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TR: A quick trip to Stockholm on Norwegian Air Shuttle (+ a jumbo stay)

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Mattg

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Well, it's almost time for another mini trip-report, this time about my journey to Sweden. This brief report will include two flights on Norwegian Air Shuttle and a very interesting overnight stay at Arlanda Airport.

But for those of you who have been following my travels so far, I will firstly give a quick update of my trip since my last report, when I had just arrived in Munich from South-east Asia. I've now been in Europe for a month and this really is proving to be the trip of a lifetime! I've had so many amazing experiences I've lost count and met heaps of new friends along the way. I've also had a chance to think about the direction of my life and I've come to the conclusion that I would like to live in Berlin for a while if I get the chance.

My routing in Europe so far (since Munich) has been Munich - Nuremberg - Munich - Salzburg - Vienna - Zurich - Triesenberg (Liechtenstein) - Munich (again) - Stuttgart - Frankfurt - Hanover - Berlin - xWarsaw - Krakow - Stockholm. The majority of this has been by train, with a few exceptions (plane, bus etc.) Up to Krakow, I have not yet written any trip reports, however I have done a lot of my own writing along the way and have lots of photos anyway, so if anyone would like me to do a quick trip report on any aspect of my trip so far, I would be more than happy to! Just leave me a message. :)

Some things of interest may include:

  • an overnight train from Vienna to Zurich
  • a visit to the principality of Liechtenstein
  • a week in Berlin over New Year
  • a train trip from Berlin to Krakow via Warsaw
  • absolutely anything else you would like to know more about!

Some personal highlights of my time in Europe so far include:

  • The German Christmas markets - I've seen so many I've lost count. I've eaten so much bratwurst and drunk so much Bier and Glühwein! My favourite though was this really quirky medieval market in Munich where we found this shop selling real swords, armour etc.
  • Ice-skating on Karlsplatz in central Munich
  • A tour of the salt mines in Berchtesgaden
  • A day-trip to the town of Lucerne, Switzerland and its surprisingly amazing transport museum
  • An amazing time in Liechtenstein - one of the most beautiful places I've been in the world, yet no-one seems to have heard of it!
  • A magical trip with some Brazilian friends to Schloss Neuschwanstein in Southern Bavaria on a snowy day just before Christmas
  • New Year in Berlin - what can I say, such an incredible city!
  • Seeing stand-up comedy in German (it was one of those things that was so bad it was good!)
  • Whilst not an enjoyable place to visit, Auschwitz was a very confronting, yet moving and worthwhile experience.

I'll post a few photos from my trip so far. (Wow, how do I choose just 5 to come in under the photo limit?!)
The real trip report will come shortly. :)


The view from my hotel in Triesenberg:
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Neuschwanstein castle:
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The Reichstag building in Berlin:
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The former Tempelhof Airport, now giant public park:
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Wawel Cathedral in Krakow's old town:
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Cool Cat Phil

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Great Pictures mate!

Sounds like European trip is turning out to be a real trip of a lifetime.

Tell me, did you stay in the Jumbo that's been turn into a hostel at Arlanda airport?

If seen the some pictures ..... Very cool indeed.
 

Mattg

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For the next part of my trip, I'm flying to Stockholm with Nowegian Air Shuttle. After 4 days in Stockholm I'll fly to my next city which happens to be Amsterdam. This is actually my first time visiting a Scandinavian country and my first time flying Norwegian Air.


Flight: DY4902 Krakow - Stockholm (Arlanda)
Norwegian Air Shuttle
Boeing 737-800: LN-DYT
Departure time: 12.25
Arrival time: 14.20

For my flights KRK - ARN & ARN - AMS I decided to use Norwegian Air Shuttle mainly because they were the cheapest airline on the route. I paid around $90 Aussie dollars for the first leg and $65 for the other, including 20kg checked baggage. I knew very little previously about the airline but thought this would be a good opportunity to check them out.

I used the train to get from the centre of Krakow to the airport, which cost 12 złotys (~AUD4.40) and took 18 minutes. It was a bit of a bumpy ride due to the condition of the tracks and the train didn't actually arrive at the terminal - from the station we transferred to a free shuttle bus which took another 10 minutes to get to Terminal 1. All up it was quite efficient though. Just make sure you check what time the train leaves before you go as they only seem to go around every hour on average (and not at the same time each hour, either).

Here's a photo of the airport train at Krakow Główny (central) station:
image.jpg

As we got closer to the airport, we started to pass through some particularly thick fog. I was concerned that this might cause some problems, and there were in fact several delayed and a cancelled flight as a result.

