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a Lit.tle sPRinG.Ly JoUrney (BUDding KiwiS Can zig-ZAG around Europe)

a Lit.tle sPRinG.Ly JoUrney (BUDding KiwiS Can zig-ZAG around Europe)

Old Mar 22, 05, 8:31 am
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a Lit.tle sPRinG.Ly JoUrney (BUDding KiwiS Can zig-ZAG around Europe)

Index to my trip reports

If you like this report, you may be interested in some of my other trip reports.
  1. AKL-YYZ with NZ/AC in F & C - my first trip report
  2. Europe to Iceland & return on Icelandair (FI) - somewhere different
  3. Some FTers DO the Inaugural Worlds Longest Flight SIN-EWR vv 28 June 2004 - 2 long flights back to back
  4. 7 Crazy Days - includes an almost inaugural flight
  5. Champagne and figure eights on ice - Antarctica flightseeing
  6. a Lit.tle sPRinG.Ly JoUrney (BUDding KiwiS Can zig-ZAG around Europe) - mostly central and eastern Europe
  7. Big DO DOs - or a Kiwi Flyer's Month of Madness - lots of flights
  8. Another Manic Month for Kiwi - again lots of flights
  9. Mini Tour of NZ - over 100 domestic flights in New Zealand covering all domestic routes (ongoing)
  10. Across the Globe in 5 Continents - criss-crossing the globe
  11. Auckland to National Park by Train - train in New Zealand's North Island
  12. Across the Globe in 5 Continents Again - criss-crossing the globe, but this time mainly on One World
  13. A Warm Embrace of the Tropics - short trips to the tropical South Pacific
  14. Singapore (SQ) new first and business class, plus a medley of 12 F & C SQ flights - name says it all really
  15. Across the Globe in 4 Continents - around the world on star alliance, including some unusual flights
  16. Queensland And Northern Territory Aerial Sampler - a sampling of Qantas flights, domestic and international, in economy and business (ongoing)
  17. Around the World in Under 60 Hours - around the world in a weekend
  18. The Heat is On - another longhaul economy trip in under 60 hours - what a contrast, Asia and Qantas' new first class lounges
  19. Fast on the ground and in the air - it must be Shanghai – a flying visit to Shanghai + Maglev
  20. It's a Fine Line Between Pleasure & Pain: 4 wacky weeks 2 RTW C, inaugural longhaul Y – mostly One World
  21. Back and forth across the Pacific on a variety of airlines in a selection of classes - 16 crossings of the Pacific plus some other related flights
  22. It isn't every day that you witness a hijacking attempt + NZ's forgotten 4th island - a visit to Chatham Islands coincides with New Zealand's first hijacking attempt
  23. There and back - first day Air NZ flies to Coolangatta (Gold Coast)
  24. A Run Around (part of) The Axis of Evil: A Perfect *A RTW in C? - Axis of Evil 0 US Immigration 1
  25. Wellington to Auckland by train - self-explanatory title
  26. A mad couple of days flying, including domestic international flights - a double longhaul inaugural, domestic international shuttle and domestic leg of an international flight
  27. Regional C *A RTW & (hopefully) finishing flying every route (100+) for an airline - featuring new QF First on A380 special flight, "you have to get off now", and 105th different current route with NZ
  28. One World Revolutions - Around Mostly the Southern Hemisphere - mostly Southern Hemisphere and mostly on One World on a mix of products
  29. Cris-cros the Med & the Globe on Emirates, Qantas & Star Alliance in mix of F/C/Y+/Y – starting with EK First on A380 and ending with Qantas economy, with a lot of travel mostly on *A in between
  30. An FTer flies to a Do (or Why take the nonstop when you can fly 10 flights instead?) - combining an FT Do with an aerial tour of northern Queensland
  31. The Ultimate Qantas Flight - short report on the ultimate flight
  32. Premium Flying Across the Ditch (Between New Zealand and Australia) - experiencing the forward cabins on Trans-Tasman flights (ongoing)
  33. 5 Boeings Straight to the Airbus Do - FTer feasts in first, business & economy - my journey to & from the *A / Airbus Mega Do
  34. NZ route oddities & One World turns by night (redeye special) - an odd collection of flight routes & schedules around the world
  35. From my first low cost redeye to a first class trifecta - an insane fortnight - some firsts of all types
  36. G'day, kia orana - it's another inaugural flight in Air New Zealand business class - a day & night tripping around the South Pacific on Air NZ
  37. A Feast of First Class Flying on British Airways, Qantas and Emirates - long distance in style
  38. A Weekend of Old and New - Lufthansa first & business, Air New Zealand business - a quick longhaul trip featuring some old and new products
  39. Star Alliance tres primo, and tres biz - a trio of first and business on Star Alliance
  40. A few flights to end 2011 - a quick trip around the world + more
  41. Five Continents in 3 Days and Some Other Mad Trips in 2012 - a selection of my 2012 travels
  42. Sky Team madness - 14 weeks, 200k miles, 5 continents, CI brand new business – mostly Sky Team
  43. Off to Star megado on Oneworld - mostly business incl brand new AA 787
  44. A Glutton for Punishment: red eye, new world's longest flight & more, in comfort?

