Oct 15, 2019

The Paris Diaries #9: The Long Journey Home.

In real-time, it's Tuesday, October 15th.  


A beautiful spring day, the first day of term and my final day of leave before heading back to work tomorrow.  I'm glad I've had these last few days to ease myself back into my routine and also to get over my jet-lag.  
The water feature at the Paris CDG Premium Lounge.  It's surrounded by private lounge areas with carpet thick enough to get some yoga done on,
But this is a Paris Diary entry, my last in fact, so we can't be sitting here talking about Sydney all day, can we?

These manicured trees are planted in pots between the tables of the restaurant area of the lounge.
Let's dissect the long journey home instead.  

Pastries, coffee and shopping.  I blame my 3am wake up call to ensure I got to the airport in good time.


It was pretty epic, if truth be told.  The kind of trip that deserves to be added to a bucket list and then being crossed off said list with a flourish.  


Seated in 1A all the way with a surreal transit in Doha, it was one of those once in a lifetime experiences and readers, whether you like it or not, you're now officially along for the ride.


No discussion about first-class on a Qatar A380 would be complete without a photo of the toilets.  A space so large it's not that much smaller than my entire bathroom at home.  




There was caviar.




And there was daytime drinking looking out over a wing and possibly the Northern Territory of Australia in the final hours of the Doha to Sydney leg.

That date and the coffee were very refreshing together, I'm pretty sure I tasted spice in the coffee.

For the amenity kit aficionados, the ladies kits looked as above.  In recognition of October being Breast Cancer Awareness month, the bags were decorated with the BCA pink ribbon and can be converted into a crossbody bag with the pink shoulder strap inside the kit.  



Worthy of a good 75% or more of a post on its own is the Al Safwa lounge at Hamad International.  I could have stood and stared at the water feature for hours rather than the minutes I admit to spending.


It's a vast space that feels like a museum.  


The ceilings are high, the lighting subtle and the decor minimalist.  

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I estimate that there were probably more staff on hand than actual guests.  Orders were taken for any food and drink I might have felt like.


These salmon felafel went down a treat after my swim.


Because no transit in Doha would be complete without a quick swim at the hotel pool.



I took a break from eating to do a quick lap of the lounge taking in the antiquities and art on display.


Before returning to my spot for my chicken sandwich.


Which was made for me in the separate sandwich making wing of the lounge.


Near the sushi display.



It was the kind of space that greeted your eyes with over the top fabulousness wherever your gaze chose to wonder.


I discovered the sweets room.



With its fruit display


and hand dated and wrapped wedges of English Cake.


The space was so spartan and immaculate that my standard traveller stuff looked terribly out of place in my cubicle and spoiled the symmetry of the space.


For those travelling with their nannies, there is a special wing for them and your children.



It features a microwave and blender for those of your children who may be just starting on solids.



Older children could have their food prepared here in the area kitchen.


Meanwhile, I passed this bonsai on my travels to the lounge day spa in search of a toothbrush.


I count myself fortunate I didn't need a cup of tea because I had this many to choose from.


I enjoyed a platter of fruit after my meal because my waitress felt that I perhaps hadn't ordered enough to eat and looked like I might need fresh fruit.


I'm spoiled for life between the cut fruit on a black plate and coffees served with two kinds of sugar cube and a heart swirled through the crema.


One more look at the minimalist and private seating arrangements in the 'general' lounge.


I visited the lounge duty-free which was stocked with a library of French perfume, handbags, clothing and accessories before sailing out to visit the official Qatar Airways store for Master SSG's A380.



Since touching done in Sydney over the weekend, that plane has been places already.


There were other curiosities in the airport including these value packs of powdered milk.


Believe it or not, these sculptures are play equipment over which climbing is actively encouraged.  There are a series of these scattered through the terminals, each a little different.


I promise that this is the last of my Paris Diaries post.  I also feel that I should end with some kind of travel advice specific to this trip.

So here goes.


Always travel with Explorer socks.  You can stuff them with glass items such as wine or in my case, upcycled empty French youghurt pots,  It's true, the socks really do prevent things from breaking in suitcases.


Soft packing cells from Daiso really do help keep your carry on organized.  I filled each with specific things like my bathers or spare clothes.

Thirdly, about VAT refunds at the airport.  Claim them downstairs from departures before checking in your luggage.  That way you can pack your things into your suitcase to check-in.  Experts also suggest taking a photo of your refund certificate before popping them into the envelope so that you have a record of your claim.



And finally - enjoy!  Paris was the most amazing city to revisit.  It was a privilege to have experienced Paris and its surrounds as I have on this trip and I thank you for your kind comments about the blog posts.

Definitely, a trip to remember.




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