Michael Smith

Joined May 2016
  • Day35

    Home again

    June 30, 2016 in Australia

    Well back in Sydney....not unhappy to be out of Hong Kong. The best thing to come out of there was the Cathay Pacific flight CX111 with us on it. When we got into Sydney the lines to get out of the airport through customs were so long and there was a multitude of people of a certain race who thought they had the right to push in.......well I spat the dummy and told one lot to get to the back of the line like we all did. Not like me but quite a few people there agreed with me and were really annoyed. However the Europe experience far exceeded our expectations. I don't think either of us will forget it.Read more

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  • Day32

    Hong Kong

    June 27, 2016 in Hong Kong

    Well there I was armed with medication.....enough to knock out a bull elephant so I could enjoy a restful night flight from London to Hong Kong. I sat beside a woman who after sharing 12 hours of torture with I have diagnosed with ADHD/JKLM and a touch of XYZ. Things started out OK but deteriorated rapidly as night approached. At first she watched about 2 hours of Blackadder without incident. Then the fun began.....she kept moving her legs around as though she were suffering with Restless Leg Syndrome. Kicking me every second time seemingly oblivious to the contact. She even had her leg contorted so that her foot was on the seat in front of her at about shoulder height. Blackadder finished and she began pressing the screen using every available touchscreen button starting and restarting shows before they got past the preview stage. She even tried swiping the screen on no less than 100 times even though it obviously doesn't respond to this gesture. Then she continually hit the button on the screen that summoned assistance from airline staff on no less than 4 occasions. This caused staff to respond to her summons on each time to turn off the button on the screen. On one of these occasions she actually asked for a drink and was given 2 plastic cups pf apple juice. She sat one on the partly opened folding table in front of her this she managed to spill allover her crotch area and the seat. Another staff attendance was required to bring towels.
    By this time I was fairly sure I was not going to get any sleep even with the aid of phenergan and in actual fact if I took the phenergan and didn't sleep I would be like the walking dead the next morning. So I decided to forego the drugs and battle it out. She was now in a semi catatonic state continually swiping the screen and starting and restarting shows. Then she would sit forward quickly and headbutt the seat in front causing and a noise to escape from her followed by some vigorous rubbing of the injured area. Now she was getting really tired and agitated and would turn off the screen only to lean forward touching the screen again with her head turning the screen back on and starting the whole swiping and button pushing process again until she stumbled on to the shut down icon again. The process would the be repeated again and again and again! !!!
    I was fairly convinced that there was a significant mental deficiency at play here so I had some degree of sympathy but this was rapidly waining with my increasing level of exhaustion.
    About 2 hours prior to landing she finally went to sleep. It was too late for me. And about 1 hour into her sleep the crew turned the lights on to begin serving breakfast so that finished any opportunity for even a power nap.
    We landed and went through the airport without any further grief catching a taxi to our hotel. The taxi let us off at what we thought was out hotel but after attempting to check in we found that our hotel was somewhere up the road. It was about 38 degrees and about 85% humidity as we dragged our suitcases about 1.5klms to our hotel. The sweat was rolling off us. Not a good start. We checked in and went to our room. When we walked in we were immediately hit with a musty smell which obviously eminated from the mould and mildew on the walls and ceiling. The bed was firm enough to qualify as a plank. We both confided that we were not happy to sleep in this room, which paid $260AU per night for so I went to tell the manager our feelings. He said I will give you another room and sent a young man up with us to another room. As soon as we walked in the same smell assailed our senses. We went back down and informed the manager who said I will find you another room just sit down over there. We waited for about 4 minutes while he was on the phone organising a room at what I thought was another hotel. Alas it was not, it was another room same hotel. The same you man accompanied us up to inspect the room. Strangely when we walked in the power already had been turned on with the air conditioning going. The room didn't smell as bad at first so we decided it would be acceptable to sleep there. Then my wife opened the bathroom which had not been getting the benefit of the airconditioning and the musty smell was again apparent. The time taken had been to arrange the room to have the airconditioning turned on by a cleaner to clear the smell prior to letting us inspect it. The manager again said let me get another room but this time I had exhausted my patience and informed him that we would not be staying in his hotel. I was giventhe $HK 5000 deposit I had paid on arrival but he refused to pay the fee we had paid via our travel agent in Australia saying that would be lost. I will take that up with the travel agent when we get home but in any case we could not have stayed in that hotel. We stood out the front of the hotel and I was looking for hotels on my phone which was connected to the hotel's WiFi but one of the staff came to the door to see what we were doing and suddenly the WiFi was disconnected. So after 2 taxis we finally found The Luxe Manor in Kowloon and what a difference!!!!! We were give a beautiful room, provided with a mobile phone for our personal use while in Hong Kong even international calls at no cost to us. We went out for a walk the next morning and returned to a freshly made up room. We relaxed for a while and laid on the bed while enjoying the airconditioning. Later we went out again in the afternoon and when we returned the bed had been made up again. We couldn't believe it. This hotel certainly salvaged the stay in Hong Kong.
    But wait there's more!!!! Going through immigration at Hong Kong airport I was asked to move to the side as a supervisor took my passport away to some other higher officer to discuss I don't know what. Had to stand there in front of the rest of the line of passengers looking like the latest drug bust for Asia! Eventually my passport was returned with the only explanation being.....sorry sir just some record checks.
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  • Day31

