Monday, January 11, 2010

Heading to Girona City and Place to Stay

Destination: Girona City, Spain
Date: 1 January 2010

Continue from my previous post, now we were waiting for the bus to Girona City. Below is the photo of the bus station near the Girona Costa Brava Airport.

Bus Station at Girona Costa Brava Airport, Spain

The journey to Girona City from the airport is about 30 minutes by bus and cost €2.50 per person. We just realized that here people were driving in the left hand side.

Girona City Bus Station

Once we stepped out from the bus, we saw lots of bicycle rental around Girona City. Anyhow I am not very sure about the rent rate.  Opposite the bus station in Girona City, there is the Girona Train Station.
Bicycle rental in Girona City

From the bus station, we planned to walk to the hostel which we booked online, as it seemed not that very far to walk to. Anyhow, it is quite confusing to walk to the hostel using a map we printed from google map! Along the way walking to our hostel, we could see that many shops were closed due to New Year public holiday!  Lastly we managed to find the hostel by asking a local couple who could speak English.  :)

Equity Point Girona Hostel

We chose to stay in a 6 beds dorm. The toilet was outside. We could say that our room was clean and the outside toilet was clean too. We shared this dorm with another 4 French girls.

 6 Beds dorm

We paid €30.00 for two nights (€15.00 per person, per night), €2.00 for extra blanket and €2.00 for a towel. If you need extra linen you can rent it at €2.00per item.  We brought our own lock so we could use the locker without having to pay extra €2.00 per lock.

During winter it is quite cold but not that very freezing.  This hostel has a centralize heater but it was not switch on 24hours.  They switch it on for a certain time only.


 View from our dorm

Can u see the machine? There are some mobile phone chargers!

 TV room at the common area

Besides that there was a terrace outside of this 4th floor.  Just go through the light brown door which you can see in the above photo.

 Computers are provided at this common room, but you have to pay to use it.

The hall way to the lift 

 The lift

The steps 

 The communal kitchen

 The communal stuff in the kitchen

Everything in the kitchen is for the guests to be used, except those that have labels with names.  Here you have to clean your own plates and things you used.  If you need to buy something to cook like oil, vegetables, fish, meat, sausages, cheese, milk, rice, pasta, chili powder, etc, you could just buy them from a shop on the right side of this hostel. 

 If you have your own food to be kept in the fridge, do not forget to put labels

 My breakfast

Breakfast is provided every morning from 8.00a.m. until 10.0a.m. at the dining area.  Not only that they had bread like in the above photo, but cereals, muffins, fruits, toasts, orange juice, peach juice, chocolate 3 in 1 drink, milk, tea, sugar and salt were also provided.

For more information about this hostel, visit Equity Point Girona Hostel.

All in all hubby and I think that it was good to stay at this hostel as we make some friends from different countries.  The only thing that I do not really favor is that when the other roommates were making noise while we were sleeping.

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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Journey from Manchester, England to Girona, Spain through Leeds Bradford Airport

Destination: Leeds Train Station
Date: 1 January 2010

It was Christmas break that hubby and I planned to go for our next Europe travel mission, as well as to escape from the crazy cold of the white blanket throughout England and also to celebrate our second wedding anniversary! :) Spain here we come!

Why we choose Spain? Simple! It's because we found cheap return flight tickets by! Before buying the flight tickets, we did some quick research on the internet about going to Spain, the places and things related. After considering all the budgets, time and everything, lastly we made our decision to go for our second Europe travel mission! But this time we plan to travel more like the backpackers! I will explain more about the price and everything when it comes to the point. Keep reading! Ha..ha.. ;)

Early in the morning of 1 January 2010, we both walked to the Crumpsall Tram Station, hoping to spend £2.00 per person to go to Piccadilly. Unfortunately the tram only starts at 9.00a.m. on New Year! So we were rushing to catch a taxi in a very quiet morning at Crumpsall area, Cheetham Hill. Luckily we managed to get one and arrived at Piccadilly Train Station on time. Huh... Moral of the story, do not forget to check public transportation schedule time especially during public holiday! Instead of paying £4.00 for the tram, we had to pay £10.00 for the taxi. Huhu~

A friend told us to consider parking at the Leeds Airport as it could be cheaper. Anyhow after calculating it we found that it is cheaper or almost the same price to travel to Leeds Airport by train and then take a bus. This is because we were going to Spain for six days. The car parking rates for six days are between £31.00 - £50.00 and hubby said it could be tiring to drive. You can compare the parking rates near Leeds Airport from Airport Parking Shop website. So, we bought two return train tickets from Virgin Trains at £24.00.

