Birthday trip to sunny Lanzarote (147 pics)
I planed this trip as a present for my girlfriend. It was the end of August 2008 when I checked easyJet website for some flights somewhere in Europe, connecting in Madrid. As I wanted something special, I checked all the possible connections and I decided that Lanzarote is more special than any other place in continental Europe. Reasons, quite obvious: great distance (4000 km from Bucharest) so lots of flying time, first visit to Canary Islands, the Ocean, warm weather during winter etc.
I booked the tickets right away, paying around 100 euro/person. But at that time I was in the U.S. (hopefully the trip report including 12 flights will be coming soon), so I actually spent almost 150 dollars/person, making the spending a bit higher than it would have been in Europe.
I went to the airport quite early, taking into consideration that traffic in Bucharest can give you a hard time, being there almost 2.5 hours before the departure time. I wanted to be one of the first to check-in for the flight in order to be in group A (by the way, on-line check-in is not available for flights from Bucharest).
I managed to find the check-in counters for easyJet flight to MAD
, but there were already maybe 10-15 persons waiting, even though there was nothing on the monitors and no announcement was made. We got our group A boarding pass, so we had plenty of time to get something to eat and look around the terminal.
Maybe one hour before the flight we went through security and waited for the boarding. Getting closer to the boarding time, a queue line was formed, even though most of the passengers were in group B. I hate that, why are they waiting in line next to the boarding counter if they are in group B, can anyone explain me?! The boarding began and obviously some of the persons from group B wanted to go in front, but they were not allowed (thank you, ground personnel).
So priority boarding passengers, families with small kids and we, from group A, were all taken to aircraft. When the bus doors opened everyone rushed towards the front stairs... It’s so funny to see them all pushing and trying to get inside the aircraft as soon as possible. People, when are you going to learn that the seats with good view are fewer in the front of the aircraft than in the back, not to mention that all those babies and kids can give you a nightmare when they begin whining and even crying...?
Me and my girlfriend went, just ourselves, towards the rear stairs. We had so many seats to choose from in the back.
OTP (Bucharest Henri Coanda / Otopeni) - MAD (Madrid Barajas)
21 Nov 2008, Friday
easyJet - U2 7838
Airbus A319-100 / G-EZAP
(first flight: 26 Apr 2006)
Scheduled: 11:50 - 15:00 (4hr 10m)
Actual: 12:21 - 14:50 (3hr 29m)
Load factor: 95 %
We took-off from runway 26L, a premiere for me. I only took-off using 08R, until now.
During the take-off run… That’s the TAROM maintenance hangar. As you can see, there’s a Russian Sky Express B737.
We’re airborne. The airport terminal building, with the ATC tower, which is undergoing repair works.
The airport and our plane’s shadow
Looking behind, that’s runway 08L/26R, which is still closed to traffic, due to repair works.
Climbing, we can barely see the Carpathian Mountains, far away.
Pitesti city, NW
Almost full house on this flight
The view outside was obstructed by thick layer of clouds, so nothing to see for quite a long time…
When the in-flight catering started, I bought a sandwich, which was good, but I had better before.
Adriatic coast of Italy
This route over Italy is very busy, I got to see many planes passing by, but unfortunately there was almost no time to get a decent picture. All I got is this:
Iberia / A320
A320, unknown airline
TAROM / A310 - that’s a very familiar sighting in Bucharest. It was coming exactly from Madrid.
Approaching the coast of Spain
Does anyone know which airport / airfield is this? It’s somewhere north of Castellon de la Plana.
El Grau de Castello
Descending towards Madrid, we see the typical Spanish countryside, with those trees spread apart by equal distances, making them looking like dots.
During the final approach for runway 33L at Barajas airport, we see the Iberia hangars, with quite a few B747s.
So sad to see a B747 ripped apart…
The plane’s shadow, just before landing
ATC tower from terminal 1 and/or 2
Air Europa / A330-200 / EC
Cubana / Il-96-300 / CU
-T1254 (last time I saw this beauty was also in MAD
Air Pullmantur / B747-400 / EC
Cargo planes far away
Aerolineas Argentinas / B747-400 / LV
After deboarding, we had lots of time before the next flight to Lanzarote, so we headed for terminal 4.
During the bus transfer, we could see the 4 sky-scrapers near Plaza de Castilla.
Iberia’s the boss around here!
I love those arches.
We got back to terminal 1, and having checked-in on-line, we got through security and headed for our gate.
MAD (Madrid Barajas) - ACE (Arrecife / Lanzarote)
21 Nov 2008, Friday
easyJet - U2 7753
Airbus A319-100 / G-EZAC
(first flight: 8 Feb 2006)
Scheduled: 17:20 - 19:05 (2hr 45m)
Actual: 17:42 - 18:48 (2hr 6m)
Load factor: 90 %
This boarding was also a mess, as passengers tried to get in front. We were also taken to the aircraft by bus.
Our A319 was parked near an MD
-88 from Iberia, which doesn’t seem to ever fly anymore.
