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Entries about air travel

20090501 Dublin -> Falset (Part 1)

Bye Dublin! Faere thee well!

rain 46 °F
View Western Europe - Spring 2009 on icufoundme's travel map.

I get up, check out, and ask the concierge for the best way to get to the airlink bus station. That's the bus that goes direct to the Airport.
This morning, I was planning to take a taxi to the Airlink. I assumed about 5 Euro, 5-10 minute drive. so, i was surprised when the concierge said the Airlink stop is only a 6 minute walk away. He gives me directions and I head out walking.

After 10 minutes, I'm kicking myself for listening to him. The walk ends up being more like 25 minutes. The whole time I'm sweating and getting clammy from the cold air. Its drizzling, and I'm nervous about making my flight after the last experience.

Some locals direct me past the Airlink stop to a city bus stop, and I have to backtrack a couple blocks. This whole time, I'm dragging my suitcase and making a racket on the uneven cobblestones, and getting stuck behind leisurely shoppers milling about.
I finally find the bus stop, and I'm crossing my fingers that I get to the airport in time. It seems like an eon passes standing there waiting and hoping the bus shows up. To my relief it shows up after about 10 minutes. (Bless reliable public transport!!)

I'm expecting a 45 - 60 minute ride with all the stops the bus makes. But, it only stops 2 more times, and we arrive at the airport in 30 minutes. I have plenty of time - even if they search my bag again. whew!

I really want to send out these Dublin postcards, but I want to get through security in case they search my bag again. I also want to see how far the terminal is before i start frittering time.

Security doesn't search my bag this time. But, my terminal is the one absolutely farthest out, and away from the airport facilities. i could risk walking back to the center of the airport to send the postcards, but might not get back if they board on time. Then, I'd get stuck in a bad seat, or worse - miss the flight. I opt for the safe route and stay in the boarding line.
Of course, they board late, and I would have had plenty of time to send out the cards (even if they boarded on time). But that's Murphy's law, right? Oh well. y'all can just deal ;)

Dublin is gorgeous flying out. Fluffy white clouds over emerald green land. I really like Dublin, but I'm also really ready to be in Spain.


Posted by icufoundme 15:09 Archived in Ireland Tagged air_travel Comments (0)

20090427 Monday - London to Dublin

overcast 42 °F
View Western Europe - Spring 2009 on icufoundme's travel map.

I slept for about 2 hours and actually woke up in time for the hotel breakfast! Luckily there were some noisy Italians who decided to make a home movie outside the door to my room. Dancing and singing included.

This time i took pictures of the hotel breakfast that I missed earlier.


It's raining pretty good today, and I'm not looking forward to walking in it all the way to Victoria Station with my luggage. Oh well.

After eating, I showered, packed and headed downstairs to check out. I assumed it was about 10am and I was in a hurry to catch my 12pm flight at Standsted. Based on what I read on a web site yesterday, the airport would be about 15 minute drive, or 30 minute tube/shuttle.
The clock says it's 11:00 and the hotel clerk confirms this - and I can't believe it! Now, I'm going to have to take a taxi which will be expensive. He says I'd be lucky to make it by taxi in 30 minutes and it will cost about 80pounds. What?! I slap my forehead. What a maroon!

The taxi ride ended up being more like an hour. It was a beautiful drive, though. I was able to see some amazing old brick mansions.

I was 15 minutes late for my flight. The taxi cost more than I thought, and I had to buy another flight - which was more than I wanted to pay. But there's my idiot tax, right? Hopefully the last idiot tax on this trip. I need to get a travel clock or something. My internal clock is usually good about telling me when 15 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour, has passed. But not here. It's all screwy.

The lady at the Ryanair ticket desk tells me that i can save money if i use the computer and printer at the hotel next door to check in online and add my bag online. The Radisson is prolific here, and they are very nice.


I wait for 30 minutes to use the computer, then it tells me I can't check in online less than 4 hours before the flight. Grr. I am able to add a bag, though. And i find a hotel and book it for a reduced price. That's a relief.


I go back to the airport and wait in line to check in and pay the extra fee.
When I go through security, they decide to search my bag and spend 10 minutes strewing its contents all over a table. Whatever they need to do is fine by me.

There is a good cafe so I get some lunch, eat, then fly out to Dublin. Finally!


In Dublin airport, I try to get cash from the ATM so I don't have to use a credit card at the money exchange to get Euros. No luck. The ATM is not wanting to take my card, so I'll have to pay the Visa tax (cringe).

The Dublin tourism desk is great. They tell me how to get to my hotel. I go outside and buy a bus pass and wait. It's cold and drizzly... of course. I get some through-dirty-glass photos on the bus and see some amazing old buildings. There are sea birds flying around and I find that comforting.


