I am super excited to finally write about our recent trip to Doha, Qatar. For one, we discovered and explored a beautiful country. And two, we were able to spend time with family – my husband’s father, his older brother, and his younger sister.
In Autumn 2015, my husband and I decided to spend Christmas in Doha. His little sister and older brother live there and his father was flying from the Philippines to join us. This was pretty exciting for us and as the days approached we couldn’t contain our excitement anymore.
As French-passport holders, Baby Girl and I can pretty much travel to other countries without the hassle of the long-visa procedure. On the other hand, the Husband has a Filipino passport and it’s trickier for him. To put it in a simpler way, he just can’t suddenly crave to go for London, for example. He has to file a form, secure the requirements, go to the British embassy in Paris, wait for the approval which takes about 2 weeks, and then go back to the embassy to get the visa.
Thankfully, his little sister processed his visa for Qatar. All she needed was his passport and the payment for the fee.
On December 21, 2015, we were in the Charles de Gaulle International Airport in Paris, France to take our flight to Doha.
This was about 1 month after the Paris terrorist attacks and although we refused to be afraid and paranoid, some thoughts did cross my mind. Which is why, I made sure to spend the least possible time outside the security checking area. In general, I always use the online check-in to be able to choose our seats ahead, but nowadays I also do it to spend less time in the check-in area of the airport.
A trip to Paris is never complete without a Starbucks stop.
A cup of Hot Chocolate, a cup of White Mocha, a slice of Raspberry Cheesecake and off we went!
We had to go through several long security checks – baggage control, passport control, baggage control again, and finally another identity control. But in line with what happened the month before, I was reassured that the airport was very meticulous in their security check.
We decided to fly with Turkish Airlines this time. I am personally a big fan of Qatar Airways, but I wanted to change and try something else for once.
I got our tickets from the website (www.promovols.com). The plane tickets were relatively cheap and after some research online, I concluded that Turkish Airlines was a serious company with a good reputation.
The trip was 8 hours long with a stop in Turkey.
The flight to Turkey was in an Airbus 330. We were pretty comfortable – typical coach class seats with some leg room, flight entertainment (movies, series, music, and games), and good food.
Lunch consisted of a green salad with a slice of cheese, fish fillet, sauteed vegetables, and white rice, and a mango mousse.
We waited 4 hours in the Istanbul Ataturk International Airport in Turkey. The airport was clean and because it was late in the evening there weren’t a lot of people. Unfortunately, this also meant that all the stores were closed. I also realized how convenient it is when we travel in the European union because we can pay for whatever we want with Euros. Unfortunately in Turkey, we struggled to buy something, even just a bottle of water. I ended up using my international bank card, although I felt my heart break a bit thinking of the bank commission I would have to pay.
The second leg of the trip was unfortunately not as comfortable as the first.
We were squished like sardines in a small, dark, and fully-occupied Boeing plane.
The seats were uncomfortable with very little leg room, the flight entertainment was poor, and it was smelly. The only thing that slightly lifted my spirits on this long trip was the dinner.
Dinner was a mushroom salad, grilled beef skewers, vegetables, and oriental rice, and for the dessert, mango mousse.
The 4 hours and 20 minutes trip felt like the longest trip ever. But at 5:50AM and after seeing one of the most beautiful sunrise from the air, it was touchdown in Doha, Qatar and the start of our 10-day Christmas vacation.