I’m pretty sure that there are a fair few people who have also used this title for a blog post about Seoul, Korea…but oh well, I don’t have to be original all the time!

My most recent work trip took me to South Korea, a country I’d never visited before, but was very excited to explore. The flight going out was pretty hectic, because although it was a night flight and most passengers were sleeping, in between the services we got 45 minutes rest and I was also given the task of being duty free operator! I’ve done duty free a couple of times, but it’s not something I particularly enjoy as it involves a lot of counting and trying to sell items when everybody is fast asleep! Once they all woke up however, shortly before landing, I was inundated with requests to buy! Unfortunately there just wasn’t enough time to sell to everybody so I didn’t make any commission 🙁

Once we got to the hotel (the flight was around 8 hours, plus over an hour getting to the hotel) all my tiredness from waking up at 1am the night before was suddenly gone and I was very ready to go and try some local food….Korean BBQ!! The pilots, along with a few other girls were arranging to meet back down in the lobby so I headed down once I was ready and off we went. The other girls must have changed their minds or fallen asleep as it turned out to be just me and Mihaela from Romania, along with the 3 pilots. We set off on the short walk from the hotel to one of the typical Korean barbecue restaurants. As it was both mine and Mihaela’s first time to Seoul, we let the men be in charge of ordering the food and were very excited to try it when it all arrived!

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Korean black raspberry wine. More like a strong shot than wine!

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A variety of lettuce, sauces, kimchi and more arrived before the main bit…the meat!

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The meat cooks pretty quickly, which is lucky as we were all starving! 

The trick is to get a bit of everything on top of your lettuce leaf, pop on a piece of scorching meat and try not to burn yourself as you devour it!

After our meal the pilots headed out for some more drinks, and Mihaela and I walked back to the hotel for some much needed sleep. In the morning I got a call from one of the other girls, letting me know that they were heading down to breakfast and would be going on a tour afterwards. I decided to join as I didn’t know how else I was going to explore the city and it seemed like a great option. Breakfast was delicious (I’ve noticed breakfast always seems to be pretty great in the hotels we stay in, but this one was really tasty!) and soon enough the minibus was at the hotel to pick us up.

Our first stop was the Seoul Tower. We walked up a road surrounded by beautiful trees to a stunning view at the top.

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So much green! I always miss nature when I’m back in Dubai.ImageImageImageImageImage

Beautiful views from the top of the whole city.

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Just trying out some Korean masks!

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Love trees…full of padlocks!

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Once we had walked all the way around the top of the observatory at the tower we headed back down towards our next stop, the “Secret Gardens”. Located at Changdeokgung Palace, these are some incredible gardens tucked away along with all of the palaces. We walked around (along with at least 100 other people who had decided to join us at the same time, slightly disappointing as it meant that it was very crowded!) but the gardens were beautiful, so that made up for it.

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So many hidden ponds, lakes, and gorgeous areas full of trees!

After a long walk around the Secret Gardens we got back into the bus to go to our next stop, a little Ginseng museum/factory/shop. I’m not really sure what to call it to be honest, it showed us how ginseng is grown and made into different types of products. Which they then tried to sell to us, for an extortionate amount of money. Who know a plant-based product could cost hundreds of US Dollars! I have to say this was the part I liked the least. None of us were expecting for it to take so long, and I feel like our tour guide must have been getting commission as they really tried to pressure us into buying the stuff. 

Our final stop was Namdaemun market. I love a good market, and this one was huuuuuge! Due to our limited time however, we only got a very quick stop here before we had to head back to our hotel 🙁 I made sure to pick up a fridge magnet though! 

Once we were back at the hotel I walked up the road to get a quick bite to eat at Starbucks as we hadn’t had a chance to eat since breakfast, and then I got a couple of hours sleep before the long flight back home. The flight was nice and easy, only half full, and I managed to get an hour sleep on my break. I can’t wait to go back to Korea, I’d love to explore the city so much more!

