Jan 1 – Home!

Sue commented that Cathay do all things well, legroom, entertainment system which was very true, but come 1:00 AM sleep time, and we found one thing that they don’t seem to do so well. The chair back doesn’t recline! The base slips forward, when you press the button to recline. When doing this Sean thought “Wow, they even slide the base forward to give you a more horizontal sleep. But why isn’t the back reclining?”

Stupid design idea! Sue and Sean got somewhere between one and two hours sleep, and the kids flipped and flopped trying to get comfortable.

We arrived in Sydney around 9:30 local time, and picked up the increased number of suitcases that we left with, and headed to the domestic transfer area.

We were tired, ready for a shower, but glad to be almost home. We grabbed our last flight at 12:00 to Brisbane, and we were home around 1:30 to be greeted by Julie, Chelsea and Charlie.

We had a great trip away, and would recommend it to all. It was certainly a different Christmas for us, and it was great to spend so much time together. It was a strange by product of traveling, that by getting away from home, and all of the little distractions that go with it, that you get far more time to talk and interact with each other.

Many thanks to all the well wishes via email, comments, facebook, twitter, etc.

Cheers from the Kelly Gang.

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Dec 31 – Hong Kong day 2

Another slow start, and our last pack of the trip. Yeah!

View outside our hotel

We headed to multiple shopping regions in Kowloon area, where Sue got into full swing with the haggling. She was physically dragged back to a few stores when she said no, and walked away. Yet another bag as purchased to fit more in… At a shopping mall in Mong Kok, Tegan was asked to pose with a random girl, whilst I took a photo of the pair with her camera. I need to grab a picture of this as well.

Random and Tegan in Mong Kok

We finished up shopping and headed back to get our bags and head to the airport. Ryan and Tegan picked up a pretty cool name stamp, carved into a small stone stamp, just near our hotel.

We headed to the airport (in separate cabs, as they couldn’t fit us and the luggage in one). We were told at checkin, that we can attend the Cathay lounge due to Sean’s Qantas FF points level. Now we haven’t had a good run at this on this trip, as Qantas are good with the children, and let them in. Every other leg of our flight where it wasn’t Qantas have said, Sean + 1 guest and the kids count as a guest, o sorry. In the end we didn’t bother at some airports. We headed to the lounge area, with Sean getting a little excited thinking this cold work out, and as he had been in this particular lounge before was raving about the Noodle Bar, where fresh bowls of noodles are made for you, and that we all must have the peanut noodles.

We got the the lounge entrance and were met with, sorry kids count as guests. “Dang!” He then said, let me ask my manager. After hanging up, he said that as this was the last day of the year, they would make an exception.

It was a great way to finish our trip. We are sat at the long bar, and chatted to the bartender whilst watching the planes, sipping our drinks, and eating our Bang Bang Noodles. Our flight was called to get us back into Australia.

Sammy the bartender took this
Sue is ready for home

Dec 30 – Hong Kong day 1

We woke to drizzling rain, and we were pretty beat, so we had a lay in, and a slow start to the day. Ryan and Sean watched Terminator Salvation, whilst the girls watched Bolt.

Streets outside our hotel

Sue needed to shop so out we headed. We decided to explore some of the shopping / market streets near our hotel.  We checked out the antiques area, and there were some beautiful stone carvings, which Sean loved, not only for their beauty, but also the fact that Sue couldn’t purchase them, due to their weight.  The first place where Sue made a purchase, the shop keeper must have thought his Christmases had come at once, as Sue was happy to pay list price.  I think he felt bad, as he haggled with himself to discount it.  She got the hang of it in the end.

We then headed up to Victoria Peak, which is a great spot to view the Hong Kong and Kowloon high rises, well on a clear day that’s what you can do.  We waited for must of been an hour to get onto the tram, but our headspaces were “Meh, we are closer to getting home now”.  The view was still good to see, though not as spectacular as the vision we have seen.  We actually watched the cloud mist racing up the hill towards us, and over the other side of the mountain.

Waiting for the Peak tram
Cloudy view from the peak

Dec 28 / 29 – Mürren to Hong Kong

Lost some time heading east, so one post over the two days.  When we say heading East, it really means west for some time, then east.

We reversed the trip we made from London to Mürren.  The major difference being that we didn’t have the lug the suitcases all the way and transfer them oursleves between trains.  This was well worth the 80 CHF we paid to get the bags transferred from Mürren all the way to Hong Kong.  It actually worked too!  We were a little skeptical when we checked ourselves in for the flight, and after looking at an additional boarding pass printed that showed all of our itinerary since the start of the holidays, with a tick besides each of the completed legs, and then a circle around Sydney.  Geez, we hope our bags don’t end up there…

We then had 6 hours to kill in Heathrow ariport, before jumping on our plane and heading to Hong Kong.  Our flight left at 8:30 PM from London and we arrived around 4:00 PM in Hong Kong. We all managed “some” sleep on the flight, so we were feeling, kind of Ok.

