16 October 2012

Germany to Monaco

The morning started off fairly well.
Last night we stayed at James May’s Lego Hotel.  Either he built it, or someone liked his style.  It looked good with bands of different Lego blocks around the building.  We were so impressed with it we forgot to take a photo!  On closer inspection they were sheets of tin and not lego, but the effect is still the same.
As we had to leave the EU countries for a while (As an Australian, I am only allowed to stay there for three months,  How you are supposed to see the entire Euro zone in three months is unknown, especially as it is always growing) and decided on a Five Star hotel and a bit of Gambling and Boozing.  Well, more boozing than we have already done in the last weeks!  So we headed to Schoenefeld Airport.  This has to be one of the worst international airports we have ever been in.  The toilets were disgusting, and the entire place is small, cramped and uncomfortable.  There are a few shops, but nothing special.  The rules about not taking water in are ridiculous.  Outside you can buy a litre and a half of water for 19 cents.  Or just drink the tap water.  In the airport there are no bubblers/drinking fountains, and the water is 2.50 euro for 500ml!  I think these rules are set up to make people shop in the airports, as you wouldn’t bother normally.
We were flying EasyJet.  The cheap airline.  As we arrived at the terminal the check in opened.  There was a mass of people waiting around, and as it opened, people stood up on mass and charged the counters.  You would not be blamed in thinking that their flights were leaving in 5 minutes and they were in danger of missing it.  So we hung back for a bit and let the most enthusiastic go.  After that it wasnt too bad.  Security was easy and there was no passport control?!? We found the passport control was set up at individual stations at each of the boarding gates.  A cursory glance at my passport, stamp and go.  Anna didn’t even get that.  She is still miffed that I get stamps and she doesn’t.  Waiting for boarding, we realised there was no seat allocations.  The seats closest to the exit were the first to fill, then people started standing right at the counter.  As more people arrived, they pushed past to get even closer still.  The tension was palpable.  When security walked over to the gate people surged forward, and this was a full ten minutes until boarding was supposed to start.
Easyjet has priority boarding.  Pay extra money and be one of the first onto the plane.  If you have kids you are the second group to go, and the cattle come last.  On the actual opening, people at the back were trying to jump over the barriers, or crawl under just to be that little bit faster onto the plane.  Then when the cattle were released, all hell broke loose.  The plane was on the tarmac, about 20 metres from the gate, and people were running to board the plane!  It was hilarious.  We lucked out that there was an older gentleman in the isle seat, and no one had asked him if the seats next to him were taken.
The flight to Monaco was long and boring.  EasyJet does nothing.  No entertainment, 3 euro coffee etc,so we sat there and watched the countryside fly past.  Germany from the air is a patchwork of small villages surrounded by fields.  Many with wind farms scattered through them, and forests ringing this before more fields and another village.  Almost like large concentric circles.
France was a lot less organised with more individual buildings and villages.  Spain was dry, and flying over the Pyrenees was something.  Jagged mountain lines, bare hills.  Some with snow, and very few settlements in the valleys.
We were a bit worried about this, as Monaco is in France.  When we saw a large expanse of water, we were wondering what the hell was going on.  It was a MASSIVE lake.
On Arriving in Monaco we were even more confused.  The people spoke french and what seemed like Arabic.  However our french is really rusty and we were exhausted from the flight so we must have miss heard.
Getting a taxi into the city was easy, and it was a long drive.  I swear he was taking us around the entire country first.  It was a lot poorer than we had expected, with a lot of unfinished buildings.  On arriving at the hotel, we were pleasantly surprised about the prices, as it was only about 13 dollars, but a bit disappointed over the quality.  It is on par with some of the Jordanian accommodation we had.  Going out to have a look around, we had the feeling that something was very wrong. Finding dinner near the hotel, where we had a brilliant three course meal for just over 10 dollars we found out the problem.  We were in Morocco.  Not Monaco.  Here we were thinking Agadir was just a suburb!  It turns out that you really shouldn’t book your ticket at three o’clock in the morning intoxicated!  You can end up in the weirdest places.

Good food!

Agadir Mosque

However we are going to enjoy it since we are here.


P.S.  We did know we were going to Morocco!


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