Wednesday, April 5, 2017

1st TRIP BACK TO THE E.U. in 2017

April 04 /17 - Early morning departure for a journey to AMSTERDAM with QATAR AIRWAYS at BKK-Suvarnabhumi International Airport. 

- The first half of the flight to DOHA lasts 6h40 aboard a B777-300ER. This is not my favorite aircraft but I was able to get a window seat on the first row (#10K). More space for legs and a good service as usual.
QR route BKK-DOH
QR route DOH-AMS
- At Hamad International Airport in Doha, I had time to relax at the business lounge, having time to savor a proper lunch at the dining room with a glass of Pomerol.
Business lounge dining at HIA/Qatar Airways
Overall view of western Iran mountain range from the aircraft
- The flight to AMSTERDAM was also done aboard another B777-300ER, but this time, I was
Above western Iran
traveling in business class, so no problem with space or comfort (seat #01K)! The first third of this flight was quite spectacular as we flew right above the snow-capped mountains of western Iran, on a very clear day. It remained scenic all the way to the shores of the Black Sea as the aircraft flew above more snowcapped mountains and a few lakes (Tabriz, in Iran and Van, in eastern Turkey). I tasted some superb wines on this sector: my favorite white St.Clair, from New Zealand and a fruity Portuguese red. I chose to have dinner two hours prior to our arrival at Schiphol: an aromatic soup in entrée, followed by an Arabian chicken biryani; then I had a plate of selected cheeses and a fruity ice-cream for dessert.
Mountain lake
Clouds over mountain range
- The aircraft landed at Schiphol Airport ten minutes ahead of schedule after a 6h30 flight.
At this time of year, although the local time was 9:00 PM, it was still not fully dark here in the Netherlands. As a matter of fact, just before landing, we could see the sunset through the clouds. Actually, the weather was fair at Schiphol Airport and the outside temperature was 12ºC.
- I spent the night at the CitizenM airport hotel, a few minutes' walk from the terminal.
April 05 /17 - Flight to Marseilles.
- The CitizenM hotel has an interesting contemporary design and the check-in experience is also a new concept almost entirely made through a series of flat screen computers. After a relaxing & comfortable night, it was time for a nice and hearty breakfast down at the bar and multiple, homey lounges.
At a CitizenM hotel lounge at Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam

- Schiphol Airport is reputedly considered the best in Europe. The security is extremely efficient and done in a different way from any other airport I've been traveling. Kudos! But today, for some reason, it took longer than usual so it is always a good idea to start the procedure ahead of time.
- The Air France (AF) A319 was fully booked and the flight from AMS to MRS lasted 1h25 today.
- In the main hall of Marseille-Provence Airport, I met my sister, and a few minutes later, Stephan, my younger nephew came too. We had coffee together. Stephan left later in the evening for Rome, where he'll be staying for a few days with his girlfriend.
- Back to Arles for the next two weeks with a temperature of 20ºC.
April 06-07/17 - In ARLES, Provence.
A window on Provence
April 08/17 - Coffee at Fontvieille.
April 09/17 - Dinner at friends' in Salon-de-Provence.
April 10-11 /17 - In Arles.
April 12/17 - Visit at friends' in Fourques.
April 13/17 - Arles.
Saturday morning wet market in Arles
April 14/17 - Day in CASSIS with Mum, my sis and Timéo. 
Cassis- Harbor front.
Castle & harbor 
Cassis harbor
Fishing harbor of Cassis
Shop window

Old town lane
April 15-18/17 - Last days in Arles.
April 19/17 - Trip to BAHRAIN via Amsterdam & Doha.
Early wake-up to catch the 06:32am train to Marseille-Provence Airport.
- TER (Train Express Régional) to the airport in 35min via St.-Martin-de-Crau & Miramas. Great new shuttle trains with a bus connection to the air terminal.
- First sector: AIR FRANCE flight from Marseilles [MRS] to Amsterdam [AMS] in 1h45 on board an A319 (seat #6F).

- Amsterdam-Schiphol remains a pleasant airport for transit. The Aspire Lounge is a fine place to rest to wait for the next flight.
- Second sector: QATAR AIRWAYS from Amsterdam [AMS] to Doha [DOH].Pleasant flight on the front row of the cabin (seat #10A) aboard a B777-300ER covering the distance in 6h15.

- Stopover at Hamad International Airport [HIA] at the First Class Lounge.
- Third sector: QATAR AIRWAYS from Doha [DOH] to Bahrain [BAH]. One of the shortest flight on a commercial airliner: it takes 20 minutes for the A320 to get to Bahrain Intl. Airport.

- Chauffeured car from the airport to Bahrain International Hotel in Manama.
--> Link to Journal de Bahreïn in French.
April 20/17 - Full day in Bahrain
April 21/17 - Full day in Bahrain. Evening flight from BAH to DOH with QATAR AIRWAYS, A320 (40min).
April 22/17 - Connecting QATAR AIRWAYS flight DOH-BKK with A388 (6h35).

- End of trip -

Monday, April 3, 2017


In order to complete the preceding posts on the SEYCHELLES, I thought it would be interesting to add a few more photos taken at random on the three main islands of Mahé, Praslin & La Digue.
Aldabra tortoise
Banana flower


Flamboyant flower

White frangipani

Madagascar cardinal
Madagascar turtle dove

Pink Alpinia

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Vanilla Orchid
Red Hibiscus
Tropical fish at Praslin jetty.