This year, I shared Thanksgiving lunch with 194 of my newest friends over Italy. Let’s just say KLM didn’t do Turkey, but they did do an unbelievable job with chicken.

Before taking off, I switched to a window seat, which afforded me spectacular views of Europe and Africa. Our flight path took us through Germany, Switzerland, and down the boot of Italy.

The last time I’ll see Europe for a while. Six nights in Cape Town before my next visit: A layover in Amsterdam.

The first course was a baton of braised veal enhanced by beetroot with cumin and a Hollandaise piccalli cream. The beetroot left much to be desired.

Course number two was comprised of Volwaard chicken accompanied by Limburg apple syrup jus, mash of Willem van Orange potato with hazelnuts, pickled pearl onions, steamed baby potatoes, carrots and Dutch gingerbread crumble. It was amazing,

Finally, the finish came with a chocolate cinnamon dessert with caramel.

[It’s easy to copy the entire menu down when you have 12 hours to do it.]

Tripoli. The capital of Libya. Safely photographed from 37,000 feet.

By the time we’d finished eating, we were over Tripoli. From Tripoli for the next many hours our view remained largely unchanged. It was the Sahara.

It’s a nasty looking place.

And it only got nastier looking.

Our route over Africa took us over Libya, Niger, Nigeria, Lake Chad, Cameroon (where the landscape began to change), the Central African Republic, Gabon, the Republic of the Congo where we passed the equator at 4:30 p.m. (10:30 a.m. Eastern Time) Local Time (as I ate ice cream). There was another 5 hours to go.

No, readers, there is no giant line marking the equator as I’d always thought. It’s down there somewhere, though.

The rest of our path took us through the airspace of Angola, Namibia, and on into South Africa.

Admittedly, figuring out where we were was tough given my complete ignorance when it comes to African geography. It was thanks to the in-flight map and a map on my computer. Unfortunately, the Dutch map didn’t exactly match mine. A takeaway from this trip? Learn more about the geography of second largest continent on the planet.

There is a lot to be thankful for today. For example, watching James Bond, Lawrence of Arabia, and Dumb and Dumber over Africa was awe-inspiring. However, nothing can compensate for how much I missed having Thanksgiving with my family and friends this year. I really didn’t expect it to hit me as hard as it did. I’m a tough guy, so holidays have never been that big a deal to me. Turns out I was wrong. I’d never realized how much those kinds of holidays mean to me. Missing everyone back home…see you soon!

Can’t wait to share some Cape Town adventures.