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The Return Home to Lockdown

Empty planes, Changi Airport, return to England

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21 March- Present
With heavy hearts we strapped our bags onto our backs and loaded up for one of the final times. Usually the feeling of being laden down with our bags is offset by the excitement of our travel to a new place. And although we would be catching a plane to Singapore there were no feelings of excitement, instead there was just a heavy pang of disappointed and missed opportunity. After saving and planning for this trip for so long we are extremely upset at being unable to finish our journey in the way we planned. However we know that we are in a very fortunate position and I'm not going to sit here and moan about our situation when there are people all over the world losing their jobs, worrying about money and even dying. It cannot be helped and we just have to thankful for all the sights we got to see and the wonderful experiences we have had over the past 4 months. One silver lining is that going home early does mean we have a headstart on the wedding/ring fund.

Our pre-booked taxi arrived in typical Japanese fashion, early! The taxi doors oddly opened automatically and our driver delivered exceptional service as we had come to expect in this amazing country. The airport was dead. It was like a ghost town! Our flight was only one of 3 flying that day which we were very relieved about. It was such on odd experience. Even the airport in Cairns was busier than this and we were there when the doors opened.

One thing we were excited about was flying with Singapore Air; voted the best airline in the world! So far, so good; as our check-in experience went swimmingly. We had hoped to buy a few extra souvenirs and gifts for people in the airport. This was as although we had picked up a few trinkets in our previous countries we planned to get different people gifts and buy souvenirs from different countries. However with our trip getting cut short we hadn't had this opportunity. Unfortunately the two small gift shops in the airport had nothing of any worth.

This flight was the strangest flight we have ever taken. We were on the plane really quickly and we settled into our seats awaiting for everyone else to get on, when all of a sudden the captain came over the radio instructing the cabin crew to close the doors! We looked around... Surely this couldn't be it! After a quick head count we realised that we were 2 of only 15 people in economy! This massive aircraft was literally empty. It was a little unnerving. We have both been on empty trains and even an empty tube, but never an empty plane!

Singapore Air definitely lived up to expectations... Great films, unlimited alcohol, good food and you could even order any extra snacks you wanted! Whenever we pressed the button for attention they were there instantly. We didn't know if this was the usual service of just because they were thankful of something to do but either way we took advantage! We munched and drank our way through a couple of films before arriving in Singapore airport; our home for the next 17 hours!! This airport is constantly listed as the best airport in the world. Due to this we opted for the cheaper flight even though it came with such a long layover. Now this airport is just insane! It is more of a city than an airport. It has 5 terminals each around the same size of Gatwick with so much going on even if the usual airport and city tours being cancelled. After deciding against booking into one of the airport's hotels we went exploring!


First up was a bit of shopping; you know to get a few engagement ring ideas! I'm so pleased I decided to propose to my best friend when I did as otherwise I'd be looking at popping the question in the middle of mum's lounge in Northampton. And my little pocket deserves so much more than that. Then we checked out the beautiful enchanted garden and koi carp lake before wandering around the memorising butterfly garden. It was just gorgeous and made you completely forget you were in an airport. We must have spent around an hour in there taking pictures and watching these insects fluttering around. We then stumbled upon a cinema playing up to date films, so we wasted a few hours watching a kids film set in China as we reflected on some of the sights we could have seen.

Spoilt with choice over where to eat we opted for McDonald's for ease and a chance to try out some more items we can't get back home, namely spicy nuggets! It was then time to find somewhere to grab a few hours sleep. There were a couple of places called snooze lounges and we went to check out one of them. They contained a number of comfy looking sun loungers in a reclined position. Lucky we got there when we did as we managed to nab the final two beds left and wasted a few more hours on Netflix before managing to get a bit of sleep. On the train ride to the lounges (yes it's so big they need train transfers) we got a brief glimpse of the rain vortex in the jewel section. Unfortunately we couldn't explore this section as it is located in departures but from the what we saw it looked unreal and we vowed to come back to enjoy it for longer.

We survived the night and our lengthy layover and it really didn't seem as long as 17 hours. The 9 hour delay we suffered in Luton while heading to Barcelona was way worse! The flight to London was a lot busier with the clearly being many tourists eager to get home with the country on the brink of lockdown. Singapore Air continued to impress the second time and the service was just as efficient even with a plane full. The leg room was also just a dream.


Time passed quickly and we were soon touching down in London and meeting mum. It was odd to see Heathrow so empty and the board of cancelled flights. It also wasn't the welcome back we envisaged we would have at the end of the trip but again it just couldn't be helped. We were very thankful to mum for making the journey to pick us up with the train service being limited. It has been really weird being back. Like any holiday it feels you never went away but yet nothing feels normal; not being able to leave the house and having to queue outside supermarkets. It's such a shame we can't have a coming home party or any get together to celebrate our engagement or Izzy's birthday. But again we just have to remind ourselves how lucky we are and we get around to see everyone once this is all over.

We've used the free time well perfecting our origami cranes and putting together our photo books for each country and it was amazing to relive our full trip. I can't believe how much we crammed in and those memories will be with us forever. It was still a trip of a lifetime and I left with a girlfriend and have come back with a fiancé! I can't wait to share all of life's journeys with this girl and make so many more memories with her doing what we do best... Having fun!!

Thank you for everyone who has followed our blog and I hope you have enjoyed reading about all of our adventures!


Posted by Bears on Tour 08:19 Archived in Singapore

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