We spent a very hot Thursday the 10th of December running around like headless chooks, finishing off all those last minute jobs before our afternoon departure to Copenhagen. It was a very warm 33 degrees when I picked Astrid up from her last ever day of preschool, and we rushed home for showers (she was as usual filthy from her fun day) and packing the cars to leave. The animals were way past being suspicious of our behaviour, but didn’t really bid us a farewell.
Just after 4pm we headed off to the airport in 2 cars as we had our travelling companion Mikl (Anto’s brother) with us, and a small mountain of luggage. All 3 Canberra based grandparents did the airport drop-off so that they could see the kids one last time. The kiddy excitement level was at extreme, somewhat similar to the adult exhaustion level – and we had only just commenced the 30 + hours of travel. The car ride to the airport was the first time all day that Anto and I had sat down.
Canberra to Melbourne
On arrival at the airport we bid a quick farewell to the grandparents and headed to check in. The ever efficient and lovely Qantas check in lady checked in all 86kg of luggage (well under our limit but no doubt more than we needed) and issued a small pile of boarding passes for the 3 legs. Astrid chatted non-stop about our holiday plans, leaving no one in the airport in any doubt where we were heading.
Off through security and to Qantas club where we spent 90 minutes watching planes land and take off and eating and drinking. Both kids were happy to stare at the runway in awe of the planes and Mikl commenced his holiday of beer drinking by polishing off a couple before our 6.25pm departure to Melbourne.
There were a few other families in the kids area of Qantas Club and they were lamenting the late night travel with little kids. We won the ‘how far are we travelling game’ hands down, beating the family that thought Perth was a sure winner with our impending 30 hours to Copenhagen. Not sure it was a competition anyone wanted to win though!
The flight to Melbourne boarded on time and was full. I got to sit next to chatterbox Astrid and Mikl and Anto had the Sorenosaurus. Astrid was exhausted from a preschool day and Soren had only had a short nap and we were desperately hoping both would rest on the bit over hour long trip to Melbourne. Alas Astrid talked non-stop including her usual flight protocol of discussing the emergency procedures at length. Soren just jumped around and ate all of Mikl and Anto’s roast beef sandwiches. I got my vego meal but it turned out to be a mis-labeled chicken sandwich so I managed to score an upgrade to a business class meal. Not that I needed it with food Qantas club before and after the flight.
We landed 5 minutes late but by the time we had negotiated our way to international and through the next round of security, immigration and then duty free, the sun had set and the kids were looking weary.
Melbourne to Dubai
We headed to the International Qantas Club where we had a little over an hour to feed the kids (again) and get the adults enough alcohol to lessen the impact of their deteriorating behaviour. Soren was starting to be particularly feral so after we all had enough gelato to make us pop we strapped him in the ergo and tried to keep both kids entertained until boarding.
Flying out at 22:20 was never going to be fun with small kids. Both held up pretty well considering it was after 10pm when we got on the plane. It was a packed A380 out of Melbourne that night. Astrid got the window seat with Mikl and Anto. Soren and I sat across the aisle in 2 of the centre four seats. Once we finally got off the ground and got Astrid to stop talking, she was out like a light. Probably a little after 11pm. Still a massive day considering she’d had no nap and been at preschool.
Soren was more of a challenge. He resisted with all his might and was almost calm when they served the meal. We gave in and let him eat (despite him not being hungry) to lessen the irritation to other passengers. After eating, he was still refusing to sleep and was so overtired that we had a lengthy sobbing of ‘dad, dad, dad’ at top volume as I rocked him to sleep. Once he was out, he slept pretty well, but despite having his own seat wanted to sleep laying across my lap so I got minimal rest. All the adults only dozed at best but the first 10 hours of the 14 went fairly speedily. Once pretty much everyone on the plane was awake due to it being morning in Australia – but still pitch black and the middle of the night in Dubai time, time went much more slowly. The last few hours always drag!
Astrid was up first, and bright as a button despite only 7-8 hours sleep. She happily ate, drew and watched TV. Soren was up not long after and was kept amused by stickers, drawing and tv and snacking. It was a long wait for middle of the night breakfast and the behaviour started to deteriorate again but we finally got close to landing when the plane was held up in a queue to land.
After being on the plane for 15 hours the extra 30 mins wasn’t too much fun but the kids enjoyed watching the onboard cameras and lights over predawn Dubai. We also got an awesome view of the plane lining up for landing and watching the runway lights changing colour to guide the plane in.
Once we landed we attempted to find my dad, Alan (aka Gramps) who had flown into Dubai via Brisbane and Adelaide (yes, not the most direct route). His plane was meant to land 15 minutes before ours but as we couldn’t locate him near the gate we started to head towards the connections terminal to meet up at the Emirates lounge which was our backup plan. It was 6am Dubai time and there was a very long line of very weary looking travellers lining up to go through security and transfer to their connection gates. Dubai airport is enormous and our little under 3 hour layover was very rapidly being eaten into with our flight delay, 30 minutes to get through security and another long walk to our next gate.
Once we finally cleared security and headed down to the next level on our way to the A gates we ran into Gramps who had only just arrived after 20 mins on a shuttle bus from the other end of the airport. We then had to walk, take lifts and then a train to get to our gate area. No wonder they warned 45 minutes from one gate to another! We finally made it to the Emirates club in desperate need of showers, food and coffee.
