining some people accepted the offer. I accepted the alternative flight to Brisbane but there was no way I was spending another four hours on a bus, so I immediately left the gate and ran through the airport to get to the ticket office to try to find alternative local airline flights from Brisbane to home.

Luckily I was able to reserve a seat on Sunshine Express (which incidentally no longer flies here, but that's a story for next week), although it was cutting it close: the Sunshine Express flight left only 15 minutes after the flight to Brisbane was scheduled to arrive. Given the delays so far it seemed like a long shot.

So with a possible flight secured and after some more waiting around at Sydney airport - and by this time it was midday when I was originally supposed to be home - it was time to board another flight bound for Brisbane. Before leaving I somehow managed to end up in the middle of an Australian Cricket Team procession, walking alongside some of Australia's greatest cricket players, flanked by security personnel. How bizarre!

A short flight from hell, surrounded by parents with screaming kids, I was in Brisbane and running around another airport again. To cut a very long story short, there was a mix-up with the luggage, but it all worked out OK in the end. Finally I arrived back home late that afternoon. Four airports in one day is just too much.

Things could have been worse; although it was a bit stressful it made for a very interesting day. In the worst case scenario I would have been stuck in Sydney overnight, which in itself would have been fun anyway.

This concludes my catch up posts for New Zealand and Mt Hotham. From now on it will be as-it-happens again! :)