#2047 – A Winter Weekend in London (Part II: The Long Way Home)


Posts in the A Winter Weekend in London mini series:
1. Introduction
2. Part I: London
3. Part II: The Long Way Home

With the departure of my new flight being scheduled at 11:45 AM, I planned to check out at around 8. But before that of course I planned to have the complimentary breakfast that was already included in my reservation. The breakfast was amazing, btw! ๐Ÿ™‚

The amazing hotel breakfast

Anyway, it was snowing quite hard when I was checking out. The problem was, it turned out to still be quite early on a Sunday that there was still no overground train running from the station near my hotel. So it appeared that I had no other option than to soldier through the snow and walked to the nearest Piccadilly line Tube station from where I could catch a tube to Heathrow.

Soldiering through snow in London

While at least it was snowing (and not raining) hence “soldiering through it” was still doable, it was still not the most pleasant experience ever! Haha ๐Ÿ˜† I arrived at the Tube station like a mess with my coat and body covered in snow, lol ๐Ÿ˜† . Long story short, I caught the first metro to Terminal 4 of Heathrow and about 45 minutes later I arrived at the airport.

I checked-in and then cleared the security check via the priority lane thanks to my SkyTeam Elite Plus status ๐Ÿ˜› . And then, obviously I went to the awesome SkyTeam Lounge at the airport. I settled myself onto one of the seats and treated myself with some sweets and drinks. I felt like I deserved it after the rough morning I had with the snow, haha ๐Ÿ˜› .

The awesome drinks section at the SkyTeam Lounge at Heathrow

Upon checking-in at the lounge, the receptionist asked me if I would like to sign up for the complimentary 15 minutes facial spa treatment by Clarins. Oh wow, this was so awesome and was similar to the same lounge treatment I experienced at the Air France lounge at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York! Obviously I said yes! Haha ๐Ÿ˜› The spa treatment was very nice and relaxing; and at the end of it the beautician also gave me a small package of Clarins moisturizer as a gift! :mrgreen:

Facial spa treatment at the SkyTeam Lounge at Heathrow

By checking my Flightradar24 app, I knew my flight would be delayed. It was not surprising given the weather. Even at Heathrow it was snowing quite bad at times. And indeed at around 11:30 AM, it was announced that my flight had been delayed to 1:20 PM. And so I just enjoyed my time at the lounge and, in the meantime, had some lunch as well.

It was snowing badly at Heathrow too

However I kept seeing no sign of a KLM bird departing from Schiphol to Heathrow via my app. On the other hand, it was 1:30 PM already and the departure monitor still indicated the 1:20 PM departure. I then asked the reception and at the time she just got the information from KLM that my flight had been cancelled! ๐Ÿ˜ฑShe informed me to go back to the KLM ticketing counter in front of the check-in area from where the KLM people would be able to assist me.

It was quite a long hassle to go from the airside to the ticketing counter at the landside of Heathrow, btw, as this was a British airport so I would need to clear immigration as well! And when I was there, long lines had been formed in front of the counter, including the SkyPriority lane! There was nothing I could do at this point than to just wait patiently and see.

Long queues of cancelled passengers at Heathrow

While I was waiting, some officers distributed the compensation guideline from KLM. They also informed us that all flights to Amsterdam had been cancelled today and there was high uncertainty on how things would go the next day. They assured us that KLM was working on rebooking us to the next available flights; but this would take some time because the bad weather problem was at Schiphol, KLM’s base; meaning KLM was facing a huge chaos at the moment.

Cancelled flight

While waiting, I started to look for room availability at the hotels nearby Heathrow. Thankfully I still found some with reasonable last-minute price; which assured me a little bit. I was standing in the line, which only barely moving, for more than an hour.

Until up to a point, the ticketing lady asked if any of us were passengers with Amsterdam as our final destination. Probably around 50 people raised their hands, including myself. She informed us that if we were still to fly, it appeared that we would not be able to fly until Tuesday because Monday’s weather forecast was even worse than today’s (Today was a Sunday). As an alternative, KLM had hired a bus to get to Schiphol with very soon departure. While this was certainly not pleasant, at least we would be able to arrive in Amsterdam on Monday early morning. The bus was totally optional and if we did not want it, KLM would still rebook us to the next available flight to Amsterdam.

The approximated route with the bus if we were up for it.

I decided to take the bus because at this point, I still was not given my new flight confirmation. Beside, this would actually mean the fulfillment of a long forgotten bucket list item of mine, that was to travel with all means of public transportation between the Netherlands and London. Bus was the only one missing (the others were: flights, trains, and ferry services); and perhaps this was the “answer” to this item, haha. Upon signing in, KLM also gave us each aย ยฃ4.50 voucher for us to spend on food and drink for the bus trip.

When all flights to Amsterdam from London get cancelled due to heavy snow at Schiphol and KLM (the airline) arranges a bus service between the two as the best possible solution due to tomorrow's forecast that isn't any better. Funnily I don't think it is that bad because this actually means the fulfillment of a long forgotten bucket list item of mine that is to travel between the Netherlands and London with all possible means of public transport. Bus was the only one missing as I have (obviously) taken many flights, the Eurostar trains, and the ferry boat services! Lol #Zilkos2017WeekendTrip #travelexperience #selfie #Heathrow #HeathrowSelfie #London #England #travelling #travelwoes #winter #winterproblems #snowproblems #UK #๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง #โœˆ๏ธ #experience #bucketlist #thisislife #KL1010 #LHRAMS #KLM #frequentflyer #instaselfie #selfienation #thisiswhyitravel #instawinter #wintergram #HeathrowTerminal4 #instaHeathrow

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Long story short, the bus arrived at the bus stop in front of the terminal. I settled onto one of the seats and thankfully the bus was not full and the seat next to me was empty, haha. I was hoping for the bus to have wifi but unfortunately it did not ๐Ÿ˜› . After all passengers boarded, we began our land trip to the Netherlands. Yeah, somehow we were all thinking of a comfortable 1 hour flight from London to Amsterdam this morning and we all ended up taking a bus on this route. What an adventure this day had been!

Taking the bus KLM arranged as an alternative to get to Schiphol via land.

During the trip, I got a notification from KLM that I had been rebooked to the first available flight, that would be flight KL1002 with departure time at 08:40 on: Tuesday morning! Haha. Well, I was quite glad that I took this bus option at the time.

Also, the attendee found out that the Channel Tunnel was closed due to the weather. This unfortunately meant we would need to take the slow way to cross the Channel Strate: by the ferry boat. About three hours after departure, we arrived at the Port of Dover where the ferry would depart from. Originally, we planned to take the 19:55 service to Calais in France because (1) it was the earliest scheduled one and (2) it was the shorter ferry route to France from Dover (You know, a ferry boat moves slowly so minimizing the time on the boat would be crucial to minimize the total travel time). However, the ferry would be delayed until 21:30 and so the attendee decided to take the 20:00 to Dunkerque in France. It would be a slightly longer ferry route but this was the fastest possible option that evening. As a side note, it was quite cool though that the security and immigration check were done even without us, the passengers, needing to leave the bus!

Port of Dover in England.

Long story short, we boarded the ferry boat just before 20:00. The total ferrying time would be around two hours so obviously they would not “trap” us inside the bus during the whole time. They let us out to the passengers area in the ferry. With only nine decks, the ferry was much smaller than my “usual” twelve decks Hoek van Holland – Harwich ferry. I went to the restaurant and had a chicken schnitzel (which mushroom sauce tasted weird IMO) as a dinner.

The total journey was two hours. Being a smaller ship, its “sway” was also more promiment than the Hoek van Holland – Harwich ferry I took before. To prevent myself from catching a sea sickness because of this, I decided to walk around the two passengers deck during the entire time, haha. There was one shop, two restaurants, a bar/cafe, an arcade game area, and several lounges on board the ship.

On board the Dover – Dunkerque ferry boat

At around 23:00 local time, we were docking at Dunkerque in France. We went back to our bus and after the door opened, we continued our trip to Schiphol via Belgium. The journey took a little bit longer than expected because the driver needed to be careful with the slippery road due to the snow.ย  I was already super tired at this time and so I slept pretty much all the way to Schiphol!

About 20 minutes before arriving, the attendee woke us up notifying that we almost arrived at the destination. He wished us well and reminded us not to forget anything on the bus because he, the driver, and the bus would immediately return to the UK after dropping us off at Schiphol! :O That was insane indeed! And so we gave him a round of applause for all the trouble of taking us safely to the Netherlands!

It felt so good to finally arrive at Schiphol!

We arrived at Schiphol at around 3 AM on Monday morning. There I also saw a lot of stranded passengers staying overnight at the troubled airport. As there was no convenient public transport option at this ungodly hour, I decided to take a cab to go straight home. This was, btw, my first time ever taking a cab from Schiphol! Haha ๐Ÿ˜† .

And finally after about 30 minutes more of taxi trip which cost โ‚ฌ60 (which, in the end, KLM was willing to reimburse as a customer service gesture ๐Ÿ˜), I arrived at home!