Once reach Piccadilly Train Station, hubby asked me to look for the train platform number while he went to get the printed tickets. The printed tickets were very confusing us as there were nine printed tickets. So you have to look very carefully which one is to be used. For me the best way is to ask at the information counter or go to your right platform and ask any of the train officers you could find ;) Once we managed to get into the train, in less then 5 minutes the train was already make a move. The journey to Leeds was about 1 hour, where we arrived at Leeds Train Station around 9.30a.m.

Leeds Train Station

Then we were looking around to find the bus stand S7 which is the Metro Leeds bus interchange to Leeds Airport. You can find it on the left side, after you exit the main entrance of the Leeds Train Station. It is very near, just few seconds to reach the bus stand.

Metro Leeds Bus Station Interchange, Stand S7.

It is easy to know the time for the next bus coming to the stand, as you can see in the above photo. Our bus to Leeds Airport would arrive at 10.07a.m. Before seeing the electronic board showing the bus arrival time, we were reading the bus schedule on the left board for few times until we realized that there was an electronic board showing it! Ha.. ha.. ;P We bought the bus tickets on the bus at £2.50 per adult and the journey took about 30-40 minutes.

Once arrived at the Leeds Airport, we went to the check-in counter to weight our bags! Less than 10kg! Yee hee! If you have baggage to check-in, you'd better book online as it is cheaper but for us it is no no no way! He.. he.. We were traveling on budget and trying to reduce everything possible! ;) Please note that you can bring along one cabin bag only. Your bag should not be bigger than 55 x 40 x 20cm and 10kg is the maximum weight. Anyhow we saw someone brought a big luggage bag which I guess bigger than that size. No idea! Maybe it was his lucky day ;) Even we had check-in online, but as Non EU/EEA passengers, we must go to the airport bag drop/visa check desk before going through security. This is because they want to check for validity on our travel document/visa.  In additional, the bag drop desk close strictly 40 minutes before the scheduled flight departure time and passengers should be at the boarding gate at least 30 minutes prior to the scheduled departure.

After that, hubby took a picture of me around that area and suddenly a female officer or staff (we didn't know as she never introduces herself) came to tell us that no camera is allowed. So we just apologized for it and thinking that maybe we could take some photos at outside the airport. Guess what again she came and wanted to see the photos that we already took. According to her it is in the security policy that no camera is allowed at all, even outside the airport. What a very ridiculous policy? There were lots of people were taking photos outside the airport and it just that she didn't see it! Even there were no sign at all saying no camera is allowed until we went to the security check area.  There only we started to see the sign. Whatever!

Early December 2009 we bought the flight tickets from at only £28.00 for 2 return tickets Leeds-Girona, Spain-Leeds. Let me break down the price for 2 adults.

Leeds (LBA) to Girona (Barcelona) (GRO) = 4.00 GBP
Girona (Barcelona) (GRO) to Leeds (LBA) = 4.00 GBP
4 x (Free Web Check in) = 0.00 GBP
Debit Card = 10.00 GBP
Debit Card = 10.00 GBP

Total Payment Amount Excluding handling fee = 28.00 GBP

Hey you know what, if you have card with Visa Electron, won't charge the £10.00. Like us, we paid using Lloyds TSB debit card, so they charged extra £20.00 for our return tickets. Also don't forget that if you buy ryanair flight ticket online, you must check-in online 15 days before the departure date and the printed boarding passes must be brought to the airport!

Since we arrived at the airport early, so we just took our time to enjoy our fried rice which I cooked from home! ;)

Later, we make a move to the security check. It was our first time being asked to open our shoes at the security check. Ha..ha.. Well everybody had to. Besides that our jacket or coat also must be opened and put into the scanning machine. Moreover, we had to show our toiletries bag and it should be kept in a clear visible bag! All bottles cannot be more than 100ml. There was one passenger whose her shampoo was being asked to throw away or to be put in the hold of the aircraft for a fee about £35.00.  So if you are unsure, just check at the bag drop desk before going through security.

Once last call has been made, we went to line up for boarding. Let's go to Spain!

Going to fly with Ryanair for the first time!

View from the plane where we almost reach Girona, Spain.

Girona - Costa Brava Airport

The immigration at Girona - Costa Brava Airport just asked for our passports and wanted to see our return tickets. That's all and you can start practice to say Hola, which we can hear the local people pronounce it like "O-la" when meeting people. :)

Then we were searching for the bus station at the airport to go to Girona City by asking at the information counter. Once you exit the airport just turn right and walk straight until you see the bus station right in front of you. It is not very far, I guess just about 100 meter. The bus ticket can be purchased at the counter near the bus station. We paid 2.50 per person for the bus ticket.

View of Girona - Costa Brava Airport from the bus station.

Stay tune until my next post! I will share more about our journey and holiday in Girona City as well as Barcelona!!!

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