8 July 2016

Viewpoint

Of course I could carry on blogging about Kefalonia but I don't want to bore my esteemed visitors to death. No. Instead, I will just reflect on the flight home.

It was in 1972 that I first boarded an aeroplane. I was on my way to New York and thence to Los Angeles and Hawaii. Looking through the little oval window next to my seat I was in awe of the world I saw below me. England's green patchwork fields, little fishing boats in the Irish Sea and then the emerald jigsaw of Ireland before we crossed the wide expanse of The Atlantic Ocean. Truly fabulous.

And I never lost that sense of wonder about looking out of aeroplane windows. I estimate that I have taken about two hundred flights in my life and I am always disappointed if I don't get a window seat. To look down upon our planet  is something our ancestors could only dream about - high above the land and the water like a bird. 

On Wednesday, we flew up the Greek coast towards Corfu and then on to the islands of Croatia. There were so many of them, dotted about the eastern shore of The Adriatic Sea. In fact, Croatia has 1246 islands - and I must have looked down on half of them. Little ferries moved between them like ants and there were tiny yachts anchored far below  in Lilliputian bays. 

Then on to Venice. I recognised its shape immediately. There was The Grand Canal and there was the oblong island of San Michele -  the cemetery island. Beside it Murano - the island of glass.
Venice from a plane © Daniel Persson 2006
Soon we were over The Alps - great jagged teeth pointing angrily at the sky and snow nestling in the highest plateaux and valleys. Hidden little mountain lakes in green and blue and over there Mont Blanc and Lake Constance. It was the best view of The Alps I have ever had. As clear as a bell.

Onwards, ever northwards over the summer fields of Germany where tiny giggling frauleins were no doubt being chased through flowery meadows by miniature men in lederhosen. Then over the border into La France where insect-like men in striped shirts carried minuscule strings of onions on bicycles while humming "Sur Le Pont d'Avignon". Then over Paris with a distant view of The Eiffel Tower.

Crossing the English Channel took four or five minutes before the little fields of Kent and East Sussex appeared. And there underneath our big steel bird was Biggin Hill's famous airfield and there London's orbital motorway - The M25 - already clogged up with early evening traffic.

Soon we were flying over the metropolis of London itself. I spotted The Oval cricket ground and then the silvery ribbon of The Thames before Arsenal's Emirates Stadium came into view. I told Shirley and she unbuckled her seatbelt to have a look because our son Ian lives bang next to that football ground. We waved but he didn't see us and then one of those painted waitresses they have on aeroplanes appeared in the aisle to tell Shirley to buckle up again.

Watford and Luton then up above the M1 to the city of Leicester with a good view of The King Power Stadium before the aeroplane swung round to make its descent to East Midlands Airport. The farms and villages grew closer and there were interesting lumps and bumps in some of the fields - perhaps hinting at hidden archaeology. And then we were down.

Yes I still love to look down from aeroplanes - like a child at a sweetshop window. The wonder never diminishes. How about you?

27 comments:

  1. "like a child at a sweet shop window"what a lovely phrase-we should all have a bit of that in our lives.

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    1. When we have lost our wonder and all of our innocence we might as well already be dead.
      Thanks for calling by Angela.

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  2. Yes, YP, I love flying too. My first ever flight, which I took alone, was in the early 60's when I went to stay with family friends in Belgium, in an attempt to improve my French. I just flew from Heathrow to Brussels, but it was enough to whet my appetite. No idea of the total number of flights I've taken since then, but some years, to long haul destinations, we must have taken as many as a dozen flights.

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    1. That was an early first flight CG. Back then ordinary people never flew... you must have been extraordinary.

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    2. No, not really YP. My father thought it would be an enjoyable experience, and didn't want to leave me to negotiate the rail and ferry journey alone. I wanted to prove I was a big girl and travel by myself. I flew with Sabena - the now defunct Belgian National Airline, and there were only seven passengers.

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  3. I prefer the window seat as well. Some sights I have seen over the years include Scotland in winter (an expanse of white), the Washington Monument (about half an inch tall), Mt. Rainier poking up through the clouds, downtown Chicago during a "rapid descent" into O'Hare, the entire state of New Jersey from the Delaware River to the Atlantic Ocean and Cape May. I could go on, but I won't.

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    1. Mount Rainier must be a fine sight in good weather but I wonder what Canton, Georgia looks like from above.

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  4. I don't know flying seems so un natural to me. I look around the huge plane and marvel at how it stays in the air and think how clever it is to fly this huge piece of machinery ! Most of the time when I look out the window all I see is clouds and they are pretty wonderful too ! I very rarely get a window seat - Tony gets first dibs because he needs lots of room !

