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Sexta-feira, 11 de Março de 2005
My first time with Boeing 777-200 (KLM): Manila-Amsterdam

Flight information:


KL0804
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

Date: 11 March 2005
Dep: Manila Ninoy Aquino International (MNL)
Gate: 12
Boarding Time: 2130
Dep Time: 2230
Load: 95%
Seat: 03C
Class: Business
Aircraft: Boeing 777-200
Arr: Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS)
Weather during landing: Snowy
----------------------------------

AF3445
Regional

Date: 12 March 2005
Dep: Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS)
Boarding Time: 0815
Dep Time: 0855
Load: 85%
Seat: 07A
Class: Monoclass
Aircraft: Embraer 135
Weather during take off: Freezing and some snow
Arr: Bordeaux Merignac (BOD)
Weather during landing: Chilly



B777-200ER of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (by Marcus Adank of photos.aero)



Embraer 135 of Air France Regional (by Yu Ming of airliners.net)


Our team went to France for a training for almost a month......

Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport

The company provided us a service to and from the airport. I went to the airport reasonably early because I didn't really want to be late. I'm never late when it comes to checking-in but this time there's more reasons not to be late:
 

  • first time to fly business
  • first time to fly on B777-200ER


I have been sort of immersing myself with this flight and I've saved all types of pictures of the B777-200ER in my PC. I even had it as my wallpaper. I love this aircraft. Especially the front view, I love the look of this aircraft! It drives me nuts! And the engines! And we're not yet talking about the longer version which is the B777-300ER and is more sexy actually.

Anyway, when I got to the airport I gave some tip to the driver and went in to the crappy departure hall of NAIA 1. I saw my colleagues at the KLM check-in counter. There was a bit of commotion though. One of them asked if I wanted to be downgraded to economy class but get compensated with a flight voucher or choose to stay in business class. Apparently, the delegates from the French Ministry of Trade or something were on that flight too and sure they were occupying the business class seats so the check-in agents were asking some business class passengers willing to be downgraded. Anyway, to make it short, I did not accept the offer. I stayed in business class. I have not had the chance to fly business before and what if the plane would crash? LOL! At least, I would have had the chance to fly business, hehehehehe.

Alright, here's the thing with flying business. I don't really mind flying business or first class. But if I am the one paying for it? Never. I am quite content as a budget traveler; as economy class passenger. Why do I pay double the price just to experience more legroom and better food and better in-flight entertainment? Flying alone and being inside the aircraft per se are some forms of entertainment for me already: looking at the blue skies, the clouds, the aerial views of cities and countryside...the roar of the engines.......take off...landing......turbulence.....what more can I ask for during the flight?

Anyway, it's a question of choice (and sometimes not even a choice because many companies send their employees abroad and have them fly biz class). I am not complaining, hehehehehe.

After check-in we went to the business class lounge. I don't know the name but I think it was Sampaguita Lounge. We ate something and had some drinks. I don't have point of comparison because it was the first I got into a business class lounge at any airport.

After an hour, we went down to the gate for boarding. The first time I saw the B777-200ER, I did not find it that big, at least in that angle. It was not as huge as I saw in pictures. Actually, the size of an aircraft is tricky depending on the angle. But in reality, the B777 is really huge.

I got an aisle seat. The legroom was abviously ample and in-flight entertainment was apparently cool. The food? I don't remember. No big deal. Then I slept and asked the steward to wake me up for breakfast. I also noticed that in business class, all flight attendants were all male, on that flight at least.

There was some mild turbulence for some minutes above Russia but that was it; only to add some spice to the flight. It was a lovely flight and it landed in Amsterdam smoothly, the smoothest landing I've ever experienced so far.

I was one of the first to get out of the plane. Passed through passport control and went straight to my favourite spot in Schiphol airport. I had some taste of planespotting for a while. I did not waste my time at the lounge.

 

Time to board the plane bound for Bordeaux, in France. A bus took us to the other side of the terminal and it was snowing! And after a couple of minutes there it was, the Embraer 135 waiting for us in all its glory! Afff, going out of the bus was a pain because it was too cold and snowing and there was no airbridge.

The Embraer 135 is configured 3-abreast with 1-2 seat configuration. It's kinda claustrophobic though but it's OK. It was an Embraer jet and I am a fan of Embraer.

