B and I had lunch today on the foreshore of the beach at Ramsgate, looking out across Botany Bay, the scent of seaweed in the air. It was lovely to get out of the house. As we watched the big jets take-off from Kingsford-Smith airport I recalled our honeymoon flight, remarking how it was good to stay in a nearby hotel the night before departure.
Normally your journey begins at your house. There are always last-minute things to pack, to lock away in the house, and you end up rushing to the airport. On a road trip, the journey begins as the car pulls out from the driveway, then you can relax. With an airline voyage, you are always concerned about hitting unexpected delays on the way to the airport and missing your flight. Like the time when the car bonnet suddenly flew up and smashed the windscreen but a few kilometres from the terminal (we were driving B's brother, who had damaged the car in an accident a few days before). Maybe it's because I was brought up on holidays by road, but I prefer beginning my journey at the door to my house.
Our wedding night was spent at the Brighton Novotel, overlooking beautiful Botany Bay but only ten leisurely minutes from the airport, whose runways were visible jutting out into the bay. Yes, we were feeling wonderfully relaxed and happy for many other reasons, but it was a good feeling to know that everything that we were bringing was already packed and all we had to do was wander down to the lobby and catch the shuttle bus for our late afternoon flight. No last minute panic, we could take our time and enjoy every moment of the day.
You drive past the expensive looking hotels by the airport and wonder, what's the point? There nothing to see around them but industrial and airport related facilities. No shops, no sights and not much public transport. Now though, I think I understand. They are for people who don't want last minute panics about reaching their flights. Most of their guests are probably businessmen , or maybe flight crew, with little time to relax and enjoy the local area. But I like to think that I could relax in such a hotel room before a flight knowing that there is nothing else I need do. A holiday already begun.