#1957 – An Impulsive Wimbledon 2017 Trip (Part I: Getting to London and Back)

ENGLISH

Posts in the An Impulsive Wimbledon 2017 Trip series:
1. Introduction
2. Part I: Getting to London and Back
3. Part II: Wimbledon 2017

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In short, I followed the same travelling strategy to London as two years ago. IMO, this strategy was quite efficient and economical given the last-minute nature of the trip.

Getting to London

I started the trip by taking the Hoek van Holland – Harwich ferry boat on Friday evening which arrived on Saturday morning. The timing was perfect because I could go straight to Wimbledon after arriving in London with the regional train service from Harwich. Also, this saved me one night of London’s expensive hotel room, haha 😛 .

Anyway, so straight from work, I went to Amsterdam Centraal to take the train to Hoek van Holland. Apparently the Hoek van Holland station was being renovated at the time and so I had to take a bus service from Schiedam.

Boarding Stena Britannica

I arrived at the international port a little bit too early today where check-in had not yet been opened. Long story short, finally they started boarding passengers at around 7:30 PM and I went to my cabin (the cheapest still available one, obviously 😛 ). This was my third time taking this ferry service, the other two being once obviously two years ago and another once three years ago in the winter, so I wouldn’t get to too much details here.

Fish and chips dinner

I had dinner at the restaurant, where I ordered a fish and chips menu. Then I walked about the boat where the facility was quite cozy. It was quite crowded, btw, and I guessed most passengers were passengers with vehicles since I did not notice a lot of “foot passengers” in the departure terminal. Anyway, the boat left the dock at around 9:50 PM and then off to the English Channel we went! I then had a big glass of cider before heading for bed.

Off to the sea!!!

I got up at 5 AM (British time), showered, packed all my stuffs, and headed down to the main deck for my breakfast. The breakfast was a buffet English breakfast which was just okay. Anyway, the walkway connecting the boat with the terminal building was broken this time (just like two years ago) so we were taken to the port with bus at 6:30 AM. I cleared immigration and waited for my train service to London Liverpool Street via Manningtree at 7:33 AM. Here, I realized I should have bought the rail and sail ticket so I could have taken the earlier 7:20 AM, haha. Anyway, both trains were on time so it was really convenient, and I arrived at London Liverpool Street station just before 9 AM.

Back in London!!

Back from London

As I would spend the whole Saturday in London, I planned to come back to Amsterdam on Sunday. Of course, this time I would just fly. And this was where I missed Garuda Indonesia’s fifth freedom Amsterdam – London-Gatwick route which they closed last year. A last-minute London (any airports, London is served by six airports, btw 😮) – Amsterdam ticket was quite expensive these days! Haha 😆 . Back in the day, Garuda still offered their promotional fare even for last-minute reservations. This time, the cheapest option would be to fly out of London at around 7 AM on Sunday but obviously I would never do that, lol 😆 . So I went with the second cheapest option that was easyJet’s afternoon flight out of London-Gatwick.

I missed Garuda Indonesia’s AMS-LGW route which they served using their Boeing 777-300ER. Pictured here was PK-GID at London-Gatwick from two years ago.

Anyway, obviously I did not have time to go around London this time. Even though I did manage to stop by for maybe 10 minutes at the Buckingham Palace as I was staying in the Victoria area, haha. Buckingham Palace was super busy at the time, due to the ceremony involving the famous royal guards there.

A royal guard at Buckingham Palace

I then took the regular train from London – Victoria Station to Gatwick Airport. It was quite convenient where the journey took about half an hour. I already checked-in online so I went straight to security and then to the departure area.

As I was quite early and actually had not had breakfast anyway, I decided to have brunch at my favorite restaurant, Jamie’s Italian, at the airport! Haha 😛 . I had their Italian steak and fries, and swapped the fries with my favorite polenta chips 😛 .

Italian steak and polenta chips at Jamie’s Italian

At about 3:20 PM, boarding for my easyJet flight EZY 8885 to Amsterdam started. Quite funnily, though, even though the gate was equipped with an air bridge, easyJet did not use it and the passengers had to board by going down and up a pair of stairs, haha. Anyway, the flight would be with an Airbus A320-200 reg G-EZWY (equipped with sharklets) and then I settled onto my 8A seat.

Breaking my flight-free streak at six weeks with this easyJet’s Airbus A320-200 reg G-EZWY

The last time I flew easyJet was three years ago, coincidentally also on the London-Gatwick – Amsterdam sector. Unsurprisingly easyJet had retrofitted their cabin in the meantime, and this time I felt like they had really generous legroom! This was made possible by the new very thin seats they installed, and this generosity obviously came with a price because easyJet still fitted their A320 with 180 seats (almost the maximum capacity of this type): the seats did not recline.

