Belfast, Northern Ireland – April 2014

Edinburgh to Belfast
Edinburgh to Belfast

From Edinburgh we flew easyjet to Belfast International Airport, an almost one-hour flying with a ticket as low as 30 GBP one-way.  The airport is located about 30km northwest of Belfast from which we took a taxi to Premier Inn Belfast City Cathedral Quarter.  The strategic location of the hotel means that we are basically within walking distances to many of the Belfast point of interests such as Belfast City Hall, Albert Memorial Clock, The Big Fish, Cathedral Quarter and Victoria Square Shopping Centre. Belfast City Sightseeing Bus Tour starting point is also located within 300m from the hotel.

Although we checked-in quite early (around 9am), the hotel could accommodate us hence we could start early exploring Belfast. Within minutes we’re already onboard the sightseeing bus. The first stop is Titanic Belfast located at Titanic Quarter. Home to Titanic Museum, Titanic Belfast is also sited very close to launching site of Titanic, back in 1912.

As time is limited, we did not opt to visit the museum but instead checking surroundings, and then heading to Titanic’s Dock and Pump-house, passing Samson and Goliath Cranes and Titanic Drawing Offices. A visit to bottom of Titanic’s Dock gave us dramatic impressions on sheer size of Titanic when it was built and last sat on dry ground.

Continuing on the bus tour, guided by a humorous yet knowledgeable guide, we visited or passed through many areas of Belfast, from Parliament Buildings,  George Best Belfast City Airport, conflict areas (between Nationalist and Unionist), troubled past scenes, the one-and-only bullet proof CCTV, universities, touristic areas to Belfast City Hall.

After quick nap in our hotel, we continued exploring the city by walking around the hotel, starting from Cathedral Quarter, Albert Memorial Clock, to the Big Fish and finishing at Victoria Square. That afternoon/evening walk concluded our short visit to Belfast, a city we had never imagined we would step on it.

This capital city of Northern Ireland, the birthplace of Titanic, keeps the scars of Belfast’s troubled past (1969 – 1997), while starts celebrating awakening moment as an intriguing destination. The friendly people we met also adds easy justification why a visit to Belfat might be a rewarding one.

 

Flying easyjet, our favorite to Belfast
Flying easyjet, our favorite to Belfast

 

Belfast City Sightseeing Bus Tour
Belfast City Sightseeing Bus Tour

 

Bridges over River Lagan that connect Belfast to Titanic Quarter
Bridges over River Lagan that connect Belfast to Titanic Quarter

 

Titanic Belfast which houses Titanic Museum
Titanic Belfast which houses Titanic Museum

 

SS Nomadic, a steamship of the White Star Lane, which was used to ferry passengers from/to Titanic
SS Nomadic, a steamship of the White Star Lane, which was used to ferry passengers from/to Titanic

 

Titanic
Titanic

 

The launch site of Titanic, behind Titanic Belfast (Museum)
The launch site of Titanic, behind Titanic Belfast (Museum)

 

A closer look to Titanic Launch Site
A closer look to Titanic Launch Site

 

Samson and Goliath Cranes - landmarks of Belfast
Samson and Goliath Cranes – landmarks of Belfast

 

Let's visit a place where Titanic was built and last sat on dry ground
Let’s visit a place where Titanic was built and last sat on dry ground

 

Ready for self-guided Titanic's Dock and Pump-House Tour
Ready for self-guided Titanic’s Dock and Pump-House Tour

 

The dock (left) and Pump-house (right)
The dock (left) and Pump-house (right)

 

Inside Titanic's Pump-house
Inside Titanic’s Pump-house

 

Used to be a control panel for the pumps
Used to be a control panel for the pumps

 

Inside the dock, 44 feet under
Inside the dock, 44 feet under. Feeling the size of Titanic when it was built here

 

Bird eye view of the 900-foot dock
Bird eye view of the 900-foot dock

 

Titanic: Built by Irishmen, Sunk by an Englishman
Titanic: Built by Irishmen, Sunk by an Englishman

 