Krakow airport does not make it onto my list of favourite airports. I was flying out of T1 (the international terminal where almost all flights fly out of) in the middle of the day on a Thursday - by no means the busiest time - and the small airport was packed and somewhat chaotic. Perhaps this was because of the amount of delayed flights.

The outside of T1:
image.jpg

I arrived around 90 minutes before departure and eventually negotiated my way through the crowds to the Norwegian counter. Thankfully I didn't have to wait long to check in. I was presented with this boarding pass; probably the most basic and poorly set-out boarding pass I've ever seen:
image.jpg

For some reason, the sequence number (120) and A6 (not even sure what that is) are the largest.

There are 8 gates at Terminal 1 and they are separated into two sections. My aircraft was boarding through Gate 8 so I had to queue up at security to go into the Gate 5-8 departure area, if that makes sense. I must have waited at least 20 minutes. Although we were flying to another country in the Schengen Zone, passports and boarding passes were checked thoroughly at security. There was a young man in the queue in front of me who was sent back as he didn't have the correct boarding pass. One of the personnel searched very thoroughly through every pocket of my backpack. He didn't say what, if anything he was actually looking for but after several minutes he gave it back and said I could go, having confiscated only a padlock, for some reason.

The departure area was full and I was lucky to be able to find a seat. Some of the other flights had delays but for once I got lucky and our flight was actually called early. There were no airbridges, but the aircraft was parked literally right in front of the gate, not more than 10 metres away. Despite this, they crammed everyone onto a bus which drove a few metres to a point which I am convinced was just as far from the plane, if not further. Just imagine being herded onto a bus at Coolangatta Airport to be driven 10m, then offloaded again. Sometimes it makes me wonder why they bother.

Anyway, here's a photo of the plane from the tarmac:
image.jpg
 
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Mattg

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I had seat 1A, which had a bulkhead was in the front row of economy. (Norwegian is a low-cost carrier and doesn't have business class on its 737s.) The legroom was actually fantastic; I have long legs and could very comfortably stretch them. As far as I can see, anyone could snag row one. I paid SEK69 (~$12) in advance to reserve this seat (this is the same price for any seat), but I see no reason that you couldn't get it for free if it was still available when online check-in opened.

My neighbours in 1B and 1C, a friendly Swedish couple arrived and seemed very surprised to see me. They chatted amongst themselves and then the man said "We've met before!" At this point I didn't recognise him and said I didn't think we had. But he was sure of it, and apparently his wife also recognised me. He asked if I had been at Auschwitz on Tuesday, which I had. Then it clicked that these people were in the same tour group as me for the entire day on Tuesday! They showed me their photos from the day and sure enough I was even in a couple of them. It really is a small world!

We departed more or less on time and took off towards the west before making a series of right-hand turns. We had some nice views of Poland for around 15 minutes until we climbed above a thick layer of cloud. I didn't see the ground again until we were on the final approach into Arlanda. Here's a photo from the start of the flight:

image.jpg

One thing which pleasantly surprised me was that free wifi was available on the flight. It was switched on about 10 minutes into the flight and switched off after the top of descent. When you connected to the internet it also brought up norwegian's in-flight entertainment. There was a a flight tracker and a small collection of TV shows, none of which interested me. Movies were also available but cost €7 - not worth it for a short flight.

Here's a couple of screenshots from my iPad:

image.jpg

image.jpg

As usual with low-cost carriers, exorbitantly overpriced food and drinks were available for purchase. Although prices were listed in four currencies, payments had to be made by Visa or Mastercard and were put through only in Swedish kronas. I bought one of the lunch combos - a chicken wrap, beer and bag of nuts, which cost SEK125 (~$21.50). The food was okay, but certainly not worth the price!

image.jpg

After a relatively uneventful flight we touched down in a dark and dreary-looking Stockholm a little ahead of schedule. We disembarked at Arlanda Terminal 5 and when I made it down to the baggage carousel, the display said that the bags would arrive within 7 minutes. It was closer to 15.

All in all it was a relatively comfortable and uneventful flight. The service was nothing special, but it wasn't bad. I'll be interested to see what they're like for my next flight with them on Monday.

As I was passing through the "nothing to declare" line a customs official approached me and wanted to know where I had flown from. "Krakow" must have raised some alarm bells and he continued questioning me for a while. This ended the moment I said I was from Australia.

I didn't have a long way to travel from the airport as I was staying the night at the Jumbo Stay Hostel. This is a hostel inside a retired Boeing 747 at Arlanda Airport. I don't normally review my accommodation but I think this might be of interest. More to come...
 

RooFlyer

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Thanks; really appreciated the info on KRK airport / airport train - doing that mid year (flying LH in, Tyrolean out).

