Hands up if you’re ready for another blogpost

Welcome to my April post!

I hope everyone had a lovely Easter last month. Mine was not so Easter-y as I was stuck in my apartment on home standby… however, on the plus side I did get pulled out to operate a flight to Russia on Easter Monday, a country I had never travelled to before and was on my travel bucket list since joining the airline.

Last month I travelled once again to Sri Lanka for the billionth time and also had my assessment on this flight (passed… phew!) I also had layovers in Switzerland, Vietnam, Moscow as mentioned earlier and last but not least Texas, USA. I also operated two turnaround flights to Armenia and Oman, which are two countries I would love to visit on my days off as we only operate turnaround flights there.

Zurich, Switzerland

I was extremely happy to see Zurich on my roster this month.

  1. because I had never travelled to Zurich (I had only visited St Moritz in the Swiss Alps prior to this)
  2. because Switzerland is famous for its chocolate and what better time to be in Switzerland than around Easter time!

Zurich city is extremely beautiful – think medieval buildings surrounded by mountains and a river running through its centre.

The first thing I visited was Lake Zurich, any trip to the city is not complete without visiting this lake. It’s very picturesque and is home to many, many swans…

I then went on a very expensive mission to buy all the chocolate.. excuse me, it was Easter time! Wow, let me just say that I have never seen so many chocolate shops in one city, nor have I ever seen chocolate cost so much money in my life.

One chocolate shop I visited worth mentioning is Oro de Cacao. Here they use a cold extraction technique to retain 100% of the aromas in their chocolate. It tastes like regular chocolate but it is supposably healthier and low in sugar. I tried their hot chocolate which was definitely the most expensive hot chocolate I ever drank in my life, however I will say I was surprised by how amazing it tasted and would go as far to say that this was the best hot chocolate I have ever drank in my life! yeah, I went there! So damn good!

All the chocolate shops were decked out in all things Easter with beautiful displays in all the shop windows and unlimited amounts of chocolate eggs and bunnies. I spent more money on chocolate than I ever thought I would in my whole life…Switzerland why so expensive???

This is Honold, a chocolate institution in Zurich – can you believe they have been open since 1905? You can just imagine the dinosaurs eating chocolate here all that time ago.

What a blessing it was to be in the chocolate capital right before Easter. I love all the different opportunities this job provides me. I might be leaving with an empty wallet, but I’m definitely richer in experiences.

Da Nang, Vietnam

I can’t tell you how super dooper excited I was to operate this flight. This was my one requested flight rostering were kind enough to give me this month. Firstly, if you are a regular reader of mine, you will know I love Vietnam. It’s definitely one of my favourite countries… particularly for the food! Secondly, Da Nang is a new destination that the airline opened a few months ago and because we don’t have flights operating each day, most of the flights come with a whole day off. With that said, the departure for the flight back to Doha is at 11pm so you basically have two whole days to enjoy the layover.

For my one day off in Da Nang, I made sure I ticked off everything I wanted to do in this destination. I started the day at the newly famous (thanks to Instagram) Golden Hands Bridge at Ba Na Hills.

I took what was probably the longest cable car ride of my life to get to the top of these luscious green hills to where the bridge is located.

If I’m being completely honest, my expectations of the bridge were not met by its reality. As you can see it is nearly impossible to get a nice photo on the bridge without 100 other Vietnamese people in your photo. My advice would be to get there first thing in the morning before the huge rush of people.

Despite feeling like a sardine, the bridge itself is really nothing special. It’s a lot smaller in real life than it looks in photos… the power of instagram and its miracle working filters

After visiting the underwhelming hands bridge, we made our way to the Marble Mountains, a famous cluster of five hills made from limestone and marble. You can climb to the top for some beautiful views of the beach below and there are also many caves, tunnels and temples you can discover.

As I was limited in time, I only visited one of the five mountains. After climbing to the top I was surrounded by beautiful gardens, buddhist temples and monuments.

The last stop of the day (and to my excitement) was Hoi An, the ancient Vietnamese city, famous for it’s floating lanterns and well preserved old town. Da Nang is a popular destination for tourists as it’s the closest gateway to this stunning ancient city. I had been wanting to travel to Hoi An for a long time now and it was the main reason I bid for this layover.

Just take a look at its beauty…

Hoi An was easily my favourite place I’ve ever travelled in Vietnam. The water, the boats, the bikes, the ancient architecture, the colours, the city lit up a night, it was all just very magical.

The street food here is amazing. I tried Phi Banh Mi after reading it’s hyped reviews online and I can safely say that I was not disappointed…

Banh mi > Hand bridge

At night the city comes alight with beautiful coloured lanterns along the streets and floating down the river which runs through the city centre. Its such an enchanting little city and I cannot wait to come back and spend some more time here.

DAY 2:

After a super jam packed first day in Da Nang, I decided to have a more relaxing day. I took the hotel shuttle to the city centre for a much needed pedicure and also visited the Han Market, a local market selling fresh produce and clothing. I bought some groceries as I normally do outstation and also had a delicious avocado smoothie to quench my thirst. Avocados are everywhere in Da Nang, the Melbournian in me rejoices!

On my way to the nail salon I also stumbled across this beautiful pink church…. PINK!