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    1. It is amazing hoe those vast metal machines make it into the sky. Tony must have seem some marvellous things from his window seat while you were thumbing through "The Australian Women's Weekly" and "Better Homes and Gardens".

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  5. I've only taken a handful of flights in my life, and, yes, it is wondrous to look down at the ground from far above. Thank you for narrating the view from your window seat!

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  6. At one time I insisted on a window seat but not anymore. It seems there's less space in a window seat. But I do enjoy watching the scene below. I have been spoiled as most of my fight time has been on light aircraft.

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    1. I bet you have seen a lot of lakes and trees Red!

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  7. Same here...it's a fun, enjoyable pleasure, not that I've done so for a while now.

    One time, in January, 1987, when I was managing the resort on Hinchinbrook Island and was doing the sales/marketing as well I flew across this wide brown and green land to Perth, Western Australia for a conference-tourism trade event. When I got back home to the island I had photos developed. It took me a while to decipher one, though. I wonder why I had a photo of a kidney or the like. And then I realised it was a photo I'd taken of Uluru (Ayers Rock) in Central Australia!! We'd flown low over the Gulf Country and south through the Northern Territory, landing at Alice Springs en route, and I was clicking away like a professional....photographer, that is!

    I must dig out those photos of that time.

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    1. On behalf of your blogging fan club, I urge you to dig out those pictures and post them in a new blogpost - especially the picture of Uluru. Don't worry, we do not need to know what happened at the conference - What happens in Perth stays in Perth.

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    2. It would make you blush, Yorkie!!;)

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  8. My first flight was in 1991, for our honeymoon in Tunisia after my first husband and I got married. The main thing I remember was the discomfort I experienced in my inner ear; I had been told about the need of the body to adapt to the change of pressure but somehow was not able to do something about it. Anyway, the flight itself didn't leave a lasting impression, unlike some other flights I have been on since.
    One memorable one was the flight to Nizza (Nice) in the spring of 2010; the approach to the airport is spectacular: You come straight out of the Sea Alps to the Côte D'Azur, from snow-covered mountain tops to palm trees lining the blue, blue Mediterranean within seconds!
    Also, of course, the flights I have been lucky enough to be on with my pilot friend in the ultralight mini plane were always spectacular, much more than all the pictures on my blog can convey.

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    1. Yes. To see the world from a light aircraft must be an enormous delight - all round vision instead of being cramped in a seat on a big jet. You are very lucky to have had those special opportunities.

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  9. This was a sweet post YP...it describes exactly that strange feeling we have sometimes when up in the clouds. I am a nervous flyer so I don't mind if my mister has the window seat but sometimes looking down and seeing such glorious sights is truly a pleasure. Many years ago I flew with Laker to America - it was the cheapest flight I could find, and I visited my brother in California, which was so sunny and golden and dry....and then when I flew home I marvelled at how green and lush England looked.

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    1. Laker? Now that is a blast from the past. Was there still a smoking section on board and boiled sweets? I wonder if your brother is still in California.

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  10. I love looking out of the plane window too YP. One of my favourite views was of a glacier going down into the Atlantic as we flew over Greenland. Always something of interest. Especially love your Venice shot - fantastic.

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    1. I have flown over Greenland too - such an amazing expanse of whiteness.

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  11. Yes you could smoke in the plane YP ... and there was also another deck upstairs that had a bar! My brother is back in California but in the interim has been all over the world.

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    1. Is he an international jewel thief?

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  12. I love looking out airplane windows too. I was just complaining the other day about how everyone on planes keeps their blinds drawn nowadays so they can watch movies in the dark. The stewardesses even tell you to close them sometimes.

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    1. Your post actually helped to spark this one Steve. Once I was flying over Paraguay in the middle of the day, looking down on the wonder of it all when an Iberian stewardess snapped at me "Close blind!" She didn't appreciate me asking why.

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  13. I used to fly up and down the Islands and to Glasgow and Edinburgh almost weekly (so it seemed) for many years (in the days when flying was still fun) and I never ever lost my love of gazing down on the world below. Of course on the flights across the mainland often all I saw was the tops of clouds which was still pretty awesome. I, too, can still how I felt on my first flight over the Alps. The vastness of the steppes of central Asia and of the Australian hinterland were mind-blowing. However I think the most fun I got was from hopping around the Islands in helicopters seeing places without roads which I had never even visited on foot. Now I visit airports only when I have no practical alternative.

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