Wednesday, September 03, 2008

I'm in the UK

So Ryanair, what can I say about a bus that flies. Really this just like a bus. They have ads on the overhead bins, really like the kind you would see above your head on a bus or subway. It was interesting how they load these planes, no one has an assigned seat. If you pay an extra 10 Euro you can board the plane first and get one of the choice seats, if not it's cattle car time. So I skipped the extra fee and just got near the departure door at the gate. The fun thing about the airport in Bratislava is it's old school, you have to walk outside get to the plane. So they open the door and it becomes a bit of a mad scramble as a few people start to run to the plane. I just stepped up my pace and was on the plane before most of the people and was able to snag an exit row seat, which on the 737-800, has a ton of legroom. The next thing about discount airlines is they charge you for everything. I got a tiny can (.25L) of 7-up for 1.50 Euro and a ham and cheese on Sub roll for 5 Euro. It is a nice racket they have going with this airline. The sandwich was good but not 5 Euro good. I am waiting to see if there is a charge to exit the aircraft when we land. They allow you only 33lbs per checked piece of luggage, which of course they charge you for. My bag is about 50lbs. You can bring on one item for free as long as it is under 22lbs. They also charge you 10 Euro if you want to check in at the airport instead of doing it online. They charge you 10 Euro if you want to pay for your flight with any credit card other than the Ryanair Visa.When I was booking the ticket it said it was going to be about $100 round trip but after taxes and and a new fee every time I clicked next. The total came to $250 only about $60 cheaper than flying a moor carrier. The guy at check in let me slide on my bag being overweight, which was nice because I am sure it would have cost me 25 Euro extra. They also sell scratch off lotto tickets to try and win free flights and other stuff. Plus duty free that most airlines sell. I will give them this, they are efficient and seem to be one of the only discount airline that makes money. Oh yeah none of the seats recline, so I am really glad I got an exit row. Plus they have the best on time arrival average of 90%.

So I got into Stanstead and it took about 30 minutes to clear passport control. I had a rental car waiting for me but upgraded because they were out of Portable Sat Navs (gps for my American friends.) so I upgraded to a car with it built in. It is a Nissan Extera or something like that. It is diesel and has tons of torque, it is also a 6 speed. I'm not sure if it is a turbo or not but it feels like it. I will find out more about the “tank” as I am calling it and let you know. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the ride. It is huge compared to most European cars and on the narrow back roads it is a bit wide and I would rather brush up against the hedges on the left then the big truck on the right. As for driving on the other side of the road, as I have said to people before, as soon as I get to my first circle, my brain goes, OK now I got this. Right turns are a bit tricky sometimes as you are crossing over traffic to do so, the trick is to remember that cars will not be where you normally look for them, just look to the other lane. Plus it is always better to wait until it is all clear then to risk jumping out in front. A little bit or patience goes a long way. Traffic around London was what I expected, with a few slow downs and a five minute stop for a broken down car. The cool thing about the Sat Nav is it gets traffic updates and told me the M25 was packed because of an accident so it asked me if I wanted to reroute. I have to say, it is a cool feature and I want to know when it is going to be in the US, maybe it is now but not in my Honda. It was about 2:45 minutes of driving to get to Bexhill on Sea to visit with Kate's sister Zuzka and her boyfriend Milos. I was on the motorway about half the time and then on back roads for the rest. I could have stayed on the highway, if not for the traffic, and gotten here maybe 30 minutes sooner I think. I really enjoyed driving on the back roads, sure it is slower but you get to drive through some nice little towns along the way.

I will stay here for just two night and I leave for Ireland on Friday. I will spend tomorrow walking around the area and taking photos. And since I am in the UK, there is a really good possibility I will be able to rant about how bad the food is here. I understand now why the French hate the English so much, it' because they don't understand what good food really is.

No comments: