If That's The Worst Thing that Can Happen.... (very belated trip report)

coriander

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Day #23
This morning we checked out of our hotel and headed for the station to commence our long journey home. Some SBB locomotives carry all-over-advertising: I show this both as a railfan and also because these Kambly biscuits are amazing and we’ve never been able to find them here in Australia (does anyone know?).

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Our train was a direct Luzern-Zurich Flughafen train. Along the way in Zurich we passed the railway building that was shifted in its entirety about 15 meters to make way for track widening (you may have seen that on Michael Portillo’s “Great Continental Railway Journeys” on SBS).

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I deserted MrsC at the airport and headed back into Zurich to photograph some trams (not having had a chance to see anything the last time we came through Zurich).
But first I trundled off to the lost property office in the forlorn hope of retrieving my Panama hat.
The lost property officer curtly advised me that he had about 1000 hats.
I described the hat, that’s no use, plenty of those, a pause…… then he asked my flight number and date.
Hmm, yes, better….. and your seat?
6A.
A minute later I had my hat. Hooray! Got to love Swiss efficiency!

Off to Zurich and a few trams….

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Just got to love the trains in Switzerland – this the airport shuttle – empty in first class but spotlessly clean: and only 15 minutes from the main station to the airport station immediately under the terminals. Here in Melbourne we might get an airport train in 2030 (aaarggh!).

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All right, enough of this tram/train stuff, get back on-topic, coriander.

Once airside at ZRH there are two lounges directly opposite each other - Dnata and Aspire.

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British Airways check-in said the dnata lounge was much nicer than the Aspire, so that’s where we headed.
The lounge itself wasn’t massive, but quite comfortable with a view to the check-in counters below.

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coriander

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Food and drink was self-serve.

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Our BA flight was in their Club Europe seating: still a three-seat row, but a table on the centre seat. Leg room was adequate.

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Whilst awaiting departure, I noted a lonely suitcase on the tarmac beside us……

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….. and when the SwissAir plane pushed back, some more luggage left on the tarmac adjacent to the Air Berlin aircraft.

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At least this luggage was given a witch’s hat for “protection.
 
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coriander

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We finally pushed back 20 minutes late, past some locals.

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Once in the air, dinner was served – chicken salad and the highlight – a “proper” cup of tea in a lovely big solid Wedgewood cup – the Poms can do a good cuppa!

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Coming into London, we passed over Windsor castle.

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And taxied past what was to become our wings home that evening.

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Once we landed in LHR, we transitted terminals, so no immigration requirements to be undertaken. Whilst waiting in the BA lounge (airconditioning barely able to cope with the “heatwave” conditions of London – 24°C!) – and QF lounge was undergoing a refurb - I snapped a couple of members of the passing parade. Our flight home would turn us Platinum, but of course only once we returned to Australia, so no (CX) F lounge for us, boo hoo (insert sad face here).

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Once in the air on QF2, supper was served:
Zucchini Soup with herbed ricotta.

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Our flight path to Dubai:

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coriander

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Hazy hot day in Dubai:

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Our flight path would take us south over the Indian Ocean and Perth.

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Once airborne out of Dubai, lunch was served:
First up was Pumpkin soup with hazelnuts and pepitas,

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followed by Kingfish with ginger and shallot sauce, coughake mushrooms, Asian green and noodles,

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finishing off with a scrumptious chocolate mousse with cocoa sponge and raspberry jelly.

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A bite of breakfast over the Great Australian Bight: scrambled eggs with ricotta and mushrooms… and Vegemite! Yay!

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We crossed south of Adelaide and into Sydney.

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coriander

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Our connection to Melbourne was an A330; - lotsa legroom

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And another breakfast was served as we did a loop over Falls Creek

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Thus ended our trip.

Footnote:
Lots of photos – about 2,000 in all using a mixture of Nikon 7200 dSLR with 10-24mm and 18-200mm lenses, a Sony RX100m4 (which takes embarrassingly good photos, sometimes shading the Nikon) and a Samsung S7 edge, likewise capable of returning some lovely photos.

A belated trip report – sorry, there’s no Michelin star restaurants nor suites in five star hotels but I hope you enjoyed it. We were heading back to Europe in 2017 to tick Munich and Zurich off our list as we missed them this trip. Unbeknown to us at the time, this trip had set up a wonderful “gotcha” for that next visit, but I’ll save that for another (belated) report.

(Thanks to Rooflyer for your encouragement in posting this report ages ago:
I may summon up the courage for more reports in the future….. hopefully not as “exciting”.)

Enjoy.
 
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MelMel

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Certainly an unforgettable trip with brilliant photos. Malta hasn’t really been on my radar but will definitely go sometime.
 

jastel

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Good report...spent a week in Malta...you get churched out.
I have stayed a night or two at Mt Rigi and Pilatus and visited Jungfrau with NO CLOUDS.
Must have got lucky...
 
