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Central Europe BRU-PRG-KSC-BTS-BUD-BRU (100 Pics!)  
User currently offlineBrusselsSouth From Belgium, joined Aug 2001, 623 posts, RR: 5
Posted (5 years 7 months 2 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 9496 times:

Hello dear readers,

During July, I was in a *very* busy period at work, so I thought it would be nice to plan a short break somewhere at the end of August, in order to get my mind out of work for a couple of days. Last year, in similar circumstances, I had opted for a quick visit of Warsaw, the capital of Poland, flying Brussels Airlines in b.flex (= economy plus). Because I had much appreciated the trip, and also because I love to visit central / eastern european countries (and no, not for the girls, as I'm married...), I again decided to head East.

This time, I planned to spend one full week away, so I thought it could be fun to visit more than one country, and I eventually chose the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary. Because my budget was rather on the tight side, I combined a redeeming of some Brussels Airlines miles with cheap deals found on the web and finally came up with the following itinerary :

- Brussels - Prague flight on a Brussels Airlines Avro RJ-85.
- Visit of Prague, and the city of Kutná Hora (60 km from Prague, by train).
- Prague - Košice flight on a SkyEurope B737-700.
- Visit of Košice (Slovakia's second city, at the eastern end of the country).
- Košice - Bratislava flight on a SkyEurope B737-700.
- Visit of Bratislava, Slovakia's capital.
- Bratislava - Budapest by train.
- Visit of Budapest.
- Budapest - Brussels flight on a Brussels Airlines B737-300.

Brussels - Prague

BRU - PRG
Brussels Airlines flight SN2809
Avro ARJ-85 OO-DJW, seat 4A
Departure : 10:35, duration : 1:25.

So, in the morning of Saturday, August 23rd, my wife drove me to Brussels Airport, which was somewhat messy on the outside because of important renovation works on the access road and drop-off area. Having checked in online the day before, I had plenty of time before boarding. After a quick photo of the very first Starbucks of Belgium, which just opened in the departures hall of BRU airport, I proceeded through security using the fast line as my b.flex ticket allowed me (I just had to scan a barcode on my printed boarding pass to open the gate restraining access to the fast lane), and entered the A pier after the usual very long walk (Pier A in BRU is dedicated to all Schengen-area flights, and is separated from the main terminal building by a very long underground walkway). I had some cosmetic liquids in my backpack, all packed in a transparent plastic bag as required by regulations, but I completely forgot to take it off the backpack for security. However, they went unnoticed...

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Check-in hall in BRU.

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My flight to Prague just appeared at the end of the flight information display.

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The very first Starbucks of Belgium.

I walked till the end of the concourse and back, to enjoy the views on the apron and runway (25R) through the glassed walls. Somewhat ironically, the earlier flight to Prague, operated by a CSA A320, was delayed and now scheduled to depart at the same time as mine. For those interested, here is a complete list of the aircraft I saw that morning : Adria CRJ in a special "Hit Stars" c/s, Aer Lingus 320, Air France ERJ, American 763, Austrian 320, Belgian Air Force 310, Falcon 50, ERJ-135 and C-130, Brussels Airlines Avros, 319, 737 and 333, Clickair 320, Continental 764, Croatia 319, CSA 320, DHL 757F, Europe Airpost 737, FlyBe ERJ, Futura 737, Jet Airways 332 and 77W, Karthago 737, KLM Cityhopper F100 (white c/s), Lufthansa 320, Malev F70, Saudia Cargo MD-11F, Sky Airlines 737, Syrian 320, Vueling 320.

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Brussels airport Pier A

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Europe Airpost 737, CO 767-400ER, 9W A330-200, SN A330-300 and

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A Brussels Airlines Avro among the heavies...

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The Jet Airways BRU hub in action : 332 and 77W

Boarding for my flight to Prague began at gate A57 (stand 157R) at 10:15. Today, Avro RJ-85 OO-DJW was operating the flight, in code-share with American Airlines. The aircraft may be 12 years old, but its cabin was in pristine condition, clean and neat, with a comfortable 2+3 layout (I don't want to know how it feels on airlines using 3+3). I took my seat 4A and while we were pushed back, right on time at 10:35, I took a quick glance at the rest of the cabin to estimate the load factor : 27 % (8/30) in b.flex economy plus, and a guess of 60 % in b.light economy for this Saturday mid-morning flight. After a 10 minutes taxi, we took off from runway 25R and quickly disappeared in the clouds. Shortly after, the flight attendants (2 females) began the inflight service, consisting of a breakfast tray for b.flex passengers (cheese and ham sandwich, some pastry and a fruit salad, and of course complimentary drinks), and snacks for sale for the b.light pax. The F/As were friendly, but nothing out of the ordinary, and strangely we were not offered free newspapers, as I thought was standard procedure for b.flex passengers.

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The breakfast tray. It will be exactly the same on the BUD-BRU leg.

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Neat cabin of this ARJ-85.

