Last stop: Singapore

I arrived in Singapore around eight hours ago, after an early flight from Athens to Istanbul (with a few hours waiting around either side) before a gruelling 12 hour flight from Istanbul.

Atatürk Airport is crazy busy for those readers who have never been through there. There are people everywhere, there are not enough seats, and you have to wait for your flight to appear on an electronic noticeboard, then wait for the gate number. Despite all this, it’s not a confusing airport, and there are excellent directions everywhere. And it’s fascinating to people watch: practically every race and country is represented. As I waited for my flight information, I chatted to a lady from the UK who tonight the same thing. Travel is interesting because you can connect with someone for minutes, hours, days, weeks, then never see them again.

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The flight itself was uneventful, despite the wishes of my Athens shared transfer, although we did experience considerable turbulence over India, probably as a result of Cyclone Phailin. I was seated next to two older Taiwanese gentleman, who didn’t speak much English, but were pleasant, kind and helpful. There was an Asian lady sitting in the seat behind me who I had to tell off (twice) because she was doing some serious fiddling with the tray table and video screen that made my seat rock. Consequently, I got not much sleep and it is my contention that long haul flights are to be endured – not enjoyed – regardless of how good the airline is.

I arrived in Singapore around 5am, made it quickly through immigration and collected my luggage, which had been checked through from Athens. Singapore Airlines and Star Alliance have never let me down to date, unlike Qantas.

I was greeted by Aidi, who was driving me to my hotel, something I had organised through Viator for only US$25. I have never taken for granted the relief of landing in any airport, and there is someone holding up a sign with your name as you exit. He was lovely and chatty, beautifully dressed, and very helpful. When he asked how old I was, he replied that I looked nowhere near 50! He was 41, and looked about 25. I told him I felt about 70 after 18 hours of flying, plus all the waiting around.

I was at my hotel by 6.30am, and was relieved to find it to be lovely, and my room quite luxurious (I have made the bookings for this part of the trip myself). The bathroom TV are huge, there are tea and coffee making facilities, and free wifi. The bed is a king, and sooooooo comfortable. What more can a girl want? So I took a long, hot shower, made myself a cup of tea, watched a bit of a Singapore soap (in perfect English) on the TV and slept for a few hours.

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I’ll be quite happy here for the next few days – I have a list of things I’d like to do and that have been recommended to me – and hopefully my Singapore stopover will help me beat the jetlag.

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