Last edited by Kiwi Flyer; Apr 1, 16 at 4:10 pm Reason: Update index of my TRs
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Old Mar 22, 05, 8:38 am
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PLANNING

Each Easter I try to get away to somewhere different. The last couple of years I visited Scandanavia. For 2005, with Easter being very early, it was time for this Kiwi to visit somewhere a little warmer, so Eastern Europe it is.

Late in 2004 it was time to put my FT acquired knowledge to the test and build a RTW itinerary that allowed me to visit some new places, grab a decent chunk of miles (regular and promotional) and hopefully also use some upgrade certificates I had that were expiring.

With the help of the *A RTW Mileage Calculator tool and some spreadsheets, planning my first true RTW is relatively easy. However a couple of mistakes in the tool, new *A airlines making more convenient flights available, the usual schedule changes; all conspire to take some time to resolve. After about a month of toing and froing I have the RTW sorted - a CRTWSTAR2 for the few interested in those details.

As a New Zealander I am very fortunate to have visa free travel to most countries, however China is not one of them. The passport needs to be sent to the embassy in Wellington, and will take approx 1 week to issue the visa. This is my first minor hassle - due to a very hectic schedule the earliest I can send passport away is early March, not much more than a week before I leave. Fingers crossed there are no problems! Fortunately there weren't, and passport arrived complete with China visa a couple of days before I leave.

=====================

GETTING STARTED

In the week before departure one issue had been bothering me. There are a couple of days where I have multiple short connections. Will my checked bags make it? After an unfortunate incident a few years ago when I travelled from place to place for 2 weeks without luggage, I had visions of bags being left behind and taking the rest of my trip before catching up. So I resolved to pack even lighter than normal and try to take as carry-ons a couple of bags that really are a little heavy and large for carry-ons for the many small plane flights I have this trip. Hopefully I get some slack as business class, *G status passenger.

This was quite a challenge as the long range weather forecasts for the various places I would visit ranged from snow and well below freezing, to a mild and damp spring, to the steamy heat of the tropics. We shall see how successful or otherwise I will be.

A couple of days before departure I got a call from Air NZ. I took the call, excited that it may be the upgrades clearing. But alas, it was regarding another matter entirely. After that was discussed I enquired about the upgrades - they will be checked later today. NZ clears upgrades for elite members in advance based on availability, status, whether upgrade is economy->business or business->first, and by how the upgrade is being supported (voucher, miles confirmed upgrade or miles standby upgrade which costs less). In my case the standard review is 3 days out. So the next day I get the happy news that the first and longest part of the trip, AKL-LHR (over 24 hours!) will be in first. Woohoo!

As usual for me, didnt pack until late the night before, and then didnt sleep properly. Had I arranged everything okay? Excitement over the trip, etc. The full day at work with usual last minute tasks kept me busy, until finally it was time to leave for AKL airport.