The flight was not long, and after 1 hour and 10 minutes, we were already touching down on Prague runway 24, after a ride between the scattered clouds during which I had some views of the city's historical district. The airport is clearly dominated by CSA aircraft (737s, 320s and ATRs), with some Travel Service 737s operating charters (including one in an interesting Oman Air / Travel Service hybrid livery) and a couple of others (I saw an Air France operated by Brit Air CRJ, and a Delta 767). The airport seemed very modern, clean and airy, and left me an overall good impression. I took some Czech money from an ATM in the arrivals hall, bought a 3-days pass for public transportation, then took the bus 119 to the Dejvická subway station, and I finally reached the center of the old town only 40 minutes after deplaning.

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Downtown Prague and its bridges on the Vltava river in the distance.

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Almost there. Guess who's the dominant operator in Prague ?

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Arrivals hall in PRG.

Prague is really a magnificent city, definitely worth a visit. There are lots of buildings with interesting architecture, plenty of romantic places, and the cost of life is relatively cheap (although it's not always the case in very touristic places). The only drawback in my opinion is that it's much too crowded with tourists during the summer.

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Old town square.

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Splendid architecture on the old town square.

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Funny architecture for this so-called Dancing House...

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Prague castle as seen from the famous Charles Bridge.

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Charles Bridge on the Vltava river.

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Overview of the old town from the castle.

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On the Charles Bridge at dusk...

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Wenceslas square at night.


Babies climbing the Žižkov television tower.

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Still some renovation work to complete in Žižkov.

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The small yellow tower in the back is my hotel.

During my stay, I also visited the Kbely Aviation Museum (free admission), in the northeastern suburbs, with an interesting collection of mainly soviet-era aircraft, including a rare (and superbly restored) example of the Tupolev 104. The museum is located on the Kbely airport, which itself is next door to the Letňany aerodrome, where it's possible to walk virtually on the edge of the (grass) runway (however, the traffic only consists of some occasional Cessna's).

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The grass runway of the Letňany aerodrome.

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Letňany aerodrome sign.

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Nicely restored Tupolev 104 at the Kbely museum.

On Monday, August 25th, I took a train to visit the town of Kutná Hora, some 60 kilometers from Prague, which is known for the Sedlec ossuary, a church decorated with human bones. About 2 kilometers further is the historical town with its Santa Barbara cathedral which is part of the Unesco World Heritage List. Walking in the city itself (and eating on a terrace on the central place) was nice, however spending one day there is more than enough.

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Every single human bone can be found in this morbid candelabra...

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Kutná Hora

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Kutná Hora main station, this small train took me from the downtown station, 2 kilometers away.

Prague - Košice

PRG - KSC
SkyEurope flight NE56
Boeing 737-76N OM-NGL, seat 4A
Departure : 19:00, duration : 1:12.

Upon arriving back in the Prague main train station, I took the subway, then a bus, to reach the airport in Ruzyně, where I arrived at 17:00 for my 19:00 flight to Košice.

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The 119 bus to the airport at the Dejvická subway station.

Prague airport has 2 adjacent terminals, T1 for non-Schengen and domestic flights, and T2 for Schengen flights. Away from the main terminal complex, there is also a smaller terminal used for general and business aviation (this was the original 1937 terminal). The check-in hall of T2 is modern and very airy (it was opened in 2006), and there was no queue at all to check in for my SkyEurope flight to Košice, contrary to the nearby SkyEurope flight to Rimini, Italy. I passed security without hassle and entered the gates area. My flight was due to depart from gate D3, but as I wanted to explore the airport a bit, I went to the end of the D concourse, from where I got great views of taxiing aircraft as well as the active runway (24). Generally speaking, I found some good viewing opportunities at various places of the terminal.

The airport has 3 runways : 06/24, 13/31, and 04/22. The latter is now closed, and the two most used runways are 24 (on which I landed and departed) and 31. Beside, a new 3500 metres runway parallel to 06/24 should be put into service around 2010.

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Terminal 1

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My flight to Košice is scheduled at 19:00.

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Flight information display in the departures hall of Terminal 2.

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Check-in. The left screen showed nice videos about SkyEurope.

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As I was really hungry, I decided to have dinner in the Porto Café Restaurant, located at the intersection of concourses C and D. The beef Stroganov accompanied with Czech beer was actually quite tasty and reasonably priced, at least for an airport. From my table, I had a distant view of the taxiways, where I spotted a KD Avia 737, some Wings Airlines and Travel Service 737s, a Lufthansa A320, a Korean Air A330 and a bunch of CSA planes. After buying some souvenirs, I went to gate D3 where boarding was about to begin. The gate area was too small to seat everyone, although the flight was not full.

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Our neighbour during boarding.

Operating the flight to Košice today was OM-NGL, a 1.5 year old 737-700 equipped with winglets and comfortable fake-leather seats. I noticed that the seat rows on the left and right side of the aisle were not aligned, something I don't remember having seen before. Announcements by the 3 female cabin crew members were made in Czech (or Slovak ? I can't tell the difference...) and difficultly understandable English. It seemed that the majority of passengers were Slovaks from the Košice area. I visually estimated the load factor to be in the 80-85 % range. We pushed back right on time at 19:00, and taxied to the holding point of runway 24, where we had to wait for a couple of landings before lining up and taking off. The evening light was great although the view of the ground was blocked by clouds most of the time, and despite the short flight time the F/As completed a full round of food and duty-free sales.

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Overview of PRG airport.