The bus goes through city center before my stop so I get to see down town. Its a really hopping place. Looks like there is tons to do and lots of cafes, food, shops, and night life. It's about a 2 block walk from the bus stop to my hotel. Dang, it's cold. I need to layer like crazy or pick up a jacket.

The hotel is much nicer than the one in London. I was really hoping for a hot bath, and maybe some tea and a book by a fireplace. but I'm thrilled to have a stall shower in my own bathroom at this point. The Harcourt Hotel in Dublin costs half what The Wellington in London cost me. Woo hoo!


I get settled in and decide sleep is priority after only 2 hours last night. The heater is cranked up and it's like a sauna in my room. I turn down the heat and open the windows in the room and bathroom to get a cross-breeze. Once I find a tolerable temperature, I put on my jammies, close the windows, and lay down. Aaaaah. So nice.

I wake around 2:45AM with my neighbors stomping down the hall and stumbling and laughing. Whatever they did, It must have been fun! I watch TV as they finish their evening with a bang (*ahem*). Then I resolve to catch up with the blog and pictures so I can just hit submit once I get the login for the hotel wireless (Yes! No more McDonald's pilgrimages!).

In the restaurant guide, it looks like there is a cafe one block over that might be good for breakfast "The Terrace cafe". I'm craving thick oatmeal and milk and honey... and wheat toast... and bacon... and wow, i must be hungry. I'll ask the hotel desk if they have any advice where to find something like that. :)


There is a coffee pot and tea in the room. So civilized.

It's still too early for anything to be open. I'll lay down for a couple more hours then go out for breakfast. It looks to be a beautiful day in Dublin.

over and out

Posted by icufoundme 13:12 Archived in Ireland Tagged air_travel Comments (1)

20090423/4 First Day in Europe - London (Part 1)

Let's get this party started... right?

sunny 65 °F
View Western Europe - Spring 2009 on icufoundme's travel map.

It turns out the only place near my hotel with WiFi is McDonald's. So, as I update my blog entry... my first meal in London is a Big Mac from good ol' Mickey D's. Heh.

It's a warm sunny busy bustling afternoon here (about 3:45 PM here, and 7:45 AM at home). I feel like I'm moving in slow motion... either that, or everything else is on fast-forward.

I arrived in London Heathrow airport about 10AM local time. I didn't get much sleep on the plane, so my body is aching to lay down. Alas, no rest for the wicked. I want to get adjusted to the time difference, so I'm trying to stay awake as long as I can.

Here is the play-by-play up to now...

Thursday I was running around taking care of last minute stuff before heading to the airport.

I decided to go back to Long's Drugs to grab the last 3 boxes of StoveTop stuffing mix for Adam and Karen. Unfortunately, someone had bought all the rest of the boxes. Doh! Now There is a gap in my suitcase. I'll have to transfer my sweaters from my backpack so things don't shift too much. I don't want the glass A1 bottles to break.
I had better luck finding the Prisma white pencils at Lenz Art on River Street. They had many boxes of them, so I picked up 4. Hopefully 2 boxes of stuffing, 3 tins of Citrus Altoids, 2 bottles of A1 steak sauce, and 4 boxes of pencils will hold them over until August when they will have more visitors from "The States".
I thought about stopping at a store in San Jose on my way to the airport to get more stuffing, but I was running behind (me? no!) and didn't want to chance it.

On the way to the park-and-ride in Burlingame (Anza), I randomly popped in a CD. It was "Lindsey's super duper ultra mix" from Pat. It was a great way to start the journey. I'll post the songs later for those who are interested. (Thanks, Pat!)

I usually fly out San Jose. San Francisco Airport is really impressive! Its a work of art (and contains many works of art). I'll get pictures on my way back through. I was getting used to my new camera and had it on manual focus so they were not coming out. BTW - The food was really amazing for an airport! [see picture]


An odd thing happened. My flight said it was "Continental Airlines" but the drop-off driver told me that they don't do international. Hm. Turns out it was Virgin Atlantic. On top of that - my flight was supposed to go to London Standsted airport, but actually went to Heathrow. My return flight to London from Marseille is to Standsted for that reason, so I'll have to look into that further.

I didn't realize (more like forgot) that you can't lock your bags unless you have a special lock. It turns out my bag was inspected anyway. There was a lovely note inside when I arrived.

Aboard the plane, it was mostly Europeans - especially Brits. They ushered us past the first class bar to get to our coach seats. Jerks ;)
Virgin Air is a really "Hip" airline. You can definitely see the Branson personality shining through.
While we were taxiing, it was so warm that I dozed off with my elbow in the window to support my head. As I dozed, my arm slipped and I had one of those jerked-awake moments and felt silly ;).
I took pictures of the treats and food they served for anyone interested. [pics]
The take off over San Francisco was beautiful. I wish I had set the camera for the full 9Mp instead of 5. [pics]
During the flight I was wishing I hadn't put my backpack in the overhead compartment. I was writing all this stuff by hand on a scrap of paper.