Posting-posting dalam mini seri A Winter Weekend in London:
1. Introduction
2. Part I: London
3. Part II: The Long Way Home

Dengan keberangkatan penerbangan baruku yang jam 11:45 pagi, aku berencana untuk check out sekitar jam 8. Tetapi tentu saja sebelumnya aku sarapan dulu dong karena sarapan sudah termasuk di dalam reservasi kamarku. Sarapannya sendiri enak banget, btw! ๐Ÿ™‚

Sarapan yang asyik banget di hotel

Di luar sedang bersalju ketika aku check out. Masalahnya, karena ternyata masih kepagian di suatu hari Minggu maka belum ada kereta yang dijadwalkan berangkat dari stasiun di dekat hotelku. Jadilah nampaknya aku tidak ada pilihan lain selain berjalan kaki menembus salju menuju stasiun tube jalur Piccadilly terdekat dari mana aku bisa naik tube menuju Heathrow.

Berjalan menembus salju di London

Walaupun setidaknya ini hanya lah salju (dan bukannya hujan) sehingga “berjalan menembusnya” masih adalah pilihan yang bisa dilakukan, tetap aja ini bukan lah hal yang mengasyikkan! Haha ๐Ÿ˜† . Aku tiba di stasiunnya dengan kacau banget deh dimana mantel dan tubuhku terlumuri salju semua, haha ๐Ÿ˜† . Singkat cerita, akhirnya aku menaiki tube dan tiba di Terminal 4 Bandara Heathrow sekitar 45 menit kemudian.

Akuย check-inย dan kemudian melalui pemeriksaan sekuriti melalui jalur prioritas berkat status SkyTeam Elite Plusku ๐Ÿ˜› . Dan kemudian, jelas aku masuk ke Lounge SkyTeam yang kece banget di bandara ini. Aku duduk di salah satu kursinya dan menraktir diriku sendiri dengan kue-kue dan minuman yang enak-enak deh. Ya habis rasanya aku berhak dihadiahi gitu kan setelah pagi keras dengan salju yang baru saja aku hadapi, haha ๐Ÿ˜› .

Bagian minumannya Lounge SkyTeam yang kece banget di Heathrow

Nah, ketika check-in di lounge-nya, resepsionisnya bertanya apakah aku mau didaftarkan untuk komplimen facial spa treatment selama 15 menit dari Clarins. Oh wow, asyik banget nih ya dan sama seperti fasilitas di lounge yang aku dapatkan di Lounge Air France di Bandara John F. Kennedy di New York! Jelas aja lah ya aku mau! Huahaha ๐Ÿ˜› . Spa treatment-nya asyik banget lho dan memang relaxing banget lah; dan setelahnya beautician-nya juga memberiku satu botol kecil moisturizer-nya Clarins sebagai hadiah! :mrgreen:

Facial spa treatment di Lounge SkyTeam di Heathrow

Melalui app Flightradar24-ku, aku tahu bahwa penerbanganku akan terlambat. Nggak mengherankan sih karena cuacanya. Bahkan di Heathrow-pun juga bersalju lumayan parah lho. Dan memang, sekitar jam 11:30 pagi diumumkan bahwa penerbanganku telah ditunda hingga jam 1:20 siang. Dan jadilah aku bersantai saja di lounge-nya, sekalian makan siang juga.

Di Heathrow juga bersalju lumayan deras

Namun, tetap aja aku tidak melihat tanda-tanda adanya pesawat KLM yang berangkat dari Schiphol ke Heathrow di app-ku. Di sisi lain, jam sudah menunjukkan pukul 1:30 sementara monitornya masih menunjukkan jadwal jam 1:20 siang itu. Jadilah aku bertanya ke resepsionisnya yang mana ketika itu baru saja diberi-tahu bahwa penerbangan KLMku resmi dibatalkan!ย ๐Ÿ˜ฑย Ia memberi-tahuku untuk kembali ke konter tiketnya KLM di area check in dari mana petugasnya KLM akan bisa membantuku.

Agak repot lho untuk kembali dari airside ke konter penjualan tiketnya di landside-nya Heathrow karena ini adalah bandara Inggris yang mana artinya aku harus melewati pemeriksaan imigrasi pula! Dan ketika aku di sana, antrian panjang telah terbentuk di depan konternya, termasuk jalur SkyPrority! Ya sudah, tak ada yang lebih yang bisa kulakukan pada waktu ini kecuali menunggu dengan sabar dan pasrah.

Antrian panjang penumpang yang penerbangannya terbatalkan di Heathrow.

Sembari menunggu, beberapa petugas membagikan petunjuk kompensasi dari KLM. Mereka juga menginformasikan bahwa semua penerbangan tujuan Amsterdam telah dibatalkan hari ini dan ketidak-pastiannya yang amat tinggi untuk keesokan harinya. Mereka meyakinkan kami bahwa KLM sedang berupaya memindahkan kami ke penerbangan pertama yang tersedia; tetapi ini akan memakan waktu karena yang terkena masalah cuaca parah adalah Bandara Schiphol, bandara pusat aktivitasnya KLM. Artinya KLM sendiri sedang menghadapi situasiย chaos yang amat besar saat ini.

Penerbanganku dibatalkan.

Sembari menunggu, sekalian aku mencari kamar hotel di dekat Heathrow. Untungnya, aku masih menemukan beberapa dengan harga last minute yang masih masuk akal; yang mana sedikit menenangkanku. Aku menunggu di antriannya, yang nyaris tak bergerak sama sekali, selama lebih dari satu jam.

Hingga di satu waktu, petugas tiketnya bertanya siapa saja kah penumpang dengan tujuan akhir Amsterdam. Mungkin sekitar 50 penumpang mengacungkan jari, termasuk aku. Ia memberi-tahu kami bahwa jika kami masih mau naik pesawat, kemungkinan kami baru bisa berangkat di hari Selasa karena ramalan cuaca hari Seninnya bahkan lebih buruk daripada hari ini (Minggu). Sebagai alternatif, KLM telah menyiapkan sebuah bus untuk mengantarkan kami ke Schiphol yang akan segera diberangkatkan. Jelas ini tidak akan menjadi perjalanan yang nyaman , tetapi setidaknya kami akan dipastikan tiba di Amsterdam di hari Senin subuh. Pilihan bus ini tidak lah wajib sama sekali btw dan jika kami tidak menghendakinya, KLM masih akan tetap memindahkan kami ke penerbangan pertama ke Amsterdam yang memungkinkan.

Perkiraan rutenya apabila kami memilih perjalanan dengan bus.

Aku memutuskan untuk mengambil alternatif dengan bus ini karena juga waktu itu aku belum mendapatkan kepastian konfirmasi penerbangan penggantiku. Di samping itu, ini juga berarti terpenuhinya satu item di bucket list-ku yang sebenarnya sudah terlupakan dan tersisihkan, yaitu untuk bepergian dengan semua moda transportasi umum di antara Belanda dan London. Hanya bus lah satu-satunya yang tersisa (lainnya adalah: pesawat, kereta api, dan kapal feri); jadi ini terasa seperti “jawaban” alam semesta akan item ini, haha. Ketika mendaftarkan-diri di busnya, KLM juga memberikan voucher senilai ยฃ4,50 untuk membeli bekal untuk perjalanan panjang dengan bus ini.

When all flights to Amsterdam from London get cancelled due to heavy snow at Schiphol and KLM (the airline) arranges a bus service between the two as the best possible solution due to tomorrow's forecast that isn't any better. Funnily I don't think it is that bad because this actually means the fulfillment of a long forgotten bucket list item of mine that is to travel between the Netherlands and London with all possible means of public transport. Bus was the only one missing as I have (obviously) taken many flights, the Eurostar trains, and the ferry boat services! Lol #Zilkos2017WeekendTrip #travelexperience #selfie #Heathrow #HeathrowSelfie #London #England #travelling #travelwoes #winter #winterproblems #snowproblems #UK #๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง #โœˆ๏ธ #experience #bucketlist #thisislife #KL1010 #LHRAMS #KLM #frequentflyer #instaselfie #selfienation #thisiswhyitravel #instawinter #wintergram #HeathrowTerminal4 #instaHeathrow

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Singkat cerita, bus kami tiba di depan terminal. Setelah naik, aku duduk di salah satu kursinya dan untungnya busnya tidak penuh sehingga kursi di sebelahku kosong, haha. Aku berharap busnya dilengkapi dengan wifi tetapi sayangnya harapanku tidak dikabulkan ๐Ÿ˜› . Setelah semua penumpang naik, perjalanan darat kami ke Belanda dimulai. Iya, entah bagaimana kami memulai hari ini dengan berpikir akan naik penerbangan nyaman selama satu jam dari London ke Amsterdam dan kenyataannya kami sekarang berada di atas bus di rute yang sama. Sungguh sebuah hari yang penuh petualangan ya!

Menaiki bus yang sudah disediakan KLM sebagai alternatif untuk menuju Schiphol melalui jalur darat.

Di perjalanan ini, aku mendapatkan notifikasi dari KLM bahwa aku sudah digantikan tiket di penerbangan pertama yang tersedia, yaitu di penerbangan KL1002 dengan keberangkatan jam 08:40 di: hari Selasa pagi! Haha. Ya, waktu itu sih aku cukup lega aku memilih alternatif dengan bus ini.

