I think we were really lucky with the weather in Ireland. In fact we had sunshine every day we were there. In the mornings there was already that nip in the air that tells you autumn is quickly approaching. But apart from that it was sunny every day and warm enough to wear just a t-shirt.
And so, at the end of the first course day we decided to head out into the country to visit the Cliffs of Moher. The journey from Limerick, where my hotel is, to the Cliffs will take you approximately one hour, depending on traffic and on how comfortable you feel navigating the narrow roads (nice one, M.).
One way or another, if you get the chance and if you are anywhere in the vicinity of the Cliffs, you should definitely visit. There is a huge car park close by. The parking fee is EUR7.- per person, which includes admission to the area. From there it is about a five minutes walk to the entrance and the visitor centre.
We visited around six o’clock in the evening, just about the time the sun was starting to set. The visitor centre closes at 19:00. Perhaps that is why there were not that many visitors around and we had the place more or less to ourselves. I expect it must get rather busy during the day.
The beginning of September sees me travelling to Ireland to give another course. The venue of the course is near Shannon airport, so obviously the easiest thing would have been to fly to and from Shannon airport. But connections to Shannon are not really very good – at least if you’re coming from Switzerland – so eventually we decide to use Dublin Airport instead and rent a car from there.
The journey to and from Ireland is with KLM and Aer Lingus via Amsterdam. Flights between Amsterdam and Dublin are operated as a code-share with KLM. And even though Aer Lingus has no affiliation whatsoever with KLM and Flying Blue, you can still collect miles with them, as long as your ticket is issued on KLM stock and with the KLM flight number.
Aer Lingus operates out of Terminal 2 at Dublin Airport. It is possible to check in at the self-service check-in machines and you will even be issued the boarding pass for your onward connection on KLM.
The only draw back with this code-share is that there is no possibility for KLM passengers to check in online. As a result, if you are running late you just have to take what is left.
Flying Blue status card holder are entitled to use the Aer Lingus Lounge in Dublin when they are travelling on the service to Amsterdam. It does not seem to make a difference whether you are checked in on the KLM or Aer Lingus flight number.
The lounge looks rather nice but it is quite small. It also has an odd shape. It is quite narrow and long. There are computer workstations but the screens face the lounge, which means that anybody can easily peer over your shoulder to take a look at what you have on the screen. The food and drinks options are very limited, although perhaps that may also have something to do with the time of day when I visited.
Service on Aer Lingus is buy-on-board. I do not purchase anything but the prices seem fairly decent. Seat pitch on the A 320 is excellent, with loads of leg space. Furthermore, it is still a proper seat with comfortable padding, unlike those horrible Recaro slimline seats most carriers in Europe seem to use these days and which can be a bit severe on the backside.
The flight is uneventful, which is also why I do not take any pictures. There simply is nothing to photograph. The crew on the inbound and the outbound are hardly worth mentioning either. They do their job, but nothing else.
Transfer in Amsterdam
I have a connection of fifty minutes. So obviously I become slightly apprehensive when the flight from Dublin departs with a delay of twenty-five minutes. In fact I am pretty sure I am going to have to spend the night in Amsterdam.
Eventually we arrive at the gate in Amsterdam at 20:05. As it happens, it is the one but last gate on the D concourse. My flight to Basel will depart in exactly thirty minutes and I still have to walk all the way to the beginning of the concourse, clear immigration, go through security again and then make the long trek over to the B gates by the Fokker farm.
But surprisingly, tonight lady luck appears to be smiling upon me full of mercy and compassion. There is no queue at immigration and security takes all of two minutes to clear, and even that is only because my belt gets stuck. I am the last passenger to board. Nonetheless, we still manage to depart ten minutes ahead of schedule.