I think we used the Polderbaan for take off because the plane taxied for some minutes before the take off roll. Polderbaan is 3,800m long and 75m wide runway. This is located 2,100 north of Zwanenburgbaan, the 01L-19R runway. The northern tip of the runway is approximately 7km from the airport's control tower. The take off was powerful but due to my fear of heights, I was kinda nervous being able to see almost both sides of the plane as it climbed up (it pretty sums up how "thin" the aircraft is).

Landing in Bordeaux was smooth and our luggage and other stuffs were waiting for us when we got to the terminal. Overall, it was a nice journey from Manila to Bordeaux via Amsterdam.


Some photos of Bordeaux and the neighboring towns (taken from websites).

I would love to live in Bordeaux. The people were nice and it's a cool place, not too big but not too small.



Place de la Bourse (by anonymous photographer)



Some street at the centre of the city (by anonymous photographer)



St. Emilion (by anonymous photographer)



St. Emilion (by anonymous photographer)



publicado por Sadiri Gonzales às 17:14
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Quinta-feira, 11 de Setembro de 2003
KLM B737 to Gothenburg, Sweden

Flight Details

KL1704
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

Date: 11 September 2003
Dep: Madrid Barajas (MAD)
Gate: C36
Boarding Time: 1425
Dep Time: 1450
Load: 100%
Seat: 20D
Class: Economy
Aircraft: Boeing 737
Arr: Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS)

Dep: Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS)
Gate: C10
Boarding Time: 1910
Dep Time: 1930
Load: 100%
Seat: 25C
Class: Economy
Aircraft: Boeing 737
Arr: Gothenburg Landvetter (GOT)

-------------------------------------------

KL1158
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

Date: 16 September 2003
Dep: Gothenburg Landvetter (GOT)
Gate: A16
Boarding Time: 1605
Dep Time: 1630
Load: 100%
Seat: 16A
Class: Economy
Aircraft: Boeing 737
Arr: Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS)

KL1707
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

Dep: Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS)
Gate: D71
BoardingTime: 1900
Dep Time: 1930
Load: 100%
Seat: 23F
Class: Economy
Aircraft: Boeing 737
Arr: Madrid Barajas (MAD)



Beoing 737 in Gothenburg-Landvetter Airport in Sweden (click on the picture for the photographer's name)



“Hey, Manong... I arrived in Sweden! Cold now but still no pillows and blanket; have to get them from the lady in charged of the dormitory!”

I asked: “Nice! How was the flight?

She said: “Scandinavian Airlines canceled my flight to Copenhagen so I flew with Thai Airways to Stockholm but got upgraded to Business class!!!!!!!!!!”

Me: “Oh cool! Lucky you! You want to come over to Spain and see Madrid for a while before your classes start?

She said: “How many hours would that be?

Me: "No direct flights so you have to fly to either Frankfurt or Copenhagen and take a connecting flight to Madrid...... would mean 7 hours of travel time........"

She said: "No, thanks! I'm tired, lol!"

Me: “Afffffff! Okies, I’ll come over then!”


That’s how my phone conversation went with my younger sister few hours after she arrived in Sweden after a long flight from Asia. She was there to pursue her Master in Social Work through a scholarship awarded by the Swedish government. Anyway, I can’t imagine she declined my invitation to visit Spain but I was excited to visit Sweden again because this time around I'll be with my sister whom I did not see for about a year. And a week after I would be going back to the Philippines again, so I went anyways. But I did not tell her the dates though because I wanted to surprise her (it turned out that I was the one who was surprised when I got there, lol).

 

I rushed to buy my ticket at my favorite travel agency and after some hours of waiting (there was a problem with the ticketing software), I was heading to the airport. I called my sister that I was canceling my trip because I was reviewing for my exams and that I’d be OK to travel the week after. Of course, that was a lie, lol.

 

I don’t exactly remember how the flight from Madrid to Amsterdam to Gothenburg went but all I remember was the mixed feelings of excitement and worries; happy to see my sister again and worried that I’d be arriving in Gothenburg without knowing where to go (common occurrence in my case, lol).

 

The plane landed at the Gothenburg Landvetter Airport at around 10pm and right after I collected my luggage, I proceeded to the gate where the airport bus was waiting. There is a Flygbussarna bus service from Landvetter into the city which runs every 15-20 minutes, and it costs about 75 SEK one way (140 SEK return), and it reaches the city in 20-30 minutes. It stops at several locations (first stop near Liseberg; final stop: the Nils Ericson terminal).

