Flying back north: DBX via AAS to AAL Travel

By Marina Aagaard, MFT. Photos: Henrik Elstrup and Marina Aagaard

Travelling, transport from one place to another can considered time-consuming and bothersome. You can also choose to be mindful and enjoy the ride while it lasts.

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4:30 the mobile alarm sounds. Rise and shine. Half an hour to dress and pack. 5:00 get a taxi on the street by the Hotel Sofitel, The Walk, JBR, Dubai.

At this time of day, traffic on the six-lane highway through town is still smooth and the trip only takes about half an hour, so we reach the airport DBX well in advance.

No queue at check-in, super. We have checked in online, so we just need two show our passports and check in our luggage, two old, worn, dirty Samsonite suitcases, which have served us well.

After check-in we go through the passport control. Super, no-one there, no queue. We go to straight to the inspector behind the desk. He looks without words in our passports and then on us. He gets up, still without words, and gives a sign; we must follow him?

So we trot along behind him. He leaves us by a long counter where an officer now inspects our passports very thoroughly. Without any exchange of words finally he hands us the passports and points toward security. We have apparently been cleared.

For two relatively talkative persons, the silence felt eerie. Still, we felt no urge to persist, we nod our thanks and go to the security scanner.

Here you have the usual stripping seance; shoes, belts and jackets off. Wallet, phone and watch on the tray, pc out of the bag, and then through the scanner. Pain-free, though.

We go to the departure hall. Find a chocolate café (with sockets for pc’s). Then we order an ultra-unhealthy breakfast: coffee, americano and latte, a muffin and a croissant. The price is astronomical, but then we also get a piece of ‘free’ fine chocolate in the bargain.

dubai_dbx_rullebaand_img_7451DBX smart: Conveyors with an overtaking lane, but not everyone discovers this feature …

We go to the gate. We meet the same couple, we met on the way out and have a chat about Dubai and the city’s attractions. Then we boarder the KLM plane, again a Boeing 777’er. Lovely. Ample space to stretch your legs and do some “onboard fitness” …

dubai_img_6215The 777 in the morning sun with glimpses of Dubai in the background.

7:55. Soon after take off a meal, an later another meal, and snacks and drinks on request. Extensive entertainment system. The 6 ½ hour flight-time passes quickly. Especially, when you also have to take the many, many mandatory pictures out of the small windows. Preferably with airplane wings in focus.

dubai_fly_img_5990    dubai_fly_img_6001dubai_fly_img_6017You know how economy seats look? So here is a photo of business class seats.

We land almost exactly on time in Amsterdam and quickly go through security via an advanced new scanner; here you do not have to take your pc out of your bag.

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We continue through Schiphol, a modern airport with art, internet center, spa, champagne bars and cafes with delicious, healthy snacks. More over there are a lot of shops.

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We have some hours before we have to fly onward, so we find a café (with sockets) and answer e-mails and enjoy a couple of smoothies and rustic eco sandwiches. It’s not that hunger is overwhelming, but the products on display are too tempting.

At four o’clock it is time. We board and fly the final stretch from Amsterdam to Aalborg with a smaller KLM aircraft. The trip only takes about 1½ hours and time flies …
We land safely and on time 17:15 in Aalborg. And surprisingly our luggage is almost first out on the conveyor belt. We quickly head for the car park (where parking is free; brilliant).

After a 1 1/4 hour drive (plus a two hour visit for dining with a friend) we are home again in cool, rainy, pitch black Djursland after an eventful week in a warmer climate … but on second thought some fresh, Danish countryside air is not that bad.

At 22:00 o’clock we turn off the light and go to bed.

To travel or not to travel? Boeing 777 Budget Trip!

By Marina Aagaard, MFT

Friday night. Yes or no? A small trip. No time, not in budget. Surf the internet anyway. Find a same-weekend round-trip flight at a very reasonable price.

Under 2 K DKK (under 280 EUR) for an out-of-Europe trip. And with a reputable airline at that. So hubby contacts friend at the destination; can we stay in your apartment? “Yes”. So without hesitation we proceed and book the flight. Perfect time: You may get lucky and get a favorable price when booking well in advance or at the last minute …

Saturday; hectic day doing laundry and continuous packing in between other tasks.

Sunday morning

Departure by car to Aalborg Airport (AAL photo), which has free parking. Perfect.

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Sunday noon

Take-off. From AAL. 1:25 t flight.

Pleasant and short trip; we only had time for a a cup of coffee and a sandwich and reading Holland Herald before moving out again.

dubai_klm_aal_aas_img_4563Tiles, cows, clogs and windmills. It is not hard to guess the name of the airline.

We are to stop over in Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, AAS. A so-called ‘tight connection’; as in really short transit time: 50 minutes from landing to departure. It sounds like plenty, but in reality it means 20 minutes from landing to boarding. Add to this, that Schiphol is a major airport and you have to go through passport control on your way onwards.

