#Europamore Trip Report Day 01: 8,225 Miles Of Travel To Europe

Europe Trip Report Day 01

#Europamore, noun: 1. a word play between “Europa” and “Pa More,” a Filipino expression usually attached to a noun or verb to give further and greater emphasis. 2. by far, the greatest trip of Girl Chasing Sunshine’s life

“Europe, here we come!”

These were the first words I told myself upon waking up on October 29, 2015. I remember feeling pumped up despite having slept past my lola-vibes slumber time the previous night. I was awake until 2 AM, trying to stuff all my belongings into my cabin luggage and fixing last minute train bookings. It was so ironic that on the greatest trip of my life, I was not able to do detailed planning—like what I usually do—and was forced to only have a hand carry (insert super sad face here).

I was half-dreading this day for those two critical items. You see, we booked a super promo fare (read: Php1, 300 or around $25) from Manila to Dubai and risked a dubious flight from Dubai to Vienna with a stopover in no less than Kiev, Ukraine! To facilitate stressed-free transfers and immigration control, my travel buddies and I decided to limit our baggage to only a hand carry. Oh, the horrors but here comes the spoiler—we survived!

Europe Trip Report Day 01

Since our flight was still at 4 PM, I started my day at work, finishing last-minute turnovers, writing articles for our corporate publication, answering emails, and composing my out-of-office reply for the next 12 days. By around 11 AM, my anxiety was as prominent as my excitement—I knew that my baggage would be way over the 7-kilo limit! So I hurried to Ms. R’s office (my travel buddies were former bosses; we are still in the same company but in different departments) and she generously agreed to transfer some of my belongings into her baggage. Once again, a light packer saves a notorious pack rat!

By lunchtime, we were off to the airport. It was a long weekend in the Philippines so we expected passenger congestion and we were right. Thank heavens we decided to arrive early since the lines—from the entrance to the check-in counters and travel tax payment—were crazy!

Feeling relieved that our luggage weight was not measured at the check-in counter, we proceeded to have lunch. Afterwards, we finally went to the immigration control counter but an airport staff intercepted us to weigh our luggage before entry to the immigration control gate! As expected, I had my own That Thing Called Tadhana moment at the airport.


At the immigration, we were ready to show our forward tickets to Europe, our hotel bookings, return tickets, and company ID. My travel buddies went first and they were asked for our return date—they were coming back in four days and I had a different flight so among us, I had a lot of explaining to do. But when it was my turn, the immigration officer just stamped my passport without any questions! Yay!

Cebu Pacific’s Manila to Dubai flight was the longest 10 hours of my flight—I slept, I woke up, we were still up in the air. I read a book, I watched some videos, and then slept again, we were still in flight. I ate, slept, woke up, we were still among the clouds! This was a budget airline so there was no in-flight entertainment and the space was a bit cramped. I walked around the cabin to shoo the boredom away.

Europe Trip Report Day 01
Dubai International Airport

Finally, we reached Dubai where we had a seven-hour layover before our flight to Vienna. We immediately located the transfer desks but the check-in for our flight was not yet opened. Walking around, we were quite disappointed with the side of the airport where we landed—it was basic with a few luxurious designs and merchandises. I was also so frustrated to find out that the airport Wi-Fi was not working! We took the time to wander around and check out some souvenirs then finally, caught up on some snooze.

Europe Trip Report Day 01
Strolling around DBX
Europe Trip Report Day 01
Checking out some golden souvenirs

Two hours before our 4 AM flight (Dubai time), we proceeded to the check-in counter. The airport staff who handled our check-in could pass off as an immigration officer—he meticulously scrutinized our documents, from our visa to our return tickets, train and hotel bookings! Personally, I was quizzed to death since I was staying behind in Europe. Fortunately, I was armored with my well-prepared travel documents and itinerary. We also learned that we would not be issued a single boarding pass for our Dubai-Kiev-Vienna flight even if it would be operated by one airline. We were instructed to obtain the second boarding pass at the Kiev Boryspol International Airport transfer desk upon landing. Oh, the hassle!

We arrived at our terminal gate and once again, we were intercepted by the airline staff. Apparently, they were not used to Filipinos travelling to Europe on such a complicated flight route.  Again, we were interrogated about our itinerary. After all the grilling, we were finally allowed on board Ukraine International Flight PS 374.

This was yet another long flight which took approximately six hours. What I enjoyed about this route was that we were flying in between time zones. At one point, there was pitch blackness as we left Dubai at around 4 AM. Then suddenly, the rays of the sun were peeking. What followed was a circus of darkness and massive orange and purple hues signaling the sunrise.

Europe Trip Report Day 01

Europe Trip Report Day 01

By 8 AM, we landed in Kiev, Ukraine. From the airplane window, I saw what looked like a barren land with a lengthy express highway lined with fiery orange trees.

The cold air burned unto our skin as we stepped out of the plane. We were officially in Eastern Europe! Knowing Kiev’s history of unrest made me anxious and tensed. And what followed during our layover experience cemented my idea of how cold Ukraine and some of its citizens could be!

Europe Trip Report Day 01
Arriving at Kiev Boryspol International Airport

We were rushing since we only had a little less than two hours to catch our next flight to Vienna but we were surprised to arrive at a deserted transfer desk! The lines were getting longer and the passengers were becoming impatient. When the airport staff arrived around 20-30 minutes after, we were about to lose our cool. He was not even apologetic!

Europe Trip Report Day 01
Autumn in Kiev, Ukraine

All the airport personnel we encountered during our short layover at Kiev Boryspol Airport were stoic and devoid of emotions. They did not bother to greet the passengers or even return our smiles and morning hellos. At the security scanners, there was even one lady personnel whose face was in a permanent scowl. Assuming that I would have it easy on the other side, I avoided her line and took the other one. Boy, was I wrong! I missed putting my luggage at the scanner by just a millisecond as I scooped down to pick it up and suddenly, I heard a fierce shout directed at me, “quickly, quickly!” I was rattled. And that’s the story of how Kiev, Ukraine left me forever scarred.

Europe Trip Report Day 01
We're in Kiev!!! Photo Source

After that harsh episode, we wandered around the airport to have some breakfast, buy some fridge magnets, and ogle at the art exhibit on displayed. At the boarding gate, we were again questioned about our visa and itinerary. At this point, I was already immune to the inquisitions. Calls were made, visa stamps were examined and we were finally led into the plane.

Europe Trip Report Day 01
Aboard Ukraine International

Finally, in about two hours, we would land on Viennese soil as we delight in the autumn breeze and whisper to ourselves:

“Europe, at long last, here we are!”

Can't wait to read about how #Europamore Day 2 went? Follow my Eurotrip adventure on InstagramTwitter, and Facebook by searching for the hashtags #GirlChasingSunshine and #Europamore. Thank you for dropping by! :)

4 (na) komento

  1. Ukraine, a cold country with equally cold people.

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