Comebacks and Second Chances

Would you like to know what is The Number One Question I get asked all the time? It is not “What’s this- water ?” (ok this was a crew joke and unless you’ve ever done a round of drinks you are not likely to understand it.) And strangely it is not “Where are you from?” (oh – how much has my life changed in just two years!). The one thing people always seem to want to know is how long am I “in it for and what’s next?”. How long am I gonna stay in Dubai and have I considered what I wanna do next? As if it is quite impossible to believe that I would want to stay in Dubai forever and fly until I can’t lift my cabin bag no more. 

Dubai is so conveniently located which is one of the reasons why the Airline I work for became so successful. It connects the East and the West, it makes travelling to and from Down Under so much more bearable and brings Asia to everybody’s doorstep. You can now take a flight that’s shorter than 6 hours from pretty much anywhere in Europe, spend a layover in the glorified Sandpit and travel on refreshed a couple of days later. Which is what everyone seems to be doing. The popular opinion is that none in Dubai is here for the long run. All of us expats have come for a more or less a layover that can sometimes last years – to have our fun, earn some tax-free cash, travel as much as we can whilst we have the rest of the world within our reach… and then eventually return back and start living the responsible life. Nobody moves to Dubai to establish themselves. Or do they? Having read back my latest post it occurred to me I could have left you feeling like I don’t particularly like living over here. Which would have been a very wrong impression. I love Dubai and my life here. I don’t love it all day every day. But I love it enough every day to consider it my home and staying here for as long as they would have me.  Not to mention the fact that -unlike many others- I don’t really have anywhere to go back to. See – I don’t do comebacks. When I left Czech all those years ago I always knew that was it. I was never to come back and live there. I do adore my country and I would proudly ramble on about its wonders to everyone who is or isn’t willing to listen. But it’s just not for me. Ever since I could remember I never saw myself actually spending my life in Czech – it was never even an option to consider. So I lived there for as long as I could take it or for as long as it was necessary to come up with a plan and then took off. I never looked back. I never doubted the decision to leave a respectable job in a respectable company where I was earning twice as much as anyone else my age that I knew (I was 22 then). My heart just wasn’t in it. My heart was in the hands of a guy I thought I loved then. So much I would have followed him anywhere in the world. Oh wait – I actually did that! Many years later this romantic affair has ended in a disaster but despite that or maybe just because of that I decided not to run back “home” and heal my wounds but to stay right where I was and make this new life work for me. And so somehow I found myself living in the UK and liking it. But me and the English don’t seem to agree with one another. My relationship with the country has followed the same pattern as the relationship with the guy – after being initially smitten with each other we started to see each other’s flaws in the everyday life’s light and slowly but surely we have come to a point where none of us could take it anymore. I was allergic to pretty much anything the country has laid my way and in return it seemed to have rejected me. I was ready to move on. The only issue was – I was much older than when I so carelessly thrown a great job opportunity away and followed my heart. I was worried. My life wasn’t going the direction I had wanted it to but I felt I was too scared to change it completely. And so I waited. And waited. And waited, For what I did not know. I think I was waiting for the brave 22 yo old girl to wake up in me and take charge of our live again. And as the time passed me by I started to realise that wasn’t going to happen. I was going to have to (wo)man up. And so I did and moved to the Middle East. When I told my family I didn’t get a single “Oh but..” not a single eyebrow was raised not even a little bit. They all knew just like myself that that’s the kinda person I am. The kinda person that takes “moving on” literally. And then up a notch. How was I feeling leaving the UK for Dubai? Relieved most of all. I have come to the end of the road and for all I knew I could never see myself coming back to live there. Because as I told you – I do not do comebacks. Ever. To anywhere. Or anyone.

And that’s where my job comes in. After more than 18 months of flying – it turns out not only do I do comebacks. I also give second chances. Who knew? I most certainly did not. August 2014 saw me give a lot of second chances. It had me coming back to many places I have visited and left behind before too. August 2014 has been one big learning curve, one big journey into the depth of my own self and mind you – it is still not over yet..

 

Exploring new places and flying to new destinations can be exciting… as much as it is tiring. Sometimes all I want from my roster is for it to be easy, short and familiar. And as Asian as possible. And my late summer roster has turned me into the Queen of Asia. Singapore, Bangkok, Shanghai, Hong Kong on top of Rome and Frankfurt. I could not have been happier or more familiar with any of them having visited all of these places at least 3 times before. Sometimes it is just so nice to know what to pack, where to go, what to eat and how to behave. It’s also nice to give another chance to a place I wasn’t too sure about. Like Singapore. It’s a great place no doubts about that. It’s just not the kinda place I thought I would ever want to visit again once I’ve seen it. Singapore is quite spectacular with its clean green and luscious streets, friendly people, big expensive cars and delicious food. It’s also a little too high maintenance for my liking. I feel like I should try hard and harder… like I can’t really let go and be myself in a place that has literally made it to the top of world’s capitols. I always feel a little lost when in Singapore. And as I was wondering and wandering in the SinCity I suddenly found the one spot I needed to calm my slightly agitated senses. I little beach bar on the Sentosa Island. A piece of heaven. A sanctuary. The Bikini Bar. Where they played good music, served mean frozen Margaritas and I could read my book undisturbed. And just like that Singapore and I became friends for life. Because as it turns out I don’t need that much to be friendly. Just a little time and space to be myself…

 

The Bikini Bar

                       The Bikini Bar

 

As for the other comebacks I have mentioned – well not much new has gone down in Bangkok and even less so in Shanghai. And I’m not about to bore you to death talking about my massages . I guess one very successful return I should tell you about was to the Friday Brunch at the Atlantis hotel – the crime scene of my mad birthday bash back in January which I have still not been able to blog about… Some stories should remain untold. There was no particular occasion to celebrate this time apart from Salma coming back to Dubai and with the pressure off we simply let go and enjoyed ourselves to the fullest. And Saffron has not disappointed us.

Brunch in Jan

           Brunch in Jan

Brunch in Aug.. same same

Brunch in Aug.. same same

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OK- this post could go on for hours. Yes I indeed have so much on my chest about second chances and comebacks. But I’m gonna spare you this time since I also want to tell you about a few first times I have gone thru in the past month or so… Y’all just wait :)!

Lots of love 

G. 

