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23 into 21 does go

I love to travel

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I lived in an apartment hotel room for 3 years on the basis that it had a washing machine. :(
Ditto for 3 months. I actually get quite stressed about laundry when on holidays.
And JT very smart about ear plugs. People just have no idea how easily our ears are damaged.
 

JessicaTam

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Day 8:

I caught a cab to Yas Mall. There is normally a free shuttle bus that does a lap of Yas Island but not this weekend.

it was a large medium to high end shopping centre. The highlight for me was Carrefour in the basement. They have a large dining area with reasonable prices. No more AED45 meals for me. Chicken and a drink for 8 thanks.

Oh @Anna, no cakes yet. But I did get a shot of some spices that are a start!
653E3599-FEC0-482D-8911-56C327C429CA.jpeg
I’ll make up for it soon - promise!
 

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Well that is a thread in itself! :eek:

I always start with the flights to/from AU. A simple W up and Y back for the best bang for buck/upgrade chance.

Then I start filling in the gaps. So first off SIN-CMB-AUH to get me to the race. I had a few days to kill in AUH and hotels were dear so a quick AUH-CMB-CGK-CMB-AUH run with an overnight in CGK. The connection in CGK is 50 minutes so I opted for 24h +50 minutes to be safe as I have not transited CGK before.

I then booked to leave AUH on Monday night to skip most of the rush out back to CGK with UL. Fortunately this coincided with a QR sale CGK-DOH-AMS so that was my ride to EU.

Another overnight - this time in AMS and a BA booking down to MUC with an overnight in LHR. This gives me plenty of time to sample the Concorde Room in the morning, as I have been eligible for some time but yet to visit. I could have flown direct to NUE, but that would have been out of LGW which is fine for arriving, but not so flash for departing.

With an arrival time in MUC I then booked my MUC-NUE train with DB (Deutsche Bahn).

Every flight/train was booked direct with the carrier.

The hotels are HH when price allowed. Otherwise I went for the best bang/buck. I have enough forward bookings with HH to keep Diamond for another year. Mind you, as a BA GGL I am also given that status.
That's a shame, I prefer the BA F lounge at LGW but as your main goal is to sample the CCR then of course LHR it would have to be. Hope you're not too disappointed by it! I have been the few times I've used it.
 

JessicaTam

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A bit of a review of the Staybridge Suites.

I booked a standard suite - which is not actually a suite but a studio. And that is what I got. My status with IHG is somewhere between lead and tin so was not expecting an upgrade. I was hoping for at least one of high floor/away from elevator. I got neither. Level 1, next to the elevator. I think that as I was checking in at 2330 I had no hope.

My room:
1575542718232.png 1575542760891.png
Just to the right of the bottom photo you can see the little amenity I got on the first night. I didn't eat them as a couple obviously had nuts in them.

On the second night I got back to find a nice little gift. It was in a presentation tin, but I left the bulky packaging behind.
1575542893001.png
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An 8GB memory stick!

Breakfast was reasonably comprehensive, if not hit and miss. The first morning there were scrambled eggs, the second morning omelettes. They did do eggs to order but only fried or plain omelettes. A good range of middle eastern foods, as well as cheeses, salads and sliced meats. I lingered over breakfast so was able to keep myself going for most of the day. The serving area was cramped, but the dining area large and plenty of room.

The wifi was not too bad. I did find that I couldn't access Qatar Airways website, no matter what I tried. The joys of conflicts between countries.

The Staybridge did not serve alcohol so I headed next door to the Crowne Plaza for a beer. AED45 for 500ml of Stella. About A$18. I lingered over that too!
 

JessicaTam

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Day 9, flights 8 & 9:
Groundhog day for me today. A321 neos with new seats. Fortunately the IFE had been updated so I watched 'Blinded By The Light' on the second flight.

I had a spot of breakfast in the Serendib lounge in CMB, only to find the eggs were very spicy - and cold. So I bided my time for another meal on flight 2. I did suss out where the Serendiva lounge was, so I plan to pay it a visit next transit - only two to go!
 

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Day 10, flights 10 & 11:

I arrived in CGK about 1400 and headed to the transfer desk. Unfortunately no-one could help me get my QR BPs, so I was escalated to a supervisor. No good - I needed to head through immigration and wait for checkin to open… at 2100. *sigh*

Immigration took a while, as I was now at the back of the line, so at least that chewed up some time. I headed upstairs to find that the QR flight before mine was being checked in. Unfortunately no-one was able to open the later flight and check me in.