But of course we will make it. We sit quietly and our plane bound for NL takes off.

After a short while a message in the PA system: Captain: We will be delayed by about 10 minutes. Oh no, it may mean that we do not catch our connecting flight.

Sunday midday

Stopover in Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, AAS.

As the plane rolls down the runway for the gate, our bags are packed and we’re like springs, ready to ‘squeeze’ past the other passengers on the way out to the terminal.

Clear of the gangway we cover the distance between arrival gate B and departure gate F in jogging tempo despite fully loaded backpacks with pc’s and photo equipment. Fortunately, there is no-one in front of us at the passport control, so we sprint onwards.

We spot the gate and increase the cadence … and – along with two other Danes – board the waiting aircraft as the very last. Gate staff closes the gate immediately after we have jogged past.

In the cabin: One of the world’s largest aircrafts, the Boeing 777-300ER. 73.86 m long with a wingspan of 64.80 m, a max total takeoff weight of 351,543 ton and like the older jumbo jet with room for 408 passengers (in economy 3 + 4 + 3 seats across).

For a reasonable sum we were able to upgrade to business class, but even though the huge lounge chairs look very appealing, we declined this time around. It is after all ‘just’ a flight of 6.5 hours and the economy seats are spacious enough.

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One can tell, that it is a new aircraft. Stylish, spacious and entertainment system of high quality. You can choose between several of the latest movies, a large selection of older movies or play games or quiz show.

After having read for while and seen a movie (duller than the preview is suggested) I go for once in ‘gaming mode’, Jeopardy and Sudoku simultaneously with a favorite: Watching the in-flight viewed from the cockpit angle. Time flies (ha ha!).

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The catering on this tour is also fine: Ongoing drinks. Rather tasty (airline) dinner – you can choose a special dish or a choice between chicken or vegetarian pasta. We chose the latter. Oops! Finished everything again before I remembered the foodie photo.

Then more drinks (water and juice … or soda and alcohol) and finally a light late night snack and then the trip was over.

Sunday evening

A perfect landing. Smooth taxiing to gate. From there to the arrival hall. But then: Approximately 45 minutes of waiting in line at passport control, where the inspector is remarking, that it’s a long time since we last visited the city.
Fortunately we are let in without further charges.

Quickly we find a taxi, which via the six-lane highway, in 40 minutes takes us to the other end of town, where we are received in the street by our friend.

Sometime after midnight we enjoy a light refreshment and the night sky for a few minutes and then go to sleep.

Aalborg to Amsterdam travel: A Holland sneak(er) peak

By Marina Aagaard, MFT

Third time lucky! Twice I have been in Amsterdam Schiphol Airport lately. But only in transit. Now it is. Travel destination: Amsterdam.

The occasion? KLM has a march campaign ‘Amsterdam sneaker’. What is this about? Well, the airline is based in Amsterdam, Holland, and boasts, that the Dutch capital is so ‘compact’, that it can easily be experienced by foot.

To stress that they mean it, KLM has even produced a walking shoe, a sneaker, designed to get around in the city …

During march KLM have an Amsterdam Sneaker auction with sneakers including trips – and the full amount from this  auction is donated to UNICEF.

A good cause. I am happy to hop into a pair of sneakers, thank you, KLM, to investigate!

Wednesday afternoon. Aalborg Airport in northern Denmark. First a cup of coffee.

Shopping? I have a hard time resisting the Champagne family. But have to. Not because of the price of course, DKK 17.999 (more than 2000 EUR) for the ‘head of the family’ containing 15 litres, but because of lack of space in my carry-on luggage …

It is almost time. The Cityhopper arrives – gets ready – and we leave on time.

The online magazine Holland Herald matches my shoes. Or is it the other way around?
A coincidence? I think not!

Food is nice. On board food, too. When it is tasty, that is (not always the case). This serving was unusually delicious – and not just because I was pretty hungry.

I won’t get tired of a view like this; beautiful clouds seen from above.

A short flight of only 1:05 h. And so we land on time in AMS, Amsterdam Schiphol.
With a medium-sized aircraft you are not always stepping out right at the gate door.
But it is o.k. Here you get a ride in a solar powered bus!

Taxi or train? Taxi approx. 30 min., 42 EUR. Train approx. 10 min. 5 EUR. That settles it. I buy a ticket and find my way to the platform.

After a short train ride you arrive at the busy Amsterdam Central Station.

Immediately when you get out into the streets you realize that Amsterdam is a bike city. There are bikes everywhere. And hundreds of bikes are parked around the station.
There is even a bike parking house.

It is now evening and I find a map on my iPhone to guide me on my walk to the hotel.
I get a bit of night sightseeing as I find my way through a ‘red light district’ with many small cafés and ‘coffee’ shops …

In just 10 minutes I reach the hotel, Pulitzer, situated down a small alley alongside one of the numerous canals. Beautiful.

After a quick snack and a cup of herbal tea it is bedtime for bonzo.

Goodnight.