Archive for the ‘Berlin’ Category

British Airways (Club Europe) to Malta (Intercontinental Hotel)

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

This is a TR for a BA holiday so includes the flights (LGW-MLA-LGW), the airport/hotel transfers and the hotel itself (Intercontinental)

We flew out the day after the announcement of increased security on flights to the US. Nothing unusual at security at LGW. I hope they don’t introduce new rules about what is allowed in hand luggage as too many people still don’t understand the liquid rules after more than ten years.

After good service in the Flounge we went to the gate as soon as it was displayed and good job too: the boarding announcement was basically “we are ready for boarding so please proceed down the ramp”. Absolutely no announcement about priority boarding for Clue Europe, GCHs etc.

On board it was clear that whoever had tagged the hand luggage didn’t have a clue. Pax with only one bag had the tag for the overhead lockers, whilst pax in emergency exits had their bags tagged for under the seat in front.

Purser insisted that all the cabin crew took part in the safety demonstration as she didn’t “want people not doing anything”. No mention at all about the use of electronic devices.  Couldn’t fault the service on board especially as they had nine rows of Club to deal with. The crew were constantly walking up and down the aisle, making sure we were happy. The main course was a choice of Lamb navarin or Sweet chilli chicken. I went for the lamb and was surprised as I am a very fussy eater. Bus from aircraft to terminal but we had to wait while a Ryanair flight disembarked across the road before we could move forward. Our luggage arrived quickly.  As part of our BA holiday we had booked a private transfer to the hotel but we were told we had to share a bus, and only a phone call to the head office got us a taxi. Not a good start. We later phoned BA about this who were not at all happy and immediately offered to refund the transfer cost (which appeared in our bank account a few days later). BA said this was a new contract for them and they would follow this up.  However, the reception at the hotel was excellent, as our status was recognised and we were escorted to the club lounge floor where, whilst our paperwork was dealt with,we were given a free drink on the terrace. The paperwork for the holiday advised we should attend a “welcome meeting”. We didn’t

Excellent breakfast outside on the top floor terrace courtesy of the Club lounge. Later that day we had complimentary traditional afternoon tea with dainty sandwiches, scones, cakes and tea.

We had to advise the Club desk that our television wasn’t working but an engineer was there within minutes and fixed it. Club phoned to check we were happy. Very good service. Our room was a good size with a balcony which had a table and two chairs. Other rooms had larger terraces with their own sunbeds but we hadn’t seen this option when booking.  If staying at the hotel you should really book a “panoramic” room i.e. With a view of the pool. Otherwise there are some really awful views to be had (e.g. overlooking a courtyard or, worse, overlooking the busy street with noisy bars and restaurants. The staff, however, turned this from a four-star Trip Advisor report to five-stars. They were all extremely polite and helpful.  It was interesting to read in the local press that the government want to bring more affluent people to Malta but don’t know how to do it as the beaches are full and there is not much point in building five star hotels In three star areas.

Transfer back to the airport was a few minutes late and in a rickety old minibus, but at least it was only for us. Presumably the transfer was timed for their benefit rather than ours as we arrived at the airport about 2 hours 40 Minutes before our flight.

On the return leg we had hand luggage only (shock horror) and we were quickly through security, duty free and into the lounge. The lounge is quite pleasant with a reasonable selection of local nibbles.

Although we had to be bussed to the aircraft they still observed priority boarding with Club and status card holders on the first bus which meant we easily stowed away our hand luggage. Unlike on the outbound leg there was neither a pillow or blanket. Aircraft was one of the ex BMI A319s but I was happy with the setup of the plastic table in the middle seat. Cabin crew did their job but didn’t seem as proactive as the outbound crew.  I chose the roasted chicken with morel mushroom cream jus which was very tasty.The alternative was Haddock kedgeree.

At Gatwick the queues for passport control where pretty horrendous and after about ten minutes a member of staff (whose English was quite poor) started calling people from the back of the queue to go another little area where passport staff were waiting with no queues in front of them. We advised them that there were long queues in the main hall and they thought we were joking until one of them went to have a look! Overall a very good break. We were there for a long weekend which was about the right amount of time for me; I don’t think I could I could spend a week or longer. Malta 2014 (36)

USA 2012 – Stage 3 – JFK-LGA-ORD-Hotel

Sunday, September 30th, 2012

Arrived at JFK and phoned for the airport shuttle which was going to take 25 minutes so chose a taxi driver who didn’t know where we were going. Finally arrived at the hotel which is in the middle of Chinatown and therefore heavily influenced by oriental designs. Poor executive lounge ; no alcohol! Breakfast was equally poor in the lounge.