My May Loving

May 2014 was or still is my Top bid. Which in crew speak means that I get the chance to ask the Roster Gods to give me exactly what I want from them. And if they are in a particularly good mood I may also get it. And in May 2014 the Roster Gods were very happy with me. So happy I’d call May not only my Top Bid but also my Top Month so far.

I have started off the May loving in the most fantastic fashion – in Shanghai out of all places! You guys all know how special Shanghai has always been to me. It was after all my first ever flight as an air hostess. Coming back after more than a year full of travelling, full of irreplaceable memories, full of experiences I still felt as starstruck as I did when I first laid my eyes upon that vast city. I thought that enough shopping has been done the first time around and so this I have opted for some sightseeing. Couple of other girls and I decided to take a river tour and since we were in China where none has never needed or will ever need to speak English there was no English tour to choose. s=So we wet for the Chinese one. Ehm… The view was very nice. I’m not quite sure what I got to see but it all looked lovely. After that we stopped in a botanical garden for some tea and played around with a couple of Chinese toddlers that found us all as interesting as we found them.

Melon on a Chopstick

Melon on a Chopstick

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River tour

River tour

Not even two days after I left my Chinese home away from home I was already enjoying the first rays of spring sunshine in my “real” home – Prague. It was the 8th of May, which is a bank holiday in Czech and so I didn’t have to waste time waiting around for my sister to finish work. By the time our crew bus reached the hotel she was already patiently waiting in the lobby. Since the weather was as glorious as it gets this early in May we just casually strolled around chatting, stopping for food, enjoying each other’s company and just generally having a great time. We discovered a few new hangouts – one of them cooking some real mean czech cuisine and another one that’s so cool you gotta bring a woolly jumper to stand it ! If you ever find yourself in Prague go and have a milkshake in the James Dean bar just off the Old Town Square. It’s a little pricier than what one would expect from a Czech bar but totally worth it. The ambience is fantastic and you get a service with an attitude included in your tip 🙂 I wasn’t overly sad having to leave Prague since I knew I had another two coming up later in May.IMG_0626 IMG_0682 IMG_1131

hashtag selfie square

hashtag selfie square

But not before what I like to call My Milan New York Fussing Week. Yes, yes. It’s that 6-day trip that all crew are dying for. The timings, the destinations, the length of the flights, the customers…. It’s a crew dream in a box. With a cherry on top. And luckily I got to try it before it disappears from the Airline’s schedule.  I have to admit that all I did the first day in Milan was listening to music and eating a lot of pizza. It was just one of those days where I felt too lazy to even comb my hair. So when it was time to meet the crew for some dinner I just pulled it back into a ponytail. Over tea we met the crew that just came back from New York and it turned out I knew a few of them from my previous flights so we sat down for some more drinks and laughter until early morning hours. And then it was time to fly back to my own personal paradiso – New York, New York ! In a few year’s time when I’m happily married to a very rich handsome man I’ll casually ask him if he “could be a total darling a buy me a little pad in NYC so I could have a place on my own for little getaways from the kids once in a while”. Preferably somewhere down the 5th Av. facing the Central Park. You know – to keep the spark 🙂 !

I spent way to much in NYC. Energy, wooing and money. But I have no regrets. There is just something about that place that makes one wanna enjoy all of it to the fullest! You may remember that last time I set my foot in Manhattan was for NYE. It was bitterly cold and raining back then. Well… it wasn’t too cold this time. But it did rain a lot. But honestly – I couldn’t care less. I got up so early I had to wait an hour for the breakfast buffet to open. The last meal I had was back in Italy so I must have looked real graceful wolfing down my strawberry pancakes. What a lady! When I consumed enough food to feed a family of four I borrowed a massive black umbrella that I was bound to forget in the first shop and headed to the Central Park. My original plan was to go jogging there but Dubai got me too spoiled. I don’t jog in the rain anymore. It’s bad for… the knees …:) To shut up my guilty conscious I decided to at least walk quickly. After  a few hour that I got lost and found again in the Central Park I noticed shops were starting to open so I headed back to the 5th Avenue. There – as predicted – I managed to lose the umbrella and spent an unforgivable amount of money. I’m truly hopeless when it comes to New York shopping 🙂IMG_1050 IMG_0860IMG_0862 IMG_0859 IMG_0812 IMG_0861 IMG_0852

Back in Milan the jet lag was starting to kick in. In combination with my annual hay fever that got even worse in the States I was one tired snotty mess. But I wasn’t gonna let that put me down. The weather outside was so sunny and bright I just had to make the most of it. So I boarded one of my least favourite means of transport – an Italian train – and headed direction Lake Como. The hotel is about 5k away as the crow flies… yet it took us hour and a half to get there. Well- such is life. I could see that the girls I dragged out with me were just about to start b*tching when we got there. And suddenly all the sorrows, all the tiredness, everything was forgotten. Lake Como is stunningly beautiful. It’s everything you want an Italian lake to be- and then some more ! We sat down for some food, some wine and a lot of attention from male Italian by-passers …. and we thoroughly enjoyed all of it. I made a mental note that when I mention to my future rich handsome husband my appartement on the 5th I mustn’t forget about a holiday house at Como too. For the family you know !:) IMG_0870 IMG_0986 IMG_0969 IMG_0985

Coming to Dubai I had a week of back to back turn arounds to “look forward to”. Thankfully to ease to pain I was kidnapped to Abu Dhabi for an overnight stay in … well heaven:). I have to say it made the next couple of days of little sleep and a lot of flying much more bearable.IMG_1034

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Beach time

Beach time

After the four flights that turned out to be much less painful than expected I was bound for Prague once again. Particularly excited this time around as my Mum, that hates any kind of travelling was meeting me there. Everybody kept asking whether she was elder my sister which says a lot about her night cream … or very little about mine. I wanted to make her stay special since I missed her b-day last month so I took her to all the nicest places I could think of. We ended the day in a spectacular fashion – in an Opera House. I have been going to opera since I was about 12-yo. It’s a passion my Nanna passed onto me. My Mum however has never been. I saw it as a sign then when I noticed that my favourite Verdi’s masterpiece ever was on that night- La Traviata. I have seen it about 8 times already. And for the 9th time – it was as amazing as ever!IMG_1102

One quick flight over to Dubai, one day by the beach, one night out with my gurls, one night dog sitting and I was checking in at the Prague hotel again. The receptions asked why I haven’t left my suitcase in the room at the beginning of the month and made it easier for myself… She was right:) It was Mummy’s time two days earlier and now it was all about Daddy. Not only because he is the best Daddy. But also because it was his birthday! I missed Papi’s big day last year so this time we made sure to celebrate in style. Him and my stepmum have only recently joined the world of smart phones and social media and so all of our moves and mischiefs have been documented, posted and checked in. So cute! They are growing up so fast ! Next thing you know they will be tweeting!IMG_1275 IMG_1297 IMG_1279

I have just woken up from the longest and much needed sleep of this month. May has been amazing but very hectic and fantastically busy. I couldn’t have asked for a better and sweeter month of love! I’m now -more than ever- ready for my reserve month which I have been scheduled for June. It can bring me anything and so I’m -as always- hoping for the best.