Juga, petugas pengantar kami mendapatkan informasi bahwa Terowongan Channel ditutup karena cuaca buruk. Sayangnya, ini berarti kami harus menyeberangi Selat Channel dengan cara yang pelan: yaitu dengan menumpang kapal feri. Jadilah tiga jam setelah keberangkatan, kami tiba di Pelabuhan Dover darimana kapal ferinya akan berangkat. Awalnya, kami berencana naik kapal feri jam 19:55 dengan tujuan Calais di Prancis karena (1) ini adalah jadwal paling awal dan (2) rute ini adalah rute yang lebih pendek ke Prancis (Karena kecepatan kapal feri yang rendah, artinya meminimalisasi waktu di kapal feri juga berarti minimalisasi total waktu perjalanan). Namun, kapal ferinya ternyata terlambat malam itu dan baru akan diberangkatkan jam 21:30. Jadilah petugas pengantar kami memutuskan untuk naik kapal jam 20:00 dengan tujuan Dunkerque di Prancis. Rute feri ini sedikit lebih jauh tetapi ini adalah pilihan tercepat malam itu. Btw untuk catatan sampingan nih, keren lho pemeriksaan sekuriti dan imigrasinya dilakukan tanpa kami, para penumpang, harus turun dari bus!

Pelabuhan Dover di Inggris.

Singkat cerita, kami menaiki kapalnya tepat sebelum jam 20:00. Total perjalanan dengan kapal ferinya adalah dua jam sehingga tentu saja kami tidak akan “dikurung” di dalam bus di perjalanan ini. Kami “dilepas” ke area penumpang di kapalnya. Dengan hanya sembilan dek, kapal ini jauh lebih kecil daripada kapal feri “biasa”-ku dari Hoek van Holland – Harwich yang memiliki dua belas dek. Aku pergi ke restorannya dan memesan schnitzel ayam (yang mana saus jamurnya terasa aneh banget menurutku) untuk makan malam.

Total perjalanannya adalah sekitar dua jam. Karena kaparnya lebih kecil, “goyangan”-nya juga lebih terasa daripada kapal feri Hoek van Holland – Harwich yang kunaiki sebelumnya. Untuk mencegah diriku mabuk laut, aku memutuskan untuk jalan-jalan aja mengelilingi dua dek area penumpang di dalam kapalnya, haha. Ada sebuah toko, dua restoran, sebuah bar/kafe, area game, dan beberapa lounge di kapal ini.

Di dalam kapal feri Dover – Dunkerque

Sekitar jam 23:00 waktu setempat, kami merapat di Dunkerque di Prancis. Kami kembali ke bus dan setelah pintu kapal dibuka, kami melanjutkan perjalanan ke Schiphol dengan melintasi Belgia. Perjalanannya sedikit lebih lama dari perkiraan karena sopirnya harus berhati-hati dengan jalanan yang licin akibat salju. Aku sendiri sangat lelah sehingga aku tertidur di sepanjang perjalanan ke Schiphol!

Sekitar 20 menit sebelum mendarat, pengantarnya membangunkan kami dan memberi-tahu bahwa kami sudah nyaris tiba di tujuan. Ia mengucapkan salam kepada kami dan mengingatkan kami untuk tidak melupakan apa pun di dalam busnya karena ia, sopirnya, dan busnya akan langsung kembali ke Inggris begitu menurunkan kami di Schiphol! :O Gila ya! Dan jadilah kami memberikan tepuk tangan kepada mereka karena telah bercapek-capek mengantarkan kami ke Belanda.

Rasanya senang sekali akhirnya tiba di Schiphol!

Kami tiba di Schiphol sekitar jam 3 subuh di hari Senin. Aku lihat ada banyak penumpang terlantar yang harus menginap semalam di bandara yang lalu-lintasnya terganggu dan kacau balau ini. Karena tidak ada transportasi umum yang jadwalnya enak di jam-jam kayak begini, aku memutuskan untuk naik taksi untuk langsung pulang ke rumah. Ini, btw, adalah pertama kalinya aku naik taksi dari Schiphol lho! Haha ๐Ÿ˜› .

Dan akhirnya setelah perjalanan dengan taksi selama 30an menit yang menghabiskan biaya โ‚ฌ60 (hampir Rp 1 juta ๐Ÿ˜…; yang mana ditanggung KLM sebagai customer service gestureย ๐Ÿ˜), aku akhirnya tiba di rumah juga!


#2043 – A Winter Weekend in London (Part I: London)


Before the story becomes too old, here is the story of my weekend trip to London which took place last month in December. Posts in the A Winter Weekend in London mini series:
1. Introduction
2. Part I: London
3. Part II: The Long Way Home

KLM KL 983 (Amsterdam – London-City)

Flight: KLM KL 983 operated by CityJet
Equipment: Avro RJ 85 reg EI-RJW
ATD: 09:04 CET (Runway 36L of AMS)
ATA: 08:48 GMT (Runway 27 of LCY)

Learning from my latest experience in London, I decided that I would want to fly to London City Airport (LCY) this time around. Beside, I felt like I had an unfinished business with LCY because the last time my flight did not land at runway 09, haha ๐Ÿ˜› . However, in its winter schedule KLM only scheduled two daily flights to LCY on a Saturday. Unfortunately, both flights were at the ungodly hours of 08:05 and 08:40 departure. Of course I chose the lesser of the two evil that was the 08:40 flight, haha ๐Ÿ˜› .

I already checked-in online and secure the awesome 3F seat. This way, if the flight would land at runway 09 as I had hoped today, I would get the amazing view of London upon landing! ๐Ÿ˜€ However, upon boarding, I got notified that I was upgraded to Europe Business Class on this flight (which I assumed partially because the cancellation of the 08:05 flight) and was assigned an aisle 2C seat!! While this was certainly awesome, deep down I was also a little bit annoyed because if we were to land at runway 09 at LCY, I would not get my London view! Haha ๐Ÿ˜›

Anyway, the flight today would be operated with the cute CityJet’s Avro RJ85 reg EI-RJW. EI-RJW was parked at a remote stand today so we were taken by a bus to the plane. I boarded the plane and settled onto my 2C seat. The seat position was quite awkward btw because of the “misalignment” of row 1 that only had two seats, thus I felt like part of “my space” was “intruded” by boarding passengers during boarding.

The breakfast service in Europe Business Class on board KLM flight KL983 operated by CityJet

It turned out we were taking off from the Polderbaan this morning so it was quite a long taxi to the runway. Not long after take-off, the breakfast service commenced. I was given the breakfast menu which consisted of ham, cheese, yoghurt, and some fresh fruit. I accompanied those with coffee because I did not want people to judge by ordering champagne on a morning flight ๐Ÿ˜› . As with my previous flight on board Europe Business Class between London-City and Amsterdam, the meal occupied myself pretty much through the entire duration of the short flight.

It turned KLM knew better and I was lucky today, because we did not land at runway 09! We flew straight from Amsterdam and landed at runway 27, the same runway as in my previous trip. So I was really glad to get upgraded to Europe Business Class this time because I did not miss any view upon landing! Hahaha ๐Ÿ˜› . Thanks KLM ๐Ÿ˜›

A CityJet’s Avro RJ85 reg EI-RJW at London City Airport

Anyway, I just loved arrival at London-City Airport. It was super effecient, again, where it took me less than 20 minutes to get off the airport after EI-RJW touched down at runway 27.


Months ago upon searching for ideas of what to visit in London, I stumbled upon the following Garuda Indonesia’s post on Instagram:

Oh wow! Certainly I found it really cute and so I immediately put Camden Market as a place to visit on this weekend trip, haha. And so from London City Airport I took the DLR towards Bank, and then changed to a tube to Camden Town.

It was sunny at the Camden Market in London this morning.

London was quite sunny this morning, but don’t be fooled by this appearance because it was still like 1ยฐC outside at the time! Haha ๐Ÿ˜› .

Anyway, Camden Market was quite cool where some shops indeed put up some decoration on their buildings, adding special “vibe” to it. Btw for some reason the market was very crowded today. I tried to enjoy it while at the same time was looking for the building with the plane ๐Ÿ˜› . However, after looking for it for about an hour, I still could not find it. And so I resorted to Google to look for its location. And at the location, it turned out that:

The plane had been taken down in Camden

Yeah, it turned out that the plane had been taken down! Damn!!ย  Well, no wonder I could not find it and it kinda disappointed me a little bit! Haha…

Anyway, it was almost noon already so I decided to go straight to my hotel to check in and get some rest. My hotel was located in western London so it took me quite some time to get there, haha.

Once I was in my room and got connected to the wifi, I received a notification from KLM that my flight to Amsterdam for the next day had been cancelled due to bad weather forecast and that they were working on rebooking me to another flight. I kept checking the rebooking option via my KLM app (which was just as up to date, it was really cool, btw!) but could not find a convenient option. The only options that I got were the 06:30 AM or the 06:15 AM flights via Paris. Obviously I wasn’t going to take a flight that early! After waiting for some time, finally I got an opening at the 11:45 AM flight and I decided to grab it!

I also decided to order a lunch at the hotel while dealing with my cancelled flight situation.

The flight drama turned out to “awaken” me and somehow I did not feel the need to nap anymore. So after securing a seat on the 11:45 AM flight, I was getting ready to go out again.

I decided to walk east and reached the Royal Albert Hall before turning south to the Natural History Museum which I last visited in 2013. The museum was quite busy this evening as there was an ice skating rink and a carrousel there.

Christmas vibe at the Natural History Museum in London

For whatever reason, London was super busy this evening too. The tube was so full of people that it actually became really uncomfortable! Originally planning to go to my favorite area of the City of London by the River Thames, I had to switch it last minute to Covent Garden and Soho, haha. Even then, it did not mean that I avoided the crowd because it was also very busy there!

