22 Mar 2006 - London - Frankfurt
Here goes for the start of the journey, sitting in a hotel bar in Walldorf, near Frankfurt, taking full advantage of wireless internet...

Our flight to Tripoli tomorrow was booked from Frankfurt via Vienna on Austrian Airlines, so had to get to Frankfurt first. Tried a new airport for this, namely from London City Airport using British Airways. They had an airmiles sale earlier this year so this flight was a good way of using some up of the ones accumulated previously.

This whole journey was extremely civilised and I can thoroughly recommend it.

Arrived by train into London Bridge, then it was the newish Jubilee Line to Canning Town for a change onto the even newer Docklands Light Railway route to London City Airport. This driverless, toy train link opened only a few months ago and now makes this airport a viable proposition if you can find a flight going where you want to go.

After stepping off the train it is barely 100 yards to the check in desks and not much more to the gate.

Security was extremely interested in giving me a good looking over - rather as I suspected while carrying two metal briefcases full of suspicious looking equipment! Mind you, the chap who did it said he was looking to buy a telescope himself so asked me for my advice.

I am taking two Helios telescopes, one for photographing the eclipse through and one for our party to look through. Each is packed in a foam lined metal case to give them a fighting chance of surviving the rigours ahead!

With only a short runway, surrounded by water, and the towers of Canary Wharf to clear, the pilot ramped up the engines before letting go the brake and the plane took off like a rocket! Although booked an aisle seat, the plane was practically empty so moved to a window to enjoy the journey, such as it was being only 1 hr 10 mins. Had reasonably clear skies most of the way and saw the remnants of snow on north facing slopes on the Hunnsruck before coming into Frankfurt. Frankfurt itself is free of snow, but is colder than London.

Just been out for a walk under clear skies before sitting down in the bar to write this journal. Tomorrow will be an early start, leaving here at 6am in order to meet up with 3 other members of our party for the 0800 flight to Vienna.

Signing off now. Next time you hear from me the sun will be out and it will be 30 degrees! Ah, can't wait after the English winter...

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