It was travel day today - departure in Göttingen at 10:15 CEST, departure in Durham at about 17:00 BST. In between were a walk, two train journeys, two flights, two more train journeys and a cab ride. In case I get to know the distance, I'll try to find out the dismal average speed...
So, yeah, I was flying again. I like flying - looking at the fields growing smaller looking like little green, brown and yellow patches and those big dangerous mammals (cows, horses...) looking like little ants. I also like the funny feeling in the stomach when you bump around in the air. But then again, I'm easily impressed.
Anyway, there I was again, up to the usual trip. First to Amsterdam with KLM cityhopper and then on to Newcastle with KLM UK. Strangely these two operators, as they call it, of KLM are very different. KLM cityhopper is much mor pleasant, having complimentary newspapers (see below), smaller airplanes, less staff and better as well as more food, whereas KLM UK is more sophisticated with larger planes, more staff (which are mostly called Fiona), no newspapers and by far too sweet biscuits.
The cityhopper branch has a nice touch. When flying from Hannover, the coffee will be with a dash of real milk insteat of the dried or condensed stuff you ususally get. That makes a difference. Also, you're offered another small snack after the first one. I like it - especially when I didn't have breakfast before. On the downside, this time on my cityhopper flight there was a strange greasy stain on my window - so I didn't really want to lean against it for sleeping. Still, comparing those two, cityhopper wins hands down.
Overall, I believe that these two branches of KLM may reflect one of the differences between the UK and continental Europe - it's more sophisticated and business-like in the UK but has a nicer touch and better food in Europe - again we'll see the food theme reoccuring a few lines below.
Also, my connection in Amsterdam was perfect, as the plane from Hannover was slightly late - so my stay in Schiphol was exactly long enough for the walk between the terminals. Joy.
The complimentary paper I chose on the flight from Hannover was the international edition of The Guardian - cheekily the flight attendant greeted me in English afterwards. Interestingly, the subjects treated were much the same as when I left Britain. Tony is great and charismatic - wheras Ian Duncan Smith is just a clueless loser (well, that's just too obvious, I guess). Then a bit of Blunkett and public surveillance - actually even somethin
Interestingly, that article followed the line of argument I read in my flatmate Michelle's girls' magazine a few years ago in a nutritional report: While French people eat more and more fat than even the British - they're more healthy and less fat as they have proper meals which they enjoy instead of just grabbing a bag of crisps or some chips on the go. Meals are important! I find this plausible and enjoy meals myself - that's why I started cooking in the first place.
After arrival in Durham, I registered for the short course. We're staying in Grey College in Durham which seeems reasonably nice. I met Mario, met some of the other participants for dinner and we went for a few beers in the college's pub.
Also (after my bad experiences in the far end of Wales a few months ago) I made sure that my radio controlled alarm clock has adjusted properly to the different time zone. This will avoid getting up an hour early tomorrow (again, today, technically).
re: KLM branding and flight experience.
It’s a legacy thing, actually: KLM uk used to be AirUK, a British concern; KLM cityhopper used to be… I dunno. But as of January 2003, the two are being combined into a single KLM short-haul ‘cityhopper’ brand.
This meant I had a fun compare/contrast on my latest trip. Flying out on KLM uk on Dec 30th, it was basically ‘KLM uk’ standard: coffee, biscuits, no newspapers. Flying back on Jan 29th, it was ‘KLM cityhopper’ standard: nice sandwich, snack, coffee or wine, newspaper. Amazing the way that an executive decision like that can affect the quality of a flight.
(Except that my case got mislaid at Schiphol for a couple of days. Oh well: you can’t have everything.)
Received data seems to be invalid. The wanted file does probably not exist or the guys at last.fm changed something.