So I took the address book out of my bag and showed it (my sister's address) to the driver hoping he knew where it was. He told me he's not going to pass by that area but assured me to drop me off the place where to catch another bus going to my sister's dormitory. I thanked him for that and settled on my seat and simply enjoyed the ride going to the city centre.

When we arrived at the city centre, the driver dropped me off and gave me some instructions on how to get to my 'destination'. I also had to ask the people on the streets where it was and luckily many people helped me out, lol. I was the centre of attraction right there in the middle of the streets! I hate that situation but what can I do?

 

For the next 4 hours I would be practically wandering around the city in search of that dormitory asking God knows how many people along the way. Luckily, many locals were helpful. And at around 2am, I finally found the place! So I went to the front door and hummm, just to discover that there was nobody at the lobby. Apparently, the dorm has no reception area and only the students could go in. What the ........... ! What should I do? How can I get in? No choice, I went back to the streets to look for a public phone or something. I was dead tired...

 

I had to phone my sister so she could give me the code to open the door. No phone booths to be found. The road maintenance guys saw me again (earlier they helped me find the address). They asked me how could they be of help again, lol. I explained to them what happened and that there was no public phone in the area and this guy, Tommy, volunteered to offer his mobile phone to call my sister. Wow, I told myself what a nice gesture from a total stranger. After talking to my sister (who was also surprised...was my purpose to surprise her after all, lol), I offered to pay for that call but he declined and told me it was a pleasure doing a favor for someone whom really needs it, hehehehehe. I thanked him and went back to the dormitory to see my sister. Whoa! happy to see her again!

 

The next day, time to conquer Gothenburg!

Gothenburg is a mid-size city but so cosmopolitan. Even more so than its rival Stockholm. I like its size and I like the atmosphere inclusing the parks and the citylife as a whole. If given the chance I'd choose to live here. As an authentic probinsiyano, I think this is the right city for me. It is a relatively big city but it retains it small city feel. And more importantly, as they say, the city is known as a friendly place and I myself can attest to that. One impression I have on Scandinavian countries is that people tend to be helpful to tourists (or maybe I look as if I really need some help, lol). But whatever the reason is, it's highly appreciated and I would do the same if someone needs my help especially if he's not from here and he'd ask about directions and all those stuff.


The centre of Gothenburg. If you want to explore the city, this is the place to begin your adventure. From here, you can go to any part of the city. Most of the city is best explored on foot because the main attractions are near each other (anonymous photographer)



Gothenburg tram....blue...same as in Zurich.......I especially loved my tram rides from the dorm of my sister to the city centre. It's a cheap way to see the city. Gothenburg has a famous network of trams that covers most of the city. With over 150km the Gothenburg tram is the largest light rail network in Scandinavia. The main tram hub is Brunnsparken ('Well Park'), where you can catch trams to all parts of the city. It is near (one tram stop to be precise, or a 2-minute walk) to the train station (anonymous photographer)


Oppps, careful........"Puede na bang tumawid?"



Feeling free at the University of Gothenburg's campus



Me and my sister in front of the UG's library. I did some of my assigned school works here because there was a free internet access even to outsiders, hehehehe.


Two days after, another surprised came.

When I was checking my air ticket, I learned that the date of departure from Gothenburg was wrong! It says there I was to be in Sweden only for a day! I had to rush to the airport and had it changed! Affffff, must be the airline system error or more probably negligence on my part for not checking it before leaving the travel agency. Everybody was in a hurry and it totally slipped my mind. Anyway, going to the airport (and back) was a treat for me because I had the opportunity to enjoy the sceneries outside the city centre. It's a forested area (I like temperate forests!) so it was a visual feast for me. Maybe a camping activity would be great or simply be there and enjoy the tranquility of that beautiful place.

 

I enjoyed Gotherburg. If given the chance, I would live there...

