Panoramic Impressions of Mallorca

Dur­ing our lat­est trip to balearic island Mal­lor­ca I tried Microsoft’s brand new free iPhone app Pho­to­synth to cre­ate panoram­ic views. Here are some exam­ples for your view­ing plea­sure (Sil­verlight plu­g­in need­ed).

Es Moli

Fornalux

You can find more panora­mas at the ded­i­cat­ed site Photosynth.net.

Diving Spots in Thailand

Recent­ly I asked on Twit­ter “Plan­ning a trip to #Thai­land in Jan/Feb 2012. Will be back­pack­ing and learn div­ing. Any advice from fel­low #trav­el­ers or #lp ? ;)”. I got some great response! As I am deep into the ana­lyt­ics busi­ness, I quick­ly start­ed to ana­lyze the data I could get from all the tweets and derive some insight from it.

First thing I want­ed to know was where to go in Thai­land for div­ing. And also where to go to take div­ing lessons and get cer­ti­fied. The fol­low­ing dia­gram shows men­tions on where to Learn Div­ing (blue) and where to Go Div­ing (green).

It is obvi­ous, that Ko Tao, togeth­er with near­by Ko Nang Yuan, is leader of the pack. Most answers some­how men­tioned Ko Tao as the place to go for div­ing and Ko Nang Yuan as secret tip near­by for even bet­ter expe­ri­ence.

At these places the fol­low­ing div­ing schools where rec­om­mend­ed:

Koh Tao

Ko Nang Yuan is men­tioned to have free lodg­ing when you get cer­ti­fied for div­ing here.

Those hot spots where fol­lowed by

This is great insight and a good start­ing point for fur­ther trip plan­ning. I’ll fur­ther ana­lyze the data from Twit­ter and post the results here. Looks like it will be a great way to start with ask­ing at Twit­ter for plan­ning a trip.

Cheers again, Alexan­der

Update: I found an inter­est­ing post on Scu­ba Div­ing: Koh Ha. It rec­om­mends GoDive Ko Lan­ta as div­ing base.

Planning a Trip to Thailand – starting on Twitter

Thai­land is set as next hol­i­day des­ti­na­tion. As usu­al I bought some guide­books and start­ed read­ing some blogs to get an idea of where to go there and were not. Addi­tion­al­ly I asked the Twit­ter crowd for some hints and tips. The response was over­whelm­ing!

I start­ed with this tweet

Plan­ning a trip to #Thai­land in Jan/Feb 2012. Will be back­pack­ing and learn div­ing. Any advice from fel­low #trav­el­ers or #lp ? 😉

With­in min­utes I got respons­es with hints and tips from all over the world. Those tweets keep com­ing as I write this arti­cle. I loved this quick and help­ful response and want­ed to share it with you.

This is what I got with­in the first 30 min­utes (!):

