Then it's up through the clouds that this morning cover most of Europe and from 35,000 feet, through gaps in the cloud, we get glimpses of a great German river, which must be the Rhine. We cross Belgium near Brussels reaching a large estuary on the coast near Antwerp.
When we reach the south east coast of England we cross a few tidal creeks set at the edge of the ordered landscape. From this perspective the channels amongst the mudflats look like oriental brush drawings of a sinuous Chinese dragon or a twisted Japanese bonsai tree.
There's less woodland in England than there is in the parts of Germany we've been flying over. English fields seem to have a more irregular pattern, they're less strip-shaped than those in Germany.
Gee, but it's great to be back homeOn our train journey back from the airport we see a Jay and Magpies amongst railside birches, buddleias and willows near Manchester Piccadilly. Near Stalybridge, a second jay flies over a stand of Himalayan Balsam as the train climbs up what, under today's skies, seems a brooding Pennine dale.
We've soon seen those common sights that make us feel that we are back home again; a pile of abandoned tyres on waste ground by a back street in Manchester, the inevitable mattress decorating an embankment and the most vacuous of graffiti.
Graffiti artists go for that overblown 'hey-you!-just-look-at-me' look which reminds me of flared trousers of the 1970s.
We've had a wonderful holiday. The peace of it should see us through a busy autumn, but, perverse as it might seem, it's good to be back. I think the perfection of the Austrian lake district might be too much to live with on a day to day basis. England seems a seedy, corrupt and thoughtlessly destructive place where vandals, developers and planners work ceaselessly to destroy the character of our communities and the habitats of our fellow creatures.
But it's home and I guess I love it - and, on rare occasions, sometimes hate it - for what it is.