Please Love ME

Please Love ME

Sleepy time

Sleepy time

I laughed so frigging hard

I laughed so frigging hard

 

Love and hugs

x

G.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flying High Flying Low

Flying high is something I enjoy to the fullest -both in life and at work. Is there a better feeling than being so high up in the sky it seems impossible I’m just a mere human being and not some kind of a goddess-like creature? And flying low … well flying low makes me appreciate the small wonderful things in life and in the world that I sometimes overlook. See- when I fly high over the tops of the highest mountains and all I can see is the vast endless blue sky it’s so easy to forget about the world down below and how much beauty it holds.

Most of you already know me as a person that strives to be happy. Always. And I’m doing a pretty good job. But sometimes I have to come down from the heights of Mount Bliss and fly low for a while. Because that’s life isn’t it? And one of those whiles lasted a bit longer than I intended a couple of weeks back. And I realised that to get back up I was gonna need some new fresh fuel. In the shape of my sweetest sister. And so I played the carefree “drop everything you are doing and come to Dubai at once” card and went all in. And it paid off. We have spent a wonderful week full of laughter, food and shishas and by the time she left I was feeling invincible again. She is a true blessing of my life !

And here is the more or less edited Story of our Sisterly Shenanigans :

She is here !

She is here !

Nela is not what I ‘d call a frequent flyer. She is more of what I’d call a nervous flyer. So to make sure the flight was as comfortable as possible I let the operating crew know what treasure they were about to carry that day. And they made me proud. As I picked her up she was giddy – not only from the first class champagne she was treated to but also from all the caring attention she was given. And once again I was feeling grateful for all the opportunities my job gives me to make the people I love happy. And we have only just started !

I took her home and let her rest for a couple of hours before I whisked her off to the pool to start off our homeliday (holiday at home:) with a swim under the watchful eye of the Burj Khalifa. She was happy enough to paddle there for the rest of the day but I had an agenda we absolutely had to adhere to. And so we had a massive breakfast in the public extension of my living room – Le PQ and off we were to the beach. I didn’t think Nela was quite ready to experience the public one so we ventured all the way to the Marina to chill out at Barasti. And chill we did. So much and so hard we nearly missed the birkam yoga that was next on the list. My poor little sister ! She had already taken in more heat in the past 12 hours than she had in the entire past 12 months. By the end of the 90 min session she was as worn out as pair of athlete’s socks. But the day was far from over ! My sis couldn’t have stayed oblivious to the fact that I live in a walking distance from the world’s biggest mall. And so that’s where I took her. And that’s where she – having seen it in all it’s might and glory – had fallen in love with the Burj. Ever since then everywhere we went she I had to point her to the direction of it (in case she wasn’t able to see it herself). We watched the fountain show, we ate, we watched some more fountain shows and then when we could barely walk any longer we headed home.

Lift selfie.. first one of many

Lift selfie.. first one of many

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L<3 ve vole

L<3ve 

Next day after the obligatory morning swim it was time for some more beach living – we put our swag on, slipped into the roller skates and left the SZR behind once again. The beautiful thing about Dubai is that nobody skates around here. And so – this early in the morning we had the roads to ourselves. We skated for hours, we dodged a few jellyfish, we burnt in the sun … and then we still had most of the day to spend smoking shisha, eating and endlessly chatting. Oh how beautiful life can be !

LIfe with you is so dope

LIfe with you is so dope

Sistas on da beach

Sistas on da beach

 

What else did we do ? We rented bikes and cycled around the Marina. We sweated our asses off in the Miracle Gardens of Dubai. We went to the Palm to see world’s most crowded aquarium. We ate like crazy. We smoked more shisha. We tanned some more. We went to my favourite park in the entire world. And we had so much fun! It was amazing being able to share some of my everyday life with one the most important person to me. I wish I could have kept her here forever but the week just flew by and before we knew it was time for her to go back. Luckily enough I have been rostered Prague three times in May and one of them is tomorrow!!!

renting a bike they said. easy they said

renting a bike they said. easy they said

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Zaroobabes

Zaroobabes

UR so beautiful

UR so beautiful

I'm skilled at taking selfies   doing whatever

I’m skilled at taking selfies doing whatever

IMG_9887

Another lift selfie? Just shoot me already

Another lift selfie? Just shoot me already

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Al Safa

Al Safa

Last Dinnah

Last Dinnah

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Gimme that meat !

Gimme that meat !

Seeing her off

Seeing her off

The last evening's selfie

The last evening’s selfie

Fly high , fly low, be happy and let life go. It always seems to know the right way !

x

G.

 

 

Lucky Number 215

I generally consider myself a very lucky person. I live for free in a place that is for many the ultimate dream holiday spot. My job is essentially as heavenly as a job can get. I spend my free time either sleeping, eating, chatting to one of the precious people I can proudly call my friends or the combination of all of the above.

Life Is What You Make It

Life Is What You Make It

Sometimes I get so caught up in the bliss of my everyday life that I tend to forget to appreciate it fully. So from time to time I get to experience moments that leave me speechless and beyond grateful . Like last month in LA . Oh – yeah I forgot to mention. I flew to LA. And it was great. Amazing. Fantastic. Fabulous. So much better than I have ever imagined it. So good that as my wake up call was approaching all I wished for was the chance to stay longer and enjoy more of it. And that’s when my good omen kicked in.

I woke up expecting to put on my uniform, shut my suitcase close and take off direction Dubai. But instead the hopeful red light was flashing on the room phone and when I pressed it I heard the most amazing voice mail of my life :

“Your wake up call has been postponed for at least another local night .”

