Sunday, 27 April 2014

Trip to Scandinavia! [Part 4]

Part 1 here.
Part 2 here.
Part 3 here.

So, our 2 day trip to Copenhagen and Malmo was over and it was time to head back to Copenhagen airport. We took the train back over the stunning Øresund bridge and made the short walk from the station in terminal 3 to terminal 2. We used the self service check in machines, straightforward as always, and went straight through security (voted the best airport security in the world). After mooching round the shops, we had a drink at Starbucks and watched the movements on the busy apron:
G-EUUY, our ride home
Copenhagen-Kastrup (CPH/EKCH) to London-Heathrow (LHR/EGLL)
British Airways Airbus A320 G-EUUY
50 minutes before we were called to the gate. I was surprised at how compact Copenhagen airport is, the walk wasn't long at all. We were held briefly in a separate room, and boarding was swift - pushback was actually ahead of schedule! Time for my 61st flight...take off was from rwy04R:
Service onboard was a chicken sandwich or pasta pot. The cabin crew were mistakenly offering the pasta to everyone as an option when it was a vegetarian choice, as a result they very nearly ran out of them for the genuine vegetarians onboard. Thanks to an on time departure and a tailwind, we arrived at Heathrow 25 minutes early on rwy09L. We parked on pier C so we caught the tube-esque shuttle to the main terminal. It took about 15 minutes from plane to car, pretty fast considering the scale of the airport and the automatic passport checks (those silly machines that take a picture of your face!).

Overall, BA were nice to fly with, but not particularly special and given their normal fares probably not worth the extra. Heathrow T5 was pleasant to fly from, no problems there, but we didn't have bags so nothing to lose per say! Denmark and Sweden were great, I particularly liked Copenhagen and I can't wait to return to Scandinavia some time soon!

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Trip to Scandinavia! [Part 3]

Part 2 here.
Part 1 here.

The morning of our second day in Scandinavia started with a buffet style continental breakfast at the hotel, which was very busy! They didn't do Danish pastries and I couldn't leave Denmark with having one so I ate light and we picked some up at the bakery down the road instead. By 10am we were on the  Øresundstag train to Sweden, only 72DKK one way per person. This line (which passes through Kastrup airport) passes over the longest combined road/rail bridge in Europe, over the Øresund straight, part of the Baltic sea.
View from the bridge
The journey to Malmo took less than half an hour...
Our initial impressions of Malmo were that is was very much an industrial city compared to Copenhagen. We walked along the coast to Ribersborg Kallbadhus, a spa/restaurant on a pier with views over the Øresund. But it was closed!
View of Copenhagen airport from Sweden!
View of Malmo from Ribersborg Kallbadhus
We walked all the way back, past some famous Swedish geese (I say famous because they appear on Swedish Krona bank notes) before wandering through the Kings park.
We then found ourselves in the center of Malmo, during a international market. Interesting to see what the Great Britain stall was selling... cheese and crockery! We lunched on a traditional Swedish dish of what was described as a fish burger, served with mash potato, peas and cranberries. Pudding was a nutella waffle from the French stall at the market! After mooching around some more shops, it was time to head back to the station. Heading back there, we noticed this opposite a Burger King:
We also popped into an church to kill a few minutes, and a very nice church it was too. But this note left in the visitors book made me laugh:
So that was our visit to Sweden! Overall a similar vibe to Copenhagen, but Malmo is less historic and much more a working sea port. Next time, part 4, the flight back.

Friday, 18 April 2014

Trip to Scandinavia! [Part 2]

Part 1 here.

Having arrived in a windy Copenhagen with a bump, the journey through security and out the airport was fast and buying train tickets in Copenhagen easy using the ticket machines. Straight down on the platform, and on to a waiting train, all in all about 15 minutes from plane to train! So here's part 2, a long post about the day in Copenhagen...