Piccadilly Circus in London

Understanding that I would not be able to get a seat at a descent restaurant, I decided to have dinner at a walk-in Japanese fast food restaurant and had a chicken katsu curry that was really cheap (but also wasn’t the best Japanese dish ever as well). From there, I took the tube to go back to the hotel.

At the hotel, I ended the day by taking a very comfortable hot bath before going to bed, haha…



Posting-posting dalam serial mini A Winter Weekend in London:
1. Introduction
2. Part I: London
3. Part II: The Long Way Home

KLM KL 983 (Amsterdam – London-City)

Penerbangan: KLM KL 983 operated by CityJet
Pesawat: Avro RJ 85 reg EI-RJW
ATD: 09:04 CET (Runway 36L of AMS)
ATA: 08:48 GMT (Runway 27 of LCY)

Belajar dariย pengalamanku yang sebelumnya di London, kali ini aku memutuskan untuk terbang ke Bandara London City (LCY) saja. Di samping itu, masih ada perasaan “belum selesai” dengan LCY karenaย terakhir kali kan penerbanganku tidak mendarat di landasan pacu 09, haha ๐Ÿ˜› . Namun, di musim dingin ini KLM hanya memiliki jadwal penerbangan dua kali sehari saja ke LCY di hari Sabtu. Sayangnya, keduanya adalah di jam yang malesin banget yaitu keberangkatan jam 08:05 dan 08:40 pagi. Ya sudah, aku memilih yang lebih tidak malesin yaitu penerbangan jam 08:40, haha ๐Ÿ˜› .

Aku sudah check-in onlineย dan mengamankan kursi 3F yang asyik banget. Dengan begini, jika memang penerbangannya mendarat di landasan pacu 09 seperti harapanku, aku akan mendapatkan pemandangan kota London yang kece ketika mendarat! ๐Ÿ˜€ Namun, ketika boarding, aku diberi-tahu bahwa ternyata aku di-upgradeย ke kelas bisnis Eropaย dong di penerbangan ini (yang mana aku asumsikan setengahnya disebabkan karena penerbangan jam 08:05 yang dibatalkan) dan kursiku dipindahkan ke kursi lorong 2C!! Walaupun ini jelas asyik banget, tetapi di dalam hatiku ada sedikit perasaan sebal karena jika beneran pesawatnya mendarat di landasan pacu 09, artinya aku tidak akan mendapatkan pemandangan kece Londonku itu kan! Haha ๐Ÿ˜›

Anyway, penerbangan hari ini akan dioperasikan dengan Avro RJ85nya CityJet dengan rego EI-RJW. EI-RJW diparkir di tempat parkir remote sehingga kami diantarkan kesana dengan bus. Aku naik ke pesawatnya dan duduk di kursi 2Cku. Posisi kursinya agak awkward btw karena agak “tidak lurus” dengan baris 1 yang hanya memiliki dua kursi, sehingga terasa “ruangku” sedikit “terusik” oleh penumpang yang sedang naik pesawat ketika boarding.

Layanan sarapan di kelas bisnis Eropa di dalam penerbangan KLM KL983 dioperasikan oleh CityJet

Ternyata kami akan lepas landas dari Polderbaan pagi ini sehingga taxiing-nya lama. Tak lama setelah lepas landas, layanan sarapan diberikan. Aku diberikan satu nampan sarapan yang berisi ham, keju, yoghurt, dan potongan buah segar. Aku menemaninya dengan segelas kopiย soalnya aku nggak mau orang men-judge jika aku memesan champagne di penerbangan pagi ๐Ÿ˜›ย . Seperti penerbanganku yang laluย di kelas bisnis Eropa di antara London-City dan Amsterdam, makanan ini menyibukanku di hampir sepanjang perjalanan penerbangan jarak pendek ini.

Eh ternyata KLM tahu lebih baik dan aku beruntung hari ini, karena kami tidak mendarat di landasan pacu 09! Kami terbang lurus dari Amsterdan dan mendarat di landasan pacu 27, sama seperti penerbanganku yang lalu. Jadilah aku lega aku di-upgrade ke kelas bisnis Eropa kali ini karena toh aku tidak melewatkan apa pun dari segi pemandangan ketika mendarat! Hahaha ๐Ÿ˜› . Terima kasih KLM ๐Ÿ˜› .

Sebuah Avro RJ85 rego EI-RJW milik CityJet di Bandara London City

Anyway, aku suka banget dengan ketibaan di Bandara London City. Sangat efisien lagi lho, dimana aku hanya membutuhkan waktu kurang dari 20 menit untuk keluar dari bandara setelah EI-RJW menyentuh ujung landasan pacu 27.


Berbulan-bulan sebelumnya ketika mencari ide untuk tempat baru di London untuk kukunjungi, aku melihat posting-nya Garuda Indonesia di Instagram berikut ini:

Oh wow! Kan lucu banget ya dan jadilah aku memasukkan Pasar Camden sebagai tempat untuk kukunjungi di perjalanan ini, haha. Jadilah dari Bandara London City, aku naik DLR ke Bank, dan kemudian berganti naik tube menuju Camden Town.

Cuacanya cerah pagi ini di Pasar Camden di London.

London bercuaca cerah lho pagi ini, tetapi jangan tertipu dengan kecerahannya karena toh suhunya tetap aja 1ยฐC waktu itu! Haha ๐Ÿ˜› .

Anyway, Pasar Camden ternyata keren juga dimana memang beberapa tokonya memasang dekorasi gitu di gedung mereka, sehingga atmosfernya terasa spesial. Btw, entah kenapa pasarnya ramai banget dengan pengunjung nih hari ini. Aku mencoba menikmatinya sementara pada saat yang sama juga mencari gedung dengan pesawatnya itu ๐Ÿ˜› . Namun, setelah mencari-carinya selama satu jam-an, aku tidak kunjung menemukannya. Jadilah aku meng-google lokasi persisnya. Dan ketika aku pergi ke lokasi yang ditunjukkan itu, ternyata:

Dekorasi pesawatnya sudah diturunkan di Camden

Iya dong ternyata pesawatnya sudah diturunkan! Sial!!ย ย ย Ya pantes aja ya kok aku nggak bisa menemukannya dan jadilah aku merasa kecewa! Haha…

Anyway, karena sudah nyaris tengah hari aku memutuskan untuk pergi ke hotelku untuk check in dan beristirahat. Hotelku berada di London barat sehingga aku membutuhkan cukup banyak waktu untuk kesana, haha.

Setelah berada di kamarku dan terkoneksi dengan internet, aku mendapatkan notifikasi dari KLM bahwa penerbanganku ke Amsterdam keesokan harinya dibatalkan karena cuaca buruk dan mereka sedang berusaha mencarikan penerbangan pengganti untukku. Aku terus mengecek pilihan-pilihan yang muncul melalui app-nya KLM (yang mana up to date banget lho, keren banget deh app-nya!) tetapi aku tidak bisa menemukan pengganti yang enak. Pilihan-pilihan yang kutemukan hanyalah penerbangan jam 06:30 pagi atau jam 06:15 pagi via Paris. Eh jelas aja dong ya aku ogah naik penerbangan jam segitu! Setelah kutunggu beberapa saat, akhirnya aku melihat ada satu kursi di penerbangan jam 11:45 pagi dan langsung kursinya aku ambil!

Aku juga memutuskan untuk makan siang di hotel aja sembari mengurus situasi penerbanganku yang dibatalkan itu.

Drama penerbangannya ternyata “membangunkanku” dan entah mengapa aku jadi merasa tidak perlu tidur siang lagi. Jadilah setelah tiket jam 11:45 itu kupastikan, aku bersiap-siap untuk keluar.

Aku berjalan-kaki ke arah timur hingga mencapai Royal Albert Hall dan kemudian berbelok ke selatan ke Natural History Museum yang terakhir kukunjungi di tahun 2013. Museumnya cukup sibuk malam itu karena ada rink untuk ice skating dan carrousel.

Suasana Natal di Natural History Museum di London

Entah mengapa, London amat sibuk malam ini. Tube-nya penuh sesak dengan orang sehingga terasa tidak nyaman! Aku yang awalnya berencana pergi ke tempat favoritku yaitu City of London di sisi Sungai Thames harus akhirnya berpindah tujuan ke Covent Garden dan Soho. Walaupun begini, bukan berarti aku menghindari keramaian karena di dua tempat ini juga ramai banget!

Piccadilly Circus di London

Karena tahu nggak mungkin aku bisa mendapatkan kursi kosong di restoran yang bagusan dikit tanpa reservasi, aku memutuskan untuk makan malam di restoran walk-in dengan menu fast food ala Jepang.ย Aku memesan kari chicken katsu yang harganya murah banget (tetapi ya jelas bukan makanan Jepang paling enak yang pernah kumakan sih, haha). Dari sana aku naik tube untuk kembali ke hotel.

Di hotel, hari ini kuakhiri dengan mandi berendam dengan air hangat yang mana enak banget sebelum akhirnya tidur, haha…


#2029 – A Winter Weekend in London (Introduction)


Posts in the A Winter Weekend in London mini series:
1. Introduction
2. Part I: London
3. Part II: The Long Way Home

As my Instagram followers (@azilko) have known, I went on a weekend trip this weekend. Yep, just literally a week after coming back from my November 2017 trip to Indonesia, I went on another trip! Haha ๐Ÿ˜› Anyway, the destination this time was:

Piccadilly Circus in London

Yes, London, again!! Again as in this was my fourth time visiting London in the last six months or so, haha ๐Ÿ˜› . Why London and, especially, “again”? Well, because why not, haha ๐Ÿ˜› . I mean, I love London!