 

If anybody has been reading my blog for a while you will probably know that the only place I have been to in Africa is Lagos, Nigeria. So the moment my roster came out last month and I saw Cape Town, I was pretty excited to say the least! I’d never been to South Africa before, and to add to that my brother Harry had been there for the past 2 months and he agreed to come and meet me!

The flight over was pretty easy and uneventful. It was around 9 hours, and we got 1 hour rest in the bunks which helped break up the flight a bit. As it was a night flight leaving around 4am most of the passengers went straight to sleep! Once we arrived in Cape Town, Harry was waiting at the airport having just arrived from Johannesburg. We all got to the hotel and then around 9 of us arranged to go on a tour that the concierge organised for us. Our hotel was near the waterfront, and the tour took us all the way down to Cape Point, the south-western most point of Africa, to see Cape of Good Hope, and also to see some adorable penguins near Simonstown!

This was our first stop. Unfortunately it was very windy and cloudy, but the view was still incredible.

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After that quick stop for some awesome pictures, we drove on down to Cape of Good Hope. It got even windier and started raining as well, but that wasn’t stopping us! We walked all the way up to the lighthouse on the top so we could get an amazing view out onto the ocean. (the walk was actually not very far at all, only about 20 minutes!)

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By far the best way to go up a mountain! ImageImageImageImageImage

After a quick stop in the “Curio Shop” aka souvenir shop to pick up a couple of postcards, we continued our journey heading back up towards the hotel to see some PENGUINS!!

As it was still really windy and rainy we didn’t stop for too long, but there was enough time to walk along the specially made path by the breeding area. We saw so many adorable little penguins, and lots of babies as well.

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We passed by what is supposedly the world’s longest beach on our way home. There were so many surfers out there!

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Once we were back at the hotel a few of us arranged to go for dinner by the waterfront. Of course we had to go for steak in South Africa, and I have to say although it by far wasn’t the best steak I’ve ever had, it was pretty tasty!

The next morning Harry and I went down to make the most of the breakfast buffet (I even managed to get him the crew discount!) and had a little walk around the hotel to burn it off again before it was time to get ready for the flight back. 

Harry was flying standby on my flight home and luckily he just managed to get on at the very end. The flight was around the same flying time as coming over, but because it was a daytime flight everybody was awake, hungry and thirsty! I barely had a minute to sit down and eat, let alone chat to Harry. It was insanely busy and I felt like I was a waitress taking orders from everybody! (But no tips…haha) I was so glad when we finally touched down in Dubai! 

Harry stayed with me in Dubai for a couple of days and we found a great seafood restaurant, went up the top of the Burj Khalifa, had a very hot day at the beach (41 degrees!) and before we knew it it was time for his flight home and for me to go back to work.

My roster for October has just come out and I’m going to be in Munich for the last weekend of Oktoberfest, spend 30 hours in Seoul, South Korea, do a turnaround to the Maldives (if only we got to stay there!), discover another new place in Africa – Casablanca, go back to Kuala Lumpur again, and finally finish the end of the month with two German flights, Hamburg and Frankfurt. I’m most excited for Seoul and Casablanca, as these are new destinations for me! 🙂

 

Well hello there! First of all I’d like to apologise for being away from the blog for so long! I don’t even have a good excuse, I’ve just been so busy flying, going away on my days off, etc, that I haven’t had time to sit down and write!
Right now I’m on leave for just over a week, and I’m in England staying with Joey and his family. He’s out playing tennis at the moment, so I thought I’d sit down and write a quick post and update on the past couple of weeks!

I had a layover to Singapore, which was good (seems like so long ago now that I can barely remember what I did, even though it was only 2 weeks ago!) and then after that I came home, packed my bags and headed straight back to the airport. I had planned to fly home for about 4 days and my best bet at the time looked like flying to Munich and then getting the train from there. However, I got to the airport, went to check in and was told that all the seats were full! Quick look on the laptop to see where I could fly to and a change of terminals….and I was off to Prague! From there it was two very short flights to Vienna and Klagenfurt and I was home even earlier than planned! Matt was there waiting to pick me up at the airport, and a 10 minute drive later I was home! 🙂

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I didn’t really have much planned apart from catching up with my family and friends, as I was only home for a couple of days. I had a pretty early night the first evening, as I had barely slept since Singapore! The next day I just relaxed at home; the weather was fantastic, in fact almost as hot as in Dubai! In the evening our neighbours invited us over for dinner. They have a lovely little setup in their garden and it looked so pretty!