After a 20 minute train journey, we arrived at Copenhagen Central Station.
Lots of bikes in Denmark, as in the Netherlands! We walked around the station, past the entrance to the world famous Tivoli Gardens amusement park.
We didn't go in as theme parks weren't our thing. We walked all the way round the station and got a hotdog for lunch (with mustard, ketchup, dried onion and pickled cucumber, a Danish specialty and very nice too!). After checking in at the hotel (the Copenhagen Star, highly recommended with friendly staff, good rooms and at a reasonable price) we dumped our stuff and headed out for a walking tour of the city! The Eurovision Song Contest is being held in Copenhagen this year (final is on the 10th May) having been held across the sea in Malmo, Sweden, last year.
First, we headed to the Rundertarn (Roundtower) via the longest shopping street in Europe, Strøget. 
Amongst the standard international brands were a few oddities, including of course Lego shops!
Using just a printed map (and not GPS!) we got slightly lost and ended up in the Rosenborg Palace gardens:
But looking back we realised we'd walked straight past the Rundertarn! Backtracking, we went into this amazing building for 25 DKK (about £2.50). It was built as an astronomical observation tower in the 1600's, and still has a telescope installed at the top today. It has the unusual design feature of a spiral ramp rather than stairs, to allow horses to carry books and equipment to the library and telescope at the top.
The tower is attatched to the church next door and the old library (above the church) has been converted into an art gallery. I normally find galleries incredibly dull but this one, filled with works by Otto Frello, was fairly interesting, as he is an unusual artist - some of the paintings were in 3D! The view from the top was why we visited through...
View toward the airport and Øresund bridge
...and the bridge to Sweden!
As you can see, stunning panoramic views over the city make the Rundertarn a must see in Copenhagen. Next, we walked to Nyhavn, the old harbour, filled with 'viking' ships and restaurants:
We had a nice but very pricey meal at one of these restaurants. We drank cactus cider (yes, cactus!) and I tried to have Carlsberg, Copenhagen being it's home, but they didn't have any?! Like a Dublin pub not having Guinness surely? Anyway, the cactus cider, by a company called Somersby, we were sure was from Somerset. The waitress said it was Swedish. I've since checked, turns out it's a subsidary of Carlsberg but the apples/cacti come from... Herefordshire. Anyway, after an ice cream we headed back along the central 'Kanal' via the Danish Parliament and Royal residence...
So that concluded the day in Denmark. Honestly, Copenhagen was the nicest city I've ever visited, anywhere. Everyone was friendly, the place was remarkably clean and the buildings were nice. Also everyone spoke English fluently (even to each other it seems overhearing conversations?!). A really nice place for city break and I'd be tempted to go back in the summertime and canoe round the city, which we didn't do this time due to the fact it was freezing!! 

So that was our day in the Danish capital. Tomorrow in part 3... Malmo, in Sweden! 

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Trip to Scandinavia! [Part 1]

So it's that time of year again, my birthday, and that of course means a trip somewhere! This year it was somewhere a bit further afield - Denmark and Sweden! Thanks to a few years worth of Avios points (previously airmiles), we got cheap flights with British Airways from Heathrow to Copenhagen. 2 days, 2 new countries!

London-Heathrow (LHR/EGLL) to Copenhagen-Kastrup (CPH/EKCH)  BA0814
British Airways Airbus A321 G-EUXK

We arrived at terminal 5 nice and early and made our way through security with ease (only took about 5 minutes, first impressions of T5 were good!). Then it was out into the departure lounge:

We left from gate A19, the aircraft waiting was the scheduled A321, G-EUXK. We pushed back and taxied on time, all the way down to rwy27R. 
BA 787-8 G-ZBJA
Service on board was good, a ham and cheese sandwich was offered (which I declined, not a fan of cheese!). Cruise was at 37,000ft, and the routing was up past Amsterdam, over to the north of Copenhagen before making right hand downwind to rwy22L. 

The weather in Copenhagen was grey and drizzly with a strong northwesterly wind, so a crosswind as we landed on rwy22L. And with that, we were in Scandinavia! Part 2 of the trip report: Copenhagen and Malmo: coming soon!

Thursday, 10 April 2014

3 more new Flybe routes from BHX

Flybe have announced 3 more routes from Birmingham to operate during the peak of the summer season, to Ibiza, Palma and Reykjavik! Reykjavik is the first ever scheduled flight to Iceland from Birmingham.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Wellesbourne airfield to close?

Plans to close Wellesbourne-Mountford airfield (EGBW) and build 1600 new homes on the site have been put forward. The airfield, 4 miles from Stratford-Upon-Avon, is a popular GA airfield and also hosts a successful saturday market. It is also home to several old wartime aircraft including an Avro Vulcan.

Flybe go purple!

Flybe are rebranding: they're going purple, and are emphasizing the point that air is often faster than road or rail within the UK:

From Flybe's website:

Pic of the first Dash 8 in their new livery:

Make of it what you will!