Dubai to Copenhagen
Due to the long transfer through the airport we were carrying both kids on our backs in ergos. Soren had promptly fallen asleep on Anto’s back, and was utterly comatose. The Dubai Emirates club is absolutely enormous and you are seated in areas near your gate. We eventually found a spot not too far from our gate that could accommodate the 6 of us and went and hunter gathered. It was over 3 hours since we’d had plane breakfast so it was time for more breakfast. This time with an array of hot food, fresh chocolately pastries and coffee followed by alcohol since our bodies didn’t know what time it was so baileys or drambuie seemed like a good idea.
Soren was clearly exhausted as stayed asleep post dismount from the ergo, and really didn’t want to be woken up at all. We all desperately wanted showers but the wait was 10 plus people so we settled with changes of clothes and toothbrushing and had to head off to the final flight of the journey. From the Emirates lounge there are private exits to the gates and onto the planes so you don’t have to mix with all those non-lounge folk. It also makes the walk quicker as we were down a few lifts, and straight onto the plane.
It was another A380 but this time we were on the upper deck. Yes, still economy but a different layout. The plane smelled very new and looked immaculate. As the pilot was doing the pre flight introduction he informed us it was the planes first commercial flight! No wonder it looked new! We assumed they had thoroughly tested it!
It was now just after 9am and we pulled away from the terminal looking at a huge line of Emirates planes lined up ready to be loaded and take off. We then sat in another queue as planes hurtled down the runway infront of us 90 seconds apart. It was quite fun to watch from the planes nose cam and kept the kids tame.
On this flight Astrid and I were in the 2 seats next to the window (we were right at the front near the nose so in a 2-4-2 configuration) and Anto, Soren, Mikl and Alan took the 4 centre seats across the aisle. Before long we were up in the air and flying over the famous palm tree island which made for a nice view, if the sun was a little too bright for our weary eyes.
The kids were under strict instructions that we all needed a good sleep on this 7 hour leg as once we landed it was a busy afternoon and we needed to adjust to the timezones and staying awake post flight was going to be necessary. Astrid was asleep within 30 minutes of take off, again after she finally shut up. Soren took much longer being totally exhausted. Apparently Anto was no good and I ended up cuddling him to sleep but managed to transfer him back to his seat. 30 minutes after takeoff we were served our 3rd breakfast in 6 hours and none of us were that hungry (the kids slept through it).
The adults managed a little rest but with given the flight was entirely in daylight it wasn’t the easiest. With 3 hours to go Astrid was up and chatting and not long after lunch arrived. The kids meals were very impressive and she loved her little packs. Soren lasted a little longer but was still awake before we had hoped.
Again the last couple of hours of the flight dragged a little but 7 hour flights are much easier to deal with than the 14 hour ones so we survived by entertaining the kids with TV, drawing and lollipops and lots of chatting. As we approached Copenhagen airport it was very grey and raining. Luckily we didn’t have too much planned for the afternoon.
We landed on time, just before 1230pm local time and sped through immigration (we did get a stamp on our passport but it was only a cursory glance at them to find a blank page). Things slowed right down when we had to wait for our bags. They were really slow getting them off and about 500 people were standing around for the best part of 40 minutes waiting for bags. The kids were being fairly good (we had them in the ergos) but were getting pretty over it. At last all our bags arrived and we headed out to the main terminal to grab our Copenhagen cards that we had prepurchased and make our way to our accommodation.
As soon as we ventured to the outside it was rather crisp and we hat to raid the coat bag for extra coats and beanies. It was apparently 6 degrees but felt colder with the rain and the fact that we had all come from 30 plus degrees. We eventually found which train to catch to central and had a slight fight with some elevators but got all our bags on the train and made it to central without any real issues. We then had to change to a different train to get to our accommodation but it proved more difficult to figure out in our weary state. We found the right line but got on the train going the wrong direction so quickly figured it out and headed back the other way with a slight delay. At this point we were pretty tired and cold but doing not too badly for a bunch of adults and kids who had barely had any sleep in 2 days.
We located the correct train (also going in the correct direction) and loaded all the bags on. We had quickly figured out that using the carriages that are allocated for bikes works well with big piles of luggage. Five stops later we were at the correct station and had in theory a 600m walk to the house we were staying in for the 6 days in Copenhagen. We had rented a place in Kobenhavn through Airbnb and were looking forward to somewhere warm and to stop hauling luggage around. We had a map to the accommodation but had to figure out which direction to walk. Lucky some friendly locales who took pity on the cold and tired looking people gave us directions and we made it after a not very long but rather cold and effortful walk down the road.
When we arrived at the house the host was there ready to meet us and we were grateful to be in the warm. It was now almost 3pm and 33 hours since we had left home. We were tired but so glad to have finally made it. After a quick tour of the house we quickly changed the kids into a warmer clothes and headed out for a walk to find some groceries. The sun was already setting and it was getting pretty cool. It was a long time since our early plane lunch so definitely time for food.
We located a grocery shop and got enough basic supplies to get us through the first few days. We had spied a pizza place near the grocery store so decided to cheat and have that for dinner. It was only 4.30pm by now but the kids were starting to lose it and we were all really tired. It was also now pitch dark and quite cold, so 4.30pm take away pizza and back to the house it was. It was some rather enormous pizza and the kids were too tired to eat much of it.
The kids were in bed and asleep by 6pm and the adults were not all that far behind…… The next day we commenced our sight-seeing in earnest and also had a bike tour so were crossing our fingers for some sleep and not a too early start to the day!