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Florida Guide > Travelling

What a trip this was! Part 9

We have finally landed at Gander Airport, Newfoundland after a long delay at Gatwick Airport – 36 hours after our journey should have begun, on this, our first trip to Orlando in Florida.

There is a cheer from the passengers as our aircraft lands, and as the doors are finally opened we gather our bits and pieces together, and, camera in hand, I stand at the top of the steps which lead down onto the tarmac, the wind gusting about our faces. It is just like stepping back in time. We are nearly the last ones off as I spend a few moments capturing it all on camera. We then follow the crowds as they make their way inside the building.

We turn and look at the aircraft. It really is huge – you are not usually standing quite so close to an aircraft, and it is an extraordinary sight. We can almost touch the enormous wings, and we can see the fans still spinning inside the jet engines. Already it is linked up to the refuelling tanker, and the captain has promised us the quickest turn around that he can manage. He hopes to be airborne in 40 minutes!

We have been told that Gander airport is worth the walk with a good gift shop, cafeteria and of course, the famous Gander ice-cream. How odd that a place so cold should be famous for a frozen dessert! We make our way through glass doors and down a corridor. It is a little shabby and old fashioned, but at the end we enter a huge reception hall, hung with the flags of all nations, and clocks on the wall depicting the time in various cities around the world. Its a pity that not all of them have hands! A picture of our queen, Elizabeth 11 is displayed on the wall, showing her opening the terminal building in the 1950s. To be honest, we think it probably looks just the same as it did when she arrived.

There are plastic covered sofas, and chairs around a central area, and a cafeteria where the smokers sit puffing away after their protracted time without nicotine.

We wander over to the large gift shop – strange really, as this airport can receive few passengers compared with some of the major airports in the USA. It is full of fascinating souvenirs and my eye is taken by a little black bear with a knowing look, made of pottery, and I decide to buy it. My daughter falls in love with a cuddly white polar bear, and while she shops I browse through the postcards which appear to have all been printed in the 1950s. They are quite amazing, mainly of sheds and boatyards, and I can’t resist purchasing some of them as they show what life is like in this cold and windswept region. They typify life in this extraordinary outpost in the wilderness,

After a quick trip to the loo – where we join a long queue – we see that passengers are already making their way over to the gate, and after purchasing a couple of their famous ice creams we join them. It is nearly dark now, and we make our way up the steep steps, ice creams in hands. With a final glance back to Gander International Airport we turn and find our seats, whilst the crew seal the door back into position.

There is a final headcount, and we begin to push back, ready to taxi towards the runway. Orlando here we come!

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Page added on: 15 July 2011
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