@GerhardTravels Ger­hards @MerlinDE hi, how are you? I found some great hotels in Bangkok, check ’em out. Wish u a beau­ti­ful trip! http://bit.ly/gJyDBk
@DaninAustralia Dan Collins @MerlinDE Koh Tao to learn div­ing — it’s AWESOME there
@BehrokhBebe Behrokh Bakhshi @MerlinDE back­pack­ing in Thai­land can be fun
@LeisureLogic Elia Pfaff @MerlinDE Absolute­ly! Jan/Feb won’t be long enough. This place is incred­i­ble. Check out our blog for ideas: http://bit.ly/i9yAUd
@Aquarius_Lee Winnie.Lee @MerlinDE Koh Tao is real­ly a good place for div­ing learn­ing!
@monfereblogspot Monfere.blogspot.com @MerlinDE come to Malaysia as well!
@kat719 Kath­leen Espir­i­tu @MerlinDE To save some time, do your PADI class­es here then do your dives abroad! That’s what I did before I left to back­pack.
@contrabland Andy Wat­son-Smith @MerlinDE Check out Big Blue Div­ing in Koh Tao, did our SSI basic and advanced cours­es there last Feb, loved it!
@findingjemo เเจ่ม Bal­d­is­i­mo @MerlinDE Of course BKK is a must, but you should go to Chi­ang Mai too & if you can, the North East­ern part of TH! #lp I love that coun­try!
@maximefouquette maxime­fou­quette @MerlinDE full moon par­ty!!!!!
@beverlycornell Bev­er­ly Cor­nell @MerlinDE have you checked out @MangoLanguages? Great way to learn some Thai
@JakeCripe Jake Cripe @MerlinDE Check out Koh Samet. Beau­ti­ful water, sandy beach­es. Seems like a great place for some div­ing.
@phcabecudis Philippe @MerlinDE mate, go to sim­i­lan islands to dive, koh tao and maybe phi phi — bida nok n some wrecks as well! Enjoy it!!!
@4cantos_mundo Qua­tro­Can­tos­do­Mun­do @MerlinDE Para aju­dar mais ain­da no seu plane­ja­men­to, vá ao próx­i­mo Encon­tro dos Via­jantes. http://tinyurl.com/46lmqh4
@veldwijk Robert Veld­wijk @MerlinDE For the #div­ing: go to Koh Tao and have fun! #lp #thai­land
@AllesInAllem Alice Allum @MerlinDE char­ter a plane to Samui island! Sounds expen­sive, but it will be cheap. And so much fun!
@codefrenzy Annie Lux­ton @MerlinDE Don’t both­er pre-book­ing any tours unless you REALLY need to — much bet­ter prices and deals bought from the streets in Thai­land!
@wheelertweets James Wheel­er @MerlinDE @lonelyplanet Learn div­ing (take a good class, get your C card, & make some dives) beFORE u go # Thai­land #trav­el­ers #lp
@Faye_Lu Faye Lu RT @MerlinDE Plan­ning a trip to #Thai­land in Jan/Feb 2012. Will be back­pack­ing and learn div­ing. Any advice // char­coal tablets 🙂 lots!!!
@JeroendeBruin Jeroen­de­Bru­in @MerlinDE doing the same thing next week check #kotao for cheap padi and http://bit.ly/aVQk9U
@calgaryfitness Ter­ri Cham­pagne @MerlinDE Did div­ing cert at Sun­shine Divers in Koh Tao in ’04. Just got back from Koh Libong where we dove with Jol­ly Roger. Both great!
@Connectinghelen Super­he­len @MerlinDE Go canopy­walk­ing in Chi­ang mai! Love this city any­way. DONT go to Ko Samui (it’s like Benidorm on an island). Have a great trip!
@ikarinayu Ika Rinayu Ramad­hani @lonelyplanet @MerlinDE u should go to phuket and pat­taya, go to Grand Palace in Bangkok, see­ing around at Siam 🙂
@Faye_Lu Faye Lu @MerlinDE @lonelyplanet I know it’s very touristy but the grand palace is a must see .. Just breath tak­ing #Thai­land
@Silje_i_Nam Sil­je @MerlinDE Go to Khao Lak and dive with Wicked Div­ing in Sim­i­lan! #wicked #sim­i­lan
@MalibaLodge Mal­i­ba Lodge @MerlinDE #Thai­land is amaz­ing for div­ing. try Kra­bi, Phi Phi island or @crystaldive on Koh Toa. Real­ly spe­cial place, loved it there!

Thank you all so much! I’l keep adding the com­ing tweets to this post. I’ll also keep you post­ed on my trip details as my plan­ning advances. Look­ing for­ward to start of 2012!