Any other info / tips on Krakow city would be welcome :)

ps to get more than 5 pics per post I paste pairs of photos into Word, then image the pair; therefore 10 pics per post; quite efficient once you get it set up. drron somehow gets a lot more pics per post though ....
 

Anna

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a chicken wrap, beer and bag of nuts, which cost SEK125 (~$21.50). The food was okay, but certainly not worth the price!
Välkommen till Sverige :p
 

Mattg

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After arriving in Stockholm I stayed one night at the Jumbo Stay Hostel at Arlanda Airport. Some of you might have seen pictures of this (or been there)!

Firstly, I'll give you some quick background information: This is a retired Boeing 747-200 which was bought in 2007 by Oscar Diös, a Swedish businessman who then spent over a year converting it into a hostel. The plane was originally built in 1976 and served for Singapore Airlines, Pan Am and Transjet during its time. Its last commercial flight was in 2002.

I got on the free Shuttle Bus #14 from T5 and within less than 10 minutes I was at the entrance to the hostel. Here's the view from the outside:

image.jpg

It was a typically cold winter's day in Sweden and I was keen to get inside and check-in. The hostel has a no-shoes policy so I had to leave them at the entrance.

The lovely lady at reception told me I would be staying in room number 746 which was quite small but functional. There was a TV, powerpoint and a bunk bed. There was also an overhead locker which could be used to store your belongings, but I didn't bother with it.

The room:
image.jpg

And the view out the window:
image.jpg

The hostel didn't seem to be full as I don't think I actually saw any other guests during my time there. Either they all hid in their rooms the entire time or there weren't any! (Judging by the amount of shoes at the entrance, I would estimate it was one-third full.) Occasionally I heard people walk past my room on the way to the bathrooms (3 of which are located at the back of the plane) but other than that it was very quiet. I should also mention that the place was immaculately clean.

Shortly after check-in I asked at reception if I could do the wing-walk and tour of the plane. The lady said that unfortunately I wouldn't be able to do the wing walk as it was too dangerous in winter, but I would be welcome to walk around the plane and check everything out. She kindly offered to show me around, but I said that wouldn't be necessary. By the way, if you do happen to stay here in summer, the tour/wing walk is included in the price, but you can also pay a small fee to do it if you're not staying there.

Follow me and I'll take you on a tour around the plane...

In the nose of the 747 is the restaurant:
image.jpg

From the back of the restaurant you can climb the spiral staircase up to the upper deck:

image.jpg
 

Mattg

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On the upper deck is a business lounge seating 8 which can be hired out. It's also a pretty cool place to hang out if not in use! The chairs are old business class seats.

image.jpg

All of the rooms are on the lower deck, except for the cockpit suite, which also happens to be the most expensive room at SEK1995 (~$340) per night. It's suitably numbered room 747.

image.jpg

I was allowed to have a look inside the suite as there was no-one staying there on this particular night. I think it would be an awesome place to spend a night! There's two adjustable beds/mattresses behind the old controls, most of which are still there and some which you can play with. There were a few wires hanging out of the ceiling here and there but I guess it is an old plane.

image.jpg

Connected to the cockpit suite is an ensuite bathroom:

image.jpg

From the upper deck you can see what would be the wing-walk in summer:

image.jpg
 

Mattg

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All of the other rooms are back down on the lower deck, so let's go back to reality! There is a single aisle all the way down the lower deck with rooms on either side. My room was right at the back of economy on the right-hand side. Here's a photo from the back of the plane looking towards the front:

image.jpg

The aisle is lined with all sorts of random photos, including from the conversion. Here's one which shows the seats being taken out:

image.jpg

There are two toilets at the front of the plane and three located at the rear. I think the forward toilets were a bit bigger but I only ever used the back ones, which were quite small but thankfully not as compact as real aircraft bathrooms. The bathrooms had a toilet, sink and a shower, which had a bit of a drainage problem meaning I almost flooded the room. I loved the signs which resembled real aircraft ones, such as "Open Door Slowly" and "As a Courtesy to the Next Passenger May We Suggest that You Use Your Towel to Wipe Off Water Basin" - complete with incorrect capitalisation and everything!

image.jpg
image.jpg

When it came time for dinner I headed to the restaurant, which was empty. There was quite literally nothing happening and the lady at reception talked to me for a while... I would like to say that it's because she liked me but I'm sure she was just bored!

In true airplane style, the meal was overpriced and heated up in the microwave. At least it was served on a plate! There were a number of options including pasta and I think lasagna. I thought I had taken a photo of the meal but I can't find it. For an average portion size the price was SEK69 (~$11).