    Exit London

    June 26, 2016 in the United Kingdom

    Well it's over and we are sitting at Heathrow waiting to board our flight to Hong Kong. This trip has been an absolute blast. It was full on with early mornings and late nights but how else do you see as many wonderful places in Europe. If I never travel again at least I have the memories of Europe. With 42 people on a coach there are a lot of personalities but amazingly we all got on really well. Those who had personality clashes stayed away from each other. We are on our own again and it seems strange. I think that although we were only together for a month but you get very fond of each other as travelling companions and it sad to part.Read more

  • Day29

    Amsterdam

    June 24, 2016 in the Netherlands

    Arrived in Amsterdam around lunch time. Had a beautiful cruise around the canals. Then a street tour. It has a nice feel to it people everywhere. Had our last dinner together tonight. Will head off to Brussels in the morning to catch the Euros tar to London.
    Well the tour is all but over. Just getting good ready to head back to London then on to Hong Kong tomorrow.

  • Day28

    Germany

    June 23, 2016 in Germany

    Travelled through part of France and into Germany. Lots of old buildings and vineyards. Lush and green as there has been a lot of rain. Went for a short river cruise on the Reine river. Lots of photos of old German castles. Arrived at Cologne at 6.45pm dinner at 7.15.

  • Day26

    Switzerand

    June 21, 2016 in Switzerland

    Travelled from Austria to Liechtenstein then on to Switzerland. Wonderful scenery again but rain stopped a lot of photo opportunities. Started the day with a cruise on the lake in Lucurne in beautiful clear skies. Lots of great photos. Then Went on a trip to the top of Mount Titlis 10000 ft high snow capped and incredible views in every direction. Beautiful clear day sunny skies and blue sky. Another experience for the memories.Read more

  • Day23

    Austria

    June 18, 2016 in Austria

    Making our way through the beautiful countryside of Austria. Again unable to adequately describe how amazing this country is. Stopped at Felden and got a bonus there was a car show on and the town was full of Lamborghinis Ferrari and other fantastic cars. A long day in the bus but made worth it by all the wonderful scenery. Arrived in Vienna at 7.30pm and had a really nice dinner. Pretty tired. The hotel is really nice. Went on a walking tour this morning. Lovely city....very quiet not a lot of shops open on Sundays apparently. Went to Shonbrunn Palace this afternoon. Love the history of the place. Having a quiet one tonight on the road again tomorrow. Had dinner with the girls from Melbourne... great time then back to the room. Travelled to Solzburg today and had a walking tour. The birthplace of Mozart. Unbelievable history and scenery. We then moved on to Innsbruck where we are staying out of the city and up in the mountains in a beautiful little village of about 2000 population.Read more

  • Day22

    Venice

    June 17, 2016 in Italy

    We went to Venice last night for dinner and it was flooded the water was mid calf height in some places. But we soldiered on taking our shoes and socks off and wading through to the restaurant. Some restaurants were flooded with people sitting with their feet in the water eating as if nothing was wrong. Our restaurant wasn't flooded but when we finished dinner we had to make our way back it was worse. The whole of St Marks square was under water with people everywhere laughing and taking photos. What an experience that was the highest the water has been for yonks according to our guide. Had a great day there today. Went for a gondola ride through the canals really enjoyed it. Then strolled around the shops so busy people everywhere. Then this afternoon we went on a cruise around the islands and stopped at Murano. Beautiful little place. No cars and shops everywhere that depend on the tourist trade. The houses are semi detached and are painted all different colours. Really different.Read more

  • Day20

    San Marino

    June 15, 2016 in San Marino

    Back in Italy arrived at 5.30pm. Have both slept on and off for a day and a night. Had an early night on the ferry and slept all night and on and off through the day. Arrived at San Marino at 8pm. What an absolutely amazing little country. The hotel was in a medieval town /castle perched on a clifftop with views you dream about. Would be one of my favourites of the tour so far. This seems to happen every second day.Read more

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