Northern Cyprus – Leaving Dublin
My girlfriend (HK) and I had been discussing a nice relaxing vacation for a while, and after doing some searching we had found a package deal through a company called Cyprus Paradise, including airline tickets through Onur Air and hotel in Kyrenia, Northern Cyprus called The Malpas Hotel. Personally I had never done a package deal before, usually preferring to plan my own travel and hotel, but the deal seemed good, and even though the reviews on Trip Adviser were mixed in regards to the hotel we decided it was a good deal, it was in a warm place involving laying on beaches and relaxing, and it provided me an opportunity to feed my urge to travel to locations I’ve never been.
The weeks went past after the booking and finally, the week of our trip arrived. Our airplane was leaving Friday afternoon and starting the journey off; I somehow managed to lose my debit card Thursday or possibly Wednesday. Which means, of course, that I was not able to access funds while on vacation. Something that comes in handy when out of town. But that was fine; I told my travel companion for the trip, I had access to my US account. I had my US credit card and debit card and would have to pay the transaction fee.
Since HK had put the travel package on her card, the deal was that I would cover the flights to London and hotel once there, spending money, plus I had already purchased tickets for the Book of Mormon.
I hadn’t booked the London hotel in advance as we decided to give the Hotel Tonight app a try since it’s actually available for windows phone which I use. I logged into the app, found a hotel that we liked and tried to book it. I entered my US credit card information and received a message that I was entering my information incorrectly, which I wasn’t. I tried again, same error. I then pulled out another US credit card and tried that as well and received an error was my account was blocked out from the app. So much for giving windows phone apps a try and go suck ann egg Hotel Tonight, I won’t be using you ever again. And so, we added another charge to HK who ended up booking the hotel.
Are you noticing a trend yet?
Once the hotel was booked we ordered a cab to the airport and we were off for both of our first times flying on the discount airline Ryan Air. Neither of us had flown them before, but since the flights from London to Cyprus went through Stansted Airport instead of Heathrow, we had to find an airline that went from Dublin to Stansted, which was in this case Ryan Air. For my US readers Ryan Air is a discount airline similar to the discount airlines in the US, cheap no frills and will cost you extra if you want anything.
With our tickets printed in advance, because they require that, and will charge 70 euros if customers don’t show up with a printed ticket, we arrived at Dublin airport with plenty of time. Which turned out to be a good thing due to the excessively long lines in the Ryan Air queue.
A side note here, we were not sitting next to each other on the flight. And now, let me tell you why we were not sitting next to each other. I booked both of our tickets well in advance and about a week before the flight I received an email to do our online check-in and print our boarding passes. So like any other airline, I went to the site, followed the steps to print our boarding passes, entered our dates of birth, passport information, flight information, clicked the boxes, and was stopped at that point from moving on to printing the pass for my ticket but not hers. So I printed hers and took a screenshot of the greyed out checkboxes for my ticket. Thinking I would have to take it to the counter and check-in. Later that night, I decided to give it another try, and for some reason, it started working for me and allowed me to print my boarding pass. But Ryan Air charges extra to choose seats, and since we printed our tickets at different times, we got stuck in different parts of the plane, her in the front of the plane and me in the back.
Check-in was painless enough even though they couldn’t change seats allowing us to sit near each other. But the flight is only about an hour, so not a big deal to be in different parts of the plane, which turned out to be garish yellow cramped seats and a non-stop marketing experience. The back of the headrest of the passenger’s seat was covered with a bright yellow plastic with ads plastered on it offering flyers the options to buy food, perfume, or any of the other products that a loud voice will come over the intercom and try to sell flyers. When not being bombarded with these two methods of trying to sell stuff, passengers were harassed by flight attendants walking up and down the aisles doing the same. On this particular flight, I attempted to play a few podcasts with headphones. Unfortunately, they didn’t seal my ears, and my phone at top volume couldn’t drown out the loud sales pitches. I did manage to avoid giving in and was very happy when the plane landed at Stansted.
From Stansted the trip involved a train ride, then a ride in the tube system to get to the hotel we were staying at. Eventually, we made it, checked in, and were pleasantly surprised by the room. It was in a great location, spacious, and quiet. It wasn’t until the next morning when we attempted to take showers that we discovered the reason for the discount price on the place. It turned out there wasn’t any water pressure. Now, I’m not talking the pressure was low to conserve water. It was so little that if you tried showering and turned on the sink at the same time, you couldn’t actually take a shower. And the trip had officially begun.
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