My best friend Bjanka turned 18. this April so I arranged with my parents to take her to Bristol by the end of this school year.
On EasyJet's web site I found a good deal for return tickets – 160 € for 2 passengers, so I booked those tickets a few days later.
I checked out tripadvisor.com to see the recommendations of hotels in Bristol. I chose The Brigstow Mercure, new hotel almost in the centre of the town, on the waterside of channel and with a view on Harbourside. 3 nights with breakfast cost 258 £.
23rd of the June, 2007
I got up around 6.30 so I could go to the local store and buy everything for the trip (it was national holiday the day before). At 8 I showed up in front of Bjanka's house where we were driven to the airport by the boyfriend of Bjanka's mother.
Because it was Saturday morning there were traffic jams. It took us 35 minutes to get to the airport.
The view from the “hovering viaduct”
The Krk bridge
…and here we are at the airport.
We stopped in front of the airport building to get our luggage and then the boyfriend of Bjanka's mother drove the car to the parking lot (which does not charge btw).
At the entrance to the building, on the right, there are counters for check-in.
Our flight was the only one that morning. Flights announced for the afternoon were TUIfly's from Cologne/Bonn, Hanover, Stuttgart, Leipzig and Munich, and AirAlps from Bolzano followed by Kolavia from Surgut. The last flight of the day was EasyJet's from Luton.
Note that was different time on left and right screens.
For our flight there were 2 open counters. We waited for a little while, maybe 5 minutes to get in the line, where we were (and our luggage) registered by a lovely agent. As passengers 23 and 24, we got boarding group A.
After registering we went to get a cup of coffee. I went to exchange office where I changed kunas to dollars (they didn't have pounds and I didn't want to take euros because in the UK exchange offices take high commission from exchanging euros to pounds).
Our passports and boarding passes.
EasyJet's Airbus from Bristol landed at 10 AM, 20 minutes before the scheduled arrival. Then all the passengers were called to go to the passport and security control.
We greeted Bjanka's mother and her boyfriend and went through the controls. We sat in the waiting room and waited for the boarding. Didn’t have to wait for too long, after 10 minutes the boarding began.
First on the line were passengers with priority passes, then parents with children and then they called passengers from the loading group A.
Because I was frequently at the airport (local spotter), I knew most of the staff so Bjanka and I headed first from the group A towards the plane.
Agent (the same one that checked us for the flight) asked us to come in through the back door because in front were still parents with children. After we had entered the plane, we were welcomed by a young FA.
We sat on the left side of the plane, in line 19. Bjanka sat by the window and I next to the passage.
Flight No.: EZY 6208 Date: 23JUN07
A/C: Airbus 319-111 Reg No.: G-EZEK
STD: 1050 ATD: 1058
STA: 1220 ATA: 1221
Flight time: 2h14min
Seat: free seating - 19C
Load factor: 86/156 (55,13 %)
My 14th ride on Airbus 319, and the first on this same machine.
Photo © Tomislav Muic - CroSpotterTeam
Photo © Andrew P Scott
Delivered new to EsyJet Airline: 06/05/2004
After boarding all of the 86 passengers, mostly English people who were leaving from vacation, the door were shut. We waited 10 minutes to start the engines and then we set off towards runway 14. While we were waiting, a private Cessna (reg. OE-GCA) landed. There were also 2 two little single-prop planes at the apron, as well as 2 Air Adriatic's Mad Dogs (9A-CBC i 9A-CBG).
Photo © Propfreak
Photo © Sanjin Mrakovcic - CroSpotterTeam
Photo © Sanjin Mrakovcic - CroSpotterTeam
Finally, we set off from stand 3 towards runway 14 and while the plane was turning we were watching the sea. We took off at exactly 11.02 to the south.
Bjanka enjoys the view
National park Brijuni
The captain contacted us from the flight deck and informed us over PA that the flight was going to last 2h and 15 min. Then he explained the route: Rijeka-Pula-Venice-Alps-French/German border-Brussels-London-Bristol and told us that the weather in Bristol was cloudy with the temperature of 15° C (59 F).
The flight crew, which consisted of 2 guys and 2 girls, started selling drinks and dishes; Bjanka bought a Diet Coke and I bought just regular water.
Because it was mostly cloudy, I didn’t spend my time looking down to spot some airplane or airport. However, I managed to see 2 airports. Does anybody know which they are?
The rest of the flight went peacefully. Because there were white clouds all around us we tried to get a little bit of rest.
After sluggish beginning of landing at 12.08 (local time), the green country of Britain began to reveal it self.
Little deceleration not hurt...
Just a minute more…
Video of landing w/o sound (and also w/o thrust reverser)
Titan's BAe 146-200 Quick Change...G-ZAPK
and MNG Cargo's Fokker F-27...TC-MBB
Air Malta's A320 – 9H-AEN
At 12:21 the plane stopped, the door opened and we left the plane through the back door. At the end of the stairs a bus was waiting for us, and before I boarded on it, I took one final shot of Air Malta’s Airbus.
While driving from the plane to the building, I took a photo of Austrian’s CRJ…ad-hoc charter maybe?