During the flight, I watched "Vicky Christina Barcelona" and loved it! I'm not usually a Woody Allen fan, but this one really moved me.

I also read a few chapters of "Eat, Pray, Love" which is also hitting very close to home right now.

I'm regretting that i did not pack the telephoto and wide angle lenses that came with my camera. They were bulky so I thought I would not use them. Which may be true. But I have room in my bag. I'll just see that as room to bring more goodies home.

There was a very nice man sitting next to me that ended up being a real travel Angel. I think I made him feel a bit awkward with my clumsy attempt at breaking the ice. He and the other woman in the 3-seat row were already sitting and had to get up to let me to the window seat. I said something along the lines of "I bet you're relieved that I'm not much bigger". He said he wasn't really sure how to respond to that. Luckily over the course of the flight things went much better, heehee. (My mom said she would send her guardian angel to look after me, so I guess that can manifest in many ways). I guess its no coincidence then that his name is Chris. (Saint Christopher is the patron saint of travelers for those of you non-Catholic types.) He lives in London and makes furniture. He goes back and forth to San Francisco because his partner Paula lives there. He actually drew me a London map by hand and gave me some great tips on what to see [see picture]. After the flight, it turned out that we were heading the same direction, so he traveled with me on public transport ("the tube") until my exit which was immensely helpful.


I took the blue Picadilly tube from the airport and switched to the green District tube at South Kensington. Then jumped off at Victoria and hauled my bags to my hotel - The Wellington - at 72 Vincent Square.

At the airport, I exchanged currency [see picture], bought maps, bought a day pass for public transport [see pic], and made a hotel reservation [more pics]. Upon making the hotel reservation, I was told that this weekend is the London Marathon. What timing - doh! So most hotels are booked and overpriced. Most of the accommodations are designed for shared occupancy, so if you want a room to yourself, you pay for however many people it could sleep. I have a double room for 70 Euros - that's over $100! And - get this - the bathroom is shared with everyone else on that floor! Yeesh. The one nice thing is that it is centrally located. I can walk to most of the London city sites
I'll try to find a woman to share with if I decide to stay in that hotel.


Hm... my laptop is about to die. McD's has wireless but no shared power. No Dr. Pepper or Mr. Pibb either! I guess they don;t like prune soda in London. *sigh*

I'll try to upload my photos in the minutes remaining.

Cheers! Tally Ho! All that rot...

Posted by icufoundme 07:34 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged air_travel Comments (3)

Flight information

For all my stalkers out there...

semi-overcast 43 °F
View Western Europe - Spring 2009 on icufoundme's travel map.

Hello Family, Friends and Enemies!

Here are my flight details so far. I'm still not sure how I will get from Barcelona to Madrid. The train looks like a great option. We'll see...

From San Francisco (SFO) to London Heathrow (LHR)
Thurs, 23Apr09 Continental Flight 8240 Depart SFO at 4:30PM and arrive LHR at 10:30Am Fri 24Apr09
Reservation ID: NXFBDY
Booking Number: 1956794
Electronic Ticket Number: 0057409808548 E-Ticket
FLIGHT TOTAL: Round-trip $575.30
From London Stansted (STN) to Dublin (DUB)
Mon, 27Apr09 RyanAir Flight FR 211 Depart STN at 12:00 and arrive DUB at 13:15

  • *******59.43 GBP Total Paid

From Dublin (DUB) to Reus (Salou) (REU)
Fri, 01May09 RyanAir Flight FR1116 Depart DUB at 12:20 and arrive REU at 15:50

  • *******71.36 EUR Total Paid

Train from Barcelona to Madrid (or possibly rent a car or alternate airline)
From Madrid (MAD) to Marseille Provence MP2 (MRS)
Mon, 11May09 RyanAir Flight FR5446 Depart MAD at 13:25 and arrive MRS at 15:15

  • ******131.38 EUR Total Paid

From Marseille Provence MP2 (MRS) to London Stansted (STN)
Wed, 13May09 RyanAir Flight FR6541 Depart MRS at 22:40 and arrive STN at 23:45

  • *******33.00 EUR Total Paid

From London Heathrow (LHR) to San Francisco (SFO)
Thurs, 14May09 Continental Flight 8239 Depart LHR at 11:00AM and arrive SFO at 1:50PM

Don't forget to "subscribe" to this blog so you receive updates via email. I know how much you want to stop everything to linger over every word I write ;)

As always... If you know of anyone in any of the above cities with a spare room or couch to offer - hook me up already, geez!

Have a magnificent day,

Posted by icufoundme 01:52 Archived in USA Tagged air_travel Comments (0)

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