A bit of lucky annual leave rescheduling in September left me able to join my family in France again, this time in St-Jean-de-Monts.
As I am currently based in GRO, it meant I now had the opportunity to fly from BCN. The only options were IB or VY, but IB’s prices & times were crap; so I snapped up a VY fare for €140. At the time, there were some glitches on their site, which displayed my bill as €14,0000,0000 I think I would've been going in a private jet for that price ha. There were other annoying glitches, like it just completely imploding if I wanted to sign in with my FF no, or translate to English. However after much hair pulling & object throwing, I finally secured me fare. I also booked a seat, 26A, on the outbound for €4. The seatmap looked pretty jammers, which I wasn't expecting at all! On the way back it looked empty but this was not to be...
So, after a crazy day in work, including an aircraft change in TSF, & not knowing if I was going to make me holiday, I fell out of GRO onto the trusty Barcelona Bus at 23.30 headed for...you guessed it, Barcelona! Still in me uniform, dragging a crew bag & a suitcase, I heard "Mira a la Ryanair!" as I went to take me seat...yes...what of it...we take public transport...anyway, an hour later I was met by MIAspotter at Barcelona Nord station & we were accompanied by a passenger off my TSF-GRO flight who needed directions to the Metro. She was a lovely lady, & I told her she was my best passenger .
Finally falling asleep around 2am, later on my hilarious Nokia talking alarm clock curtly told me that it was 5am & time to get up. I hauled meself out of bed, leaving behind a sleepy Christian, who doesn't even remember walking to the door & saying goodbye . I mosied down to Sant Marti metro, hearing a train trundle off but I thought to meself, ah there'll be another one in a few minutes. Till I remembered it was S U N D A Y. I sat nearly crying for 10 mins, as my flight left @ 7.10; & it was already 5.20am…finally the train came & I hopped out @ Passeig de Gracia, nearly cried again because the main exit was blocked; then somehow I emerged out on to the street, running with my suitcase, past a man dressed as Superman. Sweating bullets, I made it to Placa Catalunya for the Aerobus. An Aussie in the q asked me if "View-ling" was Terminal 1 or 2, of course I said T1. He picked up on me accent, asked if I was from the South, told me about his family in Cork, & then told me he was drunk. I told him “I'd believe that”. Thanks for cheering me up that morning, Jordan; I hope you had a good time in Copenhagen
The Aerobus landed at T1 @ 6.20am & I did a Usain Bolt to the FIDS.....me gate wasn't even up yet!! I went through security with me mobile check in & I was so in awe of this new fangled thing that I forgot to take me passport out later at the gate! At 6.35 me gate came up, B55...great...all the way at the end of this humongous terminal
Photo © Wabgs
A320-200 EC-LQK (6.9 years old)
Previously EC-JNC with JK (was one of the many aircraft parked at DUB in January this year!)
Photo © Inal Khaev - RuSpotters Team
I curiously walked down the bridge, was greeted by a nice, all-gal Spanish crew; & took in the colourful interior of the first Spanish aircraft I'd flown since the demise of FH. I noticed the knee crunching pitch as soon as I had stowed me case & was taking me seat! Omg, tighter than FR! Luckily I’m a stump. A couple took the seats next to me & I felt really sorry for the guy, who was slowly being crushed to bits. Boarding didn’t take very long, even though we were quite full. There were lots of French onboard, & one Irish in the village. However we did pushback a few mins late. P.As were done in Spanish (Catalan?) & English. I liked how the crew did the demo twice for each language; most airlines I’ve seen only do the actual demo to one language, & then just play the secondary languages. That VY demo is confusing when they show the exits though -lots of peace signs & finger pointing! Soon we were taxiing to the rwy, passing a parked AR 737 on the way! Anyone know what that was about?
View from 26A
We were soon above the Mediterranean, turning towards France. I was starving, & sat, menu clutched eagerly in hand, waiting for the crew with their service. Was it just me or did they take ages setting it all up?! But then I saw why it might’ve taken a little longer: the trolleys were huge & well stocked. They began their service from the overwings, & when they reached me I chose the Almeria menu, which is a tortilla baguette, KitKat & Diet Coke for €8. The baguette was a little cold in the middle but it’s not a hot food item anyway. I paid by Mastercard with no problems. I was asked by the friendly FA if I wanted lemon with me Coke. Very impressed! I had also heard that VY were a bit crap when it came to speaking English, but she actually spoke back to me in English even though I (attempted to) speak to her in Spanish!
Shortly after leaving BCN
The crew did the rubbish, the captain informed us of our progress (with lots of “Merde!” & “Mierda!” when the pax heard it was 14C in NTE) & soon we were flying low over salt marshes & pigs before settling onto the rwy at NTE. We disembarked via airstairs & it was only at this time that I realised I’d been on me first IAE A320! No wonder it sounded quieter on take off! I needlessly had me passport out…spot the Irish. As usual, me ’rents had taken a wrong turn for the airport & so I had to wait an hour. I killed the time, spotting. There didn’t appear to be any free wifi in NTE. Finally they arrived, with –LQK long departed, & they whisked me off to the cabin in Le Clarys Plage, St-Jean-de-Monts.