Hotel shuttle to the airport. Check-in and security both quiet. Boarding was good as, even though we were in economy we were able to priority board. In Chicago, luggage arrived promptly, as priority – why can’t BA do this? Bought a three-day pass (actually lasts 72 hours from purchase) and took train to Grand station. But it was the wrong one on the wrong line! No welcoming gift at the hotel as the staff member was busy doing other things. Evening meal at Su Casa an ok Mexican restaurant.

I am a camera

Sunday, September 16th, 2012
Went to see “I am a camera” last night at the Southwark Playhouse. It’s the play based on Christopher Isherwood’s “Goodbye to Berlin” and the inspiration for “Cabaret”. The theatre is in a railway arch near London Bridge and the trains passing overhead made it feel like we were in Nollendorfplatz. It’s a good job they left the songs out or it would have been very long…..

Berlin – Bank Holiday Weekend, August 2012

Monday, August 27th, 2012

Flight a bit late. Arrived at hotel to find they didn’t have the double bed we ordered – two single beds instead. Tantrum at reception. Colin went out. I went to bed. Next morning reception knew about the issue and offered to move the beds together; we had already done that. Message at breakfast room to go to reception; we’d just been. At least our complaint had been acknowledged. Delivered goodies to the Canadians, Andi, Paul and Klaus-Dieter. Dinner at San Marco.


Colin went to Bull. Me to bed. Out that night to Mutschmanns (still don’t like it) and Scheune. Nick looked fed up; well he has just split up with Erik, for reasons no-one understands at the moment.  Sunday was move day. Phil took us from Ivbergs to the Hampton by Hilton but our room wasn’t ready (we were early). Walk around Savignyplatz and lunch.

Plan was to go for the Sunday party at Scheune but we were too tired and instead had a rest before a nice evening a meal with Paul, Klaus and Emma. Monday, Phil took us to the airport and an uneventful flight back.

Berlin Beer Festival (4th August)

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

First visit to the Berlin Beer Festival (2,2 Kilometres, about 300 breweries from 86 countries and 2000 types of beer ADD LINK. Located on Karl-Marx-Allee also known as Stalin-Allee on account of the large number of (impressive) soviet-style buildings. Beers were not expensive and if you didn’t take your glass back you could keep but you lost your deposit.

 TD At Paydos

Weather was hot and sunny making for a relaxing day out. Good atmosphere in the afternoon although I can imagine there might have been a few more rowdy moments and headaches later in the evening.

TD at the Berlin beer festival

Ended up at one my favourite restaurants on Wittenbergplatz: Paydos.


Malaga – June 2012

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

Spent the afternoon in Malaga, which, once you get away from the built up area and head towards the cathedral is a beautiful little town with a large park which holds the castle and other grounds. [ADD LINK TO PICS][ EMBED ONE PIC OF THE CATHEDRAL]. Unfortunately didn’t have time to go into the cathedral or castle grounds but definitely worth a trip back if time allows in the future.

Torremolinos – June 2012

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

Great holiday spent in Torremolinos, staying in an apartment which had three bedrooms and two bathrooms, kitchen, large lounge/diner, balcony with table/chairs for dining and a massive upstairs terrace (ok for naked sunbathing). Although the apartment was excellent, it was about a 20 minute walk (or €7 taxi ride) from the main town centre which is a bit far. Also, only one bathroom was en suite so the flat is only really suitable for 4 adults (main bedroom has a double bed, the others have 2 single beds each). The apartment is situated in a large private complex with own grounds and pools.

Fellow passenger annoyed me

Saturday, April 28th, 2012

I’m used to fellow passengers switching on phones before they should (I no longer throw a strop and chuck their phone into a vat of acid) and doing other stupid things but when they blatently lie to cabin crew, that’s another matter. As a gold card holder I boarded early and as  I settled into my seat in the front row I noticed that a lady (?) on the other side of the plane, but also in the front row, had dumped her hand luggage and coat in front of her feet – a no-no in the front as the floor area had to be kept free of luggage. She made no attempt to to ask crew to help her but when they did the check before take off she claimed that when she boarded there was no space available in the lockers! She was obviously extracting the you-know-what so the crew had to find space for her case in the wardrobe. It wasn’t even as if she didn’t have hold luggage  – she did. Ignorant mooing animal.

Here we go again….

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Another attempt at a log by me, Travelduck. Flew back from TXL (Berlin – Tegel Airport) last night. Pics here Although I like the British Airways lounge, I don’t like the fact that it is landside so you have to be careful about leaving it too late. Before the lounge though I checked my bag in and, despite not travelling in Club, the nice lady stuck a “priority” tag on the case. Even more pleasing, it worked at the other end in T5 at LHR as my bag was out first (well nearly!). What didn’t work, though, was London transport to get us home. The bus was late, but so was the train we wanted to catch but that was a slow train and when we finally arrived at Clapham Junction to get the train to East Croydon there was not a train for quite a while and when it did arrive we had no chance of getting on! All because of the marathon. If this is what London is going to be like during the Olympics I am not going to be happy.