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Because Košice is at the other end of the GMT+1 time zone when compared to Belgium, night comes significantly earlier here than at home, so even if it was only 20:00 when we approached our destination, it was already completely dark outside. Still, the approach to runway 01 was spectacular. Just south of the airport is a very large industrial plant (now owned by US Steel...) that we overflew while making a sharp left turn for a short final for runway 01. The area is quite dark as roads are generally not lit, but the lights of Košice in the distance, combined with those of the plant just under the wing and the flashing lights of the runway approach made for a fantastic view. It seemed to me that we flew direct to the KE (KOSICE) NDB with an eastern heading, then made the sharp left turn to enter a 3.8 NM final for runway 01. We touched the ground at 20:10 (on time) and taxied to the relatively small (and very dark !) apron where the passenger terminal is located. Parked there were an Air Slovakia 737 and a business jet, both completely shut off. The 737-300 (OM-ASC) seemed to be parked for some time and was still there when I came back to the airport the following day, although there are some recent photos of it in the A.net database where it can be seen at various airports. Immediately after our arrival, an Air Slovakia 757 landed, arriving from Palma de Mallorca as a charter flight. Once in the terminal (small but modern and clean), I took some slovak money from an ATM and went to the street to find a taxi. The driver, although trying to be friendly, did not speak one word of English (or German, for that matter), but fortunately, I had printed a Google map of where my guest house was located, so I managed to explain where I had to go... Oh, and I needed to remind him to switch on the taximeter...

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The dark apron at Košice

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Arrivals area in the Košice terminal.

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Dark street just beside the guest house.

The guest house (Penzión Hradbová Wink was really nice for the city's standards and had helpful English speaking staff. I spent the next day exploring Košice but at the end of the day, I was glad to depart to Bratislava, because I was beginning to be bored : although the center of the city (the Hlavná Ulica near the splendid cathedral and state theatre) is nice, the suburbs look a bit "communist" (nice to take a walk to see it once, but rapidly boring), and I'm not much into museums about very specific local subjects. Around 15:45 I took the bus 23 to the airport. Some time before my departure from Belgium, a fellow A.netter contacted me by e-mail, following a comment I had left in the trip reports forum announcing my trip, to inform me of the existence of an aviation museum at Košice airport. He gave me a lot of details about the museum, and I feel a bit bad because I... did not visit it. In fact, as I had walked the whole day, and because the weather was quite warm (30°C) and humid, I felt really tired and went to the airport bar to sample some local beers instead. Beside, I'm more into civilian aircraft, while the museum mostly targets military material.

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There still are some of those old Skodas in Košice...

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The St Elizabeth cathedral

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View on the main street and state theatre from the cathedral tower

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Elderly slovak women

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A long way to sister city Wuppertal in Germany.

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A random street in Košice.

Košice - Bratislava

KSC - BTS
SkyEurope flight NE35
Boeing 737-76N OM-NGF, seat 4F
Departure : 18:22, duration : 0:48.

Check-in was very fast (no queue at all), and I quickly explored the terminal building. It is small but modern, with a handful of check-in counters, arrivals and departures being at the same level (the only level...). There is a bar with an open-air terrace, a couple of car-rental and airline desks, toilets, and that's it. Size-wise, it reminds me of the old terminal of my home airport in Charleroi, Belgium, which closed in January of this year, but the Košice terminal is more modern. Departures for the evening consisted of my flight to Bratislava, a CSA ATR to Prague, and 3 charters to Tunisia, Egypt and Turkey, including a heavily delayed Air Slovakia flight. There is also a late evening Tyrolean Airways Dash 8 arrival from Vienna, that rests overnight and leaves back early the next morning. It is not possible to pass security and enter the gates area until 1 hour and a few minutes before departure, the security check point being closed. The gates area is on the apron level but there wasn't much traffic to watch, apart from the parked Air Slovakia 737 of yesterday. Boarding started at 18:05 with passengers having to walk on the apron to the aircraft, something I like because it gives the opportunity to take a photo of the aircraft. Oh, just one strange thing before I forget : at the security check, when x-raying my bag, the agent asked me whether I had books in it. When I answered positively, she just made a strange remark with a jubilant tone "ah, you know, I had seen them on my screen ! I knew those were books !". I still haven't figured what she meant with that...

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KSC airport, landside

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Departures for this evening

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Terminal of KSC airport, landside.

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Check in for my flight to Bratislava

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Gates area

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Waiting at the gate

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Boaring OM-NGF to Bratislava


KSC control tower

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KSC terminal, airside

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Air Slovakia OM-ASC, parked since at least yesterday.

The interior of the 737-700 (OM-NGF) was of course exactly the same as yesterday, again with non-aligned seat rows across the aisle. Flight attendants were Slovak and their English was really heavily accented. I don't know about the load, but the flight was definitely not full, and I had 3 seats for myself. While waiting at the gate, I had noticed that mechanics were doing something to the front gear, probably changing a wheel, because they offloaded a wheel upon arrival at Bratislava. We taxied to the holding point of runway 19 but had to wait some 6 minutes there because the CSA ATR arriving from Prague was approaching the runway from the South (runway 01). As we had started the taxi early, we still took off on time, at 18:31. Unlike yesterday, there were no sales of anything during the flight, probably because of its short duration (45 minutes). While we were taxiing after landing on Bratislava runway 31, the gentleman seated in front of me, who had seen me take some photos during the flight, asked me (in a gestural language as he only spoke Slovak) if I would mind sending him some photos by e-mail. Of course I accepted.

