16 March 2010


We've just got back from our weekend of wedding shenanigans, hotel living and city exploration. We'll blog about that soon! For now, our trip from Melbourne - Incheon - London.

Thursday 11th March

D drove us to the airport in the dark (thanks D!), and we got there with plenty of time to spare. Once through check in and security, we watched the sun rise and had a typically overpriced bite to eat, then boarded the totally old school plane (no individual screens, retro-before-it-was-intentional brown seat covers, ash trays in the arm rests, and checks on the walls that matched the shirt of the man in front of us).

sunrise at melbourne airport
Sunrise at Tullamarine

old school plane: ashtray
Ashtrays in the armrests on the plane!

checked in
I still think my pun about him being "checked in" is hilarious!

It was kind of cool to look out the window at Gellibrand Hill and Woodlands historic homestead as we were heading for the runway and be able to point out where we’ve walked and explored. Taking off early-ish in the morning was also lovely, because we could see all the contours of the creeks and hills cast into relief by the long shadows.

The plane wasn’t very full, so despite it being quite small we were able to score a few extra seats for ourselves. We took turns sitting by the window and watching the browns of Victoria, the reds of New South Wales and the greens of Queensland slip away beneath us, and stretching out over a few seats in the centre row, reading, listening to music, napping or playing sudoku. We were on the right (east) side of the plane, so as we travelled north we could see parts of the Great Barrier Reef below – elegant curves of green and turquoise on the smooth blue of the deeper water, and occasional slivers of pale sand that look for all the world like nail clippings accidentally dropped by some giant. The ocean was so still that the corpulent, sedate-looking cumulus clouds hovered over misty mirror-replicants of themselves. As we drew towards the tip of Australia, the plane banked slightly and I stared into the leaf-shaped eyes of dozens of tiny islands.

cloud mirrors
Cloud mirrors

island eyes
Island eyes

Later, a warning for turbulence, I craned my neck as we climbed up, up, up again, skirting around the towering plume of a cumulus congestus, which seemed to nod at us in a brief greeting before we hit the blinding white of the next layer of cloud, and the plane bumped gently on its way. It was like cloud porn out there for a while!

cloud porn
Cloud porn!

Of course, no discussion of a flight is complete without a mention of the food. D had bibimbap for one meal, which he said was delicious (it looked it) and which came with an instruction sheet for the n00bs. I had two bland curries, and one of them managed to hit most of my dislikes: overcooked cauliflower, cous cous (ugh, I hate it so much) and an insipid roll straight from the refrigerator. Oh well, at least we got the promised hot towels! . . . Now, over to D!

mountains, south korea
South Korean mountains


We arrived at Incheon Airport on time, and because we weren’t collecting our luggage, we were through customs and baggage-reclaim in record time! We were greeted at the Korean Air information desk, where we were allocated a hotel and shown by a succession of airline staff to a waiting group of travellers a few feet away. We were all bundled onto an awesomely purple-decorated bus (the inside looked like something out of a Bollywood film).

on the lolbus to harbor park hotel
The bus!

Leaving the airport, the bus took us over Incheon Bridge. 10 minutes later, we were still on the bridge. This had nothing to do with traffic (there was none) and everything to do with the fact that the bridge was REALLY, REALLY, REALLY LONG!!!. (And it has it’s own web page! http://eng.incheon-bridge.com/ Apparently, “[t]he Incheon Bridge with the total length of 21.27km carries a three-lane dual carriageway. This is the longest in Korea and it is ranked at 6th place in the World.” It’s a long bridge.) When we eventually arrived on the mainland, the bus took us through the dark streets of what we thought was Seoul, but which we later found out was Incheon. At one stage, we passed an enormous theme-restaurant in the shape of a big ship, complete with gloriously tacky lighting and its own artificial waterfall out the back.

We arrived at our shiny new 5 star hotel, checked in, and went straight up to our room for a shower. We had been told that the hotel had a lovely view of the harbour (it was called the Harbour Park Hotel), but in fact we had a lovely view of the docks. We went down for our complimentary dinner buffet (or was it a really expensive meal with a free flight?) which was quite tasty, if a little limited in vegetarian options. We then returned to our room to sleep the sleep of the righteous. Or at least, of the very tired.

d in the hotel room
Our room, modelled by D

obligatory electric toilet shot: yeah, we're that classy obligatory electric toilet shot: english instructions
The obligatory electric toilet shots, because we are all class

harbor park hotel
Our hotel

Friday 12th March, 2010

After our buffet breakfast, we decided to take a walk around the local area, to see what we could see. The first thing we could see when we stepped outside was that it was very, very cold. We could well have done with a beanie and scarf each. We passed the Incheon Art Platform, which looked like an interesting space, before heading towards China Town.

business wolves running
Art at Incheon Art Platform

j & d in a cold korean morning
Us enjoying the fresh (and very cold) air!

We found a flight of old stone steps, which used to mark the border between the Chinese and Japanese Empires’ settlements in Korea. We climbed them, up to a park on the top of the hill, which was lovely. There was a massive monument at the top, commemorating the centenary of a trade agreement between South Korea’s and the USA. Also at the top of the hill, we found what looked like badminton courts – quite how you play badminton out doors on top of a windy hill, I don’t know. Scattered around the park, there was also a lot of public gym equipment (if all gyms were free, open and in parks, I might more be inclined to actually use one). We were really getting very cold, so we started our decent back to the hotel, packed up, jumped back on the bus, and back, over the bridge to the airport.

the steps up the hill
The steps

view from the pagoda thingy
View from the hill - our hotel is fairly prominent!

korea-usa centennial monument (B&W)
Centennial monument

gym in jayu park
Outdoor gym among the trees in Jayu Park

health walking: instructions
Health walking instructions

We sat around the airport, waiting for our flight, snacking on the little packed lunch provided for us by the airline. The second flight was on a much shinier, newer plane, with all mod cons, and a decent amount of leg room, although the flight was packed, so no spreading out for us this time. We passed the time by playing games and watching movies (The Men Who Stare At Goats, Surrogates and The Informant! D also watched The Damned United). The vegetarian food was much tastier on this second leg, too. It was a largely uneventful flight, until just as we were landing, the little girl in the row behind us - who had been so quiet and well behaved throughout the flight - vomited all down her front, like a little ANZ logo.

We were met at the airport by M, who drove us home through the London traffic. We moved into our brand new room (it hadn’t been finished last time we were here), showered, changed, then went down for a family dinner (which included the much-coveted challah! Tasty goodness), with D’s parents M&A, his brother E and E's fiancĂ©e L, L’s parents J&A, and her brother A (did you get all those initials?!). We coped pretty well, but had to admit defeat and crawled up to bed at about 9.30.


  1. fantastic photos. those clouds!
    and did they erect that "health walking" sign because they knew you were coming???


    Everything looks lovely and sounds ace. *jellus*

  3. hello you two!!! <3 it is not the same without you!