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They cooked us an absolutely delicious dinner, however I did have to leave before dessert as I had arranged to go for a few drinks with my friends Simone, Natascha and Maria. Unfortunately Maria was ill so she ended up not being able to come, but Simone, Nati and I had a great time catching up on each others lives whilst sitting outside enjoying a nice drink. Nati has just spent the past year and a half working as an au pair in America, so she had a lot of stories to tell!

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The next day I had to pick up a few things in town, and in the afternoon my friends Iris and Claudio came to pick me up (along with his brother and his brother’s girlfriend!) and we headed down to the lake for a few hours of sun and swimming! It was still beautiful weather, so hot and sunny, so we made the most of it and spent the time relaxing, sunbathing and swimming in the lake.

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Afterwards we all went to dinner at a lovely little Mexican restaurant. (The restaurant was nice, the food however was definitely nothing special!)

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Before I knew it it was time to pack up again and the next morning I was back at the airport ready to fly back to Dubai. As I said, it was a short but sweet trip! 🙂

Once I was back in Dubai I barely had any time before I was off on my next layover, to Perth! That’s one of the places in Australia that I’d never been to before, so I was looking forward to exploring a new city. It’s quite a long flight, 10 hours going and almost 11 coming back. Unlike other Australia flights though we don’t get to have a break in the CRC (crew rest compartment) – we only get an hour or so on some blocked off seats. As anyone who has ever travelled in economy will know, they aren’t the easiest to sleep in, so it’s pretty difficult getting any rest! Once we got to the hotel in Perth we all headed straight up to bed!

The next morning a couple of us met for breakfast and headed out so see a bit of the city. I wanted to go to a koala sanctuary which was around 40 minutes from the city but nobody was up for going with me 🙁 Unfortunately the guys were pretty boring and only wanted to go shopping…so once they went back to the hotel after an hour or so I decided to stay out and have a walk around. 

I walked down towards the river and came across the bell tower, which was a pretty interestingly shaped building.

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I decided to pay the entrance fee and walk up to the top, which was definitely worth it because I saw dolphins! (I stupidly forgot to put my camera on charge and the battery died just as I got to the top, so please excuse the poor quality of the pictures!) Also, you can’t actually see the dolphins in the pictures I took but they were definitely there, splashing around and jumping out of the water!

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When there’s nobody around to take your picture….the “switch camera” option on your iPhone comes in really handy!

I decided to get the ferry across the river to the other side of Perth. It cost me a whole 2 dollars! I had a little walk along the river bank with a nice park beside me, and found a little cafe to pick up a sandwich for lunch.

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The other side was actually not very interesting and there wasn’t all that much to do by myself, so soon enough I headed back towards the ferry and hopped on. All to soon it was time to get back to the hotel for a quick nap before my flight home!

I had my leave right after the flight and to make the most of it along with my days off I had planned to catch a flight to England straight away. All the flights to London were completely overbooked with absolutely no seats to spare….so I decided to go via Newcastle instead! This was probably not the best choice, as it left at 7:20 and I was supposed to land at 5:25. I even joked with the pilots to get them to take a shortcut somewhere so we could land early 😀 Imagine my relief when we touched down 15 minutes early….I couldn’t wait for everyone to get off the plane so I could go straight back to the airport!

I had planned to get changed at headquarters but realised I didn’t even have time for that….so I headed straight back to the airport in my uniform and managed to check in with about 30 seconds to spare, ridiculously sweaty from running carrying 2 suitcases and wearing heels! From then it was still a mad rush through security to the gate (I’m certain the gate was the farthest one away possible!) and then a looooong bus ride to the plane. I honestly couldn’t believe I’d made the flight, and even managed to get an exit row seat with extra leg room! I attempted to get a few hours sleep but even with ear plugs and an eye mask it just wasn’t happening.