Cheers, Alexan­der

Update: I got many more replies dur­ing the night. Here they are:

@bebek_dekil devi angeli­na @MerlinDE hi…thailand is best place that u must go…i go dec until jan 2010–2011…phuket is very beau­ti­full place and so the beach…^^
@filipinadiver Paula Perale­jo @MerlinDE stay in Khao San (back­pack­er dis­trict). Dont miss Ayyuthaya. But learn div­ing in the Philip­pines 🙂 check Cebupacificair.com for
@filipinadiver Paula Perale­jo @MerlinDE cheap air­fares from Thai­land to Mani­la, Philip­pines 🙂 thai­land: eat their street­food, watch sun­set from wat arun 🙂
@tmasreynolds Thomas Reynolds @MerlinDE for #Bangkok… Khao San Road is cliché. Do Chi­na­town, enjoy fresh street food, try out­door mar­kets, take the train out of #BKK
@Connectinghelen Super­he­len @MerlinDE (www.treetopasia.com for book­ing and impres­sion)
@h4yls Hay­ley Wil­son @MerlinDE ko phi phi is mag­i­cal but very touristy now!still worth a vis­it. I nev­er got to go but suko­htai looks incred­i­ble with rich his­to­ry
@eugene78kim Eugene Kim @MerlinDE I did the same trip in 2002 and 2004. I high­ly rec­om­mend Koh Tao for div­ing lessons — plan for a long stay!
@scb13 sean brooks @MerlinDE stay away from pat­taya.…
@Sir1Ric Richard Asp­den @MerlinDE i dived of krab­bi, real­ly amaz­ing place and my gf at the time did a prac­tice dive there with real­ly friend­ly instruc­tors.
@HighRiskImages epic @MerlinDE: Cooked food from street ven­dors is fine. Raw food and fruit, not so much. Also, avoid ‘deals’ with res­i­dent farang. Have fun.
@ThisBlueBird Lau­ren Way­man @MerlinDE Ear­ly AM is best for most sights in BK, escape PM heat & enjoy the view from Wat Saket. Wear sun­screen. #lp #trav­el­er #Thai­land
@KostaSasha Kose­taTi­no Tuala @MerlinDE make sure you vis­it Koh Samet!! A must if you wan­na get away from all the Craze!! Great for div­ing too
@rebeccawalls01 Rebec­ca Walls @MerlinDE yes I am very jeal­ous! u have to go 2the full moon par­ty on Koh Phangan
@rebrab43 Chris Bar­ber @MerlinDE Take the train dur­ing the DAY from Bangkok head­ing south. Amaz­ing scenes/views of coun­try­side. Bans resort & Koh Tao for div­ing!!!
@AnjaniLadki Saa­dia S. Sham­sie @MerlinDE if u have time vis­it ele­phant nature park in chi­ang mai
@felixker Felix Ker @MerlinDE Get over to Chi­ang­mai for a peace­ful city hol­i­day. Nice food and peo­ple. #lp
@iSantit San­ti Trisuwan RT: @MerlinDE: Plan­ning a trip to #Thai­land. back­pack­ing and learn div­ing. || Wel­come in advance. Any ques­tion, i may try to reply you.
@mclaughlins Sarah McLaugh­lin @MerlinDE cheap div­ing in koh tao but the divers will tell you phi phi is the place to learn
@mclaughlins Sarah McLaugh­lin @MerlinDE nev­er buy any­thing any­one tries to sell you on impulse & you’ll be fine!
@Fluffy_Li Sara @MerlinDE Just go with the flow.. Gar nichts buchen in Thai­land, Ko Phangan sind absoluter ham­mer!
@Sihillier Simon Hilli­er @MerlinDE both Ko Tao and Phở Phi offer great div­ing, mar­gin­al­ly cheap­er on Ko Tao, loved thai­land, great food and cheap accom­mo­da­tion.