The bus drove us to the building entrance where we took the elevator to get to the arrival floor.
On the Immigration we waited for 5 minutes and then went to the hall where there was baggage reclaim. From there we picked up our suitcases, went through the customs and finally left the airport building. After that we had to wait for The Bristol International Flyer to arrive – our transport to the city.
The ticket for 2 cost 10£, and we paid it while entering the bus.
There were maybe 10 passengers in the bus and they all left at the railway station Temple Meads, so Bjanka and I were the only ones left. We got out at Baldwin Street, and our hotel was about 20m (70ft) from the station.
We arrived at our hotel and registered at the reception where we encountered an administrative problem. The card which I used to book the hotel I left at home so I had to contact my father to send a writing permission via fax to let the hotel to charge our hotel bill on his credit card.
While we were waiting the receptionist suggested us to leave our suitcases in the hotel and go sight seeing and then come back to the hotel.
Really, there were no reasons for us to stay in the hotel and wait for my father’s permission, so we went to our first sightseeing of the city.
After an hour and a half we returned to our hotel where, after all that fuss, we were given a card/key of the room. In the bathroom there were a shower and a bath, which had plasma screen so you could watch TV while relaxing.
Here are the pictures from Bristol…
(our hotel in the background)
A monument dedicated to all Bristol victims from the WW I and II.
Landing gear of A340-200/300 exhibited in Explore
The last day…departure
In the morning we got up at 4.30, got dressed and checked out from the hotel. With our luggage we took a walk to the station in front of Ramada Jarvis hotel, where we were picked up by the Flyer.
The bus was full which didn’t seem very strange if you took the fact that it was the first bust to the airport that morning.
We arrived to the airport at 5.50 and went immediately to check-in. It was crowded, but luckily all the counters were open so we only waited for 25 minutes.
While we were in the line Bjanka realized that her mob was missing so she totally freaked out. I told her that the bus which we came with wouldn’t leave the airport for another half an hour so she would be able to ask the driver if she could check the bus to find her phone.
At the check-in some agent asked us if that was our luggage, if it contained any liquid and if we packed it ourselves. After yes, no and yes answers we got our boarding passes and then went directly to the bus.
The driver told us that he found a mobile phone and left it at the information counter in the airport building.
When we got to the information counter, next to the officer there was Bjanka’s pink Motorola V3. She was thrilled that she found her mob and then finally calmed her self down.
After she got her phone back, we headed towards the security control which was located on the upper floor. From there I took pictures of the check-in zone that was, as you can see for your self, still pretty crowded.
The security control was, as well as the check-in, very crowded. We had to wait for about 30 minutes so we reached the international zone 5 to 7.
On the screen I saw from which gate would the boarding for Rijeka begin and because the screen clearly showed ‘Boarding in 20 mins’, Bjanka and I spent our last quid in the duty free shop. She bought a ‘Stella McCartney’ EDP and I bought the “plane” chocolate Toblerone; 3 for 2
The departure hall wasn’t that big but it was clean and with relatively good lights.
We got to the gate 7 from where we had to walk through a ‘corridor’ to get to our plane which was at the apron.
Maybe that was one of their ways to cut the unnecessary expenses.
The boarding took place only at the front gate but it didn’t represent any problem because the occupancy was somewhat below 50%.
At the entrance we were welcomed by a male purser and a female FA who asked us our boarding passes.
(I don’t know why they have to do that? Isn’t that only necessary at the gate )
We took a place in the back part of the plane but this time on the right side; I sat next to the window and Bjanka sat next to the passage.
When all the passengers got in, they shut the door.
Safety presentation was announced on Croatian and then 2 FA showed it while the purser was speaking on English.
The plane was towed by the tug to the runway where it stopped… and we had to wait and wait for it to take off, but it just wouldn’t.
Ahead of us the 2 First Choice’s Boeings 757 took off; the first 757 took off towards Fuerteventura and the second one towards Heraklion.
As the minutes went passing by our plane was still standing on the same spot. Suddenly, we started moving backwards and I saw 2 confused dispatchers through my window.
We were brought back to the stand and then the captain informed us that the flight was going to be late because of the technical malfunction.
The dispatcher and EasyJet’s mechanic came in. The flight crew told us that we could walk around the plane freely and use the toilet.
They served us water twice while the pilots and the mechanic were trying to solve the problem.
We are waiting… not too happy
During the mechanic’s stay in the plane the door was shut twice in order to run some tests on the plane (every time we were informed that the door would have to be closed.) And while running those tests we were able to hear an unpleasant sound of the plane engine so we joked with the other fellow passengers that they were trying to make engines work by hands.
At 8:50, an hour and a half after boarding the captain announced that unfortunately the plane wouldn’t go any further and that we would have to take off an hour and a half from now with another plane but the same crew. And he also said that in the airplane building we would receive a voucher that can be used at any shop in the departure zone.
When we started to off-load, the purser, FA and the captain apologised to every passenger and said “See you in an hour and a half”.
During the off-load I took pictures of Continental’s B757-200 that just got from Newark.