Once in Newcastle I’d listed myself for a British Airways flight to London, and it was a couple of nerve-wracking hours waiting to see if I was on or not. Luckily I managed to get the very last seat on the plane. (Otherwise I would have been forking out over 100 pounds for a train ticket!) 

Once I finally reached Heathrow, Joey and his mum were waiting for me 🙂 They had very kindly driven down to meet me and once we’d loaded my suitcases into the car we made our way to his parents house. I’ve decided I’ll write another post all about this holiday as otherwise this one is going to be way too long! 🙂

So for now I’ll leave you with a picture of something I’ve missed….English countryside!

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What this post title says (if Google translate got it right!) is…. Welcome to Moscow!

One of my most recent layovers was to Russia, a country which I had never been to before. I was very glad to be going there for the first time in summer, not during -20 degrees in winter! It’s only a short flight from Dubai, around 4 and a half hours. However the bus journey from the airport to the hotel is a long one, so once we arrived it was late and we all went straight to bed. A few of us arranged to meet for breakfast in the hotel, and then decided to go out as a lot of us were here for the first time.

In the end 12 of us (that must be a record!) took the hotel’s free shuttle bus to the Red Square.

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It was incredibly beautiful and we were all very impressed. We took lots of touristy pictures and even managed to get a couple of group shots with everyone in!

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We walked all the way around stopping to admire all the different colours and shapes on the building. We stopped off in the souvenir shop to pick up a few postcards, and I also got a set of Russian dolls which are now on display in my room!

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One of the girls had just done the same trip a few days before, so she knew her way around a bit and suggested we go to a lovely park just nearby. A few of the others split off to do their own thing, and the rest of us hopped on the metro (hoping we were going the right way, as all the signs were in Russian only!) and rode a couple of stops to the park. 

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We had a lovely long walk through the park, feeling more like we were in a the south of France or Spain, it was so pretty! As it had been quite a while since breakfast, we decided to get some lunch and there was a gorgeous little cafe/restaurant hidden away between the trees. In fact the trees were still growing in between lots of the tables inside!

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After an absolutely delicious lunch we wandered back through the park, stopping by the fountain to enjoy a bit of sunshine! We would have liked to stay longer just relaxing in the park, especially as there were benches and bean bags everywhere, but we had to get back to the hotel for the flight home.

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Once back at the hotel I had a short nap and all too soon it was time to fly back home to Dubai. We thought it was going to be a nice easy flight, half full like the day before. However, the 777 flight which was meant to be departing that day got cancelled, so we got all of their passengers, which meant that we were completely full! Luckily it was over before we even knew it and I was back in sunny Dubai!

My next trip is to Singapore, which I am incredibly excited about as I absolutely love it there. I have also heard that it’s their national day and there will be a big parade and fireworks etc, so hopefully some of the crew will be up for going out to watch it!

After that I’m going to fly home to Austria to stay with my family for a couple of days (crew scheduling gave me 5 days off in a row – nice!) then I have one more flight to Perth, and then leave! August is going to be a great month, I can tell already! 

My most recent trip was a 5 day one which took me to Sydney and Auckland. I’ve been to Sydney before but never to New Zealand, so I was quite excited!

The flight to Sydney took 13 hours, which is the longest I’ve worked on the plane since joining. We do get a couple of hours of rest in the bunks, but it is long and tiring! We arrived in Sydney early morning and arranged to meet around lunchtime which would let us have a bit of sleep first. 

We decided to walk from the hotel and do a bit of sightseeing, so headed down towards the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. We got so lucky with the weather, even though it is supposedly winter in Australia, it was beautifully warm and sunny!

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By this time we were all feeling quite hungry, so decided to have some lunch sitting by the opera house. We probably could have picked somewhere slightly cheaper, but the allowance in Australia is pretty generous and we had a gorgeous view! After lunch we walked up to the opera house to have a look around, and soon discovered there was free wifi….which lead to us sitting in the sun for at least 45 minutes catching up with everything we had missed in the past 24 hours! (Wifi in the hotel would have cost 30$ – ridiculous!) 