@MaryBMarks Mary Marks @MerlinDE check out a great lit­tle book called Thai­land Chic fea­tur­ing some amaz­ing (& some afford­able) bou­tique hotels and spas.
@emiellucifuge emiel de lange @MerlinDE Div­ing is fun! dont take unnec­es­sary risks
@dina_angels Dina Maret­ta Back­pack­er par­adise! Don’t for­get vis­it PhuketRT @lonelyplanet: RT @MerlinDE: Plan­ning a trip to #Thai­land in Jan/Feb 2012. Will be back­pack­ing and learn div­ing. Any advice from fel­low #trav­el­ers or #lp ? 😉
@Ayam27 Maja Mly­nar­ciko­va @MerlinDE If you plan to go up north (Chi­ang Mai and fur­ther north) take warm clothes, the nights are quite cold. Enjoy the street food!
@veen_NT veena T. RT @MerlinDE: Plan­ning a trip to #Thai­land in Jan/Feb 2012. Will be back­pack­ing &learn div­ing. Any advice ? 😉 #lp
@hatedandslated BJG @MerlinDE Obvi­ous­ly, Koh Tao is the place to go. The Crys­tal Resort is very friend­ly and a good price.
@StalingradX ตะวันชาย ชุมสาย ฯ @veen_NT @MerlinDE yES, Go to Kra­bi, use as base. Clos­er to nature than Phuket. Beau­ti­ful islands/ pris­tine seas.
@InfoWithMe Relo­ca­tion Thai­land @MerlinDE Sim­i­lan is one of the best loca­tion for div­ing.
@InfoWithMe Relo­ca­tion Thai­land @MerlinDE I went to Chi­ang Khan last month. It’s a nice place for back­pack­ing. Nice peo­ple and unique cul­ture.
@Canadianmtstick Glen @MerlinDE pak lots of con­doms
@philster82 Phil Bar­ton @MerlinDE don’t both­er going to pat­taya it’s a com­plete hole..
@RobertLozano_ Robert Lozano @MerlinDE ko Tao is prob­a­bly the best place for learnig and Sim­i­lan Islands are the best spot for div­ing in Thai­land. No doubt. #lp
@Danny_Whitnall Dan­ny Whit­nall @MerlinDE what would you like to know ???
@naioto2010 Nai Oto @MerlinDE Wel­come to Thai­land!!
@phoebepowell Phoebe Pow­ell @MerlinDE dive Koh Tao! I got my Open Water with Siam Scu­ba Dive Cen­tre in Decem­ber 09, and it was amaz­ing. #lp
@Smartiefartie Dren @MerlinDE Koh Tao is the best place to learn div­ing. Prop­er mix of dive schools, meth­ods, sites and ethos. Enjoy!
@BeerCanChicken Kei­th Wilkins @MerlinDE make sure you go to Ko Phi Phi
@frosty_sugar Sug­ar Del Rosario @MerlinDE drop by the Philip­pines 🙂
@intomundo Bert Koot­stra @MerlinDE go div­ing on a lit­tle island Koh NangYuan. It’s the best! Very laid back and not very expen­sive. Http://www.NangYuan.com
@ByDLeft Matt D @MerlinDE check out Sukhothai for sure. Great ruins. Bring a good cam­era!
@wendy2703 wendy wij­men­ga @MerlinDE Hi, Thai­land is great! You ask for advice but can you be spe­cif­ic? How long do you want to stay? What do you want to see?
@thaifoodtours Thai­land Food Tours @MerlinDE If u hap­pen to like thai food & inter­est­ed in our 3-hr food tour, check us out www.bangkokfoodtours.com Have fun in Thai­land! 🙂
@fsarawat Far­i­ha Sarawat @rowenanews @MerlinDE what do u want to know about #thai­land?
@fsarawat Far­i­ha Sarawat RT @MerlinDE: @rowenanews Need insight on best places to learn scu­ba diving// koh tao. Google com­pa­nies in Samui. Came high­ly rec­om­mend­ed