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Holding poing of runway 19, with typical communist residential blocks in the background.

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Part of the US Steel plant immediately after take off

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Overview of Košice airport after take off



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Vacating runway 31 in Bratislava

There was not much traffic at Bratislava, only some parked aircraft (including an Air Slovakia 737-200) and some governmental and VIP aircraft (including a Tu-154). The terminal building looked old-fashioned and small. I had planned to take a bus to downtown Bratislava, but upon finding the bus stop, I realized that the ticket vending machine was out of order. I went inside the terminal (arrivals as well as departures) but did not manage to find any newspaper stand open (it was 19:30). I then went to the information desk, where the employee admitted, with some embarassment, that there was no way to buy a ticket. He instructed me to just get in the bus without paying, insisting that there couldn't be any ticket controls on this line and at this time... So, with some reluctance, as I always pay for public transportation, I followed his advice (not that I had other options anyway...) and just took the bus to the main railway station without ticket. And indeed, there was no control...

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BTS terminal, airside

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Deplaning OM-NGF in Bratislava

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The old-fashioned BTS terminal, landside

I spent the next day visiting Bratislava, from the nicely renovated pedestrian old town (Staré Mesto), to the castle (Hrad), passing by the inverted pyramid building of the Slovak Television, the slovak parliament building, the UFO-shaped New Bridge (Nový Most) and even the very communist looking suburb of Petržalka, on the other side of the Danube river. The visit was interesting, but the scorching sun and high temperature made it quite tiring.

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Interesting sculpture in central Bratislava...

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The UFO-shaped New Bridge

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Tourists queue to photograph this funny sculpture

http://i303.photobucket.com/albums/nn124/BrusselsSouth/2008-08-23%20GoEastII/IMG_1123.jpg
Military parade, slovak style...

http://i303.photobucket.com/albums/nn124/BrusselsSouth/2008-08-23%20GoEastII/IMG_1136.jpg
The slovak parliament building

http://i303.photobucket.com/albums/nn124/BrusselsSouth/2008-08-23%20GoEastII/IMG_1144.jpg
Love this fountain

http://i303.photobucket.com/albums/nn124/BrusselsSouth/2008-08-23%20GoEastII/IMG_1153.jpg
The inverted pyramid of the slovak television building

http://i303.photobucket.com/albums/nn124/BrusselsSouth/2008-08-23%20GoEastII/IMG_1166.jpg
A typical street in the old town

http://i303.photobucket.com/albums/nn124/BrusselsSouth/2008-08-23%20GoEastII/IMG_1188.jpg
Nice view from Bratislava castle...

http://i303.photobucket.com/albums/nn124/BrusselsSouth/2008-08-23%20GoEastII/IMG_1191.jpg
View across the Danube river to Petržalka.

http://i303.photobucket.com/albums/nn124/BrusselsSouth/2008-08-23%20GoEastII/IMG_1202.jpg
Typical scene in Petržalka

At the end of the day, I went to the train Station in Petrzalka and started a 3 hours (including a stop in Bruck an der Leitha, Austria) ride to Budapest, where I arrived around 21:00.

http://i303.photobucket.com/albums/nn124/BrusselsSouth/2008-08-23%20GoEastII/IMG_1209.jpg

[Edited 2008-09-03 04:54:23]

17 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineBrusselsSouth From Belgium, joined Aug 2001, 623 posts, RR: 5
Reply 1, posted (5 years 7 months 2 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 9478 times:

Mmmmhh... for some reason, it seems my report has been cut in the middle... Here's the missing part :

The day after (Thursday, August 28th) I visited the hungarian capital : center of Pest, Chain Bridge, Váci Street, covered market, Jewish area, Andrássy Avenue, the City Park, Buda castle, and I concluded the day with a long night walk along the beautifully lit monuments and Danube banks.

http://i303.photobucket.com/albums/nn124/BrusselsSouth/2008-08-23%20GoEastII/IMG_1220.jpg
Hungarian parliament building

http://i303.photobucket.com/albums/nn124/BrusselsSouth/2008-08-23%20GoEastII/IMG_1225.jpg

http://i303.photobucket.com/albums/nn124/BrusselsSouth/2008-08-23%20GoEastII/IMG_1302.jpg
Parliament, again

http://i303.photobucket.com/albums/nn124/BrusselsSouth/2008-08-23%20GoEastII/IMG_1345.jpg
The busy Andrássy avenue.

http://i303.photobucket.com/albums/nn124/BrusselsSouth/2008-08-23%20GoEastII/IMG_1352.jpg
Dark streets around Andrássy avenue.

http://i303.photobucket.com/albums/nn124/BrusselsSouth/2008-08-23%20GoEastII/IMG_1364.jpg
The Buda castle.

http://i303.photobucket.com/albums/nn124/BrusselsSouth/2008-08-23%20GoEastII/IMG_1369.jpg
The beautiful Chain Bridge.

Budapest - Brussels

BUD - BRU
Brussels Airlines flight SN2824
Boeing 737-36N OO-VEG, seat 1A
Departure : 9:30, duration : 1:50.

