Sunday, May 31, 2009

Europe Here I Come Part 1


The trip from Kota Bharu to Kuala Lumpur by Air Asia was uneventful as everything was on time. The baggage that we carried was within the 30 kg limit that Air Asia allowed us to carry for two persons.
I was touched when Kerp PHD called while I was at my sister in law's place before being sent to the airport. Kerp called to wish me a happy and safe journey.
Upon arrival at LCCT KLIA my son came to pick me up with his wife Yanie and two of their 3 children. The children were ready for bed but traded their sleep in order to welcome their paternal grandparents. Their maternal grandparents are staying with them at the moment after their maternal grandfather suffered a stroke and is undergoing post stroke treatment by undergoing traditional massage in Malacca. Being from Taiping, staying in Labu is nearer for them. He seems to be recuperating quite well and regained some of the bodily functions.
Irsyad and Ayen came to greet us at the airport.
When I switched on my handphone at the airport, I was surprised to see many missed calls from Pak Idrus of In passing Malaysians. Returning Pak Idrus' call, he advised me against the use of of any electrical appliances for cooking at the hotels in Europe due to the difference in voltage used except for UK. Our appliances work on 220-240 volts whereas most UK countries except UK uses 110 volts, he said. This means trouble as we had to cook our own food while on the tour as advised by the Travel Company. A hurried call to the company's representative confirmed that there is no problem with the electrical system which gave us some assurance and confidence as nothing with regards to food will be a problem.

At my son Azrin's place with his father inlaw who suffered a crippling stroke.

Logging to the internet I saw a flood of comments from friends wishing me a happy and safe journey to Europe. I was greatly moved. Most wanted me to post about the trip with loads of pictures which I will certainly be most happy to oblige. Just like me, most of my friends are not so well endowed to be able to holiday in expensive Europe. I am only able to do this after my retirement from service after reaping some income from my investment on ASB. So you see I didn't really spend my retirement benefit, just spending the income accrued from it.
That night we shared the room with our grand children as the guest room is already taken up by my daughter in law's parents.


We woke up early as we had to be at the KLIA at 8.30 AM at the latest.

My grand daughter Syakirah who slept when we arrived last night was up early to send us to the airport. Though we have another 10 kg. that we could carry, we didn't add in anything extra except for the thick jacket which I borrowed from Azrin for the trip up to Mount Titlis for the snow experience. So our luggage remains the same numbers of 4.
Since a friend from Seremban who is a fellow Tomoi fan by the name of Zakriey will be coming to see me off, I had to be even earlier to be able to have some time to chat.

Coffee with Zack at the airport.

Met some of the other travelers in the same group. Soon the representative from POTO Travel by the name of Zainida came and gave us a short briefing and checked our baggage in. We were informed to check in at 9.30 AM and be at gate C13 which is located at the satellite airport which necessitated the use of the aerotrain. Since we had used this satellite airport several times before we were quite sure of where to go and even managed to lead the first time users in the group.
Zainida of POTO Travel (in white and blue) will be the tour leader, she gave us a short briefing.

Our baggage were checked us in and later the boarding passes were distributed to us. Though we were booked on Gulf Air, we were boarded on Jet Airways together with their own passengers and MAS passengers who code shared. Below is the Boeing 777 that we will be boarding.
The 777 is a good plane. My son who is a pilot with MAS flies one of these as a First Officer.

If you could afford the business class, you can have one of these seats which is fully reclining. While getting ourselves seated we met this Iranian by the name of Amir who invited us to visit his country. InsyaAllah, one day we will get there.

While flying this is all we could see from our window.

When we neared Bahrain we could see an almost barren island in the sea.

From the plane window we could see a stricken vessel spilling fuel into the sea.

After getting bored with watching with the movies in the plane, most of the time we were staring at the planes flight path. The planes ground speed of almost 900 km per hour seems to be too slow for the 7 hours flight to Bahrain. How I wish I could use the control unit to push the plane to fly faster.224 miles to Manama the capital of Bahrain which will take us another 36 minutes. We will soon land and get a rest. It is great to break journey like this rather than having to endure a direct flight to Frankfurt, our first destination in Germany. The airline is providing us a room to rest in Manama while waiting for the onward flight at 1.00 AM the next day.