@fsarawat Far­i­ha Sarawat RT @MerlinDE:@rowenanews how to best get to know coun­try and people.// don’t believe the guide books, step out of tourist cen­tral, avoid sex­pats
@ireneyeoh1983 Irene Yeoh @MerlinDE Rec­om­mend Phi Phi island and Kra­bi
@FrazerGoodwin Fraz­er Good­win @MerlinDE 1 Avoid Pataya, 2 if you go to Phuket, go to the south — plen­ty of dive opps in Kata & less “girly bars” — Calyp­so divers R good
@miss_darko K Heb­den @MerlinDE #Thai­land Yes, stay away from Koh San Road. 15yrs ago it was a real­ly nice place to chill. Now its just a sh*thole
@Claritood Clara Kollm @MerlinDE Div­ing off of Koh Tao at a lit­tle island called Koh Nang Yuan is great, and if you get cer­ti­fied there your lodg­ing is free ENJOY
@Claritood Clara Kollm @MerlinDE Also, go hike the 7-tiered water­fall at Kan­chanaburi — it is a great day trip from Bangkok and there are wild mon­keys
@lagatavoladora Rosario Car­ril @MerlinDE You MUST go to Phi Phi Island. And try to vis­it Maya Bay at the sun­set 🙂
@pan_masuska ele­na barko­va @MerlinDE koh tao is the best for div­ing! and koh pan­gan is just next to it to par­ty
@DavidBurdeny David Bur­de­ny @MerlinDE pack light. ATM’s are every­where so don’t bring lots of cash. Bangkok is a great city — a week can’t do it jus­tice.
@AllieMacLeay Alli­son MacLeay @MerlinDE Koh Tao! Cheapest/Best div­ing (so I hear) and it’s an amaz­ing place to be! I think we stayed at Big Blue…
@tgesink Tobias Gesink @MerlinDE check the beach­es of Ko Tao for div­ing! Recom­ment Easy divers, pro­fes­sion­al staff and good equip­ment!
@god4sake Nika Deu @MerlinDE Sim­i­lan Islands are great for div­ing — but not if you have to learn div­ing first. Go to a resort.
@Jonny3012 jb@traveladnetwork @MerlinDE koh pee pee has awe­some div­ing includ­ing a cave dive tak­ing you under the island into an cav­ern where you can walk about
@wendy2703 wendy wij­men­ga @MerlinDE I think first BKK for a few nights, then take the night­train to Chi­ang Mai and do a trekking, then fly to an island with #aira­sia
@wendy2703 wendy wij­men­ga @MerlinDE Koh Samui or Phuket, you can dive there. From BKK you can arrange trips to Kan­chanaburi, also nice.Koh Chang is also a nice island
@wendy2703 wendy wij­men­ga @MerlinDE On #khaosan­road you can find a lot of trav­el agency’s.Nice hos­tel there is #d&dinn or #green­house. Thai­land is very easy to trav­el
@h4yls Hay­ley Wil­son @MerlinDE thanks for the fol­low;)
@madnurselauren Lau­ren Brun­ton @MerlinDE koh Tao sairee cot­tage div­ing very good I’m on my way back to Thai­land now u will love it
@EmmaBusuNilsson Emma Nils­son @MerlinDE @lonelyplanet Go to Phi Phi Island!
@sawilz Saw­ilz Can me and a friend join u? RT @lonelyplanet: RT @MerlinDE: Plan­ning a trip to #Thai­land in Jan/Feb 2012. Will be back­pack­ing and learn div­ing. Any advice from fel­low #trav­el­ers or #lp ? 😉
@namtanpimpat Nam­tan Jan­grew @MerlinDE @lonelyplanet Samui! ‘n dive in Koh Tao. On Andaman side, Kra­bi ‘n Phi Phi island then dive at Bida or Hin­dang is the best #div­ing
@nudinoi E Lin @MerlinDE which part of Thai­land do you plan on going and where do you intend to learn div­ing?