Finally, on Friday, August 29th, it was time to return back home. I woke up at 6:00, had a fight with my backpack trying to put all my stuff in it, said goodbye to the nice folks at the reception of the hotel and took a tram (a Siemens Combino Supra model, holding the record of the longest passenger tram in the world) to the Nyugati train station. From there, I took a subway train all the way to the terminus at Kőbanyá-Kispest, and finally a bus to Ferihegy 2 airport where I arrived at 8:00.

Budapest airport is made of 3 terminals : Ferihegy 1 is the historical terminal, used nowadays by low-cost carriers. Ferihegy 2A and 2B are located in the same building and are 5 kilometers away from terminal 1. 2A serves Schengen flights while 2B caters for non-Schengen operations. Within walking distance of the Ferihegy 2 complex, there is a small open-air aircraft museum, displaying among others a Tu-134, Tu-154, Il-18, Li-2 and Yak-40. It was unfortunately closed when I was there, because of the early time. The check-in area of terminal 2A was very crowded and somewhat messy, but there was almost no queue for my flight to Brussels, and I had a dedicated counter as I was flying in b.flex. I requested a window seat and got 1A, a seat I normally don't like too much, but I thought it could be a nice change for once, so I did not change it.

http://i303.photobucket.com/albums/nn124/BrusselsSouth/2008-08-23%20GoEastII/IMG_1373.jpg
Terminal 2B

http://i303.photobucket.com/albums/nn124/BrusselsSouth/2008-08-23%20GoEastII/IMG_1374.jpg
The small aircraft exhibit, as seen from the street in front of terminal 2A.

http://i303.photobucket.com/albums/nn124/BrusselsSouth/2008-08-23%20GoEastII/IMG_1375.jpg
Could not come to Hungary without catching a Malev aircraft. Note the Ryan International 757 taxiing behind.

http://i303.photobucket.com/albums/nn124/BrusselsSouth/2008-08-23%20GoEastII/IMG_1376.jpg
My plane to Brussels.

No queue for security. Once near the crowded gate waiting areas, I went to a self-service restaurant to have breakfast as I had had no time to take it at the hotel. I then explored the place but there was not much to see : the terminal is not big, and although there are some apron views, they are limited, as is the choice of shops and restaurants, as well as the number of seats. Boarding of my flight to Brussels seemed a bit disorganized, with some connecting passengers needing to check-in at the gate, so in spite of the inbound flight arriving on time, we boarded a bit late. Our aircraft today was an ex-Virgin Express B737-300 (registration OO-VEG), with white winglets added and eyebrow windows plugged. I was welcomed aboard by a smiling F/A named Véronique and took my seat 1A, which is the very first seat after the entry door. As I wrote, I normally don't like to be seated on the very first row, but I did not regret it this time, because it gave me the opportunity to watch the job of flight attendants from boarding until arrival. As there was no front bulkhead in this aircraft, I could even overhear the jokes between F/As and pilots, which I won't reveal here because I don't want this report to be classified as inappropriate. What I also overheard was the load of the flight today : 88 passengers (among them 17 in b.flex), giving an overall load factor of 62 % (but only 33 % in b.flex).

http://i303.photobucket.com/albums/nn124/BrusselsSouth/2008-08-23%20GoEastII/IMG_1379.jpg
Central Budapest just after take off.

http://i303.photobucket.com/albums/nn124/BrusselsSouth/2008-08-23%20GoEastII/IMG_1386.jpg
Some remains of the pre-merger operator (Virgin Express).

As we left our stand a bit late, we made a short taxi to runway 31L and took off immediately, without any kind of holding. Although there was some morning haze outside, we were treated with splendid views of downtown Budapest immediately after our departure. The cabin showed signs of age, but the service on the flight was perfect. Flight attendants were really friendly and attentive, they offered free newspapers in 4 different languages, then a breakfast tray (exactly the sames as on the BRU-PRG leg), and finally the complimentary drink service with refills. From my seat I was able to watch the flight attendants and have to say they were doing their job very professionally. They seemed in good mood as they often joked between them (and also with the pilots); one of them, a young lady, seemed to be on some kind of instruction flight and she constantly apologized to her colleagues about how she could have done her job faster and better, but she was simply lacking self-confidence because she did her job very well, as her fellow F/As told her.

http://i303.photobucket.com/albums/nn124/BrusselsSouth/2008-08-23%20GoEastII/IMG_1388.jpg
The best legroom I've experienced. Ever.

As we approached Brussels, the cloud layer became more dense, and when we reached its base, we discovered that the weather in Belgium was completely dull. Shortly before landing, a flight attendant came from the back of the plane with an italian young man and seated him on a free seat in the front. It turns out the guy had a connection to Naples, Italy, and was very worried about not making it on time. He remained ostensibly nervous until the door was opened, even though we landed perfectly on time. Eventually, he was to discover that his connecting flight was to be on the exact same aircraft ! Concourse A at Brussels airport is a very nice terminal, but its disadvantage is that the walk to the main terminal complex (were the train station is located) is really too long. This made me miss my train by just one minute, so I had to wait 30 minutes for the next one suiting my needs.

http://i303.photobucket.com/albums/nn124/BrusselsSouth/2008-08-23%20GoEastII/IMG_1389.jpg
Waiting for the train in BRU.