The sun was slowly vanishing…
We started to move around the airport, passing near this beautiful DHL / A300 / OO
Terminal 4 satellite building
Rotating from runway 36L
Leaving behind Spain and flying over the Atlantic.
Nice clouds over the ocean
We began our descent towards ACE
, coming from north-east, making a big loop south of the island, and turning right to align with runway 3. We landed in complete darkness in Lanzarote, with just some lights visible from Arrecife.
The terminal building and the “Lanzarote” sign. We were still rolling when I took this picture, that’s the best I got, out of 4.
We entered the terminal through the jet way, no luggage to wait for, so I got this picture of the Lanzarote Island’s logo, in the arrival hall.
We headed for the hotel, located in the opposite side from Arrecife, not far from the airport, in Puerto del Carmen, a very nice resort.
Being 22nd of November, my girlfriend’s birthday, it turned out to be a wonderful day for both of us. The sunshine made its way in our apartment and the weather was just great. So warm, I only got a T-shirt on me.
That’s the hotel
There was also a swimming pool, but I didn’t try it, since the ocean was so close…
One of the many volcanoes from the island
In the morning we went to Arrecife, to explore the city, which is quite small and with very narrow streets.
The port of Arrecife. The water was so clear, as I have never seen before.
Gran Hotel, the tallest building on the island
So awkward to see a Christmas tree in a place where you are only wearing a T-shirt… But I suppose the people from southern hemisphere are use to it.
Playa del Reducto, which was very well maintained
Like I said, such clear water…
Palm trees… my favorite trees.
It was time to head towards the airport, for some spotting. The clouds were giving us a hard time, especially when we were trying to get nice pictures of the surroundings.
The runway is very close to the beach, so the approach is very similar to St. Maarten, even though it is not so spectacular. There were many people around, waiting for the planes to land in Lanzarote.
First catch, Jet2 / B757-200
Amazing to see so many people, young but especially old, watching that show produced by planes landing on top of them. Somewhere else, at another airport, those people might have looked suspicious, but not here! They were there just to watch and take pictures of the planes.
Why it is possible here and back home it is not? Why can’t people just do what they like? Only rhetorical questions…
Air Nostrum / CRJ-200 / EC
…taking off into the skies, on runway 3
Meanwhile, 3 more planes were getting ready to leave the island
Jetairfly / B737-800 / OO
Another one just before landing
Roaring over my head… great feeling!
Another one, this one looks like an Airbus
Indeed, Spanair / A320-200 / EC
I wasn’t the only one taking pictures…
It got pretty busy around here
Now SAS / B737-800 / LN
-RPL has clearance to take-off
easyJet / A319-100 / G-EZAK
Air Europa / B737-800 / EC
Well, that’s about it, it was noon so I hit the beach in Puerto del Carmen. Spotting is very nice, but it can be done in all kinds of weather. But sun and ocean I wouldn’t get until next year.
Playa de los Pocillos
People were swimming…
So why shouldn’t I?
That’s me, swimming in the ocean, while back home in Romania it was raining and even snowing, exactly at that time.
The water was very salty, so not too much effort to stay afloat
While at the beach, I could still watch the aircraft activity. It’s an Air Berlin / A321
The same Air Berlin / A321, now landing
Spanair / A320-200
In the after-noon, it came the sad moment of leaving the beach behind.
We arrived at the airport, both happy and sad in the same time.
Lots of cactus trees at the airport
Long queue lines, most of them full of British and German holiday makers. We had our on-line check-in, so no need to wait in line.
Again holiday decorations, so weird and funny…
We got through security and we went exploring inside the departure hall. There were large windows towards the runway, obstructed from place to place by airport shops.
View of Arrecife from the airport
The terminal had, at both ends, 2 opened-air areas, so you might mistakenly think they’re for spotters. Actually they were for smokers, but you could easily take pictures, if not bothered by smoke or dirty windows, which definitely need a wash.
TUIfly / B737-300 / D-AGEG
Condor / A320-200 / D-AICC
Aer Lingus / A321-100 / EI
Binter Canarias / ATR 72 / EC
Air Berlin / A320-200 / D-ABDC
And here it is coming from Madrid, our easyJet plane which will take us back. It’s the same aircraft that got us to Lanzarote yesterday.
easyJet / A319-100 / G-EZAC
ACE (Arrecife / Lanzarote) - MAD (Madrid Barajas)
22 Nov 2008, Saturday
easyJet - U2 7754
Airbus A319-100 / G-EZAC
(first flight: 8 Feb 2006)
Scheduled: 18:45 - 22:15 (2hr 30m)
Actual: 18:54 - 22:10 (2hr 16m)
Load factor: 90 %
By the time boarding began, there was already dark outside. Next to us there’s yet one more Air Berlin.
Our aircraft made its way towards runway 3, where I did the spotting. Clearance was given, so as soon as we got on the runway, the take-off roll began. We were airborne in no time.
The lights of Arrecife. Bye, bye, Lanzarote, hope to get back here soon! Or maybe to one of your sister islands, the Canary Islands.
