8th and 9th December 2018 – flying east

As usual I arrived at the airport in more than sufficient time because I wasn’t sure about the taxi situation and the customs process. I should not have worried because the taxi trip was fast and fair from downtown Barcelona, and then I could immediately check in and head straight off for the Lufthansa Lounge – with the customs to happen at Frankfurt in Germany.  I sat sipping tea for a long while looking down onto a concourse.  Fascinated to see the smart move; staff on Segways to get around the cavernous airport.

We flew over the Mediterranean and crossed the French coast between Nice (on my right) and Marseilles to the left of the plane. Then the stunner – snow capped Alps then Jura then Vosges mountains.  Initially the mountains were comparatively low level and covered somewhat like peaked frosted icing on a cake. Then their height increased the further we went.  Startling and spectacular.  I think I spotted Mont-Blanc in the third photo.  IMG_6200.JPG

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IMG_6210.JPGFinally, the clouds removed my view. Only as we were coming into Frankfurt could I see the ground occasionally.  That’s when I realised, I had changed over from the flat roofs of Spain to the gabled and red and black roofs of parts of northern Europe. However, many of the houses I had become used to seeing in Spain were white blocks and those I looked down onto in Frankfurt were also white.

Frankfurt airport is large and complex and should be avoided if possible. Even though my connecting flight was in the same terminal it took me a brisk hard walk for a bit over half an hour to get to the new gate. The process was a smidgin less stressful than when I travelled to Barcelona; yesterday for some reason I never had my cabin luggage xrayed and checked.  Simple mercies.

Most travellers were Japanese so there was a wonderful Japanese menu on offer.  I had pre-ordered vegan and that was fine, but somehow the Japanese food looked more interesting.After two movies I decided it was time to sleep. Unfortunately, the bedding was so bad and hard that I simply couldn’t sleep so today I am taking it easy, unable to do much at all – quite bleary eyed.

I looked down and watched some of China whizzing past and then we flew over the bottom of South Korea before heading to Japan.  Once we were flying over some of Japan’s islands I was horrified.  Wherever there was a flat plain, with the exception of one small area that showed paddocks under crops, the land was covered with buildings – houses and industrial.  Everywhere as far as the eye could see.  Thousands on thousands. Built up. Land ‘reclaimed’ from the sea. All I could think was ‘awful’, isn’t this awful.  My dreams of quaint and tiny – well they might have been real in the 1970s if I had travelled here then, but they certainly had no chance of being real now.  I said to myself, a day in the airport will be enough for me!

Ros and Ian – I thought of you, and of Chikage still in Kobe.  The plane flew almost until it was over Kobe then conducted a sharp U-turn and headed for the airport; my arrival at Osaka and Kyoto’s Kensai International Airport (KIX) was predictably streamlined, and helpful people pointed me where I needed to go, and others provided useful information.  So, at this point, I would have to say my time in Japan has been stress free and it is a shame I am barely awake.

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