May. 11th, 2015

I don't suppose any airport ranks highly in the minds of most people, but Stansted must be my least favourite. Getting there at 5.30am, we crawled in a vary long queue of cars, just to get to the "Rapid Drop-off Bay". Even then, we were charged £2 for the privilege. Then, once inside the terminal building, there was a huge crowd of fellow travellers, all trying to get through the security checks. And I do mean 'huge'. To be fair, almost all of the security lanes were operational, but it still seemed like too few for the number of people. And the space was so limited that they had to use those flexible barriers to snake us left and right to enforce some order into the 'mele'. Not a good advert for the airport, I'd suggest.

Carrying heavy bags in a slow moving queue, or just kicking them a few paces each time the queue moved, is not the best way to instil general bon homie. Then, before we reached our gate, we had to zig-zag past shop after shop selling perfumes, liquor and expensive electronic toys and not a single seat where we could rest our now rather weary legs. So, by the time we did sit down at the departure gate, life had already taken on a rather dour hue. Sadly, things were to get no better, as our departure was delayed a further 90 minutes because of a technical failure. However, the flight itself was faultless.

When we landed we were somewhat surprised when our neighbour asked to confirm the time, as she couldn't understand why it was so late. It transpired that she'd fallen asleep as soon as she got on the plane and had slept through both the delay and the entire flight. Lucky sod.

Junko stayed in Salzburg in 1988, while attending a piano course at the Mozarteum, and stayed with a woman who rented out room to students such as Junko. We stayed with Frau Feldbaumer when we came for a wedding around 10 years ago and did so again this time. Once checked in, we headed back into town and just wandered the streets for a couple of hours. The location of the town on the Salzach river and surrounded by mountains is a naturally beautiful one and the sight of cliffs towering over half of the old town seems almost un-natural. Even during the busy hours, it never really feels rushed or oppressive.



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