Before heading home, only fitting to add a few shots from Cape Town. Like the sunrise view from the Westin Executive Lounge:
View of Table Mountain from the waterfront:
Another view, this time from the water:
Fantastic sunset on the water:
Looking back towards Cape Town, and a full moon:
The Cape Wheel lit up at night on the V&A Waterfront:
One last sunset from Camps Bay:
Another daytime view from the Westin Exec Lounge. This hotel was absolutely fantastic in every way. Great rooms, fabulous Platinum treatment, great restaurants, and the brightest star was the staff. They went out of their way over the course of a week to accommodate every request I had and went above and beyond the fall of duty. It’s hard to fail, though, with a view like this:
Soon enough, over a week had passed, and it was time to get back home. My hockey team had made the championship game in the meantime, and I was anxious to get back in time to play!
Check-in was easy, although they were only able to check me in as far as Johannesburg. Long line for security, and took nearly 30 minutes to clear. Once through, the walk to the South African lounge wasn’t too bad, and there was great plane spotting today. TAAG 777:
Kulula 737 with a very awkward “this way up” paintjob. Just in case, idk, the plane gets turned upside down?
…and my ride for today for the short hop to Joburg, a South African A340-600:
South African flight 346
Cape Town, South Africa (CPT) to Johannesburg, South Africa (JNB)
Depart 15:20, Arrive 17:15, Flight Time: 1:55
Airbus A340-600, Registration ZS-SNG, Manufactured 2003, Seat 4D
Miles Flown Year-to-Date: 41,950
Lifetime Miles Flown: 2,231,475
Once airborne, a small snack was served. The couscous, cheese, tomato, and olives were ok, but the mystery meal was…pretty nasty:
Other than that, not too much to say about this short flight. Same wine selections as the flight down to Cape Town, friendly crew, and about 80% full in business, but the seat next to me remained empty which was a super nice surprise. The crew didn’t even say anything when I used the seatbelt to buckle in my laptop bag for landing! Nice!
Bus gate in Josie, and unfortunately we had to wait to fill up the bus – no special treatment for business class! Rather long walk to the international gates, and another 30 minute wait for passport control. Ugh! But once through, the South African lounge was absolutely packed for evening departures. Since the onboard meal wasn’t really edible, I grabbed a small snack in the lounge – I jokingly told friends back home this was crocodile stew, and most believed it. Goes to show how even South Africa is considered exotic!
…that said, it wasn’t labeled. Tasted like lamb, but there’s no guarantees…
Long walk to the gate for the Lufthansa flight, and waited forever to board as the crew was stuck in traffic. This was to be the first time I transfered 747-8i to 747-8i and I was looking forward to a very comfortable trip!
Lufthansa flight 573
Johannesburg, South Africa (JNB) to Frankfurt, Germany (FRA)
Depart 19:40, Arrive 05:25 next day, Flight Time: 10:45
Boeing 747-8i, Registration D-ABYF, Manufactured 2012, Seat 8D
Miles Flown Year-to-Date: 47,330
Lifetime Miles Flown: 2,236,855
So…what’s for dinner tonight?
…after a couple glasses of wine in the lounge, I decided to try out my very limited German, and ordered my wine and starter. The super friendly FA continued in German, so I decided to see how long I could keep this going. I always joke that I don’t speak German – I speak Lufthansa, and the extent of my German is to tell you that Zu jedem Sitz gehört eine Schwimmweste. In der First und Business Class finden Sie die Shwimmweste unter der Armiehne!
I must have been reasonably understandable, because I got my wine and mixed nuts. I’m so glad Lufthansa has finally upgraded from the pre-packaged nuts:
I went with the sweet chili beef for the starter, and it was reasonably tasty:
I’m not sure why I decided on the pasta as a main, but it was pretty bland, as expected. I won’t do shrimp on a plane, and I’ve been burned by bad beef so many times that I guess the pasta was a default. Maybe I should have risked the beef after all…
Tasty, but incredibly stingy cheese portion:
After eating, I passed out for over seven hours of sleep, and slept right through the pre-arrival breakfast service. No matter, I wasn’t really hungry anyways.
Passport control agents were waiting at the top of the jetway as they often are in Frankfurt for Africa flights, and after a quick flash of the passport (without even opening it) they waived me on. Several others weren’t as lucky…
Through formal passport control, again managing the whole very brief exchange in German, and I was in the airport at 5:30, only 5 minutes after scheduled arrival. Very short walk to the airport Sheraton, quick check-in, and by 6am I was in bed and sleeping soundly. Clearly seven hours wasn’t nearly enough, and I managed another 4 hours of solid sleep.
Grabbed a quick shower, followed by coffee and pastry in the Sheraton exec lounge, and then headed back to the airport. Stop for the obligatory Starbucks to finish waking up, where once again my name was strangely misspelled:
Through immigration and security. It was the day before Easter, and this group of Chinese tourists was absolutely fascinated with this random duty free person posing as the Easter Bunny:
Quick stop in the Senator lounge for a pretzel and easter eggs, along with a glass of riesling:
Then, very short walk to the gate and it was time to board.
Lufthansa flight 418
Frankfurt, Germany (FRA) to Washington, DC, Dulles (IAD)
Depart 12:50, Arrive 16:55, Flight Time: 9:05
Boeing 747-8i, Registration D-ABYR, Manufactured 2014, Seat 7D
Miles Flown Year-to-Date: 51,411
Lifetime Miles Flown: 2,240,936
Having slept 11+ hours I was pretty sure I was going to stay awake this whole flight. The flight to DC was completely full in all classes, and they were offering a 200 euro voucher to go the next day. Um, no thanks. So now, let’s eat!
Mixed nuts and red wine again, are you sensing a pattern?
The medium-rare roast beef as advertised. Tasty, especially with the pretzel roll:
A rather anemic salad:
The tandoori chicken breast was ok, but nothing special.
Much better serving of cheese…and a dessert! Bonus!
Plus, mark this as the flight where I learned Lufthansa has an on-board espresso machine. This was the first of four double espressos consumed in the next eight hours…
After lunch, I spent several hours doing work and watching tv, before it was time for the pre-arrival meal. The salad was pretty sad, and the curry soup was even worse. The whole meal was pretty poor…the riesling was the star…
So what to do? Another glass of riesling and dessert. Best part of the meal!
Landed at Dulles right on time, immigration was a zoo but was through in two minutes thanks to Global Entry. The line for immigration stretched down the hallway and looked at least 30-60 minutes long. Fortunately, the Global Entry line was much shorter and I was through in five minutes.
Taxi ride home, quick shower and pick up the hockey gear, eat a pack of fig newtons, and it was off to the hockey rink, where I arrived just in time 30 minutes before the championship game. The picture below tells all the story…it was well worth rushing home for!
Stay tuned…next up is my next attempt to check off country #192 visited – Tuvalu!