We then walked along past the opera house to the botanical gardens, which are more like a huge park. They would have been perfect to sit and have a picnic or just relax. Whenever I go to a country where there are lots of parks/trees, I realise how much I miss that in Dubai. We strolled around enjoying the sunshine for a while and then headed up back towards the hotel.

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The other girls went back up to their rooms, and I decided to walk around Sydney a bit more on my own and try and find somewhere to have a coffee with wifi! I walked around for a while but as it was getting dark it was also getting colder so I went into the first place I could find with coffee and wifi which happened to be McDonalds. Not my first choice, but beggars can’t be choosers! I must have stayed in there for about an hour or so skyping and catching up with Joey, then I had a little bit more of a walk around Sydney and headed back to the hotel. 

Jet lag finally hit me for the first time since I’ve started flying and even though I went to bed around 9pm I woke up every 20 minutes…eventually I gave up around midnight and watched re-runs of The City on MTV until the wake-up call at 4:30am! Luckily the flight to Auckland is only a quick one – just under 3 hours 🙂

I forgot to mention I was duty free operator for the trip, which meant I had to count all the duty free items, try and sell them (not really time for that on the quick Auckland flights though) and then fill out any paperwork and seal it all back up. Once we got to Auckland we arranged to go out to dinner and as a couple of the crew were fasting for Ramadan we decided to go quite early so they could break their fast as soon as the sun set. Image

We went to a Belgian Beer Cafe, where a lot of the crew had their infamous mussels. I’m not a huge fan of seafood (apart from fish and prawns – I think it’s all a bit too slimy!) so I had good old sausages and mash! I did however try my first mussel, and wasn’t too impressed!

We stopped at Starbucks (the only place that was still open at 8pm; not used to that in Dubai!) for a hot chocolate on the way home and then headed straight to bed. The next morning 4 of us girls met up for breakfast ….and what can I say, it was easily the best breakfast buffet I’ve ever had! I would put up with the crazy long flights and jet lag just for the breakfast in Auckland any time!

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There was a pink chocolate fountain! (I didn’t actually try it in the end because I was too full :D) As  well as all the normal things, there was a waffle and pancake station, any type of egg imaginable (I had eggs Benedict but with smoked salmon – so good!), even ice cream if you wanted it!

After breakfast I went back up to the room to let it all digest a bit, then decided to go for a walk around the city to pick up the obligatory fridge magnet. I walked down towards the harbour and to be completely honest I was fairly disappointed – the city was nothing special in my opinion. The weather probably played a part in that – it was grey and drizzly and reminded me too much of any ordinary day in England! The harbour was also mostly just a load of ferries, so not particularly exciting. 

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Soon enough it was time to get the uniform and make up back on and fly back to Sydney. A whole group of us went out to dinner once we got there in the evening and then I went straight to bed to try and catch up on lost sleep!

The next morning I had arranged to meet up with a family friend, Philippa, who I haven’t seen in years – she’s currently travelling around the world and has now stopped in Sydney for a while. I walked down to Darling Harbour to meet her where a bit of rain came out, but luckily it cleared up again within a few minutes and the sun came back out! We had lunch overlooking the water and catching up!

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All too soon Philippa had to head back to work and I had to go and get ready for the evening flight back to Dubai. It was a long night flight (14 hours instead of 13!) but I did manage to sell some duty free which is great, as I’ll be getting some commission along with my pay check next month! 😀

After finally landing around 6am, I handed in my duty free pouch and got straight on the bus home. A long and tiring but fun trip!

In the evening Joey came to meet me at home and we went to the Madinat hotel where he had been invited to an Iftar, which is the meal Muslims eat at Sunset to break their fast during Ramadan. I felt very cultural! Now I’m packing for my flight to Moscow tomorrow afternoon, which I’m pretty excited about as it will be my first time to Russia. I’m also (extremely) impatiently waiting for my August roster to come out, so I can finally book my flights to England! 🙂

P.s. If you want more regular day to day updates of what is happening in my life, follow me on Twitter and Instagram @rachelwwilson!