Fifteen

Two years ago, I nev­er even heard his name. Nowa­days, after a nice intro­duc­tion by my girl­friend Andrea, I cook by his books and watch his TV shows reg­u­lar­ly: Jamie Oliv­er. One of his series (Jamie’s Kitchen) was about him grab­bing fif­teen under­priv­i­leged kids, giv­ing them a com­plete chef edu­ca­tion whilst build­ing up the restau­rant they would be work­ing in. That met into the Cheeky Chops Char­i­ty and the Fif­teen Restau­rant we want­ed to have lunch at.

As the tube strike was still on, we had to get there by bus. I wish I had had this nice, free Metro PDA appli­ca­tion, that knows all pub­lic trans­port con­nec­tions I many major cities around the world, then — that would have made it all a lot eas­i­er. How­ev­er, after brows­ing the avail­able maps and timeta­bles we final­ly got to Old Street Sta­tion. “Right up the road and then right at West­land Place.”, where the direc­tions I got from the reser­va­tions agent on the phone. Well, Old Street Sta­tion is at some big T-cross­ing, so we were not quite sure which street to walk down. We start­ed to ask passers-by. I thought every­one would know this famous restau­rant — big mis­take! It took us half an hour to find some­one who could give us decent direc­tions and to final­ly reach the restau­rant.

The restau­rant itself was worth a clos­er look: The ground floor is tak­en up by the “Fif­teen Trat­to­ria” — a relaxed place to meet and eat with­out all the usu­al has­sle you have in those “famous” restau­rants. You can get break­fast from 8.30am to 11.00am or have lunch from 12 to 3pm. It’s also “afford­able” with pas­ta start­ing at £7 and main cours­es start­ing at £14. Yep — in Lon­don one Pound is worth the same one Euro is else­where.

Fifteen InteriorDown­stairs is the actu­al “Fif­teen Restau­rant” — a very styl­ish place in some retro-space-mix design. A very cool pink air­brush paint­ing dec­o­rates the main wall right to the open kitchen. Also all the sofas are made of pink leather, where­as the tables are dark wood­en and the chairs are those mag­ic white s-shaped Philippe Stark 70s plas­tic ones. It def­i­nite­ly has it’s very own style — like it or not.

We had some very good lunch start­ing with some fresh made bread with very good olive oil. After that we had some very good fish served, accom­pa­nied by some red wine. On the fin­ish­ing line a great vanil­la and grap­pa pan­na cot­ta was served as a majes­tic fin­ish. All-in-all the food was from very-good to high-end and the ser­vices was extra­or­di­nary — that’s very well worth anoth­er vis­it!

London on Tube Strike

Stanst­ed is as far away from Lon­don as Lübeck is from Ham­burg. It’s a shame that it’s called Lon­don-Stanst­ed as you might think it’s just anoth­er air­port near Lon­don. Instead you have to take a bus or the Stanst­ed Express to Lon­don. That’ll add anoth­er £24 for an open return tick­et (valid for one month to Lon­don and back to Stanst­ed, can also be bought dur­ing the flight for £22) or £13.90 for a cheap day return tick­et (valid only one day) for the Stanst­ed Express to your fare. The guy sell­ing me the tick­ets was nice enough to sell me the open return tick­et instead of the cheap day return tick­et, thus dou­bling the price on my cred­it-card bill. So watch out what they’re doing when you buy your tick­ets.

London Liverpool StationWe arrived at Liv­er­pool Street Sta­tion at 12 o’clock. I reserved a table for lunch at the Fif­teen for 2 o’clock. The Fif­teen is locat­ed near Old Street Sta­tion, just two sta­tions away from Liv­er­pool Street Sta­tion, so we had plen­ty of time and decid­ed to head right south to the Riv­er Thames and the Lon­don Tow­er. Just then, we heard the bad news: No tube today. The whole tube staff was on strike the one day we where in Lon­don. Thanks a lot guys!

Tower Bridge Nev­er­the­less we head­ed south by feet and had a very nice walk through the city to the Lon­don Tow­er and the Tow­er Bridge. I real­ly like the bridge’s archi­tec­ture and it’s impres­sive bas­cule mech­a­nism. If you ever spend some time in Lon­don, you should take the guid­ed tour and view it.

Have lunch at the Fif­teen…

Going to London

We start­ed our tour ear­ly in the morn­ing on wednes­day going to Lübeck Blankensee Air­port (LBC). Wow! What an air­port! I’ve nev­er seen such a small air­port in the mid­dle of nowhere.