If I had thought about it, I might have headed into town and wandered through a shopping centre instead of staying put. I guess the one disadvantage of HLO is bringing that bag along.

I did a lap of departures and settled into a burger joint for a bite to eat. I then found a seat near the QR checkin desks and chained a few episodes of TBBT. Another lap of the departure area and it was time to checkin. Smartly through immigration and security - laptop out, belt off, shoes off - and into the same lounge that UL use.

My chariot for the trip up to DOH was an A350-900. The older style herringbone seat, but very comfortable.

1575790329818.png

When I arrived in DOH I headed for the J/F security screening area. There was no checking of BPs but also no indication that people were trying to sneak in. This was the first time since MEL that I had to take my laptop out of my bag. I had a pleasant breakfast upstairs before heading to my next flight. All up about 2 1/2 hours, so plenty of time for the transit.

Oh, I bumped into this fellow as I was heading to the gate:
1575790570849.png

The second flight was on a B777 with the new QSuites. Probably as comfortable as the herringbone I just got off. The IFE screen is a little bigger, and I was facing backwards, so ideal for a RHD.
1575790606535.png

I arrived into AMS and caught the free shuttle to the Hampton by Hilton. A pleasant hotel walking distance from the centre of Hoofddorp. I took the opportunity to post some souvenirs home and grab a salad for dinner from the local Lidl.

A nice gift on checkin. I was expecting some local chocolate:
1575790899912.png
 

JessicaTam

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Not so local chocolate:
1575790962951.png

Day 11, flight 12:

Up early and onto the shuttle back to the airport. Checkin was pretty quick and then through security. There was poor weather at LGW so my originating aircraft was delayed. Interestingly there are no flight info boards in the BA lounge. The lounge itself was comfortable with a reasonable range of food and drinks.

We eventually boarded to be told by the captain that they were still expecting a delay of two hours, but decided to board us incase we could leave earlier. :oops: The CSM came and welcomed me and the person next to me and took our meal orders. I also got my first G&T of the flight. This interaction did not occur with anyone else so suspect it was a status based greeting. We eventually pushed back an hour and a half late so we were on our way. I am now glad the captain had done what she had, as we did jump the queue a bit.

The inflight service was good, with a tasty vego meal for me... and a couple more G&Ts.

As I got to immigration in LGW the queue for the manual processing was non-existant as opposed to three of four deep at the machines. I headed a real person so I could get a stamp in my passport. I explained to her this is why I chose manual processing and she explained that they didn't stamp any more. In my case she did stamp my passprt, but had to write 'by request' under it. o_O
1575792103961.png

I was soon onto the train and a connecting bus to get me to the Hilton Park Lane. I used points for this as it seemed the little extravagance was worth it. Boy was it worth it. I was upgraded to the Park Lane Suite on the 7th floor. To give you an idea how big it is, I had to turn off 18 lights before going out. I posted a quick review in the HH thread: How do Hilton treat you as an Elite?
 

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Day 12, Flight 13:

Onwards to MUC. I caught the tube from near the hotel to the airport (LHR) and headed to checkin. The first checkin is very swish, a bit like SYD F, but with a dividing partition from the rest of the terminal. I then went through F security which must have got a job lot on their machines with MEL int. What a shambles. The machine is slow, and the individual scanning of bags seems to take an eternity. Fortunately my bag was not flagged for secondary screening. Those that were had to be manually checked. Trouble is there was only one person doing that, and he kept getting dragged off to answer questions from the staff. By the time I left there were three people waiting for their bags to be checked. Not an exemplary F/OWE experience.

The door from security led through immigration and then into the BA F lounge. Follow the signs through the lounge and into the Concorde Room. Basically you leave through the normal exit and walk across the lobby.

The lounge itself was very pleasant. A good range of a la carte breakfast options, along with a glass of Laurent Perrier. Perrier Jouet from memory. The only downside was that there was no barista coffee, as their machine was broken. So I headed out of the lounge to Starbucks for my soy caffeine hit and then settled in for a couple of hours. I didn't take any photos whist I was there, as there were quite a few people about. I will see how I go next time.

The main observation I have is that there is a definite lack of power points. The lounge is divided into three - sort of. The main seating area, the dining room, and an 'outside' seating area. The main seating area was the only place with power points, and not many at that.

I would rate it similar to MEL/SYD QF F, or the HKG CX F lounges.

