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

ENGLISH

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!

BAHASA INDONESIA

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!

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#2031 – Wintery December

ENGLISH

December 2017, so far, has been really wintery. Perhaps it is the most wintery December of the past three or four years in the Netherlands!

When it was snowing hard in Amsterdam

You know, it all started last weekend when it snowed for the first time this winter. The last time it snowed in December was way back in 2012 if I am not mistaken! And then the snow went overboard over the weekend which messed my weekend trip to London up, haha. It was still snowing quite hard in Amsterdam on Monday. In fact, that day the KNMI (the Dutch meteorological body) issued a red snow warning! Things have started to go back to “normal winter” since then, thankfully.

Aside from the snow, the Christmas vibe has also been getting stronger and stronger now. The Amsterdam Light Festival has officially started and so the city looks really cool now in the evening with all the pretty lights! A few big Christmas trees are also erected in several squares across the city, for instance at the famous Dam Square.

The Christmas tree at Amsterdam’s Dam Square

Also at the office, a lot of my colleagues brought a lot of cakes and cookies and desserts and those sweet stuffs everyday to celebrate the festive season! Oh wow the temptation was indeed super strong this week! I really needed super strong self control so that I did not consume too much of those evil sweet things! Lol ๐Ÿ˜› I also got my hair cut this afternoon and upon leaving, I was given a bottle of white wine as a Christmas gift! ๐Ÿ˜€

Speaking of this week, finally I had the time to start going back to they gym again! I found it interesting btw that after being absent for only about three and a half weeks, I did feel like my body had “weakened” a little bit. The weight which I used to lift with little to no problem posed a bit of a challenge this week, haha! Oh well…

Anyway, so yeah it has been festive here in Amsterdam nowadays!

Amsterdam Light Festival

BAHASA INDONESIA

Desember 2017, sejauh ini, sudah berasa banget nih musim dinginnya. Mungkin ini adalah Desember yang paling “musim dingin” di Belanda dalam tiga atau empat tahun belakangan!

Ketika bersalju lebat di Amsterdam

Semuanya dimulai akhir pekan yang laluย dimana untuk pertama kalinya salju turun musim dingin ini. Terakhir kali bersalju di bulan Desember adalah di tahun 2012 loh kalau nggak salah! Dan kemudian saljunya terus turun dengan lebay di sepanjang akhir pekan itu sampai-sampai mengacaukanย perjalanan akhir pekanku ke London, haha. Di hari Senin, salju masih turun dengan lebatnya di Amsterdam. Bahkan, hari itu KNMI (badan meteorologinya Belanda) mengeluarkan peringatan salju level merah! Setelah hari itu, cuaca mulai kembali ke cuaca musim dingin sebagaimana biasanya, untungnya.

Di samping salju, suasana Natal juga sudah semakin terasa lebih kuat sekarang. Festival Lampu Amsterdam (Amsterdam Light Festival) juga sudah resmi dimulai sehingga kotanya nampak kece sekarang di malam hari dengan semua hiasan lampunya! Beberapa pohon Natal besar juga sudah dipasang di beberapa lapangan utama di seluruh penjuru kota, seperti misalnya di Lapangan Dam yang terkenal itu.

Pohon Natal di Lapangan Dam (Dam Square) di Amsterdam

Belum lagi di kantor ada banyak kolega yang membawa kue-kue yang manis-manis ke kantor setiap hari untuk merayakan suasana ini! Ya gimana ini godaannya kok banyak bener gini ya! Aku benar-benar membutuhkan kontrol diri yang kuat nih supaya nggak terlalu banyak ngemil yang manis-manis itu! Hahaha ๐Ÿ˜› Aku juga potong rambut siang ini dan ketika akan pulang, aku bahkan diberikan sebotol white wine sebagai hadiah Natal loh! ๐Ÿ˜€

Ngomongin minggu ini, akhirnya aku ada waktu juga nih untuk kembali ke gym! Aku rasa menarik juga dimana aku absen hanya selama tiga setengah minggu tetapi terasa sekali tubuhku kok kayak sudah sedikit “melemah”, haha. Beban yang biasanya bisa aku angkat tanpa masalah jadi terasa sedikit lebih berat nih minggu ini, haha!

Anyway, jadi ya memang di Amsterdam akhir-akhir suasananya sungguh meriah!

Amsterdam Light Festival

#2029 – A Winter Weekend in London (Introduction)

ENGLISH

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:

BAHASA INDONESIA

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.