Belfast's Parliament Buildings or Stormont
Belfast’s Parliament Buildings or Stormont

 

Crumlin Road Courth House, opposite the Gaol
Crumlin Road Courth House, opposite the Gaol

 

The scars from long rivalry between Nationalist and Unionist is obvious here
The scars from long rivalry between Nationalist and Unionist is obvious here

 

At International Peace Wall Belfast
At International Peace Wall Belfast

 

At International Peace Walls Belfast
At International Peace Walls Belfast

 

At International Peace Walls Belfast
At International Peace Walls Belfast

 

Another scene at Crumlin Road area
Another scene at Crumlin Road area

 

Chichester Street on the way to Belfast City Hall
Chichester Street on the way to Belfast City Hall

 

At Belfast City Hall
At Belfast City Hall

 

Belfast City Hall
Belfast City Hall

 

In front of Belfast City Hall with Centra Donegal Square background
In front of Belfast City Hall with Centra Donegal Square background

 

Like father like son ;)
Like father like son 😉

 

Belfast City Hall from Donegall Place
Belfast City Hall from Donegall Place

 

At Writer's Square -  Cathedral Quarter
At Writer’s Square – Cathedral Quarter

 

St Anne's Cathedral, Belfast
St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast

 

"I think we should go this way", Fathan
“I think we should go this way”, Fathan

 

Art installation at Cathedral Quarter
Art installation at Cathedral Quarter

 

Albert Memorial Clock, Belfast
Albert Memorial Clock, Belfast

 

Albert Memorial Clock
Albert Memorial Clock

 

Pedestrian Underpass on the way to Big Fish
Pedestrian Underpass on the way to Big Fish

 

Big Fish, Belfast
Big Fish, Belfast

 

Fathan and The Big Fish, with Samson and Goliath Cranes and River Lagan (backgrounds)
Fathan and The Big Fish, with Samson and Goliath Cranes and River Lagan (backgrounds)

 

Somewhere near Victoria Square Shopping Centre
Somewhere near Victoria Square Shopping Centre

 

Near Victoria Square Shopping Centre
Near Victoria Square Shopping Centre

 

Victoria Square Shopping Centre, Belfast
Victoria Square Shopping Centre, Belfast

 

Inside Victoria Square Shopping Centre go to the top under the dome for view of Belfast
Inside Victoria Square Shopping Centre go to the top under the dome for view of Belfast

 

View from the dome, Victoria Square Shopping Centre, Belfast
View from the dome, Victoria Square Shopping Centre, Belfast

 

Under the Dome of Victoria Square Shopping Centre Belfast
Under the Dome of Victoria Square Shopping Centre Belfast

 

Near Victoria Square Shopping Centre
Near Victoria Square Shopping Centre

 

Near Victoria Square Shopping Centre
Near Victoria Square Shopping Centre

 

Castle Court Shopping Centre Belfast
Castle Court Shopping Centre Belfast
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Edinburgh & Glasgow – April 2014

 

Late post from our all-four UK capitals-trip back in April 2014. First, Edinburgh and Glasgow. As usual, a crash tour was employed 🙂

We flew British Airways, promo tickets from Doha to London then Edinburgh with transit in Bahrain. It costs us (3 adults 1 children) nearly 10K QR for this leg plus London – Doha on the way back.

From Edinburgh Airport, we took Airlink bus to Waverley Station. The bus terminates at Waverley Bridge. From here, our hotel, Destiny Scotland – St. Andrews Square Apartments, is only 200m away, walking back the street and crossing Princes St. to St. Andrews Street.

Once we arrived at Waverley, the crash program started. Soon after we loaded our luggage in our room, we’re back to Waverley Station, ready to depart to Glasgow, an hour train ride.

Once in Glasgow, we managed to have a quick 3-hour walking tour around the city center before returning to Edinburgh.

The following day was Edinburgh day. Amid cold rain (down to 2 C), we visited Edinburgh Castle, Camera Obscura, Princes Garden and Princes Street, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Mosque, and The Royal Mile.