Last edited by Kiwi Flyer; Apr 1, 16 at 4:10 pm
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Old Mar 22, 05, 11:24 am
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What happened to the title? Corrupt thread?
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Old Mar 22, 05, 12:28 pm
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i can't wait for the full trip report!!!!
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Old Mar 22, 05, 5:00 pm
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Originally Posted by ScottC
What happened to the title? Corrupt thread?
I'm guessing the intention was to capitalise PRG, LJU, BUD, KSC and ZAG?
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Old Mar 22, 05, 5:02 pm
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Originally Posted by ScottC
What happened to the title? Corrupt thread?
Aren't there city codes hidden in there?

PRG - Prague

LJU - Ljubljana

BUD - Budapest

KSC - Kosice

ZAG - Zagreb

Clever, I thought ^
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Old Mar 22, 05, 11:14 pm
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Yes city codes in the title.

Will post next section soon.
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Old Mar 23, 05, 1:37 am
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A LONG DAY

After a very busy day at work I headed off to AKL airport. Despite being after rush hour traffic was heavy and the trip took 50 minutes. As is usual for flights to US there was a security check of my bags before I get to the NZ premier check-in facility. That didnt take long - no queue as I had turned up rather early. Business, first and *Gold passengers can use a dedicated check-in facility at AKL for international flights. Sure beats the big queues at the main counters.

AKL-LHR on Air NZ by 744

I was pleased my upgrades had cleared. Not only would the flight be much more comfortable, but as Air NZ is doing away with First in June 2005, it will likely be my last chance to experience F on NZ.

I collected the BP for AKL-LHR and LHR-AMS but the onward flight was not yet opened so I would need to check-in at transit somewhere. For some odd reason my frequent flyer number wasnt already loaded so I got that added, but they were unable to add it for LHR-AMS. Quickly through immigration (bypasses the main queues) and security and off to the lounge. No stop at duty free this time as I really didnt want to be lugging too much more in my travels.

Had a refreshing shower and changed into something comfortable for the long flights ahead of me, quickly followed by a few drinks. Unless I am mistaken there has been a decline in quality and number of drink options at NZ international lounge in the past few months. I was disappointed there are no Macs Ales once again.

Eventually it is time to board. We make our way to the end of the pier, again security screening as with all US flights. Hopefully once the arrival/departure segregation is completed we wont have this extra rescreening.

Settle in to the first seat and have a pre-departure champagne and nibbles. There is a small delay due to a passenger originally scheduled for this flight changing to an earlier one. Once this is tracked down we push back. The airport is settling down for the night at this stage so very little activity. I had noticed on the departure boards that a Polynesian Airlines flight was delayed some hours and would be arriving and turning around in the small hours of the night - at a time when normally there are no arrivals or departures. I feel sorry for the pax and crew, as well as ground staff, in those situations.

Shortly after takeoff to the southwest we turn and fly over the city. It looked beautiful - lots of lights and some small low clouds were glowing in the reflected light. It was not long before we are in darkness over the ocean, as we would be for much of the long leg to LAX.

I nibbled at dinner but didnt really feel like eating, which is a shame as Air NZ has some fantastic food and great drinks. A fellow pax was incredulous when told how long the meal service would take (he wanted to get a long sleep) but I noticed he was still going strong when I went to sleep.

I watched a movie and then had a long sleep. I always seem to struggle with the best time to sleep on this long flight. After a long day it is easy to sleep long on the AKL-LAX leg, but this means not much sleep on the LAX-LHR leg which is then followed by most of the daylight hours, making me very tired. So I try to sleep only a little bit on the first leg, in order to sleep some more on the second and being reasonable fresh on arrival in Europe. Unfortunately I fail miserably.

The seat was showing signs of being near the end of its life - the small shelf between seats was loose, as was the consol, and the headphone socket was loose with a poor connection so that sound was intermittent. Its a good thing that the a/c will be refurbished soon.

We have a very nice breakfast about an hour and a half out from LAX. The fruit smoothie went down particularly well. For once we fly over the city before landing from the east, the only previous times I can recall that is on SQ and UA but never on NZ (unless my memory fails!).

When we pull up at the gate, a customs officer enters and announces over the PA that there are over 600 people in the immigration queue with an estimated 1 hour + delay. Not surprisingly, lots of groans.