A cool old Citroen
The most dangerous door in the world.
The ferry me family took from Cork.
The cool flag of the Vendee
Plage des Dames, Ile-de-Noirmoutier
The campsite had a weird mythical theme..
Passage du Gois. You can drive from the mainland to Ile-de-Noirmoutier during low tide.
I’ll have you know I stayed in a Super Octalia..
Me cousins on the Velo-Rail. Basically cycling on disused train tracks.
So after 5 glorious days of jumping in the pool, going down the slides, drinking champagne & playing Scrabble it was time to head back to BCN. Despite MIAspotter’s best efforts, I was unable to check in online for the return leg, so it was done the old school way! I was assigned seat 21B. I was devastated ‘cause the q next to me were being given the snazzy VY baggage tags & I didn’t get one. We went upstairs for a quick slurp of tea & then I had to run. After squeezing as much hugs as possible I went through security, which is really weird in NTE. It involves you zig zagging your case for ages along the runners for the security machine. Me flight was already boarding as I got to the gate…
Photo © William Verguet
A320-200 EC-LRM (12 years)
Previously EC-HRP with JK (Another refugee at DUB this year!)
Photo © Sebastian Fernandez Bielkiewicz AirTeamImages
We boarded with air stairs again, & I soaked up all the action while waiting- a UU 777 at the gate, AF ERJs taxiing crisply about the place; & a V7 717 taxiing & pulling up right next to us. As I walked into the cabin, one crew member was dealing with a man with a cello, & another crew member smiled & welcomed me on board. The infamous VY sellotaped armrests were present on this A320. I walked to me seat, saw it was taken, then just took a free one across the aisle. Better 21D then 21B! Me seatmate didn’t look too happy when I put on me a/c though…whatever, it was a hot plane!! Pretty full cabin, with lots of French again. One FA set up her demo kit in me seat pocket. There were a few Duo (middle seat free, aimed at biz pax) seats empty at the front, & a PA was made telling us that we still had time to change. Lucky I didn’t get up, as MIAspotter told me later on that they make you pay! Even FR doesn’t do that
-LRM waiting for me
AF ERJs & special livery CRJ
I was starving again, & had me heart set on the Almeria menu again, but alas, they didn’t have it. I was offered the Venezia menu, which was a little ham & cheese bun, with Coke & a KitKat for €7. It was ok, but no lemon this time! The FA this time wasn’t as nice as the previous girl. After this, I passed out from the combination of hangover & early morning water slides. The smiling girl from the front took me rubbish. Soon Barcelona was visible, with Sagrada Familia & Montjuic spotted. We settled nicely onto the rwy, I said bye to the crew, who didn’t hear me & then I was back in T1. I had an hour & a half before meeting MIAspotter again, so I did some spotting & arsed around on the free Kubi wifi. For such a cool terminal, you only get 15mins, & you have to sign up! As I was walking out to the Aerobus, I actually felt tired looking at the sheer scale of the place. Millions of shops! I hopped off the bus at Placa Catalunya & waited at the new Apple shop. This appeared to be the girlfriend drop off point, as while I was waiting for Christian to come from the office, 2 other guys came from the office to pick up their girls. Then there was hordes of Italian tourists taking pictures of themselves outside the Apple shop….IT’S JUST A SHOP!! Then randomly 2 Irish people were waiting beside me but they didn’t know I was Irish til I opened me mouth when Christian arrived! So after a squashy bus to Sant Marti to collect me crap, a metro to Clot, & then a Renfe MD (I don’t do Regional, dorling) I was finally back in Girona! And then back to work the next day!
EK 773 pushing back
BCN T1: I wish I had more time to explore. Flipping huge.Wifi a bit crap.9/10
NTE: Cute, efficient little airport. 9/10
VY: Nice staff, planes a bit tatty, website a bit annoying! 8/10
More for your perusal
FR To FRance DUB - NTE - DUB (by aerdingus Jan 2 2012 in Trip Reports)?threadid=206204&searchid=206235&s=fr+to+FRance#ID206235
A VenEIzuelan Christmas In Barcelona (by aerdingus Jan 1 2012 in Trip Reports)
A Few Hours In Milano EI DUB – LIN- MXP –DUB (by aerdingus Dec 15 2011 in Trip Reports)
The Classic Codeshare:EI BA JQ DUB LHR HKG SIN (by aerdingus Dec 10 2011 in Trip Reports)
DUB-HEL-DUB With EI (kinda Long-ish W/pics) (by aerdingus Apr 19 2011 in Trip Reports)
[Edited 2012-09-13 09:24:19]