 


 


sinto-me:

publicado por Sadiri Gonzales às 17:12
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Sexta-feira, 14 de Março de 2003
KLM Boeing 737 to Copenhagen, Denmark

Flight Details:

KL1700
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

Date: 14 March 2003
Dep: Madrid Barajas (MAD)
Gate: C31
Boarding Time: 0950
Dep Time: 1015
Load: 100%
Seat: 8A
Class: Economy
Aircraft: Boeing 737
Arr: Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS)

KL1131
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

Date: 14 March 2003
Dep: Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS)
Gate: C04
Boarding Time: 1335
Dep Time: 1410
Load: 100%
Seat: 15A
Class: Economy
Aircraft: Boeing 737
Arr: Copenhagen Kastrup (CPH)
-------------------------------------

KL1126
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

Date: 17 March 2003

Dep: Copenhagen Kastrup (CPH)
Gate: Not indicated
Boarding Time: 0920
Dep Time: 1000
Load: 100%
Seat: 18A
Class: Economy
Aircraft: Boeing 737
Arr: Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS)

Dep: Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS)
Gate: 081
Boarding Time: 1840
Dep Time: 1920
Load: 100%
Seat: 114D
Class: Economy
Aircraft: Boeing 737
Arr: Madrid Barajas (MAD)


*Copenhagen-Malmo-Lund-Malmo-Copenhagen: Swedish/Danish Railways


I've always wanted to go to Denmark so when our professor informed us about some 5-day holiday, I checked my savings and thought I could manage to have some escapade in Scandinavia so I went to buy my ticket from the travel agency near the university. I chose to fly KLM to be able to visit the Netherlands too when I get back from Denmark. I requested the travel agent not to follow the flight itinerary that the reservation system would suggest because I needed some time to walk around for a while in Amsterdam. He agreed. It was also my first to fly KLM so I was kinda excited too. I have been attracted by its colour scheme and I have always wanted to know how's it to fly with the Dutch airline.

I went to the internet cafe to do some quick research about Copenhagen because I still had to go to the immigration office to renew my permit to return to Spain. As for lodging, I knew it's an expensive city so as usual I chose to stay in a youth hostel as I still had my hostelling international card valid. I emailed the hostel to confirm the days of stay and type of room I wanted (sure it was the dormitory type where 8 people stay in one room.........the cheapest!)

Anyway, it was a lovely flight and it was a sunny but chilly day in Madrid though gloomy in Amsterdam when we got there. Some of my fellow passengers from Madrid also flew with me on to Copenhagen. When we arrived at the airport, I bought a train ticket to the city centre which is only some kilometres away from the airport. I was on the line when a lady tried to go to the counter first though she knew I was already standing there waiting for some minutes before she came. The gentleman at the ticket counter told her to wait because I came first so I should be attended first. Hummm, what a nice first impression of the Danes!

I took the train and several minutes after, I began to wonder why I haven't seen a sign that the place was indeed the city centre. I asked the ticket inspector what's going on and he informed me I was going the wrong way. I took the wrong train so he told me to go back to th airport train station and go to the other side of the platform, lol. Anyway, it's cool I was able to see the some of the countryside though. Spring was about to come but still the Danish countryside was still in its winter look. I was told that come spring or autumn, the Danish countryside is the place to see. That's why I love to travel during these seasons. Snow is good but not everyday.

When I arrived at the central train station, I checked out the youth hostel's address and tried to memorise it. I got a free map from one of the desks there. Affffff, it turned out that the hostel was located in Amager, an island off the coast of Copenhagen. I did not check the location back when I was still preparing for my trip because I simply had no time to do it. I took the phone number and email and got the confirmation from the hotel and that's it. That pretty much summed up my travel planning skills during that time, hehehehehe.

So when I arrived at the city centre, I called up the hostel to ask how to get there. Nobody was answering the phone.

Right there on the sidewalk, I "examined" the map again and tried to solve my "dilemma". No, I couldn't. Well, that's it. I thought I had to do again what I usually do when I get to a new place: ask the locals! Actually no, I did not have to ask. A lady came up to me and asked: "Can I help you?" I said sure and before I knew a bunch of people came to my rescue, lol. They explained to me that the hostel was far from city centre and that I needed to take the subway train to get there. And later on after I got the bus, I asked again and the person I was asking was not familiar with the place so a lady when she saw us suddenly said: "Can I help?" She even went to her house and gave me a map of Copenhagen, lol. So, there. Another good impression I had of the Danes.

