Tag Archives: gatwick airport

Hanging out at Gatwick – London (sort of)

Playing post-vacation catch up:

It’s tempting to jump on a train and visit my beloved London during this 7 hour layover but a number of things are holding me back, including my arm, which doesn’t hurt but slows me down. “Been through the war?” the immigration woman said to me with uncharacteristic humor.

Fact is, I’d have only 3 hours max before I need to head back to the airport for check in. And protests are expected in London because Trump is visiting. (I just avoided him in Helsinki, where he and Putin are summitting in a few days.)

I wasn’t planning to go through immigration here but my Norwegian Air representative recommended this, even if I don’t go out of the airport because apparently it offers more comfortable options for waiting around than departures. Good to know for future reference.

I slept a bit last night but was up by 3:30 a.m. to watch my cell alarm go off at 4. My Airbnb host Annamari was sleeping on the living room couch (I had her room) but got up to give me a hug goodbye. It was kind of an odd Airbnb arrangement but she was sweet and the price was good ($70 a night). The 11 minute walk to the bus was easy and because it was almost full daylight I didn’t feel spooked dragging my suitcase through neighborhood streets at night. Oddly, I had to pay with cash (5.50 euros) which is the opposite of other Scandinavian countries that have become almost cashless.

Kallio Airbnb

As I pulled my suitcase through the outskirts of Kallio, several young people were out and about, at a karaoke bar and the McDonald’s. The airport bus was packed at 4:30 am but Helsinki airport was very quiet at 5:15 am. My first flight was easy and not too uncomfortable. I think I slept. Next one could be a bear.

Airbnb room

But hey, just found some reclining lounge chairs here, looking down through the glass at people checking in for flood flights. Feels almost like a day at the beach except there is no sun or sea or beach and a baby is wailing nearby. And three security guards just passed by with a sniffing dog.

P.S. As it turned out, my flight to  Chicago was delayed two hours because the pilot was missing. not a promising sign.  He did eventually show and we flew on without incident. Forgot what a pit Gatwick is. Chicago Midway looked bright and shiny by comparison the next day.

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Filed under airport/flight safety, England and U.K., Scandinavia

Richmond Park, Gatwick, Berlin

Lovely last day in London with my friends. We rode bikes along the Thames towpath, from Mortlake to Richmond Park, easy and scenic ride. Later road back through the park.

My friends dropped me off at Clapham Junction where I had an easy two stop train ride to Gatwick which was packed with people and a bit confusing to figure out the Easyjet procedure but my Berlin flight left on time, my carry on luggage did fit in the overhead, albeit awkwardly. It was much easier than I thought it would be to get to my hotel. As promised, the bus arrived right on time outside the airport and it took me to Rudow where I transferred to the U7 subway. It is a bit odd because you just walk into the subway, without passing through any ticket stalls. The ticket you buy at the airport for the bus can be used within three hours for the train and I guess vice versa.

I found my hotel artemisia quickly, an imposing white building on a quiet street and I pressed the code into a key box and sure enough the box spit out two keys i needed to get into the front door and into the hotel and my room on the fourth floor. It’s an odd arrangement with the hotel occupying the two top floors of a building i gather is otherwise residential. But it worked. The only thing I cannot get to work is my ipad internet access. Had problems with this in London too and not sure what the issue is but fortunately this computer is available via the hotel. One odd thing is the German keyboard is different so everytime I try to type a y it comes out as a Z. So I may have to go by Betsz here instead of Betsy…..

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