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Transit in Santiago

Stopover in Santiago de Chile, watining for flight to Lima. Of the small mercies of international flights:  lounge access.



Peru: here we go.

Cloudy and rainy morning at the Canberra airport. The sun is just peeking over the hills, and lights up the clouds. Airport is, as is expected and usual for this time of the moring, busy.

more updates form the other side of this series of flights.


Transit Day – Toronto to San Francisco

Flight from Toronto to San Francisco

After a mere 6 hour flight on a Air Canada Airbus A319, and we are in San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and after a meander through the sprawling terminal, a shuttle train ride, and a drive, we are at out hotel in nearby San Mateo.

Australian traveller tips:

Pearson International Airport (YYZ) in Toronto.

I am impressed by how nice this airport is, as far as acoustics go. Even in the vaulted and open public spaces the people’s chatter and noise dies down and announcements can be clearly heard. Acoustics here are a top notch. It also appears the the US officials here are more relaxed and more pleasant than those we encountered in LA (LAX).

When flying from Canada to USA via Pearson International Airport (YYZ) in Toronto, be prepared for a number of things:

  • If you are flying to USA allow extra time:
    • you will need to go to the check in desk to get your checked luggage tagged.
    • you will need to lug all your luggage through The USA border protection, immigration and customs
    • you will need to go through security, including full body scanners (if you’re not lucky)
    • US based airlines generally do not offer food in domestic economy class. Get some food in the terminal, or buy some on board. Prices will be high.
  • Airport WiFi is free but slow.
  • Airport restaurants have a good selection of food, and comfortable seats, but the prices are airport prices.

San Francisco International Airport (FSO)

This is a very large airport with 3 domestic and 1 international terminal.

When arriving at, departing from,  or transiting San Francisco International Airport (FSO)

  • Allow plenty of time at the airport:
    • use the airport train to get to the terminals (can take 10 to 15 minutes or so to get you to the right place).
    • switching terminals will take time. Use the airport maps and information services to work out what terminal you are flying from. Different
    • airlines fly from different terminals, with some US domestic carriers using the interantional terminal.
    • if transiting, you might need to go through security screening again…
  • If picking up a car or dropping off a renal car, you will need to go to a most outlying part of the airport where the ‘car rental centre’ is.
  • If you need to drop off a car:
    • do this the first thing to do at the airport, (the depatrures parking/drop off area is congested)
    • take your luggage and go to airport shuttle train station to get to the correct terminal.
  • If you need to pick up a car best thing to do is:
    • get your luggage together
    • use the shuttle train to get to the rental car centre.
    • doing it in this order prevents you from having to drive around the airport roads to the arrivals area, or looking for a car park.
    • The rental car centre is closer to the freeway than the terminals.



Transit Day – Ottawa to Toronto

Driving from Ottawa to Toronto


Our GPS was programmed with “avoid tolls”, and so it took from Ottawa towards Kingston, and then along the shore of the St Laurence river and Lake Ontario to Toronto.


Traffic was quite light until we got to Kingston and stopped for a lunch and stretch the legs break. From Kingston to Toronto, however, traffic was moving at 30 to 80 km/h, as more and more holidaymakers started to head home.

Travellers Tips

We neglected to check what public holidays, if any, our travel happened to coincide with. Lesson from this:

Always check dates of public/statutory holidays. Traffic will be much worse at the start and the end of these, so if like us, you get caught in the stream of people driving back home after a  long weekend, you will need to put up with a lot more traffic and a lot of frustrated and tired drivers who do not do ling distance driving often.




Vierzon is a medium sized city on the Cher river, about 80km or so south of Orelans. it is a major rail junction and at the first glance it does not look like there is much to see here. Especially not no a Sunday afternoon, when everything is closed.

Wikipedia page for Vierzon has some useful data about history, and a map if you want it.

Hidden Gems of Vierzon

There are a few hidden gems in this city:

  • There are some old half-timbered houses
  • There is a 12 century church with some  nice looking stained glass windows. The church was locked, and it appears to be part of a circuit parish, so we could not get in, but we could see the rich light inside through the gaps in the gates.
  • There are some lovely gardens down by the river, near where an abbey used to be;
  • There are remains of multiple fortifications and city walls. here are some photos for you

Here are some of the things we have found:

Maison des Vicaires aka "Maison Jeanne D'Arc"

Maison des Vicaires aka “Maison Jeanne D’Arc”

gates of Notre-Dame

gates of Notre-Dame

Eglise Notre-Dame de Vierzon

Eglise Notre-Dame de Vierzon

half-timbered house

half-timbered house by the river


Note: This place definitely requires a re-visit.


Carcassonne to Limoges

The Plan

We need to get from Carcassonne to Paris by evening of 6 October. Its a dive of about 800 km, but the road is littered with things we might wish to see, so we will do it in tow stages:

  • Carcassonne to Limoges on te 5th, and
  • Limoges to Paris on the 6th


As we were departing Carcassonne, the rain cleared up and we managed to get a  bit of opportunity to take more photos:


Panorama of La Cite from the Aude rive valley



Having left Carcassonne we drove on secondary roads towards Castlenaundry and Tuluse. The road wound itself through countryside littered with small villages and a lot of it is covered in sunflower fields.


Sunflower Field

The Drive

After a stop for lunch in a small village called Bram, which also happens to be one of the 50 or so “circulade” villages we go into the autoroute towards Limoges and Paris


Limoges greeted us with drizzle and cold wind.  Here we stop for the night and consider what we will do next.


Transit Day: Thira – Athens – Geneva – Gex

Transit Day

Today, we will be in transit – flying from Thira to Geneva via Athens, and then driving to stay with some friends of ours in Gex.

More details coming soon.


Second Stop-over

Second stopover – Zurich Airport (ZUR)

This is a very short stopover – about 90 minutes in total.  Just abut the right amount of time to transit between terminals, clear customs and immigration controls, and get to the gate for the next flight. it is a very good thing that the Zurich airport is very well signposted, as it is quite large and very nicely designed (complete with an automated underground rail between terminals.

Switzerland is part of the Schengen Area, so I don’t expect any more passport checks, or similar later on, until we leave the Schengen Area countries.

Our flight to Paris is going to be about 60 minutes or so…  and they are about to start boarding..



Second Hop (SIN to ZUR)

Second hop – SIN to ZUR

After a short stop over in Singapore we have flown in to Zurich.  It is a long flight – SIN to ZUR is approx 13 hours.

So far, my impression of the SWISS International Air Lines is very good, with the exception of slightly over-warm  cabin, they are very friendly, very professional, good service and nice food.  It is also nice to hear the cabin crew switch fluently between English, German, Italian and French. Very impressive and very pleasant to hear.


First stop-over: Singapore

First Stop-over

Our first stop over is in Singapore.

Just a few hours between flights, so it not even worth leaving the airport… Good thing that we have access to the Kris Flyer Business Lounge. We will not bore you with details or photos of the airport…

So far everything is going to plan.