I walked and walked and walked (the good thing about these situations is that I do get to explore the city without really trying to). But then it was dark and I was still trying to figure out where I would stay. I thought of sleeping at the city centre for that night and go to the hostel the following night. I knew it was expensive but I tried anyways. I asked the locals on the streets what was the cheapest option for me to spend the night in the city centre. Two ladies suggested I'd try Cab Inn. So I went. I asked about the price per night. They told me 80 euros (in Danish Kroner I can't remember). Well, it's a nice hotel and not bad for some independent well off travellers with some extra money to spare. But for me, no. I had no choice but leave the place as fast as I could. That was the the first time it happened to me and I was a bit embarrassed. But hell, nobody cared actually. It's normal. And it was the best thing for me to do since I only had 150 euros to spend for that 4-day stay in Copenhagen.

So I continued my "adventure" and got back to the train station where I already planned to sleep. But anyway, I asked again and a lady helped me out: from buying the correct ticket to choosing the correct platform, lol. At 12 midnight, I arrived at the hostel. The receptionist was cool though and he honored my reservation. I liked the hostel and I had some nice room mates.

It was a long day. But I enjoyed my first day in Copenhagen. Lots of sightseeing and walking, hehehhhehe. I discovered later that I did not have to go to the city centre to get to the hostel because it was only a few Metro stations away from the airport (on the other direction). Afffffff! Anyway, somehow I like it this way since I do get to see more of the city (although a tiring one to do it, lol) and get some sort of interaction with the locals and other travellers too.



The famous symbol of Copenhagen, the Little Mermaid! One of the most photographed statues in the world! (I thought it was bigger though).


Copenhagen is the capital of Denmark and also the largest city in all of Scandinavia. It is one of the most livable cities and one of the richest cities in the world. Well, when I was there, I did not feel that because as usual, I prefer to rough it on my travels. I stayed in a youth hostel on the island of Amager on the outskirts of the city and I ate in cheap fast food chains.

Copenhagen is a flat city, and a beautiful one. It is actually one of my favourite cities so far. I went there with only the Little Mermaid statue in mind but the city came as a delightful surprise to me. Although expensive, it's a nice place to live. It is also near the major Scandinavian major cities such as Oslo (Norway); Goteborg and Stockholm (Sweden) and there are direct fights to Reykjavik (Iceland). It is indeed the hub of Scandinavia.

I'd live in Copenhagen if given the chance.





With the Royal Guard. This was taken at the Amalienborg Palace, the official residence of the Danish Royal Family. Unlike the Evzons in Athens, the Danish Royal Guards can move or smile



The DanHostel in Amager Island where I stayed (anonymous photographer)

Copenhagen is the capital of Denmark and also the largest city in all of Scandinavia. It is one of the most livable cities and one of the richest cities in the world. Well, when I was there, I did not feel that because as usual, I prefer to rough it on my travels. I stayed in a youth hostel on the island of Amager on the outskirts of the city and I ate in cheap fast food chains.

Copenhagen is a flat city, and a beautiful one. It is actually one of my favourite cities so far. I went there with only the Little Mermaid statue in mind but the city came as a delightful surprise to me. Although expensive, it's a nice place to live. It is also near the major Scandinavian major cities such as Oslo (Norway); Goteborg and Stockholm (Sweden) and there are direct fights to Reykjavik (Iceland). It is indeed the hub of Scandinavia.

I'd live in Copenhagen if given the chance.

 

The Copenhagen Airport CPH

Copenhagen Kastrup International Airport, as my favourite airport, deserves a post only for itself. The airport's location, architecture, and flight connections clearly show that it is the leading airport all over Scandinavia. It has been voted several times as the best airport in the world. And my experience with it proves it right.

You go out of the aircraft and what welcomes you is the Scandinavian art, design, and architecture all showcased in one place in this impressive airport. It is clean and relaxed; qualities that help to give passengers that sense of well-being that makes for an enjoyable start to a journey.

Another thing why I like Copenhagen Airport is that it is close to some major urban areas in Scandinavia. If you want to go to Malmo, which is in Sweden, just follow the road to the Oreson Bridge and you're in Malmo. This is also possible when you take the train and even up to Gothenburg you'll go. And Copenhagen receives flights not only from this part of Europe but also as far as Iceland and Greenland and some parts of Asia which all involve direct flights.

And yeah, Copenhagen Airport is a silent airport. That means no boarding announcements are made. Up to the minute traffic information is displayed on TV monitors and signboards located conveniently throughout the airport. Shhhhh!



publicado por Sadiri Gonzales às 17:09
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