London – Manchester – London – Nice – Provence – Barcelona – London.
In broad strokes, this was our Europe 2013 trip itinerary. We based it around the following parameters:
1. James likes driving trips, and there was hardly any driving during our Europe 2009 trip.
2. We both like cities. But cities mean a lot of walking, and at the time of planning I wasn’t sure how much walking I could deal with while 5 months’ pregnant.
3. We love eating. And we love eating tapas in Barcelona.
4. Our good friends Michelle and Ben, usually based in NYC, would be in the UK for a family holiday on a range of dates that included at least one English Premier League football game where Manchester United would be playing at home.
Before the trip proper, we had some fun getting to our first destination. Ever since I first heard about the A380 Suite Class on Singapore Airlines, it’s been a secret hope of mine to travel in such luxury. I don’t know if I ever mentioned my little pipe dream to James – but when he was arranging the air tickets, he decided it was worth our while to spend an obscene number of air miles to fly us to and from London in the Suites.
We checked our luggage in and got our boarding passes at a comfortable, cushy facility reminiscent of a swanky hotel lounge.
Then we were escorted to an exclusive immigration lane:
Breezed right through immigration in under a minute, then it was onward to the SilverKris lounge. We were led through a series of increasingly comfortable-looking lounge areas: business class, first class, and then… the Private Room. Only first class passengers on Singapore Airlines are invited to use the Private Room, while first class passengers on their partner airlines must contend with the mere first class lounge.
On sight alone, I would have probably been happy with either, since everything from the business class lounge onwards was already heaps more luxurious than chilling out in the terminal area. But then I found that we had table service for breakfast, while everyone else mostly helped themselves from a buffet… and having had to wake up before 6 am, I was mighty hungry.
It was so comfortable that it seemed hardly any time at all till we had to get to our boarding gate. Never before and never again will I have such an easy time getting from the gate into my seat on the plane.
Next up: the most well-fed air travel experience I’ve ever had…