The main motivation behind this trip was my UK visa that is going to expire soon, so I feel like I need to go there on one more trip before it expires. About the destination, actually I was torn between London or Edinburgh. The flight to Edinburgh was cheaper but I found cheaper hotel in London. However, I had been to London three times already this year while my last trip to Edinburgh was more than five years ago. On the other hand, I loved London! Haha ๐Ÿ˜›

So after going back and forth between the two, in the end I chose London because I found a return flight with departure to London City Airport which in my previous trip there the plane did not land at my favorite runway 09. So I decided to take another chance, who knew I would be luckier this time! (What kind of reasoning is this?) Lolย ๐Ÿ™ˆ.ย Beside, I loved London so I knew I would enjoy this trip anyway.

I also got upgraded (again ๐Ÿ˜†) to Europe Business Class on my flight to London.

However, as my Instagram followers would also have known, not everything went as planned during the trip, especially on the Sunday part. During the weekend, it was snow storming very hard at Schiphol that a lot of flights got cancelled, including all of KLM’s flights to London on Sunday afternoon, including mine. At the time the Monday forecast was also not any good so the uncertainty was high. KLM, though, offered Amsterdam-bound passengers an alternative: that was to take a bus they arranged to travel that afternoon via land to Schiphol. While this certainly was a major inconvenience especially in comparison with the 1 hour flight from London to Amsterdam, at least this way we would arrive in Amsterdam by early morning on Monday (Though they estimated at around midnight).

When all flights to Amsterdam from London get cancelled due to heavy snow at Schiphol and KLM (the airline) arranges a bus service between the two as the best possible solution due to tomorrow's forecast that isn't any better. Funnily I don't think it is that bad because this actually means the fulfillment of a long forgotten bucket list item of mine that is to travel between the Netherlands and London with all possible means of public transport. Bus was the only one missing as I have (obviously) taken many flights, the Eurostar trains, and the ferry boat services! Lol #Zilkos2017WeekendTrip #travelexperience #selfie #Heathrow #HeathrowSelfie #London #England #travelling #travelwoes #winter #winterproblems #snowproblems #UK #๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง #โœˆ๏ธ #experience #bucketlist #thisislife #KL1010 #LHRAMS #KLM #frequentflyer #instaselfie #selfienation #thisiswhyitravel #instawinter #wintergram #HeathrowTerminal4 #instaHeathrow

A post shared by Aurelius Zilko (@azilko) on

I decided to take a spot in the bus. As I said in my Instagram post above, actually I did not think this was *all* bad, haha. At least this way I could cross that item from my bucket list and let’s hope I would never have to go through it again ๐Ÿ˜› .

What would have happened if I did not take this offer, btw? Well, I actually know the answer to this question. During the bus trip, I got a notification that KLM had also rebooked me to the first available flight out of Heathrow to Schiphol that would be on a Tuesday morning, plus compensation to all extra costs (including accommodation and transportation) because of this. But then, of course, I would only arrive in Amsterdam just before noon on Tuesday; and this was, at the time, to assume there would be no prolonged effect of the snow storm on Tuesday morning…

Anyway, here are some teasers from the trip:


Posting-posting dalam seri singkat A Winter Weekend in London:
1. Introduction
2. Part I: London
3. Part II: The Long Way Home

Seperti yang followers Instagramku (@azilko) ketahui, aku pergi dalam sebuah perjalanan akhir pekan weekend kemarin ini. Iyaa, cuma seminggu aja setelah balik dari perjalanan November 2017ku ke Indonesia, aku jalan-jalan lagi doong! Haha ๐Ÿ˜› Anyway, kali ini tujuannya adalah:

Piccadilly Circus di London

Iya, London, lagi!! Lagi karena ini adalah kali keempat aku mengunjungi London loh dalam enam bulan terakhir ini, haha ๐Ÿ˜› . Mengapa London dan, terutama, kok “lagi” sih? Ya, kenapa tidak kan, haha ๐Ÿ˜› . Kan aku suka banget dengan London!

Motivasi utamaku di balik perjalanan ini adalah visa UK-kuย yang akan segera habis masa berlakunya, jadi rasanya aku perlu pergi dalam sebuah perjalanan kesana sekali lagi lah sebelum masa berlakunya habis. Untuk masalah tujuan, sebenarnya aku galau banget antara London atau Edinburgh. Tiket pesawat ke Edinburgh lebih murah tetapi aku menemukan hotel yang lebih murah di London. Namun, aku sudah ke London tiga kali sebelumnya tahun ini saja sementara perjalanan terakhirku ke Edinburghย adalah lebih dari lima tahun yang lalu. Tapi di sisi lain, kan aku suka banget dengan London ya! Haha ๐Ÿ˜›

Jadilah setelah galau berlarut-larut di antara keduanya, pada akhirnya aku memilih London soalnya aku menemukan tiket pp dengan keberangkatan ke Bandara London City dimana di perjalanan terakhirku kesana pesawatnya kan tidak mendarat di landasan pacu 09 yang merupakan favoritku itu kan ya. Jadilah aku memutuskan untuk mencoba peruntunganku lagi, siapa tahu kan aku lebih beruntung kali ini! (Alasan macam apa ini?) Huahahaย ๐Ÿ™ˆ. Di samping itu, toh aku suka banget dengan London yang mana berarti aku tahu pasti aku akan menikmati perjalanan ini.

Dan aku juga di-upgrade (lagi ๐Ÿ˜†) ke kelas bisnis Eropa di penerbanganku ke London loh!

Namun, seperti yang followers Instagramku ketahui, tidak semuanya berjalan sesuai rencana, terutama di hari Minggu. Akhir pekan kemarin, terjadiย badai salju parah di Schipholย yang menyebabkan banyak sekali penerbangan dibatalkan, termasuk semua penerbangannya KLM ke London di Minggu siang, termasuk penerbanganku. Waktu itu, ramalan cuaca untuk hari Senin juga tidak begitu baik sehingga ketidak-pastiannya amat besar. KLM, tapinya, memberikan pilihan alternatif bagi penumpang mereka dengan tujuan akhir Amsterdam: yaitu untuk naik bus yang mereka charter untuk pergi ke Schiphol melalui jalur darat di sore harinya. Walaupun jelas ini sangat amat tidak nyaman jika dibandingkan dengan penerbangan 1 jam dari London ke Amsterdam, setidaknya dengan begini kita akan tiba di Amsterdam di hari Senin subuh (Walaupun perkiraan waktu tibanya adalah tengah malam sih).

When all flights to Amsterdam from London get cancelled due to heavy snow at Schiphol and KLM (the airline) arranges a bus service between the two as the best possible solution due to tomorrow's forecast that isn't any better. Funnily I don't think it is that bad because this actually means the fulfillment of a long forgotten bucket list item of mine that is to travel between the Netherlands and London with all possible means of public transport. Bus was the only one missing as I have (obviously) taken many flights, the Eurostar trains, and the ferry boat services! Lol #Zilkos2017WeekendTrip #travelexperience #selfie #Heathrow #HeathrowSelfie #London #England #travelling #travelwoes #winter #winterproblems #snowproblems #UK #๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง #โœˆ๏ธ #experience #bucketlist #thisislife #KL1010 #LHRAMS #KLM #frequentflyer #instaselfie #selfienation #thisiswhyitravel #instawinter #wintergram #HeathrowTerminal4 #instaHeathrow

A post shared by Aurelius Zilko (@azilko) on

Aku memutuskan untuk mengambil pilihan busnya. Seperti yang kutulis di caption Instagramku di atas, sebenarnya waktu itu aku tidak merasa pilihan ini buruk-buruk banget loh, haha. Dengan begini, setidaknya aku bisa mencoret satu item bucket list-ku itu dan mari berharap aku tidak perlu menghadapinya lagi ๐Ÿ˜› .

Nah, apakah yang akan terjadi andaikata aku tidak memilih pilihan bus ini, btw? Kebetulan aku juga tahu jawabannya. Ketika dalam perjalanan dengan bus itu, aku mendapatkan notifikasi dari KLM bahwa mereka sudah me-rebook-ku di penerbangan pertama yang tersedia dari Heathrow ke Schiphol, yaitu di hari Selasa pagi, termasuk kompensasi untuk semua biaya ekstranya (termasuk akomodasi dan transportasi) karena ini. Tetapi, tentu saja, dengan pilihan ini aku baru akan tiba di Amsterdam di hari Selasa siang; dan ini pun, waktu itu, harus dengan asumsi bahwa badai saljunya sudah berlalu di Selasa pagi…

Anyway, di atas adalah beberapa teasers dari perjalanan ini.

#2022 – Side Stories from Newcastle


Here are a couple of stories from my recent weekend trip to Newcastle upon Tyne.

Ticketing Situation

I took the metro to get to the city from the airport. I bought the ticket in a vending machine and after finishing off my purchase, a piece of paper “flew off” the machine (quite literally). Naturally I thought that was the ticket because the screen said the ticket was being printed at the time. I grabbed it and went to the station.

