Flying From Bali To London: 36 Hours Of Travel With Kids
We. Are. HOME!!!
We finally, FINALLY arrived back in England at 4pm on Thursday. England. Drizzly, beautiful, grey, green, grumpy, fabulous England. We are loving it.
We spent our last morning in Bali having breakfast on the beach and the kids had a last play on the sand. It was a bittersweet moment, but also doubly positive – we have gorgeous memories of Bali beaches and were also so excited to see England. We’d bathed the kids ready for our long journey (we were leaving after breakfast), so naturally the first thing they did when we got to breakfast was to bury each other up to their necks, in their clothes. Good good.
The journey from our apartment in Sanur, Bali to our wonderful friends’ house in south London (we’re housesitting for a few months by some blessed miracle) took 36 hours. Thatta loooong time to be on the road with three kids, people. Especially a threenager. Usually we would have been a bit apprehensive about travelling with kids for that long- we certainly were when we left for our travel adventure/ family gap year thing one year ago- but we didn’t give this trip a second thought. The only thing we were worried about was how Eira would be and how the pressure of the plane would affect her- we had got a doctor’s certificate to say she could fly but we didn’t know if it would cause her pain or not.
After twelve months of meandering around Asia and living in Bali we knew that the kids would do great during the flights, and they did. We left for the airport at 1pm in Bali, flew to Singapore at 5.45pm, got there at 8.25pm, stayed over at a friend’s place until 4am, got to the airport at 6am, left Singapore at 9am and flew for 14 hours to gorgeous Gatwick, where we arrived at 4pm local time at 11pm Bali time.
The first leg of the journey was super smooth- we flew from Bali to Singapore with Air Asia and although Eira had some pain in her ears, there was nothing urgent or severe thank God. The actual flight was fine, although I seem to have developed a morbid fear of- well, everything- recently which made for great entertainment for the passengers in rows 23-30 as I shrieked and dug my fingers into Patrick at every little bump and shake of the plane, reminiscent of that “something is wrong with the phalange” scene with Phoebe from Friends.
I maintain that it was making unusual noises and swaying from side to side. Patrick has a very practical approach to- well, everything- and helpfully reminded me that we were “stuck in a metal tube at 20,000 feet so if you’re going to die, there’s not much you can do about it.” His other suggestions included ordering copious amounts of alcohol or to “put your hands up like you’re on a rollercoaster”.
I hate rollercoasters.
Anyway, the kids did amazing and thumbs up to Air Asia for their pretty awesome food- we weren’t jumping in our seats at the thought of more rice and veggies (we’ve eaten it every day, often multiple times a day, for a year) but it was super tasty. The Air Asia staff spent most of the time fawning over Elfie in the galley and taking Elfie Selfies.
Singapore was like another world- another planet even- compared to Bali. We stepped off the plane and glided through the airport on a bubble of efficiency, sparkling cleanliness and helpful English-speaking staff who briskly organised everyone into the shortest possible queues. I’m not quite sure how we ended up in our huge, seatbelt-using, enough-seat-having, card-accepting, MOT-passing taxi but we may well have floated in on a cloud of wonder at how incredibly Singapore operates. It just works.
The kids crashed out when we got to our friends’ place and absolutely bossed getting up so early for the next bit of the journey. We ordered footlong Subway sandwiches at the airport to to add to our bag of food to get us through the flight, as we hadn’t pre-ordered the (rip-off) meal service from Norwegian air.
In case you didn’t know, Changi Airport in Singapore is the most entertaining and well-equipped airport in the world. On the first day of our travel adventure we spent 12 hours overnight in the airport and didn’t run out of things to do and see. This time we had pan au chocolat at Paul’s patisserie, spent a while in the rooftop cactus garden and watched planes taking off during sunrise.
The kids were amazing the whole flight. We packed our usual favourite travel toys along with iPads, and the kids enjoyed playing with the games and watching movies on the TVs in the back of the seats. We had a lot of turbulence (more nail-digging into Patrick) but the kids loved it. Esmae and Eira sat next to each other and laughed a lot- they were thrilled to be going home. Elfie ate sweets until she puked. You win some, you lose some.
We got super lucky when we got to Gatwick, skipped the queue for immigration thanks to having three tired kids and grabbed our luggage which was some of the first off the carousel. Mum and our wonderful friend Sue met us at the airport and we got home uneventfully.
And now we’re here! The first few days have been written off for unpacking and getting over jet lag. The kids got up at 4am the first day and 5am today, which we’re really pleased with. Nearly back to normal already. Beautiful normal.
It’s so lovely enjoying home comforts that we haven’t had for the past year, even those we didn’t think we missed. I batch-cooked yesterday and having an oven and four gas rings is utter bliss, as is having a large freezer and a washing machine (place your bets now as to how long it takes to get bored of doing laundry?) Warm clothes are a novelty; huge mugs of tea and hot water bottles are pure English bliss.
We can’t wait to see our friends and family over the next few weeks; to get back into our homeschooling routine and to chill out. Eira has her doctor’s appointment on Monday and I’ll write an update on her progress etc then.
Thank you for reading guys x