During the flight, the lights were dimmed, as people tried to get some sleep.
I looked all the time through the window, maybe I would catch a glimpse of Africa. And yes, I did! Africa was on our right! The lights from Morocco were clearly visible; unfortunately the pictures were poor, due to low visibility and constant turbulence.
There was also a announcement from the flight crew, to let us know that we are very close to Casablanca.
Landing was smooth, on runway 33R. We parked right next to a Lufthansa / A320-200 / D-AIPR. This registration number seemed very familiar. I checked my flight log and I discovered that this plane was exactly the same that got me and my girlfriend from Munchen in September, on our way back from the U.S. It’s such a small world!
Since our flight to Bucharest was scheduled in the morning, we had time on our hands to explore Madrid, even though it was much colder than Lanzarote and very windy. We strolled around the city center for a couple of hours.
The Christmas decorations were there, but unfortunately they were not switched on. Also, they set up a Christmas market.
Madrid’s symbol, the bear and madrono tree
Puerta del Sol
Plaza de Cibeles and Palacio de Comunicaciones
Puerta de Alcala
Don Quijote and Sancho Panza statue in Plaza de Espana. Only my camera flash did the work, there were no lights around the statue.
We went back to the airport by taxi, quite expensive, but we couldn’t take the risk of waiting for the metro to open, at 6:00 AM
. By the way, why is the metro starting so late? In other cities, including mine, the metro opens up at 5:00 AM
Arriving at Barajas at 3:00 AM
, we searched for a place to stay… There were absolutely no seats whatsoever, only in terminal 2 there were maybe 10, all taken. All the passengers waiting for their early morning flights were sitting and sleeping on the cold floor. Really, it’s quite shameful not to have seats in the check-in area. Come on, there are people arriving earlier than their check-in time, old people, people with disabilities, kids, where on earth are they supposed to sit, on the floor? It makes no sense to me. Just stupid!
MAD (Madrid Barajas) - OTP (Bucharest Henri Coanda / Otopeni)
23 Nov 2008, Sunday
easyJet - U2 7837
Airbus A319-100 / G-EZBV
(first flight: 7 May 2007)
Scheduled: 07:20 - 12:10 (3hr 50m)
Actual: 12:25 - 16:38 (3hr 13m)
Load factor: 100 %
At 5:00, we got through security, so we can get some seats to sit on. We crashed in, being very tired. Boarding was opened, the same mess, people trying to get in front. We were taken by bus to the aircraft then we waited for departure. Now the interesting part comes in, not necessarily nice from my point of view.
We were given an announcement from the flight crew that we were not given ATC slots to take-off. At that time, really? There was no action at the airport. Finally they broke the news, our plane was unable to take-off, due to technical cause. We had to leave the aircraft and wait, for an aircraft coming all the way from England, in 3 hours time. Everybody was annoyed, but hey, this is aviation, better safe than sorry.
Inside the G-EZBT, waiting for take-off, which never occured
Air Comet, next to us
Again Air Comet, now being dawn (we waited patiently inside for a while)
We were taken back to the terminal, not before going again through security check. We went to check the monitors.
Meanwhile I noticed a few passengers at our gate, which stayed the same. I found out that we would be given a 9 euros voucher, to get a snack in the airport, as a compensation for the delay. Good enough for me, that’s exactly what we did, but the range of products in the self-service restaurant was very limited, with only a few sandwiches, croissants and drinks.
Then we walked through the terminal, maybe 5-6 times in every direction. MAD
airport was very busy, we could see aircrafts landing from the south all the time. Even parallel landings.
/ A330-200 / PT
Air Pullmantur / B747-300 / EC
Qatar Airways / A330-300 / one of the planes promoting the Asian Games
Delta Air Lines / B767-300 / old livery
Delta Air Lines / B767-300 / new livery
I like the nose, it looks so chubby
Then we moved to our gate, waiting full of hope for our flight. Meanwhile there were many passengers filling some kind of form at the boarding counter, in order to get compensation for the delay. When I asked them what are they doing, they said they heard from other people that you can get compensation for the delay… So maybe there were a few passengers who had an idea about Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 and they just spread the word. Unbelievable how some people who pay so less for a flight, they get informed about the delay, get vouchers, get flown back safely, also expect to be paid compensation of hundreds of euros.
Boarding started, so we were lucky, we would get to Bucharest today.
Inside the aircraft, the crew explained what happened, apologized for the delay and told us that this aircraft had to be flown to Madrid from Bristol.
View outside, this time on the left side, from G-EZBV
Real Madrid / B757-200 / EC
Air Europa / A330-200 / EC
We started to make our way towards runway 36R, just behind the T4
Iberia, Iberia and also Iberia
Iberworld / A330
2 Iberia / Airbus A340-600
While taking-off I spotted TAROM / A310
Looking back, the 2 towers from Plaza Castilla and the 4 skyscrapers were visible
From this point onward I slept most of the time, I only got up just before reaching the western coast of Italy
Bracciano Lake, just north from Roma
Continued in the reply...
[Edited 2008-11-30 14:00:11]