We got back to the building the same corridor we got in the plane we went through the same gate, 7.
Because we were starving, Bjanka and I went to the upper floor to buy some sandwiches. You could see our broken plane from that floor.
The agents who were at the gate during our boarding called us through the PA and asked us to report to gates 7 and 8 to pick-up our vouchers.
The vouchers had an amount of 3 £ which Bjanka and I spent at Starbucks. She enjoyed in Java Banana Chip, the mixture of banana and coffee, while I took Signature Hot Chocolate. Also, because I had a change from my voucher I got a coin shaped chocolate
The boarding for flight to New York/Newark
When we drank our coffees we went to the waiting room and waited to be called for our flight. That happened at 10:05 so we went towards gate 1 and showed them our torn off boarding passes.
And here’s our plane… G-EZAO
Flight No.: EZY 6207 Date: 26JUN07
A/C: Airbus 319-111 Reg No.: G-EZIX changed to G-EZAO
STD: 0730 ATD: 1033
STA: 1100 ATA: 1402
Flight time: 2h14min
Gate: 07 changed to 01
Seat: free seating - 19F
Load factor: 74/156 (47,44 %)
My 15th ride on Airbus 319, and the first on this same machine.
Photo © Sergio Domingos
Photo © Markus Hahn - dc10fans
Delivered new to easyJet Airline: 12/05/2006
At the entrance we were welcomed by the purser, FA and the captain. We took the same seats as in our previous plane. The captain welcomed us back and said that we would take off around 10.30 and that the temperature in Rijeka was 28°C and that it was cloudy.
The safety presentation was once again held in Croatian and English.
And after that we moved…
During the taxiing towards the runway 27
The video of taking off from Bristol w/o sound
, dear England
When we reached our cruising altitude of FL370 the captain informed us about the route: Bristol-London-Düsseldorf-Bavaria-Tyrol-Trieste-Rijeka.
During the flight I was able to spot Ryanair’s B737-800 and Martinair’s Cargo MD-11.
The two of us…
After selling food and drinks the crew went to the back galley.
The purser walked couple of times next to us so Bjanka could smell his perfume. She liked it so I did a little bit of nuzzling myself in order to catch a scent.
Because I liked it as much as she did, I told her to ask him what the name of that perfume was.
He kindly came to our seats and showed us in EasyJet’s catalogue his perfume, which later I decided to buy. So “Paul Smith” became mine for 17.50 £.
I also bought a model of easyJet’s Airbus 319 (1:200)
The landing began…
City of Trieste, Italy
I have to admit that the landing in Rijeka was one of the most beautiful landings I’ve ever experienced...The real Grand Tour de Kvarner…
After 2 circles above the Island of Krk (where the airport was located) we landed on the runway 32 and passed the airport building and got to the apron.
Before the purser opened the door, he greeted was once again saying: “We would again like to apologise because of the inconvenience in Bristol. To all the tourists we wish a pleasant vacation and the ones who spent time in England a welcome back home”.
Even though Bjanka and I were sitting in the back part of the cabin we decide to use the front door so that we could thank our purser and the captain for the wonderful flight. After saying bye, we got out.
The building wasn’t that big and especially the departure zone so the line for passport checking stretched until the apron.
Imagine what it’s like when 250 Israeli land with B757-300!
Also one of the “specialities” of the airport was the line for collecting luggage that didn’t go in circle but “finished” naturally.
We picked up our suitcases and headed to the exit where we were waited by Bjanka’s mom. After hugging and kissing we went home.
We left Bristol simply delighted with what we saw and experienced during those 4 days.
That city has so much to offer and anyone can find something for it self.
Like the real tourists our goal was to visit as many attractions as possible:
SS Great Britain: the ship-museum that you must visit.
In the museum we were introduced by the ship’s history, travels and famous passengers. And the whole ship has been redecorated with the new interior.
The ticket for adults cost 10, 50 £, but our impression was worth every penny!
Explore at Bristol: science centre was also worth visiting. It had exhibits of very interesting things: from Big Airbus’ landing gear and the system of controlling river canals to playground for children (and adults!!) and multi-media demonstration of the human brain and all of the human’s feelings.
Broad mead : the shopping centre was 1st class; more than 150 stores and it’s currently expanding to 300 department stores. It was the right place for every fashion awaken man and woman.
If in any case you are single (and straight), here you have a big chance of finding yourself a soul mate. As well, if you’re suffering from marriage difficulties bring your spouse over here.
Clifton Suspension Bridge : Bjanka and I hold the opinion that the bridge isn’t anything spectacular to look at. Probably, the most important thing about it is that it was in fact designed by the famous Isambard Kingdom Brunel…
And a little advice for the end;
if you buy City Sightseeing ticket for touring with the tourist bus, you may use the ticket to get many discounts. Be free to take the flyer in the bus and read what all you can get from your ticket.
The latest “addition” to my fleet…G-EZMH
Dear A.nutters, with this, my TR from Bristol is over (after 4 days of writing and 2 days of arranging my photos… )
Your opinions, critics and praises are always welcome.
Thanks for reading,
[Edited 2007-07-05 00:04:40]