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…