Thank you for your interest...

Comments very welcome !

Regards
BrusselsSouth


User currently offlineSandroZRH From Switzerland, joined Feb 2007, 3414 posts, RR: 50
Reply 2, posted (5 years 7 months 2 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 9191 times:

Hey there

Thanks for writing a great report with wonderful pics, i throughly enjoyed it! Prague is a great city, but as you said, it's too touristy in summer, which is a shame.

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Thread starter):
and no, not for the girls

Too bad, especially after looking at some of your pics  Wink

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Thread starter):
and strangely we were not offered free newspapers, as I thought was standard procedure for b.flex passengers.

poor! What is b.flex anyway? something between business and economy?

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Thread starter):
I could even overhear the jokes between F/As and pilots, which I won't reveal here because I don't want this report to be classified as inappropriate

 rotfl  I can perfectly imagine what they said Big grin

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Thread starter):
eventually, he was to discover that his connecting flight was to be on the exact same aircraft !

Now that made me laugh, haha  laughing 

Thanks again


User currently offlineBuck3y3nut From United States of America, joined Jul 2006, 875 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (5 years 7 months 2 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 9085 times:

excellent trip report and lovely pictures. I love such reports that include pictures from their destinations. Makes me feel like I've visited the place w/o leaving my work desk  Smile Prague is definitely a beautiful city and so is Bratislava. Hopefully i will get to visit Eastern Europe some day when the exchange rate it still good  Wink
Thanks a lot for writing this report and sharing it with us...


User currently offlineLH4116 From Sweden, joined Aug 2007, 1709 posts, RR: 14
Reply 4, posted (5 years 7 months 2 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 9050 times:

Nice TR!
It seemed like you had made a very interesting trip. The photos of Prague were very nice. I should have visited that TV tower, it looked very cool!
The service in b. flex looked terrible, why do they charge business class fares when the service they offer is the same as in Y, it looked like they keeped the old Y class snack box and served it in J instead. The service on OK in Y was just as good or even better, why not check out my report http://www.airliners.net/aviation-fo...ums/trip_reports/read.main/132575/



SAS Plus is Business Class made faux!
User currently offlineFLIEGER67 From Germany, joined Sep 2003, 5003 posts, RR: 55
Reply 5, posted (5 years 7 months 2 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 8926 times:

Hey, Francois,

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Thread starter):
Brussels - Prague flight on a Brussels Airlines Avro RJ-85.
- Visit of Prague, and the city of Kutná Hora (60 km from Prague, by train).
- Prague - Košice flight on a SkyEurope B737-700.
- Visit of Košice (Slovakia's second city, at the eastern end of the country).
- Košice - Bratislava flight on a SkyEurope B737-700.
- Visit of Bratislava, Slovakia's capital.
- Bratislava - Budapest by train.
- Visit of Budapest.
- Budapest - Brussels flight on a Brussels Airlines B737-300.

What a great itinerary. Thats what I like, you know  Wink .
Especially that connecting some flights to interesting cities and airports
with the train ride, real good.

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Thread starter):
(I don't want to know how it feels on airlines using 3+3).

Usually no problem after row 16!

Thanx also for all the city pix, I remember Prague and Budapest, but
Kosice and Bratislava, something new for me.

Regards,
Markus (FLIEGER67)



Next: Is there something new for the new countries?.
User currently offlineSandroZRH From Switzerland, joined Feb 2007, 3414 posts, RR: 50
Reply 6, posted (5 years 7 months 2 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 8817 times:



Quoting FLIEGER67 (Reply 5):
Kosice and Bratislava, something new for me.

Somethign new for you? is that even possible?  Silly


User currently offlineBrusselsSouth From Belgium, joined Aug 2001, 623 posts, RR: 5
Reply 7, posted (5 years 7 months 2 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 8611 times:

Hi all, and thank you very much for your nice comments...

Quoting SandroZRH (Reply 2):
What is b.flex anyway? something between business and economy?

When SN Brussels Airlines and Virgin Express merged last year, the new entity, Brussels Airlines, decided to counter the growing threat of low cost carriers by offering two separate products : b.light is an LCC-like product, with cheap fares (and indeed, it's sometimes possible to get real low fares) but no frills, i.e. no food, no possibility to modifiy a booking, ... On the other side, b.flex, being significantly more expensive, offers more flexibility with the booking, free food and drinks, free newspapers, more miles, and access to a fast line for security in BRU. The front of the cabin is reserved for b.flex passengers, although the seats are exactly the same as in b.light.

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 4):
The service in b. flex looked terrible, why do they charge business class fares when the service they offer is the same as in Y, it looked like they keeped the old Y class snack box and served it in J instead.

Actually, terrible is a strong word. Service was just fine for such a short flight, but remember that I went b.flex because I redeemed miles (you can't redeem in b.light). I would not have paid for it on short flights. In the past, on slightly longer segments, I've received warm breakfast of lunch which were very good.

I still think Brussels Airlines are a very good airline. For all the flights I took with them, I've always felt their cabin staff made the difference, never had a bad experience with them. Their fleet is becoming outdated, but with LH buying them (more than strong rumours) they should at last find the means to replace it.

