Blog No.1 of The Great European Escape: Thoughts from the Uncomfortable Middle Seat on a Long Haul Flight


As they say, your trip starts not when you reach your destination, but the moment you boarded the plane. This is the start of our journey.


I am not sure if I was even prepared when our flight day finally arrived. Ang bilis! Months worth of preparations leading us to the boarding gate with only 3 important things I really really needed in my bag (maiwan na ang lahat) - My passport, my phone, and my credit card.

Prior to that, some of the things I had to go through include booking for a "cheaper" flight in a travel fair, securing that hard-to-get Norwegian visa, packing and then applying Konmari to repack about 5-7x, and then working like a cow just to cover the travel expenses while making sure I still have a few bucks left on the bank when I get home. Yet I still feel that I will never really be truly prepared for this--but hey--isn't the uncertainty a part of the adventure!?

Then on a regular afternoon of a regular Sunday, right after our usual family mass, it was finally time to drive to the airport. Feeling mo ordinary day lang, except we have two big luggages at the back of the car. You will know we will be away for a while.

Our parents left us right in front of the entrance of the NAIA Terminal 1. It was raining that day. When Ate and I entered the unfamiliar airport, I finally felt it-- yung halong kaba na excited. It's the start of an adventure with just the two of us again.


Ready for the long haul flight in my loose airport uniform!

Just a little intro to how this Euro trip surfaced:

The original plan was actually just me joining my two Titas who were able to book Php 35K roundtrip flights from Manila to Madrid. They will visit their eldest brother (my Tito) in Oslo for his 70th birthday in July. I learned about this late last year, and I felt that I was ready to go and travel outside Asia again so sabi ko sama ako! My parents agreed right away since I will be with dad's siblings anyway.

I wasn't able to book my flight right away, I was still waiting for another seat sale when Ate's plans of going to the US suddenly did not push through. I persuaded her to join me and our Titas instead! Ate eventually said yes as long as we go to cities she hasn't been to during her short work stint in Europe almost 10 years ago. Meaning, there will be no mainstream Europe in the agenda: No Paris, No London, No Rome, etc. I still agreed since it's my first time and everything's new to me anyway. Also, because when Ate plans for a trip, wala na akong kelangan isipin kundi pera ko and OOTD ko!! Lol.

When a travel fair was announced early this year, Ate and I trooped to the SMX on the event's very first day. And although we felt we were very early, a loooong, zig-zagging line waited for us outside the venue. We patiently stood under the sun. The wasted time was not in vain though, we left SMX successful after booking 2 round trip tickets from Manila to Oslo with Thai Airways!! Again it's not cheaper than I thought (Php 45,000), pero marami nag sabi sakin na pwede na yan. And for me, basta matuloy nato ok nadin!

Showing Ate a hack I saw on Youtube: How to seamlessly drag your two luggages lol:


I am so used to budget airlines, I was really excited for our long haul flight's on-board entertainment!


Whimsical themed Thai Airways safety procedure video is the cutest!


I brought a neck pillow with me, but they also provided a small pillow and blanket for all passengers:

Blurry picture, but worth posting! Thank you Ilahui for our soft neck pillows!


It's the third time I traveled with just my Ate, first was in Taiwan in 2015 and second was in Japan in 2016. She's super OC so lahat siya na gumagawa. This might also be the reason why my upcoming posts will not be the usual detalyado blog entries because si Ate mismo ang nag research at sumabit lang ako haha! Sya talaga ang orig master in itinerary -- kumpleto yan lahat from accommodations, commuting, reservations, budget, etc., neatly arranged in an Excel document. If makita nyo mga solo trip itineraries ko, wala yan sa gawa ni Ate! Haha! But regardless of not being a blog guide for your European plans, I will try my very best to tell my story.

Favorite part of long haul flights is the anticipation of what food they will serve. I ate while watching 500 Days of Summer.


During the travel fair, nasabi na agad ni Ate na lacto-ovo vegetarian ako so my seat was already marked. They always serve the trays of passengers with food restrictions first, before they roll out to the others. Perks! Hehe!

Our flight from Manila to our Bangkok layover is only about 2.5 hours. When we reached the Suvarnabhuni Airport, we only had time to look for our gate, go to the nearest washroom to wash up and brush our teeth, before boarding time again. This time the flight will take about 10-11 hours straight na, so game face on na talaga! Ate even brought a Korean sheet mask with her at sobrang drying talaga sa plane, haha! I had sachet samples of facial cleansers, leave on masks, lotion, etc.





Ang swerte it was not a full flight so I was able to move to the aisle seat!


This time, I watched a Thai film with subtitles during our second dinner and before lights off. Cute naman sya!


