Macedonia & Vienna Travel Log
Part Eleven: Flight from the Volcano
Well, it was a bit tense for a while, but I am now safely home. I left my hosts' flat at 2:30 am by taxi and flew out of Skopje at around 4:30 a.m. The airport in Vienna was crowded with people discovering their flights were cancelled; some hadn't even heard about the volcanic ash. My flight was one of the last to be allowed to leave Vienna before Austrian airspace had to shut down; it took a southerly route, crossing over the coast of Spain (red cliffs rather than the white cliffs of Kent and/or Sussex we'd flown over on they way east). The Air Austria flights were queued up and launching one after the other, rather like film you might have seen of the Berlin airlift, though not quite so tight. I think they were even sending some flights early, if all the passengers were there, in order to get them airborne and out of Europe. All the way across the Atlantic there was a white stream of cloud to the north. (I had a window seat on the north side of the plane, and thus a good view.) I'm assuming this was the river of volcanic ash from Iceland.
I'm now home, well and truly slobbered on by my dog, who had amused himself in
my absence by digging up one of my rosebushes, chewing it up, and then trying to
hide the evidence by burying it under another rosebush in a different flowerbed.
I think it may survive; there's one leaf bud he didn't eat. This isn't the first
rosebush he's tried to devour; they must be tasty. (My dog wants to be
herbivore? His favourite treat seems to be tomatoes.) Actually, he may have
begun excavating this bush (a John Davis, if you're interested in roses),
because there was a nest of bumblebees in the earth under it. Sadly, I don't
think they survived the assault. I guess a dog who can eat rosebushes can also
eat bumblebees. Both are, as Torrie would say, spicy.)
So, that's it for the travel journal. We'll continue to update it with new photos; my Macedonian publishers, Vermilion, will be sending us a few more from the book launch and the Day of Canadian Culture. Now to catch up on my sleep!