Quoting Buck3y3nut (Reply 3):
I love such reports that include pictures from their destinations. Makes me feel like I've visited the place w/o leaving my work desk

Thank you. I also love pictures of the destinations in reports. It was a very difficult task to select a few pictures from the 1000+ I took ! The selection may not be the most representative of the trip, still you get the idea.

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 4):
I should have visited that TV tower, it looked very cool!

On all my trips, I usually try to visit something that offers an elevated point of view because I love "aerial" views. However, although the view from the TV tower were nice, I think you get better views from the Petřín tower (need to go at the end of the afternoon to get the best light).

Quoting FLIEGER67 (Reply 5):
Thanx also for all the city pix, I remember Prague and Budapest, but Kosice and Bratislava, something new for me.

Hi Markus, you'll have to go someday... Košice is nice for a day-trip, Bratislava would make for an interesting week-end break.

Thanks again,

Regards
BrusselsSouth


User currently offlineMashimaro1 From Australia, joined Dec 2007, 46 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (5 years 7 months 2 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 8486 times:

Thank you for a wonderful trip report!


You take amazing photographs - they're vibrant, colourful, crisp, lighting is great and the composition is perfect. They trule make this trip report stand out. May I ask what camera you used to take your photos?

I went to Prague just last January and it was freeezing! (by Australian standards :P). It was kind of strange yet exciting to see the same places I visited minus the snow.


User currently offlineBrusselsSouth From Belgium, joined Aug 2001, 623 posts, RR: 5
Reply 9, posted (5 years 7 months 2 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 8469 times:



Quoting Mashimaro1 (Reply 8):
You take amazing photographs - they're vibrant, colourful, crisp, lighting is great and the composition is perfect. They trule make this trip report stand out. May I ask what camera you used to take your photos?

Hi Mashimaro1,

Thank you for your kind comments. As I said, I'm always very frustrated when I have to select a few pictures to illustrate something (like this report), because almost every other picture has something to show, but I can't put 1000 of them in an A.net report... !

The camera is simply a Canon PowerShot A590IS. It has (like most entry level digital cameras...) a pronounced tendency to overexpose landscape and cityscape pictures when the weather is very sunny. That's why I use the full manual mode (speed / exposure / ISO sensibility / white balance) to take important photos (and certainly for all dusk / night photos). Almost all non-aviation photos above have been shot in full manual mode. The problem is that it can take some time to get all settings fine, so that I still use automatic modes for rapidly evolving subjects.

Thanks again

Regards
BrusselsSouth


User currently offlineAlespesl From Czech Republic, joined Jan 2004, 582 posts, RR: 2
Reply 10, posted (5 years 7 months 2 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 8370 times:

Great trip report. I travel to KSC a lot lately as my GF comes from there. Actually she lives in PRG but we go visit there often.

I have a trip report from PRG to KSC on here as well.

I am flying there again in OCT on SKY EUROPE.

Very nice pics of PRG, my city now, KSC and BTS. BUD looks a great too.



Next Flight: Oct 10: PRG-MUC-KIV EMB 195/CRJ 900, Oct 12: KIV-MUC-PRG CRJ900/EMB 195 wiht Lufthansa
User currently offlineAleksandar From Serbia, joined Jul 2000, 3235 posts, RR: 32
Reply 11, posted (5 years 7 months 2 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 8248 times:

Hi there! Thanks for sharing this with us.It is a lovely TR about great European cities. I was there in early May this year, too but as a tourist guide.

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Thread starter):
Tourists queue to photograph this funny sculpture

His name is Cumil, a really funny sculpture. There are two interesting stories about him. According to one, he spent the whole WWII underground and he is caught enjoying the first day of freedom in the Sun. According to second one, he is just a guy who found the best place to look at women. It's up to you to decide which story is true  Wink

Bratislava is full of interesting sculptures, especially in the centre. There is another one in the Main Square.

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Thread starter):
The slovak parliament building

Actually, this is the official residence of Slovak president and it is known as Grassalkovich Palace. It was built in 18th century and was once a centre of musical life where even Haydn used to play.

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Thread starter):
A typical street in the old town

Lovely part. I love this area. Just close to the position where you were when taking a photo is a building where Mozart had a concert at the age of six. In front, there is a St. Michael's tower. Have you seen the view from there? Also, it is a point from where distances to other cities are measured and there is a bronze circle that shows it.

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Thread starter):
Nice view from Bratislava castle...

Yes, it is great. Also, there is a sad story about it. Almost the whole Jewish part of the city was demolished while the Novy most was built and the bridge is built in such way that it now poses a threat to St. Martin's cathedral.

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Reply 1):
Hungarian parliament building

Is it a statue of Imre Nagy there?
Speaking of how Budapest looks lovely at night, you should have tried taking a boat ride. The view is amazing.

Quoting SandroZRH (Reply 2):
Prague is a great city, but as you said, it's too touristy in summer, which is a shame.

Yes, you're right. The city is beautiful but a bit too hectic and filled with tourists. It is an complete nightmare to take care of 40+ people in the main tourist zone.  hissyfit 



R-E-S-P-E-C-T
User currently offlineBrusselsSouth From Belgium, joined Aug 2001, 623 posts, RR: 5
Reply 12, posted (5 years 7 months 2 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 8195 times:



Quoting Alespesl (Reply 10):
I have a trip report from PRG to KSC on here as well.