Thanks to the foggy weather in Dubai that delayed some of my flying friends by hours and hours and stranded the others in more of less desirable places across the globe I got to spend three happiest days in L.A. All expenses paid. With a cherry on top :).

First time seeing the Pacific

First time seeing the Pacific

Most of the crew flying with me have -just like myself- never been to California before. So the first day most of us agreed to book a tour and see all the local attractions people are always after. The Hollywood sign. The Avenue of Stars. Beverly Hills. Rodeo Drive. Santa Monica. The New Port Beach. The enjoyed all of it. I was living my Californian dream to the fullest with the sun shining bright and high and everybody flashing their broad american smiles. I was in awe of New York when I first got there. But I BELONGED to L.A the moment I laid my eyes upon it. It felt like finding a long-lost home honestly.

Rodeo Drive

Rodeo Drive

Stars

Stars

one day...

one day…

902 10

902 10

Chuck and I

Chuck and I

IMG_7628

HappyHolly In Hollywood

HappyHolly In Hollywood

Especially when I took out the roller blades that I brought with me all the way from Dubai and headed for the beach. Some of my new friends came with me, rented bikes and we cruised up and down for miles and miles passing all the other bikers, runners, walkers and holiday makers. Then we purchased cold beverages and hot dogs, sat on the beach and just chilled watching these weird tiny little birds running into and away from the tide. They kept us entertained for hours! IMG_7732 IMG_7828 IMG_7804

My absolutely favourite place in L.A. must have been this outdoor farmer’s market called The Groove. It was crammed with people craving all the yummy food you could get there – everything from a fresh fish chowder to an organic chocolate covered beans. Whoever says that the Americans have no culture where food is involved has evidently never been to The Groove. It was most definitely one of the top ten taste bud enticing spot I have ever been to. I wished I was a cow and had three stomachs just so I could fit in more food… Not the first time that has happened to me either… 🙂 IMG_7649 IMG_7680IMG_7645 IMG_7682

I also went shopping because that’s an absolute must when in the States. Have you ever seen the prices of clothes and sportswear out there? My jaw literally dropped when the cashier announced the final price.

“Are you from Europe?” he asked

“Yup” I said

“Thought so. We usually get this reaction from you Europeans.” he replied wisely.

My bank card got a good work out that day but I came back to the hotel with a brand new skiing outfit that I’m absolutely IN LOVE with (and got to use immediately after the L.A. trip and you can read about it here) , entire running outfit and much much more. So much more I had to ask one of my colleagues to lend me some space in her suitcase since I just couldn’t fit it all in. Yes. I have a problem. I know.

I HAD to buy it

I HAD to buy it

That unexpected turn of events ate into my annual leave but to be completely honest I couldn’t care less. That one extra day in Cali already felt like a wonderful holiday !

x

G.

Ab und zu Musik (und Wifi Pausen)

Have I ever mentioned I studied at a German high school? Well if I haven’t yet I have now. It was nothing fancy really – I went thru the same shitty adolescent traumas and had the very same complexes as any of you had. Only I did all of it in a foreign language.

It really explains a lot. For example why I struggle so much with geography – capitals in particular. I know most of them in German and many of them in English. However when it comes to having to name them in Czech I’m lost. The same goes for history. I can have a fairly long conversation about all kinds of religious bans of the 16th century but do not recognise any single treaty in my native language. Not that it has ever stopped me from enjoying my life but I’m just saying that my 15-year-old brother could be a better history teacher than I would ever be. And don’t even get me started on literature. I doubt you could have found a teenager who was better informed about Reiner Maria Rilke’s life than myself. I also knew “Die Loreley” by heart. In German. I don’t even think the native Germans know that…

I was pretty decent at speaking German. Never really reached the top of my class tho. That spot was occupied by one person only. Rudi. The guy we all hated because speaking German came so naturally to him. No wonder since he grew up in Germany… Where we (well me particularly) struggled with articles, syntax and cases he excelled and very humbly so. As I said – we all(me particularly) hated him. But high schools tend to last forever – especially the ones where you are not very popular. Mine lasted for about a decade. His for about a week. And in that decade the guy I hated so much, mainly because he was so popular and clever and annoyingly nice and modest about all of it,  became my best friend. Now 13 years,5 countries, one marriage on his side and countless more or less successful relationships on my side later – we still talk every day like nothing has changed. IMG_8370

Couple of weeks back during one of our discussions about the unbearable lightness of being out of the blue we decided to go skiing together. One of the best decisions I have made this year! It was all “planned” so quickly we didn’t really know where or for how long to go but we decided to just wing it. After all – the main point was to spend some time together !

So I got onto the first flight out of Dubai and flew right into my lovely sister’s warm embrace. She really is the best sis anyone could ever ask for! We never argue . Like NEVER ever. And even tho she is just 12 months and 2 weeks younger she always admires and praises everything I do and that gives me this amazing feeling of being old and wise and experienced and shit … and my ego just loves that! So I spent a few days in the best place on Earth= among my beloved ones and then packed my spanking new backpack (yes it took me whole 28 years but I now own a backpack!) and headed to the second best place on Earth – Moravia. If you don’t know where or what Moravia is then look it up. It’s the place where we brew the best beer, cook the best food and grow the best people with the widest smiles and biggest hearts. Full stop.

Nelly my beautiful soul-mate

Nelly my beautiful soul-mate

I boarded Rudi’s brand new Seat Ibiza and we embarked on what shall be remembered by generations to come as “The Most Musically Charged Road Trip Ever”. Like honestly. See for yourself(it would take me another day to change the format of all the vids -which I will eventually do but I just wanna publish this post now so if you wanna see all the crazy singalongs we got up to then visit my Instagram page). The only time we wouldn’t sing would be when we ate. Or talked. Which we did A LOT of. We haven’t seen each other for only a month but a) sometimes A LOT can happen within a month and b) I was under very strong painkillers last time we spoke and didn’t remember A LOT of what has been said back then. And so we headed south past Brno, past Vienna direction Salzburg and even further…

Backpack selfie

Backpack selfie

this pretty much set the mood of the entire trip

this pretty much set the mood of the entire trip

standard ...

standard …

when I said music I meant digital love...

when I said music I meant digital love…

There were only a few occasions when we didn’t sing, talk or eat. We called those occasions “WiFi Pause”. There seems to be free WiFi everywhere nowadays in Austria (well everywhere but in the apartment we had rented but let me get to that). And I need WiFi like I need the breathing air. Because I’m a cabin crew and WiFi is my only stable connection with everyone I want to stay connected with. Get over it. And spare me the ” social media addiction” talk. I know about that. C’mon let’s face it – we all have it. Even Rudi does . We didn’t need to tell each other about the WiFi availability. If one of us fell silent for more than it takes to take a breath the other one would know. And connect as well. Then eventually once we resurfaced from the depths of Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp we would continue our journey. Until the next “WiFi Pause”.

