Friday, 5 April 2013
Dublin - Frankfurt - Helsinki
I took an early morning flight on Wednesday, 27th March, to Frankfurt..
D gave me a lift to the airport, I got my boarding passes (to both flights) from the Lufthansa yoke, dropped my rucksack to pick it up again in Helsinki, and went through the security check.
This was my first time flying with Lufthansa (€235 for Dublin-Frankfurt-Helsinki & Helsinki-Frankfurt-Dublin, booked in late January), and I am hoping to fly with them again as I was very impressed! More legroom, free snacks (which are actually nice!) and drinks, and everything just works.
The first flight, from Dublin to Frankfurt, was about two hours. The snack was a sambo with a nice thick slice of brie, and cranberries. Very nice!
I had over 12 hours in Frankfurt, between flights. As I was arriving there after 8am local time, it would have been ideal for a little day trip around Frankfurt.. However, I'd only slept less than two hours before leaving home (and some nodding off during the first flight), so I found myself quite tired, by the time I arrived in Germany. Although I had no luggage on me, I was still dragging my heavy laptop bag, so when I stood in front of the big city map at the airport, looking at bus & train timetables, I just had absolutely no energy to go anywhere, after all. (Didn't really have the money for it, either..)
I saw some seats nearby, so I decided to sit down for a while and take a break. I got a latte macchiato and drooled at the pastries, but didn't feel hungry yet. Then I went back to those seats, and found my favourite spot at Frankfurt airport.. =)
Here's a tip: If you ever need to kill some time at Frankfurt airport (outside the transit area), and want to find a peaceful spot in such a busy place, follow the signs to "Airport City Mall" or "Meeting Point".. On that floor, you'll find a big city map with bus and train timetables - see the picture above.. There are six seats facing the map wall (I took that picture from those seats), and most of those seats seem to be always free. It's a perfect spot! You can read, eat, have a coffee, nod off, watch people, have occasional chats with strangers who might find the same spot, etc. Yes, there are people, but it's not nearly as busy as anywhere else on that airport. Also, you have several coffee shops, one restaurant, tiny post office, shops, and toilets, all very close, so you pretty much have all you need right there!
I remembered seeing a shop called Relay, while walking through the arrivals hall, one floor above. They sold books and magazines, and I always buy at least one book at the airport when I'm travelling.. So, I went up there (later on, I discovered that there was also a Relay near my favourite spot, but I didn't know it yet, at the time..), and bought two books; Started Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson, and The Lost Years by Mary Higgins Clark.
On the way back, I saw a place that sold mainly sambos and such (Quicker's), so I bought an interesting looking sambo. The girl offered to nuke it, but I chose to have it cold as it looked like it was going to be nicer that way. It was quite nice.
I hadn't made any decisions whether to stay at the airport for the whole day, or not. There was plenty of time, so I thought I'd read for a while, and see if I'd find some energy to go out, later on.
I started reading Started Early, Took My Dog, which was very enjoyable.
At some point, I felt hungry again, and instead of getting another sambo, I thought I'd get like a warm meal or something. There was a restaurant called Marché, which was having a Norwegian theme. They had very reasonably priced soups, and the bowl was quite large. There were also small sambos with gravid salmon, etc., which were quite cheap. However, I thought that since I was in Germany, I should really have some Wurst! =D Well.. They had a variety of those - €5.50 each!!! :O I thought it was quite insane, but I ended up getting two that had cheese inside (as one just didn't seem big enough to make a full meal), and a nice fresh fruit juice. Such a small, simple meal - €15.50 =/ It was very good, though.
Above & below, phone vs. camera comparison..
This stuff was absolutely gorgeous, and I wish we had it in Ireland! If I wasn't going to take another flight, later on, I could easily have had several bottles of this.. =D
Eventually, I decided to just stay at the airport as the thought of dragging the heavy laptop bag around the city, or generally going anywhere, was not tempting at all.. Frankfurt doesn't really seem that interesting, anyway - I'd checked it out on Google Street View, and while there are some nice buildings and such, there was nothing that made me feel like I "must" see it.. It felt like seeing it on Google Street View was enough. And I was really enjoying the book! LOL..
Anyway, when it was time to have a snack again, I returned to the place where I'd bought my first latte macchiato (Kamps Backstube, I think), and thought about getting one of those gorgeous looking pastries.. But I didn't feel like eating something sweet, so I got a sambo instead. They had these bread rolls that have cheese on top - I used to love those in Finland.. So, I bought one, and it was gorgeous! There was turkey and cheese and boiled egg, and tomato, etc.. Soooo good!
As there was a little post office, I decided to send some cards.. Of course, I'd forgotten to take my address book - my current Moleskines don't have the address book part, and I've forgotten to take one from last year's Moleskine.. Bleh.. So, I was only able to send cards to people whose address I could remember.
Then it was time to go to the transit area again. It was so handy as I already had my boarding pass (from the Lufthansa yoke in Dublin), and had no luggage at this point.. The man who scanned my boarding pass, had the most beautiful African accent (and not a hint of German accent when he spoke English) =D
I really liked this spot - there was still plenty of time before my second flight, and it didn't even have a gate number yet, so I was sitting here for a while, planning my shopping as well..
As the purpose of this trip was to surprise my stepdad, whose 70th birthday was on 28th March (=the date of my late night arrival in Helsinki), I'd left gift-shopping to this part of the journey as it was the most sensible way to do it. So, I bought some whiskey, which will probably age a few more years until he actually opens the bottle! =D
Christ jewellery & watches.. :O What would Jesus say?
I was already walking to the gate, when I saw something, turned back, saw that it was not that expensive (€12), and bought it for myself.. A cow bag! =D It was the last one they had..
It's just a shopping bag, which folds away into this little purse..
I love the cow, and it has the same colours as my rucksack.. Also, it's a practical thing to keep in the handbag.
The smell of alcohol on the plane, reminded me that we were flying to Finland.. LOL..
I sat next to a Finnish man who was returning from a work related trip, and we had some good chats during the flight, about familiar places and such. I was also reading the book. The snack was a pasta salad with crunchy small bread slices. Perfect, after a long day of sambos.. I had tea as well.
I didn't have to wait for my rucksack at all, and ours seemed to be the only flight to arrive in Helsinki at that time of the night, so I got a taxi right away as well. I'd estimated that I would arrive at my parents' place around 2am, but it was only just after 1am! The taxi driver was nice, and instead of driving off once I'd paid and taken my luggage, he waited until he saw me get the door open (the first key didn't work, the key code doesn't work at night, so I had to try a few other keys until I found the right one..). I gave him the thumbs up when I got the door unlocked, and then he drove off.
My mam obviously knew that I was arriving, but she hadn't told anyone, and my stepdad didn't have a clue.. He was totally surprised and confused when I rang the doorbell after 1am =D
Enough photos, so I'll blog separate entries about the rest of my trip..