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UNESCO World Heritage Site: Hanseatic City of Lübeck

Klagenfurt, Hamburg and Lübeck


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On Sunday I arrived in Lübeck knackered after half a day of travel; a walk to Klagenfurt Hauptbahnhof early this morning, a short train ride from there to the airport station, walking from there down the road to the tiny airport itself, a long wait there, an hour and a half's flight over some spectacular mountainous scenery to Hamburg, the S-bahn train to Hamburg Hauptbahnhof, a 40-minute train to Lübeck and then another 40 minutes' walk to the budget hotel.

Klagenfurt Airport (or, to be precise, Kärnten Airport) was one of the smallest airports I've ever been to, beating only Baltra and Catamayo airports in Ecuador for size.

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I had a window seat on the flight so I managed to get some pictures of the mountains.

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I haven't got many photos from Lübeck itself, mainly because the weather wasn't particularly nice for most of it, and secondly because both the school and our hotel were outside of the centre so I was often too knackered to go out again once we'd returned from school. There were a couple of exceptions though which I will describe below.

One of the few sunny times during the week was on Monday afternoon when some of us went for a little walk down the side of the river Trave.

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On Tuesday we were given a short tour of the historic centre by some of the lovely English department. It was done at quite a pace, because we had a booking at a restaurant we couldn't be late for, so I didn't have time to get many photos. For such a historic place, the centre of Lübeck does have a couple of streets which look more like a typical anonymous post-war British high street; this is because those streets were bombed by the Allies during the war. Amongst other places we passed there was the historic Rathaus, the Marienkirche with its Devil statue outside and a couple of historic alleyways leading to courtyard cottages, built three to four hundred years ago for poorer people when the city expanded (the passageways are narrow but had to be wide enough to carry coffins through).

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Dinner at the restaurant we were booked into consisted (for me and most of the others) of their speciality, flammkuchen. Flammkuchen is common in Germany and Eastern France (and I've had it once before in Luxembourg); a lot like pizza, with an extremely thin base, and creme fraiche instead of tomato sauce. Delicious!

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On Thursday afternoon we went into the town centre to have coffee and cake. We went to Café Niederegger, which is within the most historic and famous marzipan shop in Lübeck. I didn't end up feeling like cake, so I had Swiss Rösti, which came with a fried egg, bacon and cucumber slices. The café was very atmospheric; displays of fancy silver spoons and other cutlery on the walls, classical music playing in the background, elegant decoration. Marzipan featured heavily in the menu, and was piled up in various forms in the shop downstairs. If only I liked it! Marzipan lovers would be in heaven in Lübeck. I did end up trying a piece at school, and it was a lot nicer than any I've had before (not sickly sweet), but still not something I'd really bother buying for myself.

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I am leaving Lübeck with the feeling that I didn't fully make the most of being there. I wish I'd explored more, despite being tired and having prep to do for work each day. There's a great museum here which I never managed to get to - the European Hansemuseum, about the Hanseatic League and the part Lübeck played as the leading city within it. I would also have liked to have gone inside the Holstentor, one of the two remaining city gates and the symbol of the city. I will just have to come back to Lübeck another time!

Posted by 3Traveller 04:25 Archived in Germany Tagged mountains airport austria germany lübeck unesco_world_heritage_site german_cuisine Comments (0)

Welcome back to the UK

London Luton Airport and St Albans


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The two-and-a-half-hour flight was uneventful, though because I was next to the window and the weather was good I got some great views of the countries we passed over. We didn't go as high as some flights I've taken before. At one point we flew over a huge offshore wind farm - rows and rows of wind turbines off the coast of the Netherlands.

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Shadows were lengthening by the time we got to Luton Airport. Dave, Emma and Mark were there to meet me and take me to St Albans. Seven months since I was last on British soil - it felt strange to be back, but wonderful to see everyone.

Posted by 3Traveller 01:02 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged united_kingdom airport sisters dave st_albans Comments (0)

Goulash, chicken paprikash and a new case

Budapest


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After checking out at 10 I walked down the road to a shopping mall to buy a new big case. I had thought of just wrapping my case in black tape as a temporary measure just to get all my stuff home, but then I thought I might as well just buy a new case, firstly because it would almost certainly be much cheaper than in the UK, and secondly because I thought, what if the case somehow splits open while being moved about by baggage handlers? I'm glad I did buy a new one, because although it doesn't have any outer pockets and isn't quite as wide as my old one, it was only the equivalent of £20 and looked quite strongly built. I got it in a half-price deal.

Once I had bought my new case and returned to the hostel with it, I had to transfer all my stuff from the old into the new. This took absolutely ages because I had a bit less space than before and I was also worried about going over 32kg. I had to rearrange everything, jettison some things I could afford to leave behind, and take out and carry my copper jug, coat and reversible jacket.

By the time I'd finished that, there was no time to go out to anywhere apart from a restaurant for lunch. I found one right next to St Stephen's Basilica that offered a special two courses and 'syrup' deal. The syrup turned out to be a glass of carbonated drink made from elderflower cordial (there were other flavours available, but I wanted to try the elderflower one the most!). It was delicious! For my first course I chose goulash and for the second I had chicken paprikash - chicken in a lovely paprika-laced creamy sauce with vegetables. It also came with a very strange type of pasta mixed with egg - unusual, but tasty!