The only time we stopped for other reason than WiFi was in Salzburg. The birthplace of Mozart. I have been once before ages ago with my dad and remembered it to be quite the beautiful place. And it still was. We walked down the ancient streets, stopping in the weirdest souvenir shops, taking heaps of pictures and eventually finding a small cafe that had it all – decaf coffee, Sacher Torte, WiFi and accessible electric plugs (my iPhone battery ran flat by then).

I love your duck(face)

I love your duck(face)

Salzburg

Salzburg

The world is your oys... egg

The world is your oys… egg

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Next morning – as a courtesy of my US jetlag- I was up at such an indecent morning hour I felt ashamed of myself. I let Rudi sleep for exactly as long as it took me to braid my hair but then I was much too hungry and excited to be quiet any longer. We enjoyed our first and obviously amazing Austrian breakfast (I love Austria for many many MANY reasons but its food is always gonna be number one) and set off direction Kaprun and its glacier – Kitzsteinhorn! Everything went so smoothly we were up at the very top before 11 am. The weather conditions weren’t so great that day. It was cloudy, foggy and cold but I haven’t skied on a real snow for over 2 years and couldn’t care less. Towards the end of the afternoon the fog has lifted a bit and we finally saw a part of the glacier in all its might and glory. And what a view it was !IMG_8160 IMG_8252 IMG_8171 IMG_8179 IMG_8164 IMG_8190 IMG_8251 IMG_8208 IMG_8204

I insisted to stay till the very end and as we took the last lift up to the top we managed to be the first ones following a group of snow groomers. What a spectacular end to our day ! As we made our way back to the valley I was itching for some WiFi and couldn’t wait to share my feelings online tugged from the comfort of my bed. What a nasty surprise it was when I found out the only place I could connect (and very poorly so) was in the hall leaning against the front door. To make it even harder for me to swallow Rudi could – of course- connect from everywhere including the toilet. It was a dark place I found myself in believe me!

yes... I text a Lot... I geddit !

yes… I text a Lot… I geddit !

That's my WiFi Ecke !!

That’s my WiFi Ecke !!

I took my revenge on him when I woke him up at 6am the next day *insert evil laughter here*. We indulged in more Brotchen mit Nutella and made it to the pistes before 8.40. It was as if the Alps decided to make up for the previous day and reward us for our early start. If you ever wondered what “Das Kaiserwetter auf der Piste” looks like well have a look :IMG_8273 IMG_8281 IMG_8289 IMG_8321 IMG_8339 IMG_8357 IMG_8334 IMG_8294

Knackered but happy

Knackered but happy

Knackered but happy

Knackered but happy

ginger beard

ginger beard

Frozen

Frozen

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It was Rudi’s first time in the Alps and we couldn’t have asked for a better way to experience it. We had it all- bad weather, great weather, food, drinks, music, fun, apres ski… and WiFi.

I’m now back in Dubai, having flown in from Vienna last night. I still have a few days off before I start off my next roster by my first few turn arounds in ages. But better not think about those. I’m concentrating on the rest of the month which is about to be pretty awesome – I’m off to Bangkok next week, I will be visiting Canada for the first time and crossing off yet another one of my childhood dreams – seeing the Niagara Falls- from my list. That’s not all tho – The Gods of Rostering have been very generous indeed and very casually scheduled me a Prague flight later in March. And to wrap it all up I have a long and wonderful Oz and Nz trip right at the end. Life is a bliss if you ask me !

Love to all

x

G.

Flying with Friends

Hullo my pets!

Guess what? You darling redhead blogger has been officially flying for a WHOLE frigging year! Are you finding it as hard to believe as I am? Some of you have been with me this entire time since the very start some of you joined just recently but still guys – what a year this one has been huh?! I have taken you with me everywhere I went. You guys tried all the delicious food I ate (wait – why is it just me who gained weight then ?! So not fair!:) and jogged using my poor little legs around Europe, Asia, Australia, USA and Africa . Together we have taken off and landed hundreds of times and went to sleep in so many different beds that if I wasn’t cabin crew I would have to be a… ehm… nevermind :). I feel like every each one of you is a very dear friend of mine and I hope those feelings are mutual.

My Dubai

My Dubai

I’m not in this for the fame or the big bugs (however if any of that comes I won’t refuse:) I blog because I love to talk and I love to share my self-proclaimed wisdom. But I never ever imagined that having a blog will bring so many new and amazing people into my life. Some of you I have had the pleasure of meeting randomly – one of the proudest moments of my life was when I was sat having a coffee with Ryan in the HQ and this girl comes to me and goes:

“OMG Gabby- it’s you ! I loOoOove your blog- I even commented on it a couple of times!”

Ryan’s jaw dropped and I felt so damn special ! That girl was Carmen, who joined a couple of month after me. I have met her a few times since then – at the pool, in a club .. the usual locations of the Dubai expat scene:) Then there is Kamila, a fellow Czech blogger  and my Shangri-la buddy. Her Instagram posts always tickle my taste buds… and my wallet 🙂 Kamila is not ONLY Czech she is also Moravian – which is far more important! I just love listening to her broad accent that takes me a decade back to the times when I still lived and studied in Moravia. She is as close to home as Dubai gets.

My Dubai

My Dubai

Some of you I have flown as passengers – like Noemi for example, whose blog I have been following long long looooong time before I got this job and moved to the Middle East. This time around it was my turn to feel starstruck ! I have read EVERY single post she ever wrote(it dates about 5 years back) and I still remember how very proud I felt when she started following “Journey” and even commented a few times! So  I was casually strolling thru the isle of my flight to Athens when I noticed her sitting in my area. I thought ” no- this can’t be !”. Then I did that very conspicuous turn that only flight attendants are capable of and walked past her again looking right at her quizzically. I have no idea how she hasn’t noticed because everybody else has done and they all must have thought she is in a big trouble. I wanted to make this meeting as special for her as it was for me so I went to business and asked my colleagues for some sweet treats and gathered all of my courage to approach her. It was so bizarre and yet so very amazing! 

