Airports: One Down, Eight to Go

Because I would be visiting nine airports on my journey, I decided to make the most of each one – to make them travel destinations in and of themselves. A spot of shopping here, a special drink or meal there … you get the picture. A two-hour delay at Sydney Airport seemed to reinforce my plan.

My first delightful discovery was the Lonely Planet Concept Store, which apparently opened in 2009 (the first one in the world) and has eluded me on my previous visits to the airport’s international terminal. (My husband does have a tendency of making me run for flights, seriously limiting time for shopping.) The store is a great airport idea and extension of the brand, I think. It peddles the company’s famous guidebooks (alas, they didn’t have a pocket Bulgaria guide!), as well as other travel gadgets and comforts and interactive experiences.

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The Lonely Planet Store, Sydney Airport International Terminal

With my editorial background, it’s also difficult for me to go past any airport bookseller or newsagent without perusing the magazine covers and the latest bestsellers. (Hungry Expat Note: Australian bookstores still feel like foreign places to me, as the cover art on books here is so different from the familiar fonts and themes I came to recognise in the US.) And though I have largely converted to reading on a Kindle, I think it’s an important travel tip to pick up a physical magazine or two to get you through those slow-moving take-off and landing times that require you to turn off all electronic devices. For this trip, I grabbed the latest issue of Gourmet Traveller Wine and the launch issue of Taste.com.au, a new print magazine based on the Aussie recipe website.

I wandered by the Victoria’s Secret. It’s the only one I know of in Australia, only it doesn’t sell lingerie – just perfumes, lotions, and other toiletries. Still … it smells nice.

When it was time to pick up a snack for the plane, I purchased a pouch of my newest guilty pleasure, which I blame on my beloved South African friends – biltong! At the same Good Food & Wine Show that would be the catalyst for this European trip, I also spent an inordinate amount of time at The Biltong Man booth, sampling as many flavours of this jerky-like delicacy as I could. With its headquarters in nearby Mascot, perhaps I should not have been surprised to find The Biltong Man right where I needed him in the international terminal.

I was now well and truly ready for my long Qantas flight to Singapore – and so, finally, was the plane.