Christmas Markets in Munich

I’ve just got back from a very festive trip to Munich. For once I was happy when I saw MUC on my roster as I knew December would be the perfect time to visit the Christmas market!

The flight over was nice and easy, with most of our passengers sleeping through the flight, having connected from Australia or Asia.

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We arrived into Munich around lunchtime, and I messaged my brother Matt, who lives there, to let him know I’d arrived at the hotel. He set off to come and meet me, and after a quick shower and change I was ready to go. Matt arrived at my hotel and we were ready to hit the markets!

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Toronto tales

Right now I’ve just got back from a wonderful trip to Bangkok, and a post about that shall be coming very soon. First on the agenda however, is an update about my much-awaited trip to Toronto!
If only all had gone as brilliantly as planned….

So the flight out was non-stop, super hectic and very similar to my Seattle flight. After around 14 hours with just a 3 hour break in the bunks and not a single chance to sit down other than that (let alone to stop and eat!) we finally arrived in Canada! Once we got to the hotel it was evening time, so we made plans to meet up the next day for some sightseeing. I ordered room service and having never tried them before, I can now say sweet potato fries (chips) are the best thing ever!!

Bright and early the next day a few of us headed out to do some exploring. Our first stop was the St Lawrence Market, a short walk from our hotel.

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Yummy gingerbread latte to warm us up 🙂

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We browsed around and stopped for some breakfast as well. This market was actually named the world’s best food market by National Geographic in 2012! I would love to have a market like this in Dubai where everything looks so fresh and tasty! 

After breakfast (which was probably more like brunch by this time) and a free mini gingerbread latte from Starbucks we walked across town to find the Christmas market.

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As we arrived at the markets it started snowing! It didn’t settle unfortunately but it made everything feel so much more Christmassy 🙂
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Giant Christmas tree! 🙂Image

We browsed around the stalls and although none of us bought anything it was a lovely market. Our next stop was the CN Tower, which used to be (I believe) the tallest building in the world, until the good old Burj Khalifa came along! Trust Dubai to want to be bigger and better! 😉 

We got zoomed up to the 112th floor, and the view was of course beautiful. There was a little opening in the sky just over the water and we also watched a few planes take off from the small airport you can see from the window! 🙂ImageImageImageImageImage

Standing on the glass floor!

There’s also a glass floor at the top which is pretty scary! After spending a while admiring the view and taking plenty of pictures we headed back down. Our plan for the next day was to rent a car between 5 of us and drive to Niagara Falls, so we stopped by a couple of car rental places but none of them could get us a car until lunchtime, which would have been too late. As I’ve actually already been to Niagara Falls before I wasn’t that fussed about going again (especially not in the freezing cold!) so 3 of the girls booked a tour with the hotel which was a little more pricey but the only option after not being able to rent a car. After our quick pitstop at the hotel we decided to split up, and I headed out to the Eaton Centre, a massive shopping centre. By this time it was already starting to get dark outside and I did get a little lost trying to find it! 😀 Once I got there though I managed to get a fair bit of Christmas shopping done 🙂 ImageImageImage

Lots of Christmassy decorations inside the Eaton Centre 🙂

In the evening I walked back to the hotel and had a nice relaxing evening planning what to do the next day. If only that had happened…. I woke up super early not feeling well at all, and ended up getting worse and worse! I also got a message from one of the other girls asking if I had been ill, as she’d been up all night in the bathroom! We had eaten the exact same thing at the market so we were pretty sure it was food poisoning! 🙁 What a way to spend the only 3 day layover you’ve ever had…. 2 out of 3 days in bed! I called our medical emergency number and they sent a doctor to come and check and he confirmed that it was food poisoning, who would have guessed it in a place like Toronto! 🙁

So that’s that, unfortunately I don’t have as many exciting stories to tell as I would have liked to from a 3 day layover, but never mind! Next time 🙂
(I have to admit I’m pretty upset that I didn’t manage to buy a magnet this time, I’ll definitely have to try and bid for the trip again!)

I deadheaded back (aka flew as a passenger) along with the other girl who got food poisoning but I just slept the whole flight. Thankfully I’m feeling much better now and was pretty much back to normal by the time my next flight to Bangkok came around. More on that trip to come! 🙂

 

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!

SEP Training has started!

The SEP Training (Safety and Emergency Procedures) has started! This, along with GMT (Group Medical Training) is supposedly the hardest part of our 7 weeks of training, and I can see why! It’s a lot to do, with theory and practials all day. Our batch has been put on the late shift, so we have training college from 3:30pm to 11:30 at night! We also get given homework to do – we have a thick workbook which is gradually being filled out and revision to do each day. This means either staying up after getting home at midnight or getting up early the next morning to do it before class.

Yesterday was our first time in the simulator….and it was so fun! We took a trip to Doha (not really, but that was where the flight simulation was going) and experienced some turbulence. We had all learnt the day before what to do during light, moderate and severe turbulence, and in groups we took turns acting out different scenarios.

The whole time the trainers were making notes about us and writing down anything anyone did wrong, so everyone felt quite a bit of pressure to do well. Luckliy we all passed the simulator practicals, but we still have a lot more to go. This is literally just the beginning of training! We will start having theory tests from next week as well, and need a pass grade of at least 80% or else we will have to repeat the week!

Something else that happened this week….it was Christmas!! Our trainers gave us the day off (which unfortunately means that we have to go in on Saturday to make up for it) and a group of us arranged to go to the beach. On Christmas Eve we all decided to go out in the evening, and a few of us who live in the same area met up before to get a taxi together. We had such a fun night! It also ended pretty differently to any Christmas Eve/day I’ve had so far…with the taxi driver taking us to a McDonald’s drive-through on our way home! I have to say, I never thought that I would be eating a McChicken on Christmas Day!