My world

My world

 

And then there is a very particular few of you. The few ones that have a blog of their own, are also cabin crew and above all I have flown with. Greta for starters. Greta is an Aussie from Perth (which as you all know is my second home – at least according to my rosters:) and I have “known” her for quite a long time thru her blog and Instagram. Then one day I looked at my roster and there she was. Flying with me to Paris on Xmas day! You know about my trip to Paris already – I spent it all with my sis so I didn’t get much time to get to know Greta as I would have liked to but from the time we did spend together I can honestly tell you she is absolutely lovely – exactly as she comes across in her posts. She is also as obsessed otaku as her Instagram shows 🙂 (Btw Gretz- I went to see Frozen and I know you won’t agree but I prefer Anna to Elsa… and I also hope your back is getting better!)

And Doyle. I have been not so secretly in love with Doyle’s I-gram and keep bragging on about it to everybody, who is willing to listen. I’m a huge fan of visuals. That’s why I love pictures. And Doyle’s pictures are truly something! Go check it out please! Plus he is very strong visual experience himself :p) Yes – there I said it Doyle :)) I have just flown with him- we did a long flight Down Under together. It’s a four day trip to Sydney and onwards to Auckland and back again. We have had plenty of time to chat in the first class galley ( hahahaha first time I made friends with the first class class crew at all actually they aren’t usually very approachable- ops did I say that out loud?:) I have to say – apart from being in love with him and his pictures I also love his outlook on life and how very loudly he thanks everybody for everything! So Doyle – THANK YOU it was lovely flying with you 🙂 .

I hope to meet many more of you in the future y’all seem to be such an interesting bunch

Till then just keep on reading

x

G.

 

Viva La Barca !

I started February in a pretty spectacular way. Flew the very first A380 ever to one of the cultural capitols of Europe – Barcelona. As a passenger. This is pretty much how it happened. I had few days off the start of the month. The weather was what us Dubaians call “sh*t” – meaning the temperature wouldn’t rise above 22 degrees and it overcast most of the time… And I was bored off my head being buried in books whilst studying for my annual recurrent tests in order to renew  my flying licence. So when one of my very good friends suggested I accompany him on his flight to Barcelona I jumped at the opportunity like it was freshly baked chocolate cake with cream on top. I have been once before about a century ago with my mum and all I could remember was how beautiful Barca seemed to me back then. IMG_7550

The first A380 crew to Barcelona... and I was there to document it! Talking about proud moments of my career !

The first A380 crew to Barcelona… and I was there to document it! Talking about proud moments of my career !

And I wasn’t disappointed this time around. I spent the flight over on my Mac reading the manuals over and over. One of the many perks of flying standby and having a friend working in a premium class is getting spoiled rotten with sweets and endless cups of delicious tea and coffee. I couldn’t have asked for a better, more serene and comfortable place to study. In those mere 7 hours I was able to drill in more than in the past few days I spent trying to concentrate on reading in Dubai collectively.

Not the worst of study rooms... :)

Not the worst of study rooms… 🙂

We landed in Barcelona on a lovely crisp winter morning and it felt damn good not to be absolutely exhausted for once. I was ready to venture out and explore. The Captain was nice enough to let me ride the crew bus with the rest of the operating crew to the hotel . After only a year of flying I was surprised how many of the my colleagues I have either met or flown with before. Seems like the flying community of 17 odd thousands crew is a very small one after all.

My friend and I dropped the suitcases and headed to the city centre. The hotel is right by the beach which also sounded very tempting however it was still the 1st of February and despite the sun shining we were both freezing our butts off. Barcelona is extremely easy to navigate in. It took us about half a minute to figure the metro system out and even less to get to where everything happens – to Las Ramblas aka the main street of Barca. I asked my Catalonian friend who operated the flight as well what is The Thing to do when in Barcelona. She said “Eat as much jamon as you can”. So we did. We ate delicious seafood paella, jamon, drank wine – well my friend did and I watched – we strolled the wonderful streets, ate some more, shopped for useless and overpriced keepsakes and generally had a great time. Then it got way too cold and we wen back to the hotel.. Well – what can I say after a year of living in the desert I’m simply not used to bitterly cold winter evenings anymore. IMG_7512 IMG_7521 IMG_7524 IMG_7517 IMG_7530 IMG_7518

I got up extra early the morning enjoying the fact I don’t need to rest before the flight. Met up with my friend and we ventured out for a morning walk. Just in time to find a small cosy caffè opening its doors to all the early morning birds craving a cuppa coffee. We indulged ourselves in even more delicious food – this time a steaming cup of hot chocolate as thick as soup and a basket of fresh croissants to dip in (so here goes the reason why I outgrew most of my jeans recently:). It must have been to sweetest breakfast I have ever had. After having walked for a bit more my friend headed back to bed to rest and I decided to work off some of the consumed calories – got changed and went for a run on the beach.

OMG! Ok – I have had my chance to run literally around the world. I go running on most of my layovers and the settings are usually pretty decent… then there are a few that are spectacular. And then there is Barca. Quite possibly the most amazing jogging “facility” I have ever had the pleasure of using. The promenade keeps on going for miles and miles following a beautifully kept white sand beach. Every half a mile there is a work-out station targeting a different part of your body. There are water fountains all over to quench your thirst. There is the omnipresent sun shining. And most of all there are crowds of sports enthusiasts jogging, walking, playing football, practising yoga and generally exercising all along. The overall atmosphere is just so amazing – it really pushes you to keep on going that little further. IMG_7546 IMG_7537IMG_7542

I got back to the hotel completely besotted by my experience. By the time I reached my room I came up with about 5 different plans how to marry a Spaniard and end up staying in Barcelona forever. It was with a heavy heart that I left this amazing city to go back to Dubai to study and “Jump and slide” once again. One day Barca – I promise we shall be reunited !

Love and hugs

x

Gabs

Seoul Searching …

My Airline has not been sending me to the Far East very much of late. Ok – I have had more Manila flights than I could possibly ever care for (more on that later) but the Philippines are not the right kind of “asian”. By that I mean not the kind that I love. Like China or Viet Nam for example.

That’s why I was very excited when I found out I was about to go to Korea in December. Everybody was telling me that since I like China I’ll ADDORE Korea. And all of them were right. I totally did!