I had salad, cream cake, bread and butter, and a green peas cream pasta. Panay kain kami dito!


After the movie and listening to a few songs, I was ready to sleep. I just stretched my legs and put on my neck pillow, then bagsak na agad. I cannot remember if I woke up to any announcement or a minor turbulence, but when I checked the flight path information, we only had a few hours before landing. They served us another meal, this time our breakfast! Wala pa ako sa Europe sumisikip na pants ko, haha!

I woke up like this + my breakfast + the lucky person across me who had the whole three seats to himself! Haha!


Ate's food and good lighting for being next to the window:

It would have been a dream to fly business class and be comfortable during long haul flights, but for now while it's still far-fetched I am just happy with what I can afford.

I wasn't even conscious of it until I received an Instagram story reply on our flight back to Manila kung bakit daw hindi ko piliin ang window seat. The downside of economy class is that magkakaroon talaga ng flights na you have to take the least favorite "middle seat". Whenever I travel solo, I've been very lucky for always getting a nice spot next to the window -- So I guess I don't mind just for this give ko na yan sa iba.

If you've known me for a while, I have a huge thing for personal space. Di ako makahinga, haha! How much so if it's for 11 hours! It's so awkward and uncomfortable when two people squeeze you in the middle, and when you crawl over someone you do not know just to go to the restroom. One time my aisle seatmate even put up the arm rest separating us, so she can place her pillow and lean her head on it! 😅 Surprisingly, hindi naman ako nainis nun!! To avoid any hassles and arguments, I timed my restroom breaks (hindi yun tulog na sya), and I also made sure I have everything that I need with me before lights off, so no need na to open cabin compartment for my bag at mang abala ng iba.

Before I knew it, we only have 5 minutes ticking before landing:


Oslo from above the clouds is so green and beautiful!


 I am amazed how I did not even feel discounted with the lack of view or legroom. We are all in the same plane anyway, staying for the same number of hours at about 35,000 feet, and all landing in the same destination.

I think more than tolerance, the thought that this is not the end-all of this journey made me forget about the lack of sleep and the uncomfortable middle seat. The whole time my head was telling me "I am going to Norway!" and it was enough source of good vibes to last me till we picked up our bags from the luggage carousel--and I guess even for the entirety of the whole trip. Whenever I felt any discomfort or negativity, I remind myself that "I am in Stockholm!" or Berlin, or in any other city I was in. And suddenly everything's okay again.

Finally landed and went through the immigration booth with no problems! Sent this selfie to our family's FB groups, haha.


Nakaka tawa yung bata sa background, ginagaya yung statue hehe:

Aesthetics overload! Inspiring Scandinavian designs spotted all over Norway's Airport:


We went outside to wait for our Oslo fam to pick us up:



I've heard of this city since I was a kid because we have two families living in Norway. I cannot believe that I am finally in Oslo!

The quaint Gonzales fam's house in Oslo:

To be continued....

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By the way! Here's a sneak peek of my Eastern Europe Pasalubong Giveaway! Only one winner will receive a Berlin Ampelmann post-it from Germany, chili paste from Budapest, a bar of Melkesjokolade chocolate from Norway, H&M nude lipstick and black pom-pom earring from its hometown Stockholm, and a Sto. Niño gold pendant with prayer leaflet from my favorite Church of the Lady Victorious in Prague. I also added pink travel essentials: a pouch, sleep mask, and neck pillow. I'll add closeup photos next time para mas maappreciate! Haha! Join kayo a! :)


Making sure it's easy to join! Just like and share any of your favorites from my Europe travel posts (starting with this one) on my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The more you engage, the more chances of winning! Hehe! Thank you and till the next post! ❤

Comments

  1. OMG! You are back. Ang saya ng kwento on this first installment. It's like taking me back when this trip first started dahil sa mga IG stories mo. Looking forward to the succeeding entries.

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    1. Thank you so much for appreciating!! <3

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  2. Wow! Ang saya! Kahit na napagastos okay lang. Kayang kitain pa naman yun Miss Ana! Ayun pala ang storya, kase umaabang ako ng Paris, Rome, etc. But it's fine since it's your first time atlit naka pag European tour pa din. Regarding the giveaway, since I'm a Catholic super bet ko yun Sto Niño gold pendant, I love religious stuff din kase. Will stay tuned for your future posts. �� @HeyItsEdrielaigne

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    1. Thanks Gladys! :) Bonus pa na I super loved that church! :)

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  3. Super ganda ng pinuntahan mo Miss Ana. Sana mas mapadalas ang oag travel mo. Salamat sa pasalubong mag join ako 😁

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    1. Thank you sana mag dilang anghel kaaa! Hehehe! <3

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