Indeed. I had found it before my trip, and posted a comment. Your PRG-KSC experience (on the same flight as me) was very similar to mine (except you arrived at KSC during daylight...).

Quoting Aleksandar (Reply 11):
His name is Cumil, a really funny sculpture. There are two interesting stories about him. According to one, he spent the whole WWII underground and he is caught enjoying the first day of freedom in the Sun. According to second one, he is just a guy who found the best place to look at women. It's up to you to decide which story is true

Bratislava is full of interesting sculptures, especially in the centre. There is another one in the Main Square.

Thanks for the story ! Indeed, I photographed quite some sculptures, including this interesting one in front of the US embassy (see photo above)...

Quoting Aleksandar (Reply 11):
Actually, this is the official residence of Slovak president and it is known as Grassalkovich Palace. It was built in 18th century and was once a centre of musical life where even Haydn used to play.

Lovely part. I love this area. Just close to the position where you were when taking a photo is a building where Mozart had a concert at the age of six. In front, there is a St. Michael's tower. Have you seen the view from there? Also, it is a point from where distances to other cities are measured and there is a bronze circle that shows it.

I should have hired you as a guide in Bratislava  Wink Yes, my mistake for the Palace, I knew it as I like to read a lot about my destinations before visiting, but I wrote my trip report too fast I guess. I did not climb the St Michael's tower but went to the castle instead.

Quoting Aleksandar (Reply 11):
Yes, it is great. Also, there is a sad story about it. Almost the whole Jewish part of the city was demolished while the Novy most was built and the bridge is built in such way that it now poses a threat to St. Martin's cathedral.

Didn't know that... There's a similar story in Prague with the Žižkov tower : it was built on an old (but important) jewish cemetery (a very small remain of it can be seen near the tower). I guess the communists didn't embarass themselves with such considerations...

Quoting Aleksandar (Reply 11):
Is it a statue of Imre Nagy there?

Good catch. I took the photo from Vértanúk tere (Martyrs square).

Regards
BrusselsSouth


User currently offlineAleksandar From Serbia, joined Jul 2000, 3235 posts, RR: 32
Reply 13, posted (5 years 7 months 2 weeks ago) and read 8136 times:



Quoting BrusselsSouth (Reply 12):
I should have hired you as a guide in Bratislava Wink

Well, you can hire me in Belgrade, too  Wink

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Reply 12):
Thanks for the story ! Indeed, I photographed quite some sculptures, including this interesting one in front of the US embassy (see photo above)...

That one is interesting too. There is also a sculpture of Andy Warhol. Slovaks are very proud that he had Slovak origin. I also like the one at Paparazzo cafe. That one is also very original.

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Reply 12):
I guess the communists didn't embarrass themselves with such considerations...

You're absolutely right and it is quite sad. The only remnant of Jewish part in Bratislava is a small Zidovska street and that one is very tiny.

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Reply 12):
Good catch. I took the photo from Vértanúk tere (Martyrs square).

Did you know that he was hiding in Yugoslavia's embassy in Budapest? It is a very nice building close to Hero's Square in the direction of Andrassy boulevard. At some point, Soviet tanks surrounded the building in 1956 with tanks and even shot at it at one point and killed one of Yugoslav employees. The speculation was that the reason why the poor guy died is that he had moustaches just like Imre Nagy. In 2006, Serbian president Boris Tadic put a plaque in honour of that guy and others who were hiding there.

Speaking of building itself, it has quite a history, too. A very famous Serbian poet, who was also very popular among women got it as a gift from certain Hungarian countess.



R-E-S-P-E-C-T
User currently offlineOa260 From Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 26477 posts, RR: 58
Reply 14, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 7946 times:

Hey great TR and fantastic pics. I loved seeing Kosice and Bratislava. I would love to go some day.

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Thread starter):
Interesting sculpture in central Bratislava.

LOL... too funny....  rotfl   rotfl 

Thanks for the great read.

OA260



AEGEAN-OLYMPIC AIR - ΟΛΥΜΠΙΑΚΗ " μέλος στη Star Alliance
User currently offlineAleksandar From Serbia, joined Jul 2000, 3235 posts, RR: 32
Reply 15, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 7793 times:

Francois,
I hope you won't mind, but I just wanted to add another photo of another interesting sculpture from Bratislava. I found it on the net.



A.



R-E-S-P-E-C-T
User currently offlineBrusselsSouth From Belgium, joined Aug 2001, 623 posts, RR: 5
Reply 16, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 5 days ago) and read 7746 times:



Quoting Aleksandar (Reply 15):
Francois,
I hope you won't mind, but I just wanted to add another photo of another interesting sculpture from Bratislava. I found it on the net.

Hi Aleksandar,

Saw that sculpture in Laurinská street (if I remember correctly...). Thanks for the picture.

Regards
BrusselsSouth


User currently offlineBA319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8426 posts, RR: 55
Reply 17, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 7204 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Great report and pictures, really enjoyed your trip, very interesting, thanks  Smile

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Thread starter):
The Buda castle.

- Nice picture!

Regards

Mark



111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333,342
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AUS-BNA (the Looonng Way). AA F/J/Y (100 + Pics) posted Sun Apr 5 2009 13:12:04 by Longhornmaniac

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