At last our long awaited adventure began.
All family went to the Yokine Bowling Club for dinner before setting off to the airport. Amongst the group, the most excited people were the travelers who were looking forward to their long awaited, upcoming trip. Sarah and Riley would have loved to come too as they enjoyed their trip last year. After the club, it was back to our house for Bon Voyage cake and then off to the airport. Dad gave me a plastic bottle of honey for our breakfast so I wrapped plenty of sticky tape around it and a plastic bag to make sure it didn't leak all over my clothes.
We checked in (that took a while as contrary to what Qatar Airlines told me, they hadn't linked the kids and my booking to Jenni's and they had us seated separately. They managed to change the seats so Joe and I were together and Jenni and Georgia....we were in different sections of the plane. We walked to the departure gate where we farewelled mums, dads and siblings. The grandmothers received reminders to look after the kids and bring them home in one piece. As if we'd need a reminder. Hugs all round and we were off to pass through immigration and security. No issues here and for a change, I didn't have to do the bomb scanning test. Off to Gate 50 and we settled down to wait for our boarding call.
It didn't take long and it was time to board. We were in the first wave to board after first and business class and it wasn't long before we took off. Joe and I had a spare seat between us. Jenni and Georgia weren't as fortunate. First lot of food came out not long after we took off. Then it was sleep time...one advantage of leaving at 11pm is your body is ready for sleep. Having said that, I probably slept for 3 or 4 hours. Joe claims he didn't sleep at all however if he didn't, he sure made a good impression of someone sleeping. We had some heavy turbulence where the plane dropped a fair amount and it woke him up so I'm sure he was sleeping.
After a long 11 hours, we arrived in Doha about 4:30am. As we were in transit, we didn't need to go through immigration and went looking for Starbucks. We caught the airport train to the correct section much to the kids delight. The kids were very excited to locate Starbucks (who knows why) and they both had a chocolate frappucino without coffee and I had a green tea. We logged into their wifi so messages could be sent. Then, off to the train again to go to the section our flight was leaving from. So far kids have used escalators, elevators, travellators, the train and of course, a plane. When it was time to board, we were bussed to our plane so another mode of transport. The trip to the plane was so long, we felt like we were driving to Rome. It was 38C at about 8:30 and the dust and heat haze over the airport was very unappealing. I don't plan to move to Doha anytime soon.
Back on the plane and 6 hours to Rome. This flight had us one row behind the other so kids sat together and so did Jenni and I. More food, a glass of wine with whatever meal we were having, more food, a bit of knitting and then we were there. Even though they are long, both flights were pretty comfortable and Qatar looked after us well.
We passed immigration quickly and then it was a long wait for our baggage. It may have been on the bottom of the pile as it would have been loaded first in Doha. Eventually it came out, we walked to arrivals and found our driver. After a 30 minute ride, we were at our accommodation, an arpartment I booked through Booking.com. I'd advised the property when we would be arriving and someone was to meet us at the property. No one was there and I wasn't sure if/when they would be. Meanwhile, we'd locked ourselves inside the building and we're stuck until a family coming home let us out. I turned my phone on so I could call (using my Australian service). The call wouldn't go through so I messaged through Booking.com. The agent rang while I was ringing him and eventually we sorted out that he was on his way. First order of business tomorrow is arranging local SIM cards.
Fabio arrived and took us into our apartment. It has a lot of character and I'm sure will suit us as a group. We have a small kitchen so can cook a few meals if we feel like it and eat breakfast at home to keep costs down. We all had trouble with logging into the wifi so Fabio said he would check back with us later to sort it out. We were getting an error message he had never seen before.
Then it was showers for everyone to freshen up and then a walk to the Colosseum as it is quite close to the apartment. Fabio had given us a city map so off we went for our first adventure. It was good to be out and about, stretching our legs after being on the plane so long. Even though it was about 5pm, there still heaps of visitors at the Colosseum and we added 4 more. We had a walked around the outside, took photos and decided to find some dinner before heading home for a reasonably early night. We found a cafe on the route home so enjoyed our first Italian pasta, salad and a drink. Jenni and I enjoyed our beer.
We left the kids at the apartment and set off to find the supermarket which Fabio said was close by. We were both so tired, we stopped at the first mini mart we saw and bought a few bits for breakfast. Fabio supplied some of the Italian toasty bread rolls so we bought some bits to go with that.
It was then home to bed after a very long day.