We finally touched down. I was fascinated at the planes mechanism utilized as visible from the window.

The flight stewardess and steward wishing us thank you at the exit. We were quite happy with their services. We were well fed as this was a full service flight.

At Manama Airport we were transferred to the Al Safri Hotel by the hotel van. The room given was quite comfortable.

We were checked into Al Safri Hotel in Manama Bahrain. Since the hotel is in a newly developed area, there is not really much activity around the area. There was no wifi in the room which is only available at the coffee house and you must buy yourself a drink to qualify for the password. When I first switched on my computer I had a connection and after a few exchanges of messages with my son in law in Labuan, my connection was cut off.
Hotel Al Safri in Manama Bahrain.

We walked around the hotel area and found lots of development going on there.

I befriended the doorman who was wearing a very special uniform.
We were provided with buffet dinner at the hotel which we extremely enjoyed. While there a musician from Sri Lanka played the saxaphone to the accompaniment of taped music. I took a video shot of him playing the instrument and later Mahendran copied to his notebook. He really appreciated my video clip of himand played a few other numbers at my request.

After the dinner I took a walk outside the hotel and captured some shots of the area. Below is a night scene outside the hotel.

The area around the hotel at night.
Though our flight was at 1 AM, the hotel management asked us to vacate the room by 9.30 PM. I guess they have other guests checking in and needed to prepare the rooms. So by 9.30 PM we were transferred to the airport and had to wait for several hours more before boarding the next flight to Frankfurt. This time we did fly the Gulf Air which uses the Airbus 340. I prefer the earlier Boeing 777 on board fascilities compared to the one available on the Airbus.


uncleawang said...

That's very interesting information of your part1:)
Looking forward for more photos & enjoy the vacation.

Pak Zawi said...

Thank you. I will definitely be putting more pictures in the next post. That was just the teasers, more is yet to come.

Covert_Operations'78 said...

See how much everyone cares about you? Glad the trip is turning out so interesting!


Anonymous said...

Salam Uncle. Nak share experience. Biasanya saya tak bawa persiapan untuk 'memasak' tu. Pemalas pun iya. Tapi alasan yg biasa "Nak try local food". Kah, kah, kah.... Bila sampai di hotel (tak kisahlah di mana), saya buka yellow pages (biasanya ada dlm laci. Kalau tak ada, minta pada room service). Pastu saya cari "Islamic Center" ke atau "Mosque" atau apa-apa saja yang sewaktu dengannya. Saya call dan tanya di mana ada restoren halal. Setakat ni 100% success walaupun di negara-negara di mana khinzir adalah makanan ruji. Pastu saya call restoren. Mula-mula tanya apa ada (Mestilah kan...). Kedua, tanya dia orang deliver tak (Selalunya bayar tip lagi murah dari ambil teksi nak pergi restoren tu). Kalau tak deliver tanya macamana nak pergi i.e apa nak cakap pada pemandu teksi. Bila keluar tu, bawalah sekeping dari kertas yg ada tulis alamat hotel. Senang nanti nak balik. Juga bila dah sampai restoren tu (kalau pergi), minta business card. Kalau tak da, simpanlah apa-apa yang ada 'cap' alamat restoren (kotak mancis, napkin, etc). Senang lain kali. Tunjuk je pada pemandu teksi. Pasal luggage pulak. Kalau uncle macam saya, beg 'beranak-pinak'. Nak balik nanti kalau tak betul-betul kena bayar extra pulak. Bayar memang kena bayar. Tapi nak murah buat macam ni. Tiap-tiap airport biasanya ada service untuk 'unaccompanied luggage'. Yang ni macam hantar pakai poslah. Kita collect di airport M'sia dan sampai dua-tiga hari lepas kita 'pos'. Kalau nak suruh hantar sampai rumah, boleh jugak. Bayar lebih lah. Minimum berat biasanya 15 kg. Tapi tanya dululah. Biasanya ejen yang bawa tu tau. Boleh share dgn kengkawan yang sama 'bertambah' barang sebab selalunya charges untuk lagi banyak lagi murah (per kg). Cara ni tersangatlah jauh lebih murah dari bayar airline untuk xss baggage. Lagi satu, walau negara tu 'maju' pun minumlah air botol (pastikan yg belum di buka tutupnya. Ada sesetengah negara tu, waiter isi air paip lepas tu serve pada kita. Sakit perutlah kita lepas tu). Okay Uncle. Enjoy...