I guested a FTer into the lounge. She was heading to NUE as well, and was on my flight. We boarded together but I got a beep at the gate. It seems my passport info hadn't been entered at checkin. *sigh* Fortunately I made it to my seat before those pesky groups 2 and 3 streaming past me took *all* the overhead locker space. ;)

While the last people boarded the CSM headed to the pax behind me to say 'Congratulations on reaching the next tier with the Executive Club'. It was a nice touch. FWIW I was a vanilla pax.

When I went through immigration in Germany, there was no question that I would not get a stamp. For Germans, 'kein Stempel' would give them conniptions I am sure. ;) My train ticket was a 'super cheap price' so no ability to bring it forward an hour to the same as the FTer. Similarly no access to the DB lounge. Never to mind.

I dumped my bag at the hotel and grabbed an S-bahn train to dinner. I made it just before they ordered. F0zzyNUE, our host for the weekend is on the far right.

1575889298913.png

Edit: Corrected CCR champagne
 
Last edited:

JessicaTam

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Gratuitous shot of the camera gear I am travelling with.

Sony A6300 with 18-200mm lens. The BlackRapid shoulder strap is so much better than around the neck.
1575904787929.png

As I intimated in the opening post all the pics in the TR are on my iPhone 8+.

The Sony came into its own at the GP and NUE. I will transfer some pics across when I am home. Promise!

Edit: I am thinking of getting a 30mm prime lens in SIN on my way home.
 

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Day 13 & 14 (no flights!):

The weekend was devoted to NUE. F0zzyNUE had organised plenty of activities. The first was a walking tour capturing the 'Hidden Treasures' of NUE, and the second was a walking tour of the Christmas Market itself. We had tastings of wurst (which I didn't partake) and Glühwein (which I did)! There was the traditional red, as well as a white and burnt sugar version.

Note that NUE is unique in calling it the Christkindlesmarkt (Christ child market) whereas other places have Weinachtsmarkt (Christmas market). NUE hosts the largest one in Germany, so likely the largest in Europe. There are 185 booths, some of them dating back hundreds of years. If you want to open a booth, the waiting list is very long. Money - print - licence!

There would easily have been tens of thousands of people walking the streets. No wonder accomodation was scarce, and what was available was not cheap.

This is not the market proper - just the entrance area! o_O
1575923942734.png

The tinselengel is famous as the symbol of the Christkindlesmarkt. This one is 3m tall.
1575923960408.png

Dinner on Saturday night was at a bit of a NUE tradition - Barfüßer (Barfuesser). If you like meat, this is the place for you. The group ordered the platters, and unfortunately the pic I took does not do it justice. They are meant to be shared between 4. Our group had one per six people and still left behind an awful lot.
1575924660339.png
 

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Day 15, flight 14. The journey home:

Time to head southwards. I caught the train from NUE to MUC and headed through security - LAGS and laptop out. The lounge was quite pleasant and I bumped in to a FTer on the same flight as me. We chatted for a bit before heading to the gate where we met another FTer on the same flight! We were a bit late pushing back "due to the late arrival of the operating aircraft".

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I sat in 1A and I had a shadow, which I offered to one of my travelling companions who was way back in row 5. ;)

I have been impressed by BA's food offerings. The carnivore offering was a similar salad with seafood.
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Dear Neil Perry - salads don't have to be just green you know!

We were slowed up into LHR so did some lazy circle work as we slowly descended. I saw a few aircraft out the window, including this one which was a nice profile shot. Note that I did zoom the pic - they were not that close!
1576065123898.png

We landed at a bus gate but were quickly taken to the terminal. Through security (LAGS and laptop out) and up to the CCR.
 

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Flight 15

I went through security and turned right for a change. That meant I could go through the back entrance to the CCR instead of having to go down the escalators and along the concourse before going back up again thus missing all those shops. No wonder it is called the million pound door!

This time I managed to snap some pics of the CCR, but first the wine list:
1576065395470.png . 1576065422050.png

The dining area has quite a number of booths for either one or two diners. I didn’t do a lap of the whole area, so it is possible there are larger seating areas in the dining room as well.
1576065459537.png

There are also some long tables outside the dining area proper for groups or individuals, although not as formal.

This is the ‘outside’ area I referred to previously:
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An uneventful flight to AMS and after a train and bus ride I was soon at my hotel. Public transport in AMS was a bit expensive. A €5.50 train trip to the city, followed by another €3.20 for a one hour bus ticket.
 

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