We checked out early morning to take Airlink bus to Edinburgh Airport that saw us flying to the second UK capital to visit: Belfast, Northern Ireland.

 

Edinburgh from above. Edinburgh Castle is dominating the view here
Edinburgh from above. Edinburgh Castle is dominating the view here

 

At Edinburgh Airport
At Edinburgh Airport

 

Airlink Bus on the way to Waverley Station
Airlink Bus on the way to Waverley Station

 

 

 

At Waverley Station, waiting for the train to Glasgow
At Waverley Station, waiting for the train to Glasgow

 

Scotland2014- (22)
George Square, Glasgow

 

George Square, Glasgow
George Square, Glasgow

 

People enjoying sunshine at Glasgow Square
People enjoying sunshine at George Square

 

Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow
Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow

 

People Make Glasgow
People Make Glasgow

 

On one of the streets in Glasgow
On one of the streets in Glasgow

 

A building on Ingram Street, Glasgow
A building on Ingram Street, Glasgow

 

Merchant City, Glasgow
Merchant City, Glasgow

 

Cathedral Square, Glasgow
Cathedral Square, Glasgow

 

Glasgow Necropolis
Glasgow Necropolis

 

Glasgow Necropolis
Glasgow Necropolis

 

Glasgow Cathedral
Glasgow Cathedral

 

Cathedral Street
Cathedral Street

 

University of Strathclyde
University of Strathclyde

 

Hard Rock Café Glasgow
Hard Rock Café Glasgow

 

Buchanan Street
Buchanan Street

 

Glasgow Queen Street Station
Glasgow Queen Street Station

 

SAMSUNG CSC

 

SAMSUNG CSC

 

At Princes Street with Scott Monument in the background
At Princes Street with Scott Monument in the background

 

Scott Monument, Princes Garden and Waverley Station
Scott Monument, Princes Garden and Edinburgh Castle

 

Waverley Station
Waverley Station

 

At Princes Garden, Edinburgh
At Princes Garden, Edinburgh

 

At Princes Garden with National Galleries of Scotland background
At Princes Garden with Scottish National Gallery background

 

On the way to Edinburgh Castle
On the way to Edinburgh Castle

 

Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle

 

Bagpipes, one of the unique souvenirs from Edinburgh
Bagpipes, one of the unique souvenirs from Edinburgh

 

At Kilt Factory, Edinburgh (it's actually located at basement of souvenir shop near Edinburgh Castle)
At Kilt Factory, Edinburgh (it’s actually located at basement of souvenir shop near Edinburgh Castle)

 

At Camera Obscura, Edinburgh
At Camera Obscura, Edinburgh

 

From Camera Obscura
From Camera Obscura

 

At Camera Obscura
At Camera Obscura

 

At Camera Obscura
At Camera Obscura

 

Royal Mile Street from Camera Obscura
Royal Mile Street from Camera Obscura

 

At National Museum of Scotland
At National Museum of Scotland

 

At University of Edinburgh
At University of Edinburgh

 

Edinburgh Central Mosque
Edinburgh Central Mosque

 

On one of the streets in Edinburgh
On one of the streets in Edinburgh

 

Edinburgh Tram on testing while we were there in April 2014
Edinburgh Tram on testing while we were there in April 2014
St Andrew Square, Edinburgh
St Andrew Square, Edinburgh

 

At Princes Street shopping lane
At Princes Street shopping lane

 

Edinburgh Castle from Princes Street
Edinburgh Castle from Princes Street

 

The house in the corner was the birthplace of Alexander Graham Bell (inventor of the telephone), born 3rd March 1847. 16 South Charlotte St
The house in the corner was the birthplace of Alexander Graham Bell (inventor of the telephone), born 3rd March 1847. 16 South Charlotte St

 

Waiting for Mom Shopping
Waiting for Mom Shopping

 

SAMSUNG CSC

 

 

Batik Day 2 October

2 October is celebrated as National Batik Day in Indonesia after the UNESCO recognition for Indonesian batik on 2 October 2