Due to US regulatuions, pax continuing on to LHR on the same plane must clear immigration at a secure transit lounge. First and business pax (but not elites travelling in economy) are allowed to go landside and then back airside to visit the NZ lounge. I have done this before and taken near 2 hours to make the lounge (arriving just 5 minutes before need to board) - this with queues of maybe 100. Not wanting the hassle of long queues and the prospect of a missed flight so early in the trip, I reluctantly give up on the idea of visiting the lounge and resign myself to the transit area. I was surprised at the high proportion of pax continuing on to LHR. Only about 90 minutes were spent in the transit lounge, and it would have been much less for economy passengers seated in the back rows. Transit passengers boarded before those departing from LAX, and so there was plenty of time to enjoy another pre-departure drink.

As mentioned earlier, I did not sleep much on this flight. So I watched several movies, both on the main channels and the personal DVD. Thinking about it, the FAs on both legs neglected to mention the personal DVD which they had always done on my few previous NZ flights in F (and also the A320 flights in business). Of course this option is mentioned in the premier entertainment guide, but its not the same as being personally explained to you. Never mind. This too will be different soon, as part of the NZ refurbishment is to introduce AVOD in all classes - no more big screen down the back!

Eventually we arrive in LHR, some 24 hours after leaving Auckland. I make the long walk from NZ's gate at the end to the connection centre, where I was fortunate to catch a bus with no wait. However, it soon turned to despair as I catch sight of the huge queues for security - not only all the zigzags fill but stretching around the corner and into the main corridor I see only 3 machines are manned, obviously the reason for the huge delays. Oh well - lucky my connection isnt too tight. After 30 minutes or so I am through and make my way to the BMI counter to get my FFP number entered in the system, and try to get onward BP from AMS. No luck on the BP.

Last edited by Kiwi Flyer; Mar 23, 05 at 1:52 am
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Old Mar 23, 05, 1:59 am
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A LONG DAY (continued)

LHR-AMS on British Midland by A319

By the time I made the long walk to the relevant gate area (and through yet another security check) it was almost time to board. But first I make a quick visit to the BD lounge as I had not been to the LHR international lounge before. It is nice enough but IMHO not as good as AKL - no computers, showers, snacks limited to biscuits and crisps and limited drink selection. Oh yeah, also an open smoking section (as do many european lounges it seems).

We have a long taxi (as did the NZ flight on arrival), during which I see the TG *A painted 747 (and of course many other planes of various airlines from around the world). The a/c was quite empty. Perhaps this was a consequence of a lengthy delay to the earlier flight to AMS which ended up departing just 10 minutes before my flight.

So the FAs provided a very good service despite the short flight time of approx 30 minutes. No view at all due to low cloud all the way. In fact we only saw the runway at AMS mere seconds before landing. A nice snack was served and I had a couple of badly needed coffees.

At AMS the passport check and security were painless and in just a few minutes I had the next BP issued at transit desk and made my way to the service lounge.

AMS-CPH on SAS by MD80

Spend a short while in the lounge, reading and collecting my thoughts. I am relieved that the long 36 hours of travel is nearing an end. Take a walk around airside to stretch my legs once more. The flight is delayed - 30 minutes according to the departure board. But I dont bother heading back to the lounge and instead just keep on walking, which feels good. The a/c arrives not long before the scheduled departure time so I make my way to the gate, by which time boarding has commenced. This sure is a rapid turnaround - highly efficient by all the staff involved for what seems to be fairly full flights (both inbound and outbound as you'd expect at this lat afternoon hour). We end up pushing back just 15 minutes behind schedule with safety check completed as we commence taxi. And what a long taxi it is too. After some 15 minutes I begin to wonder if we are driving to Denmark instead of flying!

Eventually we take off and into the murk. This is another very short flight, but the FA still finds time to serve a nice snack (salad, roll, dessert and drinks).

We arrive to a frosty CPH and get a bus gate. Despite this, I am through the airport and checked in at Hilton CPH airport within 15 minutes.

Last edited by Kiwi Flyer; Mar 23, 05 at 2:12 am
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Old Mar 23, 05, 4:54 am
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Great stuff ^ But a terriffically long trip (that would have to be one of the longest possible!)
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Old Mar 23, 05, 2:57 pm
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Great report so far ! ^ ^
Hope you got some help from my trip reports of travels around Eastern Europe.

Would be very nice if you could post the itinerary, just to get a clue of what we're impatiently waiting for...
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Old Mar 23, 05, 11:53 pm
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There are some clues in the title

Actually I could have gone LHR-AMS-HAM-CPH for only a few extra miles (official difference is much less than GCM shows). But would have arrived a few hours later and with an early start the next day I figured I would need the sleep more!
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Old Mar 24, 05, 2:04 am
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Apologies for the short delay for the next part. I didnt think I would have time earlier, but now in between flights so here goes. Apologies in advance for any odd spelling - struggling a little bit with the keys in different places. This is where it is a disadvantage to be touch typist.

Now resuming from CPH.

LITHUANIA

I got a good room overlooking the airport which was still a bustle of activity. Thought about heading into town on the train but decided to only stay up for a nightcap.

Get up early next morning as had booked the early flight so as to maximise my limited time on the ground. This was to be repeated many times throughout the trip - wherever possible I would take early or late flights.

The hotel lounge wasnt open so headed to check-in and grab a coffee in SK's lounge, which I knew to be a good one from previous travels. Lots of people travelling with skis and other winter sporting equipment - I guess making the most of the spring conditions before the snows melt too much.

CPH-VNO on SAS by Q400

I was looking forward to this flight. Not only is it a chance to fly the Dash 8 Q400, which NZ will be replacing their Saab's on the busy regional flights, but it is also my first time to the Baltics and at last a chance to be doing stuff on the ground rather than in the plane and at airports.

Another bus gate - something I am now starting to get used to! The overhead bins are quite small and so my bags go into the locker. I am not tall but nonetheless banged my head on door getting into the a/c and again on the overhead bins getting in and out of my window seat (oops - not awake properly ). The underside of the bins has quite a slope and so taller pax would be more comfortable in the aisle seat. (As an aside there must be reasonable differences in the fitout requested by the airlines, as I noticed in a later Q400 flight, on a different airline, the underside of the bins was flat.) The seat itself was quite comfortable.

We had a fast taxi, although I suppose that sitting low to the ground makes the speed seem higher than it really is. The flight was about 1 1-2 hours, with a route over southern Sweden, across the Baltic sea and then inland to Vilnius. In contrast to further west, Lithuania was still in the grip of late winter. So on approach to VNO there were some good views of snowy city. Quite by chance I had managed to get a seat on the right side for the view - A side.

A very nice breakfast was served, and of course plenty of coffee to get me going for the day.

VNO is a fairly small airport with only 1 airbridge. So it was another bus gate. I wrapped up as much as I could, as the -6C temperature outside is around 20C colder than I am used to!

The city isnt far from the airport and it wasnt long before I was checked in at the Scandic (nice easter special, and as many FTers know for HHonors elites there are food/drink vouchers and also great free breakfasts included). Vilnius Neringa Scandic also includes free airport transfers, so I figure at the special rate the room was in fact free. After a nice brunch with zvezda (thanks for all your help ^ ), well just coffee for me, it was time to hit the town.

Vilnius old town is a curious mix of typical old european architecture with some more stark modern buildings from the russian occupation era. However the compact old town is very well preserved for the most part. Walk around and see the cathedral, main street in old town and some back alleys too, along the riverside where the wind is whipping the light snowfall into my face, a Zappa memorial of all things and more besides.

... to be continued ...

Last edited by Kiwi Flyer; Mar 24, 05 at 2:23 am
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Old Mar 24, 05, 3:31 am
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CZECH REPUBLIC

Enough time for another walk around before heading out to the airport. There are some quite nice statues/sculptures in some odd places. At check-in I can only get BPs as far as WAW, possibly due to simple computer system? Later in WAW about half the passengers decamped to transfer desk to get another BP. The BP are printed on the old computer paper you used to get a decade (or more!) ago with holes down the side.

VNO-WAW on LOT by Embraer 170

After getting the BP for the first leg I was stuck at passport control for about 15 minutes, due to the computer being down. The officer tried neighbouring booth that was unused, tried to use the supervisor´s log in and neither worked. Eventually the system came back up and okay to get passport checked and through to the small airside section. Up a spiral staircase to the small but okay lounge. Soon enough it is time to hop on the bus out to the a/c.

It is another day and yet another airline and another aircraft type. This was not deliberate but just the way it worked out. When I booked the a/c was due to be an ATR-72 so there has been an a/c change, and it is good.

Wow a much bigger seat and more legroom. Bins decent size so no problems stowing my luggage there. We flew directly over Vilnius after take-off, and then southwest across the snowy plains of Lithuania and Poland.

Again a nice snack on this short flight. Yup, you guessed it another bus gate at WAW. After surviving the stampede at transit desk, getting boarding pass for next leg and quick passport and security check, I explore the airport. A reasonable number of shops and waiting areas. But I head for the LO lounge where I have a refreshing coffee. There are plenty of alcoholic drinks on offer, but I'll pass this time. As with many of the european lounges (SK at CPH, LH at MUC and OS at VIE being the main exceptions so far), the food is rather limited - generally just biscuits and crisps. I guess it shows their priorities are straight!

WAW-PRG on Euro LOT by ATR42

Apologies for the delay. Its been a very busy day.

So its now time to leave the lounge and through security to the bus gate. The airport at WAW is currently undergoing a major expansion. I presume this is for international, but the domestic terminal is rather small so it could be domestic I suppose. Anway we bus out to the plane. There, one of my bags is taken into the hold for delivery by the aircraft when we arrive in PRG. I thought the bag would have fit, but who am I to argue?

This system of delivery at aircraft is a new one to me, but one I would become very familiar with on this trip. For the small aircraft, all but the smallest carry-ons are tagged to be placed in the hold. In some cases checked luggage is also tagged this way. At the foot of the stairs a baggage trolley is used to collect the tagged bags. These are loaded into the hold before take-off. On arrival we wait a few minutes in the plane while bags are unloaded onto trolley, to be collected before heading onto the bus or across the tarmac as applicable. It is a very good system if you have small/medium sized bags as no waiting around luggage belts and almost no chance bags miss the flight. However, if you dont have bags then it would add maybe 5 minutes to the deplaning process.

As the ATR boards from the rear, business class is also at the rear. I suppose this is so business class can deplane first, just like other planes with stairs at the front. However I dont quite see the point when bus gates are being used. Its not as if can exit any quicker than others when all passengers have to use the same bus.

Again a nice snack. As with most of these short flights there is a roll, salad, meat of some kind, sometimes piece of cheese, desert and drinks. Its quite good for such short flights (most of the intra europe flights on this trip are about an hour), and reminds me of the time when Air NZ used to serve meals and alcohol on the short domestic flights - gone with the introduction of Express model some years ago.

I had arranged a ride into Prague with the Hilton, which I was staying at after seeing some great reviews on FT. In fact in most places I had extravagantly pre-arranged transport, due to my limited time I fully intend making the most of it and not waste time on public transport schedules. I was lucky enough to get a fantastic suite with fresh fruit and canapes waiting for my arrival, as well as a nice wine. The food was replenished daily which was nice.

I wont bore the readers with all the details of what I got up to in Prague as this city has featured in many trip reports and more general TravelBuzz posrs. However, I will mention a couple of things. I arrived at the astronomical clock just before its hourly performance. It amused me to see the skeleton ringing the bell will townspeople looked on from above. After crossing Karluv Most (Charles Bridge) I climbed the 208 stairs to Prague Castle. It seems most tourists take the tram, but I enjoyed the exercise and fine views.

Next up, "the Slovs".

Last edited by Kiwi Flyer; Mar 25, 05 at 6:47 am
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Old Mar 25, 05, 9:40 am
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Map of intra-europe flights so far

SLOVENIA

PRG-MUC by Augsburg Airways on Dash 8 Q300

Having completed some relatively speaking long intra-europe flights in the north, it was time for some very short flights in the warmer south-east, where spring had definitely arrived.

But, first the obligatory crazy taxi ride. For me it seems almost every trip there is one crazy taxi driver. I have had near accidents in many places around the world - Istanbul, Seoul, Athens, Toronto - I could go on. So it was no big surprise to me to yet again get a crazy driver. Despite my assurances I had plenty of time he proceeded to take several side streets to avoid busy intersections (I was travelling at the start of rush hour). Then it happened. Coming from a side street onto a main arterial road with 2 lanes of heavy traffic both ways moving at speed. All of a sudden he gunned the Skoda and took off in the narrowest of gaps imiginable. My life started to flash before my eyes and I braced for the inevitable crash. But it never happened. Somehow we got through including the hard left turn into our lane without even a tooted horn. I hope that having had the obligatory crazy taxi ride that there will be no more this trip.

The airport is very busy but check-in is quick and I am soon at the lounge. Heading through security I am beeped for the first time this trip. Of course its okay - seems the sensitivity was set too high as everybody was beeped. Once again it is a bus gate.

Bags are too small for the bins, but as the flight is fairly empty I can place in an empty row behind me. Compared with the other aircraft on this trip the seat is tighter width-wise, with the tray being between the seats on the exit row, whereas other aircraft have the trays on both sides of the pair of seats leaving an ordinary armrest in between. There is plenty of legroom, but the first row is in fact rear-facing, so if pax in both rows 1 & 2 on this right side of the a/c knees and feet may need careful placing.

I decline the offered snack having eaten at the hotel, but grab another coffee, just to make sure I am properly awake.

The short flight is mostly in cloud and we soon land in Munich. As we taxi to the bus gate we pass an Air Canada aircraft in a colour scheme I have not seen before. I am sure it is meant to be some majestic bird, but to me it appeared a garish (green and orange), demented pigeon in full flight. Perhaps someone can explain to me what it is supposed to be?

The transfer to SEN lounge is very simple in the fairly new terminal, which is highly efficient and modern looking. I dont have long here before on to the next flight. So far all my connections have worked out very well.

MUC-LJU by Adria Airways on CRJ200

I have a small delay at the bus gate as the agent spends some minutes tapping away on her computer - yes okay you dont need a visa for Slovenia (I knew that, unless this had changed in the last couple of weeks).

I was asked to put one of my bags in the hold, which seems odd as with only a mere 5 pax on the aircraft there sure is plenty of room on board. Oh well never mind.

The short hop takes us across the Bavarian and Julian Alps. Luckily for me the clouds clear (mostly) to reveal fine views.

LJU is a small airport so no need for a bus. Just walk across the tarmac and within a couple of minutes on my way across the countryside to the city.

I had read that Ljubljana is like a smaller, less touristed Prague - and from my perspective thats certainly true. I found the locals far more friendly and really enjoyed my time here. Its a shame I couldnt spend longer there.

But I am getting ahead of myself. The old town in the centre beside the green coloured Ljubljanica River is quite compact, with most locals walking or on bicycles. The riverside cafes are open-air and were a great place to while away some time talking and drinking. Fortunately it was reasonably warm, and with the sun and drink, together with not enough sleep so far in the trip, and I found myself almost drifting off to sleep. So better get walking again to waken up. Climb the small hill to Ljubljana Castle - first up a narrow alley way between nice old houses and then through a forest which had some spring wildflowers blooming. I took a different way back down, and found both ways needed good footwear (rather steep). There were even more signs of spring, with an active flower market open and many colourful flowers in planters on balconies as well as lining the streets.

The local women managed spectacularly to walk on some very high heels across the cobbled streets of the old town. Not once did I see a stiletto catch on the cobbles.

The triple bridge was unusual but rather bland. I thought the Dragon bridge was more interested with its quartet of winged dragons guarding the bridge. The Cathedral of St Nicholas has some nice friezes and an usual door decorations.

Last edited by Kiwi Flyer; Mar 25, 05 at 12:04 pm
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