I am picking up from where I left off on our vacation in Spain this summer. This is a continuation from our first stop in Barcelona (link to to the entire series here).
After spending six days in Barcelona, I was flip-flopping about where to head to next. On one hand I think Suanne would love London but I also wanted to go to Morocco. Alternatively, we could go to Seville with the primary objective of dining at the alternative El Bulli.
So I went and try to book a flight to London. But it was so expensive when I booked it just 2 days before. The cheapest was something €300 per person return. So it immediately kiboshed the idea.
As for Morocco, the flights were cheaper. So we asked the people at our hotel and they advised that we should not travel especially when we are not with a group. We did not want to follow a tour group because we don’t like being brought to shops and stuff. Our guide book also said pretty much the same thing — third world country and needing to be careful about being fleeced, etc. Moreover, Suanne is not too keen for that kind of adventure.
So our decision was hinged on getting a table at the El Bulli Hotel in Seville. After three days, we got a confirmed table for a Friday evening. That clinched it. Seville it is.
It was really last minute. We decided to fly from Barcelona to Seville instead of taking the train. So we booked a flight on Ryanair, a no-frills budget carrier at €85 per person. It was not a very good idea!
Firstly, Ryanair flies out of the Girona-Costa Brava Airport which is a good 90km outside of Barcelona. It did not occur to us to check before we booked the flight. Good thing that there is a regularly scheduled bus from Barcelona city center to the airport. The one hour bus ride costs €12 per person.
The airport was like a market! There was thousands of people. The check in process is really confusing that caused to line up twice — once to check in and another time to pay for the extra luggage we had (€20). Budget airlines are not really cheap if you are not careful of the extras that could add up.
We were so afraid of missing the flight because the line was moving so slowly. We managed to get it all done with 30 minutes to spare. So we decided to grab something quick to eat since it will be quite late by the time we get to the hotel and settle down.
The above is €14. If you do the conversion, it is $22 Canadian. On hindsight, we should have bought something before we left for the airport.
This is a series of complains. Sorry for being negative here but the flight was really bad. Here goes …
From fearing being late for the flight, we ended up waiting because the flight was delayed 90 minutes. Frankly, it was a frustrating wait because Ryanair did not even have anyone at the gate for the whole time to let anyone know how long more it was going to take.
There are no aero bridges. So everyone had to embark the flight from the tarmac and having to carry our own baggage up and down the stairs.
There were no seat assignments on budget carriers. You have to pay extra for the right to get on first to secure better seats. For cheapo like us, we ended having to rush. At least the Spaniards are generally courteous.
Everything here are basic and every effort is made to maximize revenue. This is the first time I see ads on every overhead compartments.
There are no pockets in front of the seat to hold magazines and flight safety manual. The flight safety instructions are pasted on the seat.
To top it all, my seat safety belt had used gums on it. I did not know it initially and found out only when I checked why my hands were all sticky. Yucks!
They have better food options on Ryanair. They are extra of course.
We decided to check out one of their offerings. We ordered the €4.50 pizza. I paid with €5 bill. They said they did not have change and will come back with the change later. They never did.
The pizza was edible, not delicious but OK. It was clearly over nuked with on board microwave as the cheese was all sticky and gooey and the pizza was really hot.
The flight was less than 2 hours. When we got to Seville, we then had to get a taxi to the hotel. That taxi ride was €30.
Budget carriers is only worth it if you could get €25 flight tickets. Otherwise it is not worth the hassle and the extra costs and time.
We should have taken the high speed train from Barcelona to Seville and it would have been cheaper, less stressful and even faster. The high speed train travels from city center to city center.
So, let’s do the math for the two of us to travel from Barcelona to Seville:
- Ryanair Flight: €170
- Extra luggage: €20
- Bus from Barcelona to Girona Airport: €24
- Taxi from Seville airport to hotel: €30
That makes it €244 ($380 Canadian) … not to mention the time taken, hassle and the overpriced snacks we had.
This flight aside, the Seville vacation turned out great. Even though this leg was not planned, we exprienced something that we did not expect — blood and death. LOL! El Bulli too!! Stay tuned.
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Hi Ben and Suanne!
Ah, the long awaited Spain blog is up again! Yeh!
When will you be blogging about Madrid, because i’ve planned a 5-day trip to Madrid. Have read some *urgh* stories about safety issues; is it really that horrible, safety wise?
Hi Amy: It will take me at least a week to cover the Seville series before I even start on the Madrid series. We had no safety issues in Madrid. There are some neighborhood we avoided when it gets dark (can’t remember the name now) but most places were very safe. We walked at night and there are lots of people around. You need to be vigilant about pickpockets and your belongings as you would in any big city. I felt safe in Spain because the country is in a heightened alert with lots of police on the streets, particularly the touristy sites and city center. When are you going? Remember to check out Botin in Madrid. It is the world’s oldest restaurant and their roast suckling pig is awesome.
Thank you for easing my mind; hate to go on vacation and worry about things (unless it’s about what to see and eat!) Wah, roast pig…. already running mouth water, heh heh! And I’m definitely going to try the churros, especially after your graphic description!
Ryanair is now going to have standing only flights, so the can cram more people on the plane! http://tinyurl.com/plz2m6
I’m already panicing about flying SWA from LAS->MCO in November because of the no assigned seats policy!
Ouch! I haven’t heard many positives about Ryanair; they nickel and dime their passengers for every little thing (assigned seats, early boarding, checked baggage, etc). Not that the nickel and diming situation is much better on AC, mind you! 😉
Ryanair made waves not ago for proposing a charge to use the lavatories on the planes; it wouldn’t be pretty if they followed through on it.
But hey, at least they got your guys there in one piece! 🙂
i think raynair are providing airservice at the fare of bus tickets and its really cheap and quite suitable for people who are traveling on tight budget.Other airlines charges are high and they charge you for a lot of things which most of passengers dont use.In ryanair they charge you just fora thing which you use.SO which is better?
El Bulli too?????
Yeee-up. El-Bulli too. You gotta read about it.
A point to note if you’re checking in luggage is that many of the travel accessories that are sold as luggage security items (locks, cable ties, security seals, etc) do not actually work to protect your luggage. You’d think for the money spent on these things it would take time to break into a bag, but it’s as simple as several seconds with a paperclip or even a pen. And people wonder why there is a problem with luggage theft. This site shows how the criminals do it: http://www.securoseal.com/main.php?id=318. The same site has also got news stories from around the world on airport and luggage related crime here: http://www.securoseal.com/main.php?id=325 – so it’s worth a read if you’re planning on taking a trip soon.