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CaptJCool

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Very impressive and Im just 1/3 of the way through.... skipped to the end after page 1.because of the photo with the outdated red phone box! Plus the elephant in the room “Towel Art” and will go back To see the two other pages.

no doubt its taken many hours to bring it altogether over many days (like in the case of my recent 2019 trip report). Which was occurring ‘simultaneously’ ”in the Matrix” with YOUR excellent TR, so I know the challenges and time taken to get it “just right”.... Great Job
 

coriander

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the outdated red phone box!
Yes, made sure to include it in the photo - there were quite a few in Valletta. Also loved the "His Master's Voice" banner: both a step back in time and reprising the British heritage of Malta. (I recall a recent TV show on Queen Elizabeth who spent quite a bit of time in Malta before her coronation (in a mansion that's now deserted and in decay). She was reported as saying it was amongst the happiest time in her life. The Maltese people, both in Malta and here in Australia are the most generous warm people.

the elephant in the room “Towel Art”
Great line - wish I'd thought of it! :D
 

coriander

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I posted this message on Whirlpool back in September 2016 regarding the Travel Insurance company we dealt with and have copied it here for both context and completion.

"I have an annual policy with InsureAndGo (due to a now non-existent medical condition). When you look at reviews online, people talk about how easy the website is and how cheap they are (which seems irrelevant when trying to assess insurance companies) – no-one talks about claims handling.

"Recently (July), I came down with acute pneumonia whilst at a conference in Malta. I spent 5 days in intensive care in hospital with all the necessary trimmings. After discharge, we were able to resume our itinerary in Switzerland.

"Whilst in Malta and on the day I was hospitalised, my wife rang the 24/7 help line: help consisted of "download and read the PDS, keep all your receipts, if he has to be medevaced (is that a word?) back to Aus, it's up to you to organise everything, put in a claim, etc. etc, here's a reference number".
"Oh, by the way, which hotel are you staying at?"
"The Hilton"
"Oh dear, that is MOST unsatisfactory and very unsuitable. You must immediately check out and find a hotel that's about 100 Euro / night." (ie a half-star hotel!).
Accommodation in Malta in July is crazy full (for a Victorian, think trying to get a room at Lorne b/w Xmas and New Year at a moment's notice). We did eventually find a cheaper room for 2 nights but had 3 extra nights at the Hilton.

"On our return, I rang them to enquire about claiming. They told me that my claim was actually three claims:
1. medical expenses;
2. lost items ("disappeared" in hospital) - Bose headphones and CPAP mask;
3. curtailment expenses.
Each claim had an excess of $100 but as two people were on the policy, the excess would be $100 EACH (ie $600 in total).

WTF?

"I confess I was quite cranky, but filled in three claim forms with all the information they required, including our detailed itinerary (side-by-side planned vs actual) and a detailed explanation of the events surrounding the claim. EDIT: almost took as long as a TR! - yeah, nah)

"To my surprise, they very quickly settled #1 (medical expenses) and #2 (lost items) above with an excess of $100 each, not the threatened $200.

"With #3 (curtailment), they correctly calculated the cost of the missing five days of the original itinerary ($1300) and the new itinerary with extra costs of staying in Malta (including the accommodation at the Hilton – I think they accepted we'd have difficulty in changing hotels), loss of deposits etc., flying to Switzerland etc ($2600).

"A couple of days after settling the first two claims, they paid out the curtailment claim higher sum without any fuss ie $2600 less 2x$100 excess = $2400: excess of $100 each because there were two airfares and train trips etc involved, so fair enough.

"Summary:
  • don't expect ANY help from their 24/7 hotline;
  • do ring them / email them to tell them of a claimable event – get the reference number;
  • don't tell them (unless they ask - you must not lie/mislead) where you're staying (especially if it's 5*);
  • do keep all receipts and invoices, everything! They will pay everything you can prove with ORIGINAL receipts;
  • you will find Australian enquiry line very helpful / friendly;
  • (in my experience) they pay out EVERYTHING claimed (less excess) without any argument and very little delay (about 3 weeks from submitting claim).
"Conclusion: low price means minimal service when OS, but VERY good with processing and accepting claims. Knowing the above, I will insure with them again.

As an aside, Covermore do offer service for the price: friend who became ill in the US had a Covermore assigned doctor visit him within a day or so and would have made necessary arrangements for him to be returned to AUS had it been necessary.

HTH."
 

rginoz

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Thanks for a very informative Trip Report, Coriander. I'm glad also that your medical difficulties could be overcome and that your holiday was able to continue. Best wishes.
 

VPS

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Not sure how I missed this TR but it was a wonderful read. I hate Dubai airport but got a little nostalgic looking at the photos of it.

Malta is on my list and includes the hot chocolate shop that @RooFlyer mentioned in his TR.

The Glacier express is high on my bucket list so thanks for all the info.
 
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