Airport Lübeck Blankensee (LBC)

We arrived there at about sev­en o’clock as RyanAir asks you to check-in two hours ahead of sched­ule. Well, at Lübeck you don’t real­ly have to — the main hall with the check-in desks was lit­er­al­ly desert­ed.

After a futile hour of wait­ing we could finaly check-in and pass the pas­sen­ger con­trols to get into the ful­ly RyanAir brand­ed depar­ture tent. This real­ly is a big tent, one of those you’re used to from fun fairs or street mar­kets. Filled with some alu­mini­um camp­ing chairs and tables and a small cof­fee-bar on one side it resem­bles some kind of a hol­i­day atmos­phere. There are also sev­er­al exits labeld with RyanAir’s des­ti­na­tions from Lübeck. The Stanst­ed exit is on the oth­er end af the tent seper­at­ed by cus­toms and pass­port check where sud­den­ly a large queue arose — one hour before the sched­uled take off. I’ll nev­er under­stand peo­ple que­ing up in such sit­u­a­tions instead of wait­ing a cou­ple a min­utes for a less crowd­ed moment to pass such a bot­tle neck. It was easy calculations:About an hour of time until take off, a max­i­mum of 130 pas­sen­gers to go through cus­toms. We relaxed and had a cof­fee. After that, pass­port check was vacant again.

Next up was the ugly part of fly­ing RyanAir: The call to arms! When the atten­dant showed up at the tent’s Stanst­ed exit every­one ran to that exit to get on the plane fast and to get some good seat. Well, the seats are all the same I think — so…

Flight time was from 09.20 to 09.45. Dif­fer­ent time­zones make up for very fast flights!

Head on to famous Lon­don…

Summer Tour 2004

This year’s sum­mer tour was of to Jerez de la Fron­tera in Andalu­cia, Spain. Where we were from July, 1st until July 7th.

White Villages Andalucia SpainMy friend Clau­dio had invit­ed us to his love­ly home in the city cen­tre of Jerez. So we had a great place to stay and the best local guide you could imag­ine!

Actu­al flight plans and prices led us to tak­ing a rather unusu­al route from Ham­burg to Jerez and back using RyanAir:

  • Start­ing on June, 30th from Lübeck (LBC — 60km north­east of Ham­burg) to Stanst­ed (STY — 60km north of Lon­don)
  • Doing some sight­see­ing in Lon­don and hav­ing lunch at Jamie Oliver’s famous restau­rant Fif­teen.
  • On July, 1st tak­ing the next plane from Stanst­ed (STY) to Jerez de la Fron­tera (XRY).
  • Going back from Jerez to Lübeck via Stanst­ed.

The whole adven­ture was cheap­er than tak­ing a direct flight from Ham­burg to Jerez, but beware that RyanAir has some back­draws you have to arrange with:

  • There are no seat reser­va­tions. The first 65 peo­ple who checked in are the first to run into the plane and grab them­selves a nice place, all oth­ers fol­low there­after tak­ing what’s left. So if you want to sit togeth­er with two or more peo­ple, bet­ter check in ear­ly and be fast to rush into the plane — it’s like it was back in school when you tried to get the best places inside that bus that took the whole class to wher­ev­er…
  • There is no con­nec­tion guar­an­tee and your lug­gage isn’t trans­fered to your con­nect­ing flights! That is real­ly nasty! You’ll have to plan at least three hours between two RyanAir flights for pos­si­ble delays, get­ting out of the plane, run­ning down end­less halls (that’s a Stanst­ed spe­cial), tak­ing back your lug­gage, get­ting out into the hall, check­ing-in again (usu­al­ly with large ques in front of the desks) and get­ting your­self searched for weapons and stuff again. And don’t for­get your long way back from the shop­ping-area to the gates (in Stanst­ed that’s an esti­mat­ed 12 min­utes!).

On the oth­er hand I must say, it all worked per­fect­ly well. A direct flight (HAM-XRY) was about €650 per per­son, that RyanAir jug­gle includ­ing a dou­ble-room at Stanst­ed cost about €400 for both of us — with a bit more of a has­sle.

To be con­tin­ued…