Bonjour! Je m’appelle Lachie!

Lachlan Smart has left the country, but not for a premature departure for his trip, rather he has made his way to France to make the most of an opportunity experience ferry flying first hand as he embarks on a trip from Toulouse to Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, on a bona fide international ferry flight.

Earlier this week Lachlan spoke about his time spent with Garry Mitchell who assisted with flight planning and the intricacies of ferry flying, which you can read here.

Over the course of the trip Lachlan will be joining Mitchell and a team of pilots in the capacity of a cadet, with his aim to attain a better understanding of the international environment, specifically pre-flight routines and customs requirements at various locations as well as time spent learning HF radio communications and differing international communications protocol.

Over the course of his time away, Lachie will be sending us blogs of his trip where possible, so stay tuned for more information!

Blog Entry One: April 6, 2016 – Lyon, France

Last night I arrived in Lyon after 30 hours of planes, airports and intermittent sleep courtesy of Beethoven’s lesser known fifth snoring symphony performed by the chorus of loud sleepers around seat 35A.

Today I am travelling from Lyon to Paris, and after fumbling around to find my way I found myself on a train that seemed to be going in the right direction.

But before I found myself on the train, the few hours in Lyon did provide a few highlights including an introduction to French taxi driving courtesy of my trip from the Airport to the hotel in the back of an Audi (not as luxury car here as it is back home it seems). It wasn’t the car that had me the most taken aback, it was the speed. If my memory serves me correctly the speed limit was 110km/h, but it was hard to read travelling past at 160km/h…I can’t imagine how the driver of the Renault that flew past us faster than Craig Lowndes on a hot lap at Bathurst managed to see it!

After reaching my hotel in Lyon I was more than happy to accept the embrace of the white sheets and soft pillows, however a little voice in my head was telling me something (“Ring your mum and tell her you’ve arrived safely or you’ll regret the 35 messages and 16 missed calls you’ll have to deal with tomorrow”). So after contact with my family I drifted off into a blissful five hours of uninterrupted sleep.

Ready to take on the next day, and a train trip to Paris I contacted the WATW team, then set about my day and the challenge ahead of me: successfully purchasing a train ticket. It’s times like this I dream of having a plane to just fly to each location that I need to!

I arrived at the train station prior to the information booth and manned ticket selling booth opening, so I produced my finest French speaking skills, which includes phrases such as “Do you speak English” and “Paris?” Unsurprisingly it was met with blank looks, which loosely translated to “What is this idiot trying to say?” However with a little persistence and some creative sign language I found myself on the TGV, writing this blog.

I really should have practiced my French…