Though I’m based out of Vancouver, I sometimes take a look at shifts out of Calgary and Toronto. My company recently started flying to London (which is so exciting!) and I was lucky enough to grab a Toronto shift with a layover there! I’m always excited to try new destinations and have a new adventure, and my layover in London was no exception!
I landed at around 8 in the morning, local time, after flying through the night, and I was EXHAUSTED! Part of me didn’t want to sleep because I knew it would be hard for me to want to get up after, but I thought I should at least try to get an hour or two. (One of the hardest parts for flight crews is the shift work and the time changes!) I didn’t end up sleeping and arranged to meet up with my friend. He teaches gliding at Kent Gliding Club and we had talked about going gliding (I had never been!) Gliding is obviously so dependent on the weather so I kept saying oh no it’s DEFINITELY too cloudy (in reality it was a beautiful day but I was coming up with excuses to go because I was scared!) I think he could sense my hesitation so we just decided to go into London and explore the city. Then, at the last minute, I thought, you know what, when will I ever have this opportunity again! So off to the gliding club we went!
When we got there I felt the anxiety start to creep in. I’m getting sling shotted into the air in some creepy looking pod thing with no engine? Ummmmm… My friend said “oh no I want to get you much higher than that so I’m going to get one of the guys to tow us up with a plane.” Gulp. Once I got in the glider, I was actually quite calm (maybe it was jet lag and extreme fatigue!) When we got to about 3000 feet my friend said ok you see that little yellow knob by your leg can you pull that to release us from the plane. I was like ummm no I’m quite content being dragged by this little plane thank you very much! Reluctantly I pulled it and then it became very quiet and then we were gliding! We flew around a little bit as he showed me some of the sights and I thought this isn’t so bad! As we got a little lower he told me to get my camera ready and asked if I was feeling good. I said yes. Then this happened…
Two rolls, a plunge and a stall later, I had had my fill of the aerobatics and was ready to get back to solid ground. I was a bit shaky but mostly just hyped up on adrenaline. What an amazing experience! It had turned out to be a beautiful day so we went for a walk around Bodium Castle which was absolutely breathtaking! It was such a stunning setting, complete with a picturesque moat, lots of wildlife and even a hot air balloon!
After all the adventuring, we were starving. Lucky for us, there was a quaint little restaurant/hotel,The Castle Inn, right across the street! I settled on a traditional English dinner of fish and chips and of course some red wine to toast my bravery!
After that it was back to the hotel to get some sleep before the flight home in the morning. Sometimes I can’t believe the things I get to do when I’m at “work”! I truly have the best job ever!