EasyJet’s new seat, very slim hence more legroom, but non-reclinable

Anyway, boarding went quite efficiently, and we took off from runway 26L. It was a typical uneventful flight with an LCC to Amsterdam. The flight attendants went on a round to sell stuffs, but I did not buy anything, haha. At 5:50 PM, we landed at Schiphol Airport. Upon arrival, I found it funny that they announced that we were about 10 minutes ahead of schedule. But actually, we landed at the friggin’ Polderbaan so the early arrival would get negated by the long taxi to the terminal we would have to do anyway, haha.

G-EZWY parked at one of the LCC stand in Pier H/M. I got off the plane (via stairs) and headed to the terminal, cleared immigration, and took the train to go back to Amsterdam 🙂 .

BAHASA INDONESIA

Posting-posting dalam seri An Impulsive Wimbledon 2017 Trip:
1. Introduction
2. Part I: Getting to London and Back
3. Part II: Wimbledon 2017

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Secara singkat, aku menggunakan strategi yang sama untuk pergi ke London seperti dua tahun yang lalu. Menurutku, strategi ini cukup efisien dan ekonomis mengingat kondisi perjalanan ini yang serba dadakan.

Berangkat ke London

Perjalanan aku mulai dengan menaiki kapal feri Hoek van Holland – Harwich di Jumat malam dan tiba Sabtu pagi. Waktunya sempurna banget karena aku bisa langsung pergi ke Wimbledon begitu tiba di London setelah naik kereta regional dari Harwich. Juga, ini menghemat biaya hotel satu malam di London yang mahal banget itu kan, haha 😛 .

Anyway, sepulang kerja, aku langsung pergi ke Amsterdam Centraal untuk naik kereta ke Hoek van Holland. Rupanya waktu itu stasiun kereta Hoek van Holland sedang direnovasi sehingga aku harus naik bus yang berangkat dari Schiedam.

Menaiki kapal Stena Britannica

Aku tiba di pelabuhan internasionalnya agak terlalu awal dimana check-in-nya masih belum dibuka waktu itu. Singkat cerita, penumpang dipersilakan naik kapal sekitar jam 7:30 malam dan aku langsung pergi ke kabinku (yang paling murah dan masih tersedia tentunya 😛 ). Ini adalah kali ketiga aku menaiki layanan feri ini, dua kali yang sebelumnya adalah sekali dua tahun yang lalu dan sekali tiga tahun lalu di musim dingin, jadi aku tidak akan menuliskan terlalu banyak detailnya sekarang.

Makan malam dengan fish and chips 

Aku makan malam di restoran kapalnya, dimana aku memesan menu fish and chips. Lalu aku mengelilingi kapalnya yang memiliki banyak fasilitasnya sehingga lumayan nyaman. Hari ini kapalnya cukup ramai, btw, dan aku tebak sih kebanyakan penumpang adalah penumpang yang membawa kendaraan pribadi karena kulihat tidak ada banyak “penumpang pejalan-kaki” di terminal keberangkatan. Anyway, kapalnya diberangkatkan sekitar jam 9:50 malam dan langsung kami berlayar menuju Selat Channel! Setelahnya aku minum segelas besar cider sebelum pergi ke kabin untuk tidur.

Berangkat menuju ke laut!!!

Aku bangun sekitar jam 5 pagi (waktu Inggris), mandi, mem-packing barang bawaanku, dan kemudian turun ke dek utama untuk sarapan. Sarapannya adalah sarapan buffet ala Inggris yang mana rasanya biasa saja. Anyway, gabarata di Harwich rusak lagi kali ini (seperti dua tahun lalu) sehingga kami diantar ke pelabuhannya dengan bus jam 6:30 pagi. Aku melewati imigrasi dan menunggu keretaku ke London Liverpool Street jam 7:33 pagi dengan berganti-kereta di Manningtree. Aku baru sadar saat itu seharusnya aku membeli tiket rail and sail sehingga aku bisa menaiki kereta yang lebih awal, jam 7:20 pagi, haha. Anyway, kedua kereta yang kunaiki untungnya berangkat tepat waktu kok dan cukup nyaman, dan aku tiba di stasiun London Liverpool Street sebelum jam 9 pagi.

Kembali di London!!