I slept really, really well. I have never slept so comfortably on an airplane in any class! I woke up, had a shower and some breakfast and before I knew it it was time to check-out. Breakfast was included in the price and consisted of bread rolls, a selection of cold meat/spreads and juice, tea & coffee. Pretty basic but sufficient.

image.jpg

I paid SEK700 ($120) for one night in a single room. I think this is fair, considering not only the novelty of it but also the location, right at Arlanda Airport. I think this is actually the cheapest place to stay at the airport anyway. (The others are not cheap, not to mention that it is Sweden!) My only gripe is that the room was advertised as having a toilet when it did not. I didn't bother complaining though as there were 3 bathrooms just around the corner anyway which were always free.

I thoroughly enjoyed my stay and I'm glad I tried it. If you happen to be in Stockholm I would recommend that you try this out! It's not a five-star hotel, and doesn't claim to be, but it's a truly unique experience unlike anything else in the world. Surely it's worth it for that alone!
 

Cool Cat Phil

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You'll find out shortly... ;)
Thanks for sharing all the Inside Goss into the Jumbo Hostel at Arlanda Airport.

Certainly a great place to stay for the novelty factor.

Did you manage to head into Stockholm itself?
 
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Cool Cat Phil

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Despite this, they crammed everyone onto a bus which drove a few metres to a point which I am convinced was just as far from the plane, if not further. Just imagine being herded onto a bus at Coolangatta Airport to be driven 10m, then offloaded again. Sometimes it makes me wonder why they bother.
I hear you !

This occurs so often In European airports!

CDG, LHR, LGW, VIE are just a few where I've encounted this & not only LCC Carriers but flag Carriers too.

I reckon it must be some "Health & Safety" directive under EU law.
 

smit0847

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Great TR! I lovvvvvved Stockholm but it was eye-wateringly expensive.

What is in the engines of the 747 hotel? It looks like there's stairs going up? Are these additional rooms?
 

Cool Cat Phil

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Thanks; really appreciated the info on KRK airport / airport train - doing that mid year (flying LH in, Tyrolean out).

Any other info / tips on Krakow city would be welcome :)
Hope you don't mind me stealing the great trip review from Mattg

Krakow IMHO is very under-rated in comparison to some of the other "big name" destinations in the EU.

Wieliczka Salt Mine is a world-heritage listed salt mine & is absolutely world class & well worth a visit.

Like the OP also stated, Auschwitz can also be easily accessed from Krakow by coach or train & is a sad & sober reminder of the past.

The city centre itself with its labyrinth of cobbled streets & beautiful architecture begs the question "I wonder what's around the next corner."

But for Purely selfish reasons what really makes Krakow a stand-out is the price of beer.
Around $2 AUD for a decent beer, is a pretty good deal in Europe IMHO.

Poland not quite in the single currency Euro-zone, may have a part to play I suspect.

All in all, Krakow is a little Gem, that provides great sight seeing opportunities & all important good value for money in what is generally an expensive continent.
 
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Mattg

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Thanks for sharing all the Inside Goss into the Jumbo Hostel at Arlanda Airport.

Certainly a great place to stay for the novelty factor.

Did you manage to head into Stockholm itself?
Yes, I did get into Stockholm. I did actually want to see the city so after one night I transferred to a new hotel in the city centre. I'll fly out to Amsterdam this evening.
 

Mattg

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Great TR! I lovvvvvved Stockholm but it was eye-wateringly expensive.

What is in the engines of the 747 hotel? It looks like there's stairs going up? Are these additional rooms?
I'm not entirely sure what's in the engines... I heard they might be building rooms inside but for the moment the stairs were all blocked off so I couldn't go up and take a peak.
 

Cool Cat Phil

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Yes, I did get into Stockholm. I did actually want to see the city so after one night I transferred to a new hotel in the city centre. I'll fly out to Amsterdam this evening.
cool! Stockholm is a great city !

Must be a wee bit nippy at the moment in the Nordic countries.

Any favourites? For me it's the Vasa ( The Viking ship Museum) ..... Unreal, especially reading how it sunk!;)
 

Mattg

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cool! Stockholm is a great city ! Must be a wee bit nippy at the moment in the Nordic countries.Any favourites? For me it's the Vasa ( The Viking ship Museum) ..... Unreal, especially reading how it sunk!;)
Stockholm is certainly a beautiful city but it's so cold and expensive! Right now it's -8 degrees but apparently that's relatively mild. I never actually made it to the Vasa, although everyone said it was great. I've done a few more tours and the guide told us about the ship sinking - interesting!

I really liked the old town, but to be honest I'm staying inside a lot more than I usually would (can you guess why?!) so haven't seen as much as I usually might. I found the parliament tour interesting and I also love the subway stations! Here are a couple of my favourites:

Solna Centrum:
image.jpg

Thorildsplan:
image.jpg

And this is a pretty typical city scene, photo taken yesterday:
image.jpg
 
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