Have I mentioned how good the coffee is in Vietnam? If you’re like me and you love your coffee strong and black then Vietnamese coffee is for you! Usually I take it with ice in Vietnam though as it’s so humid. 

There were so many nice places to eat and drink in both Hoi An and Da Nang. I ate my dinner at this rooftop called An’s which had the cutest interior and delicious food.

Thank you Vietnam for another amazing layover. Da Nang is my third city to visit in Vietnam and each time I go back I fall more and more in love with the country.

Moscow, Russia

As I mentioned in my introduction, Moscow was given to me from standby. I was pleased to be given this flight as it was my first time to visit Moscow and first time to visit Russia (woo hoo I reached my 58th country this month which was so unexpected)

Even before joining the airline I wanted to visit the famous Red Square in Moscow and even though I only had a 12 hour layover here, I still made it my mission to go out and see it!

Here we have the beautifully decorated streets of Moscow… it felt like Christmas!

This is St. Basil’s Cathedral which is apart of the Red Square. The architecture is just so stunning, I love the colours!

Inside the Red Square with all the tourists but surrounded by magnificent architecture!

After quickly running around this amazing city to do and see as much as I could within the short amount of time I had here, I made a pitstop to the souvenir shop to buy an over priced Babushka doll. I’m not normally one to purchase souvenirs but since I was a little girl I always had a thing for Babushka dolls and I always said if I travel to Russia, I must buy one.

On the way back to the hotel, I stopped at the local farmer’s market… what can I say I just can’t say no to some fresh fruit and veg, particularly from Eastern Europe (super cheap). I couldn’t resist these beautiful strawberries… I believe one of these huge punnets cost me approximately $2 AUD! #NotSwitzerland

Now where to display you in my home…? 🙂

Dallas, Texas

My last layover for the month was Dallas, Texas. I’m a frequent flyer to the US but this was my first time to visit Texas and I was excited to do so. I was so happy that this flight came with a whole day off here so I had enough time to explore. After a busy 16 hour flight from Doha, I summoned up whatever energy I had left to go into town and find myself a real proper Texas BBQ. Thanks to google, I made my way to Pecan Lodge, one of the top BBQ’s in all of Texas. Just check out the line to get in… apparently I wasn’t the only one who relied on google’s advice.

So if you’re wondering, I actually waited over an hour to order my food… I didn’t realise there was an even longer line inside the restaurant and by the time I found out, I was already committed to this

After spending my whole life waiting in line, I finally got to eat a real Texas BBQ and it was amazing!!!!! I tried the beef ribs and the brisket and they were both sooooo good. #WorthTheWait

Pecan Lodge > hand bridge

When my roster was published and I saw that I had a day off in Dallas, the first thing I did was google how long it takes to get to San Antonio from Dallas. I was super pleased to see that despite it being far away, it was still reachable in one day. Forget the shopping mall where the rest of the crew were planning to spend their layover, San Antonio was calling my name.

I first came to know San Antonio on an episode of Kaitlyn’s season of the US Bachelorette which aired in 2015. Since then, I have always wanted to visit this beautiful town as it looks like something out of a Disney movie!

I had a wonderful plant based lunch at this cute little restaurant called Pharm Table, where everything is organic and wholesome. Highly recommend! Can you believe I was eating like a carnivore only last night? Life is all about balance.

I spent the afternoon walking along the famous Riverwalk, a beautiful little river running below the town, lined with restaurants and cafes with a Mexican feel.  It was such a surreal experience, as this place was always on my list of places to visit, however I honestly never thought I would actually make it here.

Before heading home I visited the Historical Market Square and what better time to visit than when they are hosting a Mexican Fiesta! What an amazing vibe and what a great way to spend my Sunday! The huge square was filled with Mexican food and drink stalls, colourful decorations and music and live entertainment.

Everyone was drinking this one… I wanted to give it a try but I can’t handle the tomato juice. Sorry, I know some people love it but ew. Why not drink the ketchup straight out of the bottle?

I loved seeing so many of the locals dancing in the streets… good vibes all day long!

Of course, I Mexi-Can’t not try the food here!

It was a Margarita sort of day 🙂

Also, one thing I observed after travelling into downtown Dallas and San Antonio is that scooters are a huge craze here, people were riding them all over town. I had never seen this before so forgive me if its not so exciting. Unlike most cities I have travelled to where they have those communal bikes you can rent, in Texas they have the same concept with electric scooters. Apparently you just pay for it using a mobile application… technology these days!

May!

Hey, it’s May and I am sooooo happy with my roster 🙂

Thank you rostering for giving me two requested flights this month and super nice layovers at that! My flights for this month include:

  1. New York, USA (happy to be back, I LOVE this city)
  2. Bangkok, Thailand (happy to be back, I LOVE this city particularly when you have a decent length layover)
  3. Mombasa, Kenya (we just opened this flight and it comes with a day off… this was one of the two flights I requested)
  4. Stockholm, Sweden (Last time I visited Stockholm,  I ate the best fish soup of my life and  I hear it calling my name this month)
  5. Penang, Malaysia (This again was another one of my requested flights…. Why? Because it comes with a day off duh! Also, I have never visited the city of Penang so I am super keen to explore it)

I also have another block of standby this month so there might be another destination to add to my list here.

That’s all from me folks, until next time have a lovely May! 😀 xxx

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