After that awesomely delicious grilled ahi meal at La Boqueria, I dragged my bloated self back to the hotel, grabbed my luggage, and headed back to Plaça Catalunya to take the bus back to the airport.
[7 MARCH 2016, MONDAY]
Barcelona El Prat Airport
I did not manage to take any pictures of this airport when I arrived, so here’s a couple for you. I actually have more than a couple, but I know you guys hate my airport talks, so…
I was kind of early, I arrived at 4 PM, and my flight was 8 PM. This means I had time to kill…
Also, I planned to save 100€ of my cash to exchange into Turkish Liras when I got back to Istanbul, and I realized I had quite a bit more than that. I guess I haven’t been splurging as much as I thought I did…
This means I could get dinner in the airport before boarding my flight. And so I did…
Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport
I found myself back in Paris CDG on my return flight to Istanbul. No incidents during flight this time.
I’m not going to give you more airport talks here. Instead, I’m going to give you some directions…
If you ever find yourself in Paris CDG and you are booked with one of those hotels nearby, be advised that there are free shuttles that runs between the airport and most of the nearby hotels from early morning till midnight.
To get to the bus, you need to get yourself to Terminal 2, Ground floor. From there, you should follow the signs leading you to Gare TGV (or Gare SNCF). As long as you follow the signs, you will soon find yourself here:
But no, TGV is the bullet train, that’s not what we want. What we want, is what lies behind this big big TGV billboard: a lift!
Get in the lift, and go up to level 5, and you will find yourself exiting the lift to the outdoors.
And this, ladies and gentlemen, is the bus stop for the free airport-hotels shuttle buses.
Hotel F1, Roissy
I was going to spend the night in the free lounge again like I did previously. But I received an email from Booking.com earlier which said something like “Happy Birthday, here’s a 50% discount code for one night on any hotel booking made with us, valid only on the actual day”.
To make matters worse, my flight from Paris to Istanbul was supposed to be 9 AM, but it got delayed till 1 PM. Meaning I would have to stay in the airport for more than 12 hours. Seemed like a very long time to spend in the airport…
So I decided to make use of that 50% discount code and booked myself into Hotel F1.com. It was supposed to be 30€, so I paid only 15€ (well, 16.20€ to be exact, with all those tax and charges)…
Make no mistake, this is a budget hotel. I’ve read the reviews for this hotel and most of them are negative. I don’t know, I think this is probably due to people not reading the details and setting the wrong expectations when they booked into this hotel.
There is no attached bathroom in the rooms here.
The bathroom is shared and outside, along the corridors. There’s 10 bathrooms and 10 toilets on each floor.
The shower was quite frustrating though. The shower is not operated by a knob, but a button. You press on the button, and water will flow from the shower head for 10 seconds, and stop. Then you’ll have to press the button again to get another 10 seconds of water. Repeat the process until you’re done.
I can see why they do this. This is a great idea for saving water, because you don’t let the water flow non-stop. But this is also one of the main reasons for the negative feedback that this hotel gets.
[8 MARCH 2016, MONDAY]
But all things considered, I quite like this hotel. The bed was spacious and comfortable, the wi-fi was pretty decent. Thanks to all these, I woke up very refreshed. I did not sleep this well in Barcelona.
The hotel also serves a simple buffet breakfast, but it is not complimentary. You have to pay 3.50€ for it. I gladly paid up…
Now, I wanted to show you the food selection that they have, but as I was snapping away, the hotel staff came rushing towards me, and she said “What you doing?! No! I don’t like it! No pictures! I don’t like it! Why you do this rude thing?! I don’t like it!”
Interestingly, as I was seated, I saw another guy came and he began to snap photos too. But this time, this lovely lady staff, she went over and helped him re-arrange the food trays and said things like “You take photos? Make sure to take them nicely”.
Wow! What just happened? Was it because that dude is white and I’m Asian?
She kept her eye on me throughout breakfast and constantly shook her head. It made me really uncomfortable. I was constantly watching myself and other guests at the breakfast lounge to see if there was something that I did wrong. And when I was done, I even cleaned up, picked up the tray and sent it to the used utensil bins. She thanked me by saying “Why you do this? Leave the tray on the table! I don’t like it! You make me look lazy and not doing my job!”
I was really liking this hotel, but after my encounter with this lovely lady staff, hmm… maybe not so much… 🙄
Well, nothing much I can do… Time to head back to the airport to catch my flight back to Istanbul…
I’m going to end this post with my worst frustration of this trip.
You know, I actually bought souvenir. Edible souvenir. Lots of them. I bought chorizo (sausages) and jamón (ham) and chocolates and candies and nuts and paella rice.
But after I touched down in Istanbul and got my check-in luggage, as I was leaving, I was stopped by a few customs officers. They asked me to open my bag, and took all the foodstuff out and told me that I was not allowed to carry any food items into Istanbul.
I was given 2 choices: give up all the food items, or be sent to the police as terrorist suspect and then deported back to Malaysia. There isn’t really a choice for me here, is it? So… as frustrated and angry as I was, bye bye to 100€ worth of edible souvenirs. 🙁
I guess they have their reasons. After the bombing incident in January (and another one weeks after I came back to Malaysia), they are probably justified to be suspicious of all edible items as biological weapons or something.
And, if some of you friends wonder why I came back empty handed in terms of souvenirs, this was why…