Seoul was a very special layover. In the same way that Shanghai has been back in March. Somehow I just know I will never forget about it. Thankfully it’s one of those longer and “social” layovers when crew feel the need to come down and mingle. Possibly also because there is nothing quite like going out in Asia. I’m telling you guys the nightlife is just INSANE! And addictive… You will try it once and will never want to give it up.

We started the night off typically Korean – gorging on some amazing BBQ. Never heard of it? No neither have I till I tried it. The BBQ restaurants are absolutely genius – conveniently placed on every corner in Seoul. All you need to do is walk in and wait to be seated. You get a “table” within minutes, sometimes you gotta wait a little before it gets prepared for its new occupants. What do I mean by “getting prepared”. See – the Korean BBQ is not a restaurant per se… You get to cook your own food yourself. There is a massive hot place placed in the middle of each “table” ( looking a little like the swiss raclette) which you get to use to your own liking. You get to pick your own meat and/or veggies to grill just as you like it. Plus you get an unlimited supply of sauces, rice and spices. As I said – genius! It’s quick, delicious and costs absolutely nothing…IMG_6768

Later that night -after a few drinks in the hotel lobby- some of us decided to head out and party. As we were leaving the hotel Korea gave me yet another reason to love it – it has started to snow! I don’t need to fill you on the details of our night out in the Gangnam District do I? Did you know Koreans love hip-hop? Did you know they were snapbacks AND suits? Did you know guys dance more than girls? All I need to say is that Asia and its club scene has not let me down once again! I had a great time and so so so much fun with my colleagues. We were quite the distraction being the only non-Koreans in the clubs and I can assure you that many pictures of us have been taken… But I guess it wouldn’t be the real Asia if that didn’t happen:). IMG_6759 IMG_6769

The next morning I beat my hangover to it and left to Seoul-search before it managed to fully start. I wanted to walk and see as much as I physically could and I did. I returned to the Gangnam district and explored it from left to right and bottom to top.It is a truly amazing place -not solely for its fantastic shops but I have to admit that the Underground Market is very impressive. I resisted to spend ALL of my money and only spent some – and that was mostly on gifts for others rather than for myself. Korea is famous for its skin product-well I fear I still wouldn’t know the difference between a hydrating and a firming face cream if my life depended on it- and gadgets. And you should already know how I feel about gadgets. IJUSTLOVETHEM! So I couldn’t leave empty-handed… However I believe my purchase was very justified since I have used it every single layover since ICN. I bought a polaroid camera. I sure still use my IPhone a lot but there is a certain charm to the instant photo you get to hold immediately and stick up on your wall as soon as you get back home…

the beauty of polaroid snaps

the beauty of polaroid snaps

the beauty of polaroid snaps

the beauty of polaroid snaps

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South Korea has definitely lived up to my expectations. I would love to go back if only for that great BBQ 🙂

Love

x

G.

Listen To Your…

…body. If not then at least listen to your best friend. They usually know what’s best for your body. How do I know that? Well that’s a funny story. If you wanna know more – then just sit back and read on.

So I flew to Kuala Lumpur again a couple of days back. You may remember that my first layover in KL wasn’t all that exciting. Well – the second one has definitely made up for it. That one singular trip has given me enough excitement for months of flying. The flight over has not gone as well as I would have wished but I guess after a year of successful flights I was bound to have a… ehhm how to best put it .. let’s say a “challenging” one. I landed and all I could think of was a nice cold drink and a good company. A good company has thankfully been already taken care of as one of my best friends was operating with me that day. And a cold drink was at hand as soon as we reached our hotel. Ok – I may have had a few more than just one. But in my defence… I really had one helluva day that day.

I woke up next morning feeling a little under the weather but nothing a little more sleep couldn’t fix. So yes – I spent yet another KL layover in bed but not entirely. I also pulled myself out to enjoy a beautiful lunch by the pool and even forced myself to do a very minor workout at the gym.

Then I went up to my room and got ready for a long journey back home- and it indeed was a VERY long way back to my apartment. The flight was a busy one. It was somewhere half way thru when I started feeling bad. At first I was blaming the lack of sleep and that one extra drink I probably shouldn’t have had the night before. However as the time and the pain in my lower abdomen progressed I was starting to think this was more than just an indigestion or a mild hangover. But it wasn’t until I nearly fainted that I knew something was amiss. By the time we were landing I was in so much pain I couldn’t sit or stand- both was equally uncomfortable. It took my all to remain smiling for the sake of the passengers. My friend saw my suffering and kept on asking if I needed medical help. That’s when my childhood and my mother’s Spartan upbringing kicked in. See – I was a bit of an attention seeker as a kid and I may have played the “sickness” card way too many times for my mum’s liking. She ended up never believing I was seriously ill until I either vomited or was on the verge of dying in front of her. Once she said she would also believe an open fracture but (thankfully?) I never had one. So when Edel suggested an emergency room I mentally reviewed my state (“Have I vomited?” “No.” “Open fracture?” “No.” “Verge of dying?” “Well…”) and I told him I wasn’t gonna make a big deal out of it.

Well my body decided otherwise. By the time we got to disembark the aircraft and collect our luggage I cared very little for smiling and could hardly walk without whimpering in pain.

“Ok- that’s it” Edel said “I’m taking you to the hospital and I don’t care what you think.”

“Thank God” is what I thought but I didn’t say it because the pain was growing by the second and I wasn’t gonna waste energy talking.

We got to the Emergency room around 6am still wearing our uniforms and carrying our crew bags, which strictly speaking is possibly not allowed but honestly at that point I didn’t care much. It didn’t take much for the nurse to understand my condition and I was hooked on the drips before I even knew it. Wow – I don’t know what it was they pumped into me but I wouldn’t mind having a top up of that stuff! Not only did it make the pain go away – it also gave my memories a nice shiny glow … 😛

I’m not gonna make this any more dramatic than I already have. As you may have guessed it was a suspected appendicitis but thankfully it wasn’t. It took the doctors about 9 hours and a whole list of tests to decide on that but in the end I wasn’t gonna have to go under the knife and they just let me off with some very strong painkillers and other goodies to keep my guts in control.

I'm only smiling coz I'm high

I’m only smiling coz I’m high

They have also put my on a very strict diet of no alcohol (drag!), no coffee (my life is over!!), no tea (uff) and no milk(oh well I’m lactose intolerant anyway). Hence the extensive blogging today. Thanks to the painkillers I spent a whole day sleeping and am now full of energy that needs venting!

