It never ceases to amaze me that I can travel to a country carrying about 5-8kg of gear in a backpack (assuming I am not cycle touring) including my tent and sleeping bag. But I always head home with much more. It’s not even like I buy souvenirs or gifts. But, somehow, the return baggage is always double what I arrived with, if not heavier. Fortunately, I have this cool packable bag that saves me having to buy extra luggage.
The process of checking in and boarding my flight in Istanbul was ridiculously slow. I was at the airport four hours before my flight because I needed to drop off a rental car (the Istanbul International Airport car rental drop off area is outside the airport near the cargo area and is poorly signed so I completed four laps of the airport before I even dropped off the car). Anyway, I joined the check in queue three hours before departure and it still took me over 1.5 hours to get to the front of the line. The check in operators were that slow. Then came the slow security process, leaving me about 40 minutes to find my gate before despite being at the airport with plenty of time to spare. I needn’t have rushed though. My flight was delayed by about an hour and we were not told why. But I wasn’t too worried; if I missed my connection in Abu Dhabi I knew that Etihad would get me on another flight.
I didn’t miss my connection though. I was a bit confused about the route I was taking though. I arrived at about 7:30pm. At 10pm there was a direct Etihad flight from Abu Dhabi to Brisbane (my home city). But I was booked on a 10:30pm flight to Perth where I had to clear customs, grab my baggage, get a bus 30 minutes from the international to the domestic airport, drop my baggage and then wait 8 hours to catch the red eye to Brisbane.
But, forty hours after leaving my hotel in Istanbul I stumbled off the plane onto home soil. It felt good to be back.