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