Long story short I took the metro and got off at the Central Station. There, however, I wasn’t able to get off the station where I couldn’t even insert the “ticket” to the gate. I approached the officer there and she mentioned that what I was holding was not the ticket, it was just the receipt. And yeah, it actually looked quite similar to this:

A ticket receipt

and indeed it was my mistake to not check it when I got it from the machine. I explained my situation to her that I did not know as this was my first time ever in Newcastle. She explained to me how a valid ticket would have looked like, which would have had a yellow stripe (I mean, how was I supposed to know? Haha ๐Ÿ˜› All I knew was that piece of paper flew off the machine after I bought a ticket!). But she believed me that it was an honest mistake and let me go without charging me theย ยฃ20 penalty which would have been imposed for a traveller without a valid ticket! Thank you!! ๐Ÿ™‚

A valid Metro ticket in Newcastle

A Cemetery

In Gateshead, I saw the following banner:

The building was for hire

saying that this particular building was available for hire for events like wedding, conference, dinner party, etc. But when I looked over what the building was like, it was actually:

A cemetery in Newscastle

Yeah, it was partially a cemetery!

Well, I guess there might be a certain market for that! Haha ๐Ÿ˜†


Berikut ini dua cerita dari perjalanan akhir pekan singkatku ke Newcastle upon Tyne baru-baru ini.

Insiden tiket metro

Aku naik metro untuk pergi dari bandara ke kota. Aku membeli tiketnya di sebuah mesin dimana setelah selesai dengan pembayaranku, satu potong kecil kertas “terbang” terlempat keluar dari mesinnya (dalam artian sebenarnya). Ya jelas dong aku kira itu tiketnya karena layarnya juga berkata tiket sedang dicetak waktu itu. Aku mengambilnya dan pergi ke stasiun.

Singkat cerita aku menaiki metronya dan turun di Central Station. Di sana, tapinya, aku tidak bisa keluar dimana bahkan aku tidak bisa memasukkan “tiket”-nya ke gerbang pintunya itu. Aku kemudian menghampiri petuagsnya di sana dimana ia berkata bahwa yang kupegang bukanlah tiket, tetapi hanya bonnya saja. Dan ya, memang sih penampakannya kurang lebih seperti ini:

Bon tiket

dan memang salahku juga aku tidak mengeceknya ketika aku mengambilnya dari mesin. Aku menjelaskan situasiku ke petugasnya dan kubilang bahwa aku tidak tahu dan ini adalah kali pertamaku di Newcastle. Ia jelaskan penampakan dari tiket yang valid, yang mana terdapat garis berwarna kuning (Ya kan meneketehe ya? Haha ๐Ÿ˜› . Yang kutahu kan kertas itu keluar dari mesinnya setelah tiketnya kubeli!). Tetapi ia percaya padaku kok bahwa ini adalah honest mistake dan mengizinkanku untuk keluar tanpa memberikan penaltiย  ยฃ20 yang dikenakan ke penumpang yang ketahuan tidak membawa tiket! Terima Kasih!! ๐Ÿ™‚

Tiket metro yang valid di Newcastle.


Di Gateshead, aku melihat spanduk ini:

Gedungnya bisa disewa

yang berkata bahwa gedung ini bisa disewa untuk acara-acara seperti pesta pernikahan, konferensi, pesta makan malam, dll. Tetapi ketika dalam arenya aku lihat, penampakannya seperti ini:

Kuburan di Newcastle

Iya dong, sebagian area gedungnya itu adalah kuburan!

Yah, mungkin memang ini ada pangsa pasarnya tersendiri juga kali yah! Haha ๐Ÿ˜†

#2014 – A Weekend in Newcastle


I went to Newcastle last weekย for a short weekend getaway. And here is the story of this trip.

Getting to/back from Newcastle

At first, I was wondering whether to take KLM’s morning flight (departure at around 9 AM) or its noon flight (departure at around 12 PM) to get to Newcastle. However, after some considerations, that was heavily influenced by me not wanting to get up too early on Saturday morning ๐Ÿ˜› , I decided to take the latter. This flight was operated by a KLM Cityhopper’s Embraer 190 reg PH-EZS. Here is the landing video with PH-EZS at Newcastle International Airport:

For the returning flight, I took KLM’s last flight of the day that was operated by a Boeing 737-700 reg PH-BGN. This returning flight was delayed by around 40 minutes, though, apparently due to a technical problem with the original plane deployed for the flight to Newcastle from Amsterdam which prompted KLM to find a replacement aircraft. Anyway, both were pleasant regular short-haul flights with KLM.

A KLM’s Boeing 737-700 reg PH-BGN named “Jan van Gent” at Newcastle International Airport

Newcastle upon Tyne

I guess the “upon Tyne” part of the city’s name is to distinguish this Newcastle from “other” Newcastles, haha ๐Ÿ˜† . The name speaks for itself, though, the city, which also has a castle in it, lies on the bank of the River Tyne. This part of the city also happened to be my favorite part. You know, I like bridges and there are several cool bridges crossing the River Tyne in Newcastle, so it is a no brainer to me! Haha ๐Ÿ˜› .

The “Tyne” part of Newcastle upon Tyne

But Newcastle is, of course, more than just the “Tyne part”. To the north of the river is the old town area with cool European-styled buildings and quite some numbers of monuments. To the south of the river is Gateshead, a separate town which I found to be more modern architecturally.

A Newcastle selfie

On my second day in the city I decided to make use of theย ยฃ5 day-saver ticket which covered a very wide area of Newcastle and the surrounding, even to the Tynemouth and Sunderland area some 15-20 km away! Such a good deal if you ask me. For my route I decided to take the yellow line to the south of River Tyne to the village of South Shields. From there, I would cross the Tyne with a ferry crossing to the village of North Shields. I would then go to Tynemouth and after that back to Newcastle with the yellow line to the north of River Tyne. Such a fine plan, where everything also went smoothly!ย ๐Ÿค“ย Btw, of course my day-saver ticket also covered the seven minutes ferry crossing.

The mouth of River Tyne in Tynemouth

Btw, Tynemouth was another place in the area whose name was literal. This town was located by the North sea and literally at the mouth of River Tyne, hence the name, “Tynemouth”. Well, I guess whoever naming it wasn’t feeling that creative that day, haha ๐Ÿ˜› . Anyway, Tynemouth turned out to be quite an interesting small town. There was a beautifully preserved castle by the sea and there was a weekend market going on every weekend at the Tynemouth metro station! I almost bought myself a painting at the market before I realized it would be quite some work to fit the painting into my backpack to bring it back to the Netherlands, haha…

Tynemouth Castle

Speaking of the food, unfortunately I did not have the opportunity to really explore it. I faced the same situation as I did in Cardiff back in September where it was pretty much almost impossible to get a seat at a popular restaurant without a reservation on a Saturday evening. So I ended up going to a world-themed restaurant inside a mall. Even then, the waitress warned me that they were so busy it might take some 40 minutes before my meal was ready. Actually I was still not that hungry at that point so this was actually perfectly fine for me as long as I could sit, haha. That evening I decided to order a lamb tagine with a Swedish cider which, a bit disappointingly, was served within 10 minutes only since I ordered, haha… . It was delicious!

A lamb tagine and a Swedish cider for dinner

Yeah, that was my short weekend trip to Newcastle. I did not go to any party in this party city so probably I still haven’t got the complete picture of the city, though. But overall it was still a fun weekend which I had in Newcastle anyway.


Aku pergi keย Newcastle akhir pekan minggu laluย untuk sebuah perjalanan singkat. Dan berikut ini ceritanya.

Pergi ke/kembali dari Newcastle

Awalnya, aku galau apakah aku akan terbang dengan penerbangan paginya KLM (keberangkatan jam 9an pagi) atau penerbangan tengah harinya (keberangkatan sekitar jam 12 siang) untuk pergi ke Newcastle. Namun, setelah beberapa pertimbangan, yang mana terutama adalah aku ogah bangun pagi-pagi amat di hari Sabtu ๐Ÿ˜› , aku memutuskan untuk mengambil penerbangan yang kedua. Penerbangan ini dioperasikan dengan sebuah Embraer 190nya KLM Cityhopper dengan rego PH-EZS. Berikut ini video pendaratannya PH-EZS di Bandara Internasional Newcastle:

Untuk penerbangan kembaliku, aku menaiki penerbangan terakhirnya KLM hari itu yang dioperasikan dengan pesawat Boeing 737-700 rego PH-BGN. Penerbangan kembali ini terlambat sekitar 40an menit, btw, yang mana ternyata dikarenakan masalah teknis di pesawat yang aslinya dijadwalkan untuk terbang ke Newcastle dari Amsterdam sehingga KLM harus mencari pesawat pengganti. Anyway, keduanya adalah penerbangan jarak pendek yang nyaman dengan KLM.

Sebuah Boeing 737-700nya KLM rego PH-BGN bernama “Jan van Gent” di Bandara Internasional Newcastle

Newcastle upon Tyne

Aku duga bagian “upon Tyne” dari nama kota ini adalah untuk membedakannya dari Newcastle-Newcastle “lainnya”, haha ๐Ÿ˜† . Maksud namanya mah jelas banget ya karena kotanya, yang mana di dalamnya juga terdapat sebuah kastil, terletak di pinggiran sungai Tyne. Kebetulan bagian ini dari kota ini jugalah favoritku. Ya gimana ya, aku kan memang suka jembatan dan ada beberapa jembatan keren yang membentang menyebrangi sungai Tyne di Newcastle, haha!