Only ten minutes after I arrived back at the hostel my shuttle to the airport arrived. The airport was easy to navigate, but it was quite busy and I didn't get time to look round any of the duty free shops which was a shame. I've very rarely actually bought anything from duty free shops, but I still love looking round them, especially the more nationality-themed sections.

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I was carrying my copper jug wrapped up in my coat and reversible jacket; I was afraid that Wizzair might have a problem with it and say it counted as hand luggage (and therefore charge me extra), but nobody said anything. Here we go - my last flight of this long adventure abroad...

Posted by 3Traveller 06:21 Archived in Hungary Tagged budapest airport basilica hostel hungary unesco_world_heritage_site hungarian_cuisine Comments (0)

Last stay in Sofia; the Ladies' Market calls

Sofia


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Yesterday morning Dave said goodbye to Veliko Tarnovo as we caught the 10.30 bus to Sofia. When I bought the tickets it felt strange to be speaking Bulgarian again after not having done so in the previous two and half weeks.

The 3.5 hour journey was uneventful, though we did see some sunflower fields. After taking a taxi to Hostel Mostel and settling into our private room, we headed out for a late lunch at our favourite place; if you've read any of my recent Sofia entries, you might guess where this is - a small pizza café at the junction between the Court of Justice and Boulevard Vitosha. Delicious, handmade on site, large slices and cheap.

After that we thought about going to the Ladies' Market, but then had the thought that it would probably be better to visit it in the morning. Stalls might be running out of stuff and packing up by this time in the afternoon. With that in mind, we headed back to the hostel and had a nap, played pool, had our free dinner and used the internet until it was time for an early night.

We went to the Ladies' Market in the morning, as we had intended. This market was the one place I had seen recommended but hadn't actually been to yet in all my previous visits to Sofia, so I was particularly keen to go. Not only was this Dave's last time in Sofia, it was mine as well. When I leave Bulgaria in a few days' time, it will be by train from Gorna Oryahovitsa, a town five minutes' drive from Veliko Tarnovo. The market was well worth a look-around, as it seemed to have some of pretty much everything. We didn't buy any of all the fresh produce around (though if we had been here for another night I would have bought some to cook for dinner), but I did get some crystallised kumquats.

Once we got back from there, we packed up, checked out and took a taxi to the airport. I was sad to be leaving Hostel Mostel for the last time. The staff were all nice but one girl in particular was always especially so. At check out I made sure to tell her how much I had enjoyed coming here.

After saying goodbye to Dave at the airport, I took a taxi to the bus station and got on the next bus back to Veliko Tarnovo.

Posted by 3Traveller 00:11 Archived in Bulgaria Tagged market airport hostel buses dave sofia bulgarian bulgaria veliko_tarnovo Comments (0)

Back to Europe

Istanbul


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Edit from March 2019: The restaurant we went to was called Ahırkapı Balıkçısı - it's still going! Definitely a place I recommend! Piya Hostel is still going too and I recommend that as well.

Dave woke up not feeling well at all - but he made it OK to Istanbul. By the end of the flight he was feeling better. Instead of getting the bus, metro and tram to our hostel, we took the more unusual route of a bus to the Asian seafront (Sabiha Gökçen Airport is on the Asian side, but miles and miles out of the city itself), with a view then to take a ferry to the European side and lastly a tram and a walk to Piya Hostel, the same place we had stayed at before our Cappadocian and Aegean adventures.

Before we got on the ferry we had a great Balik Ekmek each for lunch on a café-boat. I really recommend Balik Ekmek - such a simple idea (freshly-caught fish boned, grilled and stuffed into a crusty roll with some optional salt and lemon juice) yet it works so well.

On arrival at Piya Hostel we went straight to bed for a nap - we had had an early start in the morning. Late afternoon we started out on a walk round the corner to the Arasta Bazaar and the Istanbul Handicrafts Market, but only about 100m away from the hotel Dave stubbed his toe and it was bleeding, so we went back to our room and I patched it up for him. The market would have started packing up by the time I finished, so we decided just to have some dinner instead.

We had tried to visit this restaurant before, but if was closed for Ramadan then. Ramadan has finished now though, so as soon as we realised it was open again we were there like a shot. It was a tiny seafood place just round the corner. I had a swordfish skewer and Dave had shrimp salad; the shrimps were massive and the chunks of swordfish on my skewer weren't far behind! We shared a cold (but cooked) aubergine and tomato appetiser as well, plus some baklava when it came to dessert and we still had space. The food was great and the owner/waiter was very softly spoken and charming, not pushy at all like some of the waiters are round here.

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After dinner we walked back to the waterfront in order to fulfill a long-held desire of mine; to at least dip my fingers in the Strait of Bosphorus. This was a little more difficult than it sounds, because the 'beach' consists only of big boulders piled up so closely together that there's no space on the ground to stand. I did, however, manage to get my hand in the water; mission successful.

Posted by 3Traveller 01:03 Archived in Turkey Tagged airport turkey istanbul hostel buses ferry bosphorus dave turkish_cuisine Comments (0)

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