After our experience with our last two flights, we decided that being at the airport well before time was a good idea. We had it all planned out, we’d drop Craig off at the terminal with Evie and all the bags, then I’d take Thea with me to drop off the rental car and take the bus back to the airport. It was a perfect plan.
The problem with plans is that they often get interrupted by life. In this instance, Craig got out of the car, took all the bags and also took the remote car key with him. I arrived at the rental car return lot as planned but realised with a sinking stomach that he had the key.
Thankfully the nice man at Avis took pity on me and drove me back to the terminal with Thea to collect the key. Then he took it back for us. So kind! (By the way, I highly recommend Avis for car rentals, the nicest company we have ever dealt with!)
Evie was yawning up a small storm as we waited at the check in counter. We had to check in to the SAS (Scandanavian Air Services) counters as Lufthansa operates a codeshare with them out of Copenhagen. Unfortunately, this meant that there was no leniency on our luggage. We had to pay $10NZ for a bag to put both our car seats in to avoid paying any more in excess baggage. This was despite no other airline complaining about our child-related items :-(.
Luck was on our side at security and we breezed through before our exhausted Evie finally got some shut-eye. Our flight was slightly delayed taking off but arrived mostly on time in Frankfurt.
Then we had 50 minutes to transfer to another terminal and go through passport control.
Of course, we managed to lose each other and our European sims weren’t working. It was a pretty stressful half an hour when I was uncertain if we were going to make our flight or not. Thankfully God works miracles and the flight was delayed by 15 minutes. We found each other using the handy free wifi at Frankfurt and Whatsapp and were in the queue for passport control by 3.55pm. Cleared by 4pm and at our gate by 4.05pm. Our flight was meant to be in the air at 4.10pm but thanks to the delay we were there on time. It also turned out that my wallet had slipped out of my pocket on the previous flight, or so the gate staff informed me. Someone hand-delivered it to us at the gate before we boarded our final flight of the day.
We arrived pretty travel worn but in mostly good spirits to London City airport at 5.45pm. If you have children you would know that with a 90-minute drive ahead of us across London in rush hour to our hotel we were not feeling great. Passport control took ages because we had to fill in an immigration form, the rental car company was a 15-minute walk pushing two well-laden trolleys with us and then it took another half an hour before we actually got our rental car. The rental car was with Europcar again and they charged us an extra 80 pounds for a bigger car (argh!).
We finally got on the road by 7pm and dashed into a nearby McDonalds on the way for an unhealthy but fast dinner. Now if you’ve been following this blog you will already know that Evie is not a car sleeper. Well, I am pleased to say that both the girls fell asleep about 20 minutes into our drive. The first time on this trip. We even high fived to celebrate.
Of course, it was short lived as Evie woke up crying and wanting milk. We fed her on a side road off the ring road we were following and she fell asleep again on me.
Feeling more confident we eventually made it to our apartment at the Staycity London aparthotel. I was stoked to find out that they not only did breakfast but also dinner for 23.50 pounds per day per adult and kids under 12 eat free. All I could think about was not having to go to the supermarket or cook, so it was a yes! The hotel staff were very lovely as well and the room was perfect.
Exhausted we got both girls up to the room and put them to bed. Once again God came through and they both stayed asleep!
We’d made the wise decision to pack two overnight bags so we could leave the rest of the luggage in the car.
After 17 hours of travelling, we finally put our heads down on a pillow and went to sleep.
The next day was full of plans for catching up with a few friends and enjoying our final full day in Europe.