Kembali dari London

Karena aku akan menghabiskan sepanjang Sabtu di London, aku berencana kembali ke Amsterdam di hari Minggu. Tentu saja, kali ini aku naik pesawat. Dan di sini lah aku kangen dengan penerbangan kebebasan kelimanya Garuda Indonesia rute Amsterdam – London-Gatwick yang mereka tutup tahun lalu. Tiket penerbangan last minute dari London (bandara mana pun, London memiliki enam bandara, btw 😮) ke Amsterdam itu lumayan mahal akhir-akhir ini! Haha 😆 . Dulu, Garuda masih menjual tiket promonya loh bahkan untuk reservasi dadakan. Kali ini, opsi termurah adalah terbang dari London sekitar jam 7 pagi di hari Minggu tapi jelas dong ya aku ogah, haha 😆 . Jadilah aku memilih opsi termurah kedua yaitu dengan penerbangan sorenya easyJet dari London-Gatwick.

Aku kangen dengan rute AMS-LGWnya Garuda Indonesia yang mereka layani dengan pesawat Boeing 777-300ER. Foto di atas adalah PK-GID di Bandara London-Gatwick dua tahun yang lalu.

Anyway, jelas kali ini aku tidak memiliki banyak waktu untuk berkeliling London. Walaupun aku masih sempat untuk mampir 10 menitan di Istana Buckingham sih karena aku menginap di area Victoria, haha. Istana Buckingham ramai banget waktu itu, karena sedang ada upacara yang melibatkan penjaga istananya yang beken banget itu.

Seorang penjaga di Istana Buckingham

Kemudian aku menaiki kereta reguler dari London – Victoria menuju Bandara Gatwick. Perjalanannya sekitar setengah jam. Karena sudah check-in online, aku langsung menuju pemeriksaan sekuriti dan masuk ke area keberangkatan.

Karena aku datang awal dan juga belum sarapan, aku memutuskan untuk brunch di restoran favoritku, Jamie’s Italian, di bandara! Haha 😛 . Aku memesan steak Italia kali ini, dan meminta menukar kentang gorengnya dengan polenta chips kesukaanku itu 😛 .

Steak Italia dan polenta chips di Jamie’s Italian

Sekitar jam 3:20 sore, boarding penerbangan EZY 8885ku ke Amsterdam dimulai. Lucunya, walaupun gerbangnya dilengkapi gabarata, easyJet tidak menggunakannya dong dan penumpang mesti naik ke pesawat dengan menuruni tangga dan kemudian menaiki tangga lagi, haha. Anyway, penerbangannya akan dioperasikan oleh sebuah Airbus A320-200 rego G-EZWY (yang dilengkapi dengan sharklets) dan setelahnya aku duduk di kursi 8Aku.

Memutuskan rekor “bebas-penerbangan”-ku setelah enam minggu dengan Airbus A320-200nya easyJet dengan rego G-EZWY ini.

Terakhir kali aku naik easyJet adalah tiga tahun lalu, kebetulan juga di sektor London-Gatwick – Amsterdam. Tidak mengejutkan bahwa di selama tiga tahun ini mereka juga telah mendisain ulang kabinnya, dimana kali ini aku merasa legroom-nya mantap banget! Ini dimungkinkan oleh kursi generasi barunya yang super ramping itu, dan tentu saja kemurahan-hati ini juga harus dibayar karena easyJet tetap mengisi A320 ini dengan 180 kursi (nyaris kapasitas maksimal pesawat tipe ini): kursinya tidak bisa digerakkan/dimundurkan.

Kursi barunya easyJet, amat ramping sehingga legroom-nya lebih lapang, tetapi tidak bisa digerakkan.

Anyway, boarding berlangsung cukup efisien, dan kami lepas landas dari landasan pacu 26L. Ini adalah penerbangan uneventful seperti biasanya dengan LCC ke Amsterdam. Pramugara-pramugaranya menawarkan barang dagangan di penerbangan ini, tetapi aku tidak membeli apa-apa. Jam 5:50 sore, kami mendarat di Bandara Schiphol. Setelah mendarat, pramugaranya mengumumkan bahwa kami mendarat 10 menit lebih cepat daripada jadwal. Aku merasa lucu karena kami mendarat di Polderbaan laknat itu sehingga biarpun kami mendarat lebih cepat, pada akhirnya toh akan sama saja karena taxiing ke terminalnya kan lama banget, haha.

G-EZWY parkir di salah satu tempat parkir LCC di pier H/M. Aku menuruni pesawatnya (pakai tangga) dan menuju ke terminal, melewati imigrasi, dan naik kereta untuk kembali ke Amsterdam 🙂 .

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