Bagian “Tyne” dari Newcastle upon Tyne

Tetapi tentu saja Newcastle itu lebih dari sekedar “bagian Tyne”-nya saja. Di sisi utara sungainya terdapat area kota tua kece dengan bangunan-bangunan ala Eropa dan beberapa monumen. Di sisi selatan sungainya adalah Gateshead, sebuah kota terpisah yang mana bagiku nampak lebih modern secara arsitektur.

Newcastle selfie

Di hari keduaku di sana, aku memutuskan untuk menggunakan tiket harian ยฃ5 yang mencakup area yang luas di Newcastle dan sekitarnya, bahkan termasuk area Tynemouth dan Sunderland yang berjarak sekitar 15-20an km dari Newcastle! Lumayan deh menurutku. Untuk ruteku, aku memutuskan untuk menaiki metro jalur kuning di sisi selatan sungai Tyne menuju desa South Shields. Dari sana, aku akan menyeberangi sungai Tyne dengan kapal feri menuju desa North Shields. Kemudian aku akan pergi ke Tynemouth sebelum kembali ke Newcastle dengan metro jalur kuning di sisi utara sungai Tyne. Rencana yang oke banget dah, dan pas pula semua berlangsung lancar! ๐Ÿค“ย Btw, tentu saja tiket harian itu juga mencakup biaya penyeberangan dengan kapal ferinya.

Hilir sungai Tyne di Tynemouth

Btw, Tynemouth adalah satu tempat di daerah sana dengan nama yang literal juga. Kota kecil ini terletak di tepian Laut Utara dan berada tepat di hilir (mouth) sungai Tyne, makanya namanya “Tynemouth”. Aku duga sih siapa pun yang dulu menamainya lagi nggak kreatif kali ya hari itu, haha ๐Ÿ˜› . Anyway, Tynemouth ternyata adalah kota kecil yang menarik lho. Ada kastil tua yang terawat dengan indah di tepian pantainya dan ada pasar akhir pekan setiap minggu di stasiun metro Tynemouth! Aku sendiri nyaris membeli sebuah lukisan sampai kemudian ingat gimana cara membawa lukisannya kembali ke Belanda dengan tas ranselku, haha…

Kastil Tynemouth

Ngomongin makanan, sayangnya aku tidak berkesempatan untuk banyak mencobanya. Aku menghadapi situasi yang sama seperti di Cardiff September laluย dimana nyaris mustahil untuk bisa mendapatkan kursi kosong di restoran yang populer di malam Minggu. Jadilah aku akhirnya makan di restoran bertemakan dunia di dalam sebuah mall. Walaupun begitu, pelayannya memperingatkanku lho bahwa mereka sedang sibuk sehingga bisa jadi pesananku baru siap 40 menit kemudian. Sebenarnya pas waktu itu aku juga belum lapar-lapar banget sih sehingga malah beneran dong ya selama aku bisa duduk, haha. Malam itu aku memutuskan untuk mencoba menu lamb tagine dan minum Swedish cider yang mana, sedikit mengecewakannya, disajikan dalam waktu 10an menit saja semenjak aku memesannya, haha… . Kalau masalah rasa sih enak!

Sebuah lamb tagine dan Swedish cider untuk makan malam.

Ya, itu lah cerita perjalanan akhir pekanku ke Newcastle. Aku tidak pergi ke party apa pun sih di kota party ini sehingga mungkin aku masih belum mendapatkan pengalaman komplit akan kota ini. Tetapi secara keseluruhan aku menikmati waktuku di Newcastle kok.

#2010 – A Weekend Story, Again


Yep, as my Instagram followers (@azilko) have known, I went on another weekend trip this weekend! And the destination was Newcastle upon Tyne!! :mrgreen:

Newcastle has been a bit of a bittersweet destination for the travel planning stage this year. You know, because last September I decided to cancel my non-refundable return flight ticket there due to the lack of hotel room availability that weekend possibly because of a special event or something. Consequently, I felt a sense of “unfinished business” with this city, haha ๐Ÿ˜† . And so in late September I was looking for another possibility to plan another weekend trip there. I found a reasonable return ticket with KLM for this weekend, and I decided to buy it; but of course after confirming that there was still good hotel room availability for the weekend! Haha ๐Ÿ˜› .

A KLM’s Boeing 737-700 reg PH-BGN at Newcastle International Airport

Anyway, Newcastle was, well, interesting, let’s put it this way. The old town area was quite beautiful (but so are other English cities), especially the part by the River Tyne with all the bridges. I didn’t go partying while I was there though, while the city was famous for this department. Nevertheless, I still quite enjoyed my time while I was there, which is the most important. And hereย are some teasers from the trip:


Seperti yang followers Instagram-ku (@azilko) ketahui, aku pergi dalam sebuah perjalanan akhir pekan lagi kemarin ini! Dan tujuannya adalah: Newcastle upon Tyne!! :mrgreen:

Jadi ceritanya Newcastle telah menjadi tujuan yang agak “pahit” begitu untuk tahap perencanaan jalan-jalanku tahun ini. Masih ingat kan, karena September kemarin aku memutuskan untuk membatalkan tiket pp non-refundableย kesana akibat ketiadaan ketersediaan kamar hotel di akhir pekan ini yang mana sepertinya disebabkan oleh ada acara apa gitu. Sebagai akibatnya, aku jadi ada perasaan “penasaran yang belum tertuntaskan” gitu deh dengan kota ini, haha ๐Ÿ˜† . Dan jadilah di akhir September aku mencari kemungkinan untuk mengadakan perjalanan akhir pekan kesana. Aku menemukan tiket pp yang oke dengan KLM di akhir pekan ini dan memutuskan untuk membelinya; tentu setelah memastikan bahwa ketersediaan kamar hotelnya masih bagus ya untuk kali ini! Haha ๐Ÿ˜› .

Sebuah Boeing 737-700 rego PH-BGN milik KLM di Bandara Internasional Newcastle

Anyway, Newcastle ituย ternyata, hmm, interesting, kita sebut begini saja ya. Bagian kota tuanya lumayan indah sih (tetapi mah kota-kota lain di Inggris juga begitu, haha), terutama bagian di sisi sungai Tyne dengan semua jembatannya itu. Aku nggak pergi partying di sana padahal kota ini kan terkenal untuk party-nya, haha. Toh walaupun begitu, aku masih lumayan menikmati waktuku di sana kok, yang mana ini adalah yang paling penting dong ya. Di atas aku unggah beberapa foto sebagai teasers dari perjalanan ini.

#1987 – A Weekend in Manchester


I went to Manchester for a weekend not too long ago. So let’s start the story ๐Ÿ˜€

Getting to/back from Manchester

A KLM’s Boeing 737-700 reg PH-BGL at Schiphol

I flew on three segments this weekend, a direct Amsterdam – Manchester flight with a KLM’s Boeing 737-700 reg PH-BGL and Manchester – Paris and Paris – Amsterdam with Air France’s Airbus A320-200 reg F-HEPA and Airbus A319-100 reg F-GRXE, respectively, haha ๐Ÿ˜› .

The weather in the weekend was not in the best condition, though; where there were quite many minor turbulences along the wayย especially on the two Air France flights I took on Sunday, even more so on the AF1188 flight to Amsterdam. The KLM flight was smooth, though, even though we had to land during rain at Manchester. Here is the landing video was we were landing at runway 23R of the airport:

The KLM flight to Manchester was a little bit “unusual”, though. I was just flying economy but mid-flight, the purser came to my seat, addressed me by name (“Mr. Zilko”), and asked if everything about the flight was alright to me. Wow! As I said before, usually the flight attendants use the neutral “Sir/Ma’am/Miss” in economy! She mentioned that she wanted to make sure everything was alright as she knew that I was flying a lot with KLM/SkyTeam (and for this reason she didn’t ask my seatmates at all, haha ๐Ÿ˜› ). Oh wow, I was really impressed by this and was certainly felt really respected for my loyalty. You know, small things like this sometimes can go very far, can’t they? ๐Ÿ™‚


Manchester Town Hall

I forgot to take into the account the time I would need to spend waiting at immigration when I booked the ticket. The KLM flight was scheduled to land just before 1 PM UK time, so I thought I would have quite plenty of time to spend in Manchester without having to get up too early that day to get to Schiphol, haha. But it turned out that this schedule coincided with the arrival schedule of several other flights from all over Europe as well, thus creating long lines at immigration! And with Manchester Airport’s Terminal 3 being located quite far away from the train station, all in all I could only check-in at my hotel in Manchester just after 3 PM! Haha ๐Ÿ˜† .

As I said above, the weather was also not in the best shape today, where it was raining constantly. So I decided to rest at the hotel while waiting for the rain to stop. I knew this would leave me with very little time to explore Manchester; but nonetheless I had been there once before anyway so it was not like I was going to miss much. Especially that I stayed for four nights the last time I was there, haha.

The (famous) Merchants’ Bridge in Castlefield, Manchester

And so I decided to make use of my short exploring time to go to a site I didn’t visit back then in 2013-2014: Castlefield. In my previous trip I saw the famous Merchants’ Bridge in Castlefield from the tram rides but back then I did not know that it was famous, haha. Since then, I have seen a few movies/tv-series with scenes taking place there, so I told myself the next time I would be in Manchester, I needed to cross that bridge, haha ๐Ÿ˜† . Castlefield was indeed a nice cute part of the industrial Manchester.