The next morning (Christmas Day!) we all met up to go the beach and spent the afternoon sunbathing. We wanted to go for a swim in the sea as well, but after putting 1 toe in decided it was too cold! Afterwards of course we had to go and have Christmas Dinner, so we wandered along Jumierah Road (at least that’s what I think it was called!) until we found a restaurant that looked nice. I ordered chicken, lamb and beef skewers with wild rice and grilled vegetables – definitely not the normal roast turkey but still pretty tasty!

We also had our uniforms fitted the other day, which was pretty exciting! They gave me a skirt which was about 3 sizes too big, but refused to even let me try on a smaller one, so once we get our uniforms I’ll have to see just how much too big it will be! The rest all fitted fine though, so I’m really looking forward to getting our uniform (especially the hat!) and suitcases in a couple of weeks. I’ve also heard that we get our roster with our first supy flights (= supernumerary flights are where we are considered an “extra” onboard, so we can get to know how everything works in real life!) at the same time, so I’m really looking forward to finding out where my first layover will be! I’m hoping for an exotic destination somewhere hot, by the beach!

Now it’s time to get back to some more revision – at the moment I’m learning about Pre-Flight Checks. This basically means checking all the emergency equipment is available and in the correct place on board. We will all be asked questions on it tomorrow in our 15 minute brief at the beginning of the session, and then I think we are going to do decompression (loss of pressure in the cabin) in the simulator tomorrow – should be fun!

I can’t wait until we get our residency visas (hopefully in about 3 weeks time!) so we can finally get wifi in our flat – it’s so annoying having to come to the internet cafe any time I want to get on the computer!

Last weekend at home!

With only 3 days to go now (actually only 2 full days as I will be leaving early Friday morning) I definitely needed to make the most of my last weekend at home. A couple of weeks ago I decided to organise a little leaving party, and told my best friend Lucy about it. She lives in England, so she checked Ryanair flights and believe it or not booked them a few minutes later, for less than 40 Euros return! So this Saturday I drove to the airport (one thing I’m not going to miss – driving on snowy and icy roads!) and picked her up. In the evening a group of friends came round and we cooked Mexican food, and then all went out into town, where a whole load of other friends came and met us.
We had such a good night out and it was definitely a great way to say bye to all of my friends!

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The next day (surprisingly we weren’t as hungover as we were expecting to be!!) my mum drove us up to a place called Magdalensberg for a late lunch. There is an amazing restaurant/guesthouse on the top of this hill, which serves traditional Austrian food and is all family run. It was the perfect day to go up, as although it was pretty chilly the sun was out and there was a beautiful clear sky. 
As we were having our meal the sun was setting, we even went out between courses to take pictures of the sunset! 

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On Monday we decided to do some shopping! We wondered round the Christmas Market in my town, but it was too cold to stay outside for long. Both of us managed not to buy too much in the shops, I have been having to restrain myself from buying winter clothes by thinking about Dubai every time I see something I want!

In the evening one of my good friends from work arranged to go for drinks, and when we got there a whole group of others from work had come, which was a lovely surprise! They also got me a book called “1000 Places to see before you die” – I’m hoping my new job will help me do that!

Yesterday evening and this morning Lucy helped me sort out my clothes – 1 pile to take with me, 1 pile to give to charity and 1 pile to keep but not take with me. Somehow I have a feeling I’ll never wear the “keep but don’t take with me” pile again, but I can’t justify getting rid of over half of my wardrobe! I don’t even want to know how many pairs of shoes were thrown away!

This evening after taking Lucy back to the airport, I started on the packing. I honestly have no idea how I am going to fit everything in! I’m allowed 50kg, plus hand luggage. One of my suitcases is already over half full and pretty much all it has in is shoes and underwear! 
Here’s a picture of me squeezing into one of my suitcases!
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Well, this was quite a long post! The next time I write anything will probably be from Dubai! Only 2 full days left, when did this even happen! I’m so nervous and excited at the same time – it’s crazy!

Less than 3 weeks to go

So the past 2 days I spent some time staying with a good friend of mine called Iris and her boyfriend Claudio, who live in Graz, which is about a 1,5 – 2 hour drive away. They came and picked me up on Sunday evening and we drove to their flat, which I actually helped them paint a couple of months ago! 
Iris had the day off from uni on Monday, so we spent all day shopping! I love shopping with her, although somehow I always end up spending so much money! This time I did buy quite a few things, but I also managed to get all my Christmas presents (for mum, dad, and my two brothers) so that was very successful. One thing that I did treat myself to was a red lipstick from Chanel (ahhhh, so exciting – and it stays on so well!) as I will be wearing red lipstick every day once I move to Dubai. I also got a blazer and top for myself, but they were on sale so I just had to get them! 😉

Only 17 days left til I fly out! I can’t believe how quickly time flies, and I have so much left to do! I have started sorting out my room, and I have SO MUCH STUFF! I don’t know where half my things have come from or why I ever thought I would need them! I still need to pack up my bookshelves, decide what to do with all my old school stuff (which in reality I know I will never look at again, but it seems like such a waste to throw it all away!) and then the most important bit, start sorting out which clothes and shoes to take with me!
I also need to have a look and see if we have a suitcase that I can take; I have a really nice one which I’ll use for hand luggage, but I need 2 bigger ones for everything else. I will have 50kg luggage allowance so I need a big but light suitcase!

It’s really getting real now – I’m actually moving to Dubai!