Once we got through the lines and up to the immigration officer, we had a sense of deja vu.  After scanning Sean’s passport, a form was completed and put inside it.  Sue, Ryan and Tegan were waived through, and Sean asked to wait.  Sean’s mind went into a panic as he realised the Chinese don’t use the soft latex gloves…  Thankfully, there wasn’t the same wait in the US, and it was just a verification of the passport and Sean could join his family at the carousel
, where he detected the slightest hint of disappointment on Sue’s face.

We headed off the the hotel, where we will be staying for 2 nights. It must be said that, at least in Sue and Sean’s mind, we are very ready for home. Whilst the kids were still sleeping (including Sue), Sean was checking out the local Brisbane papers and looking closer at the Cricket test, which hasn’t really happened on the trip at all.

We also enjoyed hearing of our dog Charlie’s antics with Julie, Chris and Chelsea.

Dec 27 – Mürren Day 5 – Final day

We woke to our final day in Mürren and it was a glorious day.  Pure blue sky awaited our three skiers who had graduated to go up the mountain.

Sean said goodbye and headed off to some new runs to explore, and by his accounts, it was the best skiing ever.  Besides a couple of icy patches not yet kissed by the sun, the rest of the side of the mountain he explored was in full sun, and no people.  On one chairlift it got a little crowded as it was 5 seats ahead where there was someone encroaching on his space.  In fact, he was trying to see if the other person dropped the cone of silence bubble in front of the chairlift that he hadn’t seen before.

After the lesson, we took a family sled run to the next village down the mountain.  We were warned by the crew’s ski instructor that it may be a little bumping and icy, and she wasn’t wrong.  It was a lot of fun, and a great experience for us all.  It will be especially funny to watch the video of Sue opening the sled up down a steep section.

Sue declined a final run down the hill, so the kids and Sean went off to have the final run of the trip.  Snow decided to fall on us one final time, and it was great for Sean to see 2 of his 3 children with him, graduate to ski don the hill.

There was a final ice skating session to jam as much in as possible.

We had a great win whilst we were here with the luggage.  We have had difficulty with the individual weight of 1 or 2 bags, as we only wanted 3 large and one small (overnight) with us.  This poses a problem getting up and down stairs and with train having 7 minute change overs, on different platforms, it causes some stresses.  So back to the win.  We were able to check in our luggage today, before our trip in he morning, for all 5 trains, flight to London, then flight to Hong Kong.  I love the swiss!

We have a big day of travel tomorrow, and we lose a day coming back, so there will be one post over the next 2 days.

We leave around 7:30 AM (Mon) Swiss time and probably arrive at our hotel around 6:30 PM Tuesday  approx 28 hrs of travel and transit…

Just as this post was being finished, Sue channel surfing the other channels besides the 1 English BBC channel, and found South Park in German.  Couldn’t help but have a giggle.

Dec 26 – Mürren Day 4 Boxing Day

We diverged paths this morning, as the kids went off for some ice skating with Sue, and Sean went off to buy a bag to get past our weight limit from Sue’s purchases (3 hr round trip for Sean).  Sean reminisced that this would be the most productive boxing day in 20 years, as it usually involves Boxing Day Test,  Sydney to Hobart and Christmas leftovers of Ham, salads and beer.

After ice skating, the guys headed for Lesson three, and they are going great, so Instructor Franny says they are heading up the mountain tomorrow, which send shivers down the spine of one of the guys.  In the interest of not outing who was worried, it won’t be said who it was, but Tegan and Ryan were fine with it.

We then headed up to the Schilthorn on a cable car, well two.  A Mürren local wanted to build the cable car to get a fantastic view of the surrounding areas.  After getting all the approvals and starting the project,  the money ran out.  When scoping for locations for the James Bond movie, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service the paid for the completion of the cable car construction as well as the revolving restaurant.  It should be noted that the prolific career of Australian actor George Lazenby as James Bond peaked with this film.  It should also be said that it also started and ended with the same film.

Anyhoo, The view was spectacular, and we enjoyed a beverage in the revolving restaurant.

View to Mürren

Dec 25 – Mürren Day 3 Christmas Day

We woke up on Christmas morning with it snowing outside, glad that plan worked out!  We opened the most minimal of gifts, and we were worried that the kids may have been a little deflated, but far from it, and they understand the importance of the holiday and spending time together.

Opening of minimal gifts

We went off for a sled run, with the kids wearing their Christmas hats.

allmendhubel train
The crew head off down sled run 6
Sue gives chase

Sue and the kids went off to their lesson, with Sean getting a couple of runs in before the snow started bucketing down.  Sean choose to sit in a warm restaurant and have a couple of drinks looking directly across at Sue and the kids practicing in their lesson.  It was great that they were unaware that Sean was watching, and Sean had a wonderful hour just watching each of them progress.  Tegan’s tenacity certainly has her progressing well.  After the lesson, the guys came into the restaurant to warm up and get some fuel in.

Sean and the kids then went off for another sled run, and Sean videoed the descent, tumbles and all which made for some very entertaining viewing later.

We cleaned up and headed down for pre-dinner drinks, and then enjoyed our 4 course meal, including a roast turkey main.

It was a very different Christmas day for us, but one that we will look back on fondly. (Except for Sue’s sore feet)