Pak Zawi said...

Ee Lynn,
Yes you are right. I never knew I have such dear friends. Some seems to be just silent readers but have been following my blogs with such intensity. I will carry on putting more informative stories so that others will learn a lesson or two from my experience.

Kama said...

Pak Zawi - keep the notes coming. seronok baca your account. rasa macam i pun travel sekali. take care, both of you..

kbguy said...

wow ! syoknya. I was enjoying reading, and suddenly.. that's all ? Hei, Pak Zawi.. you betul kasi susspence lah. So what next ? Regarding your jouney.. tell more,and more pics too..

Atok said...


takdok kona maghi alek ning ko gaetek?

Pak Zawi said...

Kami terpaksa membuat persiapan memasak kerana ini adalah group tour dimana orang lain juga akan membuat persiapan yang sama. Pak Zawi tak boleh buat pandai nak makan kat restoren terutama masa lunch yang boleh berlaku dalam perjalanan bas seperti antara Stuttgard ke Pari dan antara Paris ke Amsterdam. Begitu juga semasa daily tour dimana kita kena makan tengahari. Lagi pula buat apa nak belanja 10 Euro seorang sekali makan kalau kita boleh save dengan masak sendiri? Travelling bersendirian adalah berbeza.
Tentang excess baggage tak menjadi masalah sebab kami datang dengan 30 kg dan jika balik nanti tak akan melebihi 40 kg sebab kami cuma datang sight seeing bukan membeli belah. Lagi pula semua barangan dalam Euro adalah mahal dan boleh didapati dengan lebih murah di Malaysia walaupun yang dijual di Factory Outlets di bandar berhampiran Stuttgard.
Walaubagaimana pun Pak Zawi akan beritahu kawan-kawan lain yang banyak berbelanja tapi rasanya mereka dah biasa berbelanja overseas.
Terima kasihlah kerana sudi memberi pendapat. Ia memang berguna untuk sesiapa saja yang suka mengembara.

Pak Zawi said...

Hehehe I sure will as long as there is someone interested in reading them.
You too take care. Salam pada Pak Abu.

Pak Zawi said...

Malam tadi saya ingat nak buat post panjang tapi bila balik dari melawat ke Eiffel Tower jam 11.00 malam, saya rasa mengantuk dan buat post pendek je. Tunggu la post satu lagi malam ni.

Pak Zawi said...

Tak tahu jale, kalu tahu boleh juga kona ko Reading tu. Sero 5 hb pagi tu free lagi kalu tak gi shopping gak. Mungkin kena perabih la semua pound sterling hak bawa tu.

aizamia said...

salam Pak Zawi =)
came across this blog while searching for apartment to rent in Kota Bharu (weirdly though ;p hehe)

yet, love to read it so much.and now i'm following your entries on your trip to Europe =) feels like i'm traveling to Europe too!

Pak Zawi said...

Have you found your apartment? I havent posted anything about apartments in my blog so I must be wondering how you managed to land in LAISI. Anyway you are welcome to my humble site.

sherry said...

Pak Zawi...

Terujanya ikut travelling bersama Pak Zawi.

Have a nice Trip ye...

Love from Kuantan.

VersedAnggerik said...

enjoy your travels! have a good time, and do take care!

Pak Zawi said...

Nanti tengok apa verdict saya tentang pakej yang dibuat oleh syarikat POTO Travel, kalau bagus boleh la Sherry beli pakej ngan diaorang.

Pak Zawi said...

Thanks a heap.

Puteri said...

Wow, nice! A hotel room during the stop over!

Looking forward to all your postings on your trip!

xplorer said...

salam pak zawi , baru terjumpa blog ni.It is very interesting.We share the same passion in travelling.i had just added you to my blog list