The point of the story has however not been made yet. I have come to realise that I haven’t fully appreciate the treasure I have in my life – Edel ! The amazing person who got off a 7-hour flight, dragged me to a hospital and remained fully awake by my bedside the entire time. He wouldn’t leave even when I kept sending him home. It wasn’t until later when I realised how much his support meant for me. Spending a day in a hospital not knowing what’s wrong with you is not the kind of time you want to be alone. And I wasn’t…

Thank you so much boo … You are a true friend!

x

G.

The Pleasures of Perth and Novelties of New York

Hi to all of you my sweetest dearest readers!

You must be all very excited, mustn’t you? Not only have we entered the most anticipated (and stressful) month of the year but you are also about to read the most anticipated blog post you must have been all so eagerly waiting for … The one about NYC !!

Well I’d like to keep your suspense for a bit longer so let me first tell you about some layovers that I haven’t had the pleasure to write about just yet. Like Perth for example. Perth is one of the regulars on my roster. It seems to somehow find its way there every other month. I don’t mind at all. As a crew I have to admit it’s one of the easiest flights. Never full, relatively short, perfectly timed. It’s a duty from heaven. The only reason why it hasn’t become my favourite layover yet is that there isn’t awfully much to do once you are in Perth. Don’t get me wrong, the city is lovely and all … It’s just not very exciting I guess. But on the other hand sometimes it’s good to just get to the hotel, sit back and relax without the haunting thought of missing out on something that’s out there. I usually take Perth as my workout layover, bring me my running shoes and go for a jog down by the waterfront just 2 mins from the hotel and then change into my swimsuit and do a couple of lanes in the shortest pool in the history of pools (on the upside it’s the only time when I can casually say “yeah I’ve swam 100 lanes today, no biggie”).  It’s exactly what I did today. Now I’m happily typing away comfortably parked in a cafe surrounded by young professionals having their quick 30-min vegan organic lunch. Life is good. Knowing myself I will probably give in to the shopping addict inside of me and go and browse some shops down the high street later. I love clothes shopping in Oz. It is unfortunately a very expensive hobby of mine since the Aussies have obviously never heard of the concept of “a bargain”. The only sole reason why I haven’t moved Down Under is that I haven’t found my multi-millionaire husband to pay for all my clothes. That’s a joke of course…. About the “only sole reason”:)

working out in PER is fun

working out in PER is fun

Seasonal Greetings from 30 degree heat

Seasonal Greetings from 30 degree heat

The one time when I haven’t followed my usual Perth schedule was when Salma was here. You remember Salma? One of my batchmates and best friends in Dubai? She is from Perth but originally… oh crap let’s not get into that here- that’s a long and old story. It was a pure luck that I got assigned PER just as she was back home for her holiday. She picked me up from the hotel and took me to what she promised “were gonna be the best waffles I have ever tried”. She wasn’t lying. I don’t remember the name of the place but if you ever find yourself on the West Coast of Oz and craving waffles then go to Northbridge and just ask. Oh – but don’t go at night because apparently that’s when Northbridge gets rowdy. I wouldn’t know – luckily I left before sh*t got real … 🙂

Ok -enough about Perth. Let’s take a trip across the globe and travel a few time zones back all the way to the NYC!

Oh my – where shall I start? There is simply so much I have to say about New York. I was completely taken aback by that place. I was feeling very sceptical when landing into JFK. I have just served the longest and by that I mean  THE LONGEST (if you get my gist) duty of my entire career. Obama himself could have been welcoming me but all I cared for was a warm cosy bed, cup of hot chocolate and at least a thousand episodes of ANY sitcom to make me feel human again.  Well – as it turned out I didn’t need any of that. All it took was a glance at Manhattan and I was as chipper as a newborn. Our hotel is situated right on the Times Square so going to sleep after the flight was outta question. I splashed my face with ice-cold water put a woolly jumper on, my headphones in and stepped out in NYC for the first time ever.

Breath taking

Breath taking

How was it? It was big – massive actually. It was chaotic. It was breath taking. Stunning. Exactly like in all the film and videos. I ate a chilli dog in Times Square and bought my obligatory snapback (yes I know what I said about the shopping earlier but c’mon we are talking snapbacks and New York here!). Then I strolled down the 5th Avenue, stopped at the Rockefeller Sq. and went up the Top of Rock. OMG! Probably the best decision I made that day! As if it has been ordered the sun has decided to make an appearance (or maybe I was just high enough above the smog cloud) and I got the most amazing view of the City. I stayed for about an hour, rooming around the deck and snapping pics and then really REALLY wanted to make it to the Central park that looked so nice and green from above. But -alas- that’s when my body finally gave up and recognised the fact that I have been up for more than 24 hours and most of it running around a massive cabin serving cranberry juice and ice to 400 passengers. I literally couldn’t walk any longer and had to return to the hotel for a power nap. One that lasted 7 hours. I woke up refreshed and ready for more sight-seeing. At 3a.m. It was 4 hours before my wake-up call and I wasn’t gonna spend all that precious time in my hotel room in one of the most amazing cities I have ever been to. They say New York never sleeps and I was about to see for myself. Well – it’s bullshit. It does. I cut a very lonely figure retracting my steps from earlier that day. I really wanted to do that one thing that every girls secretly wants to do- have breakfast at Tiffany’s. Hmmm… I found Tiffany’s. But couldn’t find anywhere to get breakfast. Not even the omnipresent Starbucks was open. I assure you that on this one particular lovely freezing morning at 4.30a.m in NYC the only one who wasn’t sleeping was myself. I returned to the hotel with the first rays of the rising sun just in time to watch the city slowly wake up. It was magical. Even more so when a lovely cosy cafe opened in front of my eyes and I gulped down a very much needed hot soya cappuccino and gorging on a blueberry muffin the size of my fist (yes I may have relaxed my diet a little in the States:). Life couldn’t get much better at the very moment.

I only have one word for this - YUM

I only have one word for this – YUM

<3

The Empire State of Mind

The Empire State of Mind

The 5th Avenue

The 5th Avenue

Times Square at 3 a.m.

Times Square at 3 a.m.

I’m due back in three weeks and I’m already getting excited. NYC has definitely made it to my top five layover destinations.

x

Love

G.