Speaking of the city, one difference I noticed was that I saw more homeless people in the street now than 3.5 years ago. This was certainly not a good sign of the state of the economy, perhaps. But I am not going to get into this as social politics or economy are not the scope of this personal blog at all. So I will just leave it here.

Bridges in Manchester

The Food

I decided to consult to Yelp to find a place for dinner. There, I stumbled across Burger and Lobster that was not amongst the best rated in the app but the “lobster” part in the name caught my attention and made me want some lobster, haha. Now that I think about it, the last time I had a lobster was probably almost two years ago at the famous Neptune Oyster in Boston!

When looking at the menu, I was torn between a full lobster dish (steamed or grilled) or a lobster beef burger. I decided to go with the burger because that was the freaking name of the restaurant: burger and lobster, haha ๐Ÿ˜† . A lady sitting across me apparently ordered a full lobster dish and when her order was served, I regretted a little bit that I didn’t opt for that one. But then, I also saw that eating a full lobster was actually not that simple with all the claws and shells and all that; so my regret was immediately gone, haha.

A lobster beef burger

Anyway, the lobster burger was good. I felt like the burger itself was in the smaller size, though; but this was quite possibly because of the expensive lobster meat in it. Though, this was compensated by the chips and side-salad. It was a decent dish, I must say.

The next morning for breakfast, I went to a Frankie and Benny’s. As I entered the restaurant, I realized that it was the same Frankie and Benny’s I had dinner at on New Year’s Eve 3.5 years ago! Somehow it felt really nostalgic! Haha ๐Ÿ˜†

Traditional English Breakfast

Anyway, the reason I went there was because I remembered from my previous trip that they served traditional English breakfast. And this time, I felt like having one, haha. And it was, indeed, good! ๐Ÿ™‚ It was also nice that the hot drink was “bottomless” so I could ask for a refill for my cafe latte, haha ๐Ÿ˜› .


Aku pergi ke Manchester di sebuah akhir pekan belum lama ini. Jadi mari ceritanya kita mulai ๐Ÿ˜€ .

Perjalanan ke/dari Manchester

Sebuah Boeing 737-700nya KLM dengan rego PH-BGL di Schiphol

Aku menaiki tiga penerbangan kali ini, sebuah penerbangan langsung Amsterdam – Manchester dengan Boeing 737-700 rego PH-BGLnya KLM, dan Manchester – Paris dan Paris – Amsterdam dengan Airbus A320-200 rego F-HEPA dan Airbus A319-100 rego F-GRXEnya Air France, haha ๐Ÿ˜› .

Cuaca di akhir pekan ini sedang kurang baik sih, dimana ada cukup banyak turbulensi minor di sepanjang jalan terutama di dua penerbangan Air France yang kunaiki di hari Minggu; terutama di penerbangan AF1188 ke Amsterdam yang rasanya kok penuh turbulensi di sepanjang jalan, haha. Penerbangannya KLM sendiri sih mulus, walaupun kami harus mendarat ketika sedang hujan di Manchester. Berikut ini video pendaratan di landasan pacu 23Rnya:

Penerbangan KLM ke Manchester ini agak sedikit “tidak biasa” untukku. Aku hanya terbang di kelas ekonomi saja tetapi di tengah perjalanan, purser-nya datang ke kursiku, menyapaku dengan nama (“Mr. Zilko”), dan bertanya apakah semuanya baik-baik saja denganku di penerbangan ini. Wow! Sepertiย yang kubilang sebelumnya, biasanya pramugara/i menggunakan panggilan netral “Sir/Ma’am/Miss” di ekonomi kan! Ia menyebutkan bahwa ia ingin memastikan bahwa semuanya baik-baik saja untukku karena ia tahu aku sering terbang dengan KLM/SkyTeam (dan karena alasan ini lah hanya aku saja yang disapa sementara penumpang-penumpang di sebelahku tidak, haha ๐Ÿ˜› ). Oh wow, aku sungguh terkesan dengan ini dan merasa loyalitasku dihargai banget. Tahu lah, kadang hal-hal kecil/sepele semacam ini justru bisa berdampak jangka panjang kan ya? ๐Ÿ™‚


Manchester Town Hall

Aku lupa memperhitungkan waktu menunggu pemeriksaan imigrasi ketika membeli tiket. Penerbangan KLMnya dijadwalkan mendarat sebelum jam 1 siang waktu Inggris sehingga aku kira masih ada cukup banyak waktu lah untukku hari itu jalan-jalan di Manchester tanpa harus bangun pagi banget untuk berangkat ke Schiphol, haha. Tetapi ternyata jadwal ketibaan ini bebarengan dengan jadwal ketibaan beberapa penerbangan maskapai lain dari Eropa sehingga antrian di imigrasinya jadi panjang banget! Dan lagi lokasi Terminal 3 Bandara Manchester yang lumayan jauh dari stasiun keretanya, akhirnya totalnya aku baru bisa check-in di hotelku di Manchester lewat jam 3 sore loh! Haha ๐Ÿ˜†

Seperti yang kusebutkan sebelumnya, cuaca hari ini memang sedang kurang oke, dimana hujan terus-terusan turun. Jadilah aku memutuskan untuk beristirahat dulu di hotel sambil menunggu hujan reda. Aku tahu ini akan berakibat pada waktuku untuk jalan-jalan di Manchester menjadi semakin sempit lagi; tetapi toh aku sudah pernah kesana sebelumnyaย sehingga nggak akan banyak yang terlewatkan kan ya. Terutama lagi dulu aku kan menginap empat malam di sana, haha.

Jembatan Merchants’ (yang terkenal) di Castlefield, Manchester

Dan jadilah waktu yang sedikit itu kumanfaatkan untuk jalan-jalan di area yang dulu di tahun 2013-2014 belum sempat aku kunjungi: Castlefield. Di perjalanan dulu aku melihat Jembatan Merchants’ di Castlefield yang terkenal itu dari tram tetapi dulu aku kan nggak tahu kalau jembatannya terkenal, haha. Semenjak waktu itu, aku sudah menonton beberapa film/acara tv yang mana pernah syuting di jembatannya. Jadilah aku pikir kalau aku ke Manchester lagi, aku akan mampir, haha ๐Ÿ˜† . Castlefield memang adalah satu bagian Manchester yang menarik dan oke kok untuk jalan-jalan.

Ngomongin kotanya, satu perbedaan yang kuperhatikan adalah ada lebih banyak gelandangan sekarang daripada 3,5 tahun yang lalu. Ini jelas bukan pertanda baik dari ekonominya, mungkin. Ah, tetapi aku nggak akan ngomongin ini karena sosial politik dan ekonomi bukanlah cakupan dari blog personal ini kan ya. Jadi aku berhenti di sini saja deh.

Jembatan-jembatan di Manchester


Aku memutuskan untuk berkonsultasi dengan Yelp untuk makan malam. Di sana, aku melihat restoran Burger and Lobster yang sebenarnya bukan termasuk yang dinilai tinggi-tinggit amat tetapi bagian “lobster” dari namanya menarik perhatianku sampai-sampai aku jadi ingin makan lobster, haha. Kalau dipikir-pikir lagi, kalau nggak salah terakhir kali aku makan lobster adalah nyaris dua tahun yang lalu loh di Neptune Oyster di Bostonย yang memang terkenal banget itu!

Ketika melihat menunya, aku galau antarai memilih menu lobster utuh (dikukus atau dibakar) atau burger sapi dan lobster. Aku memutuskan untuk memilih burger pada akhirnya karena sesuai dengan nama restorannya kan ya: burger dan lobster, haha ๐Ÿ˜† . Nah, seorang wanita yang duduk di seberangku ternyata memesan satu lobster utuh dan ketika pesanannya diantarkan, aku sedikit menyesal aku tidak memesannya. Tetapi kemudian, aku baru ingat bawa makan satu lobster utuh itu ribet karena ada capitnya dan kulitnya itu kan; jadilah penyesalanku langsung sirna, haha.

Sebuah burger sapi dan lobster

Anyway, burgernya sendiri lumayan enak kok. Ukuran burgernya cenderung kecil sih; dan aku duga ini dikarenakan daging lobster yang memang mahal kan. Walaupun begitu, kentang goreng dan saladnya membantu banget kok. Lumayan lah secara keseluruhan.

Keesokan paginya untuk sarapan, aku mampir di Frankie and Benny’s. Ketika aku memasuki restorannya, aku baru menyadari bahwa ini adalah Frankie and Benny’s yang sama dengan dimana aku makan malam diย malam tahun baru 3,5 tahun yang lalu! Rasanya kok jadi agak-agak nostalgia gitu! Haha ๐Ÿ˜†

Sarapan tradisional ala Inggris

Anyway, alasan aku mampir kesana adalah aku ingat dari perjalananku yang laluย bahwa mereka menyediakan sarapan tradisional ala Inggris untuk sarapan. Dan kali ini, aku sedang ingin sarapan itu, haha. Dan memang enak kok! ๐Ÿ™‚ Aku juga suka bahwa minuman hangatnya itu bottomless loh, dimana aku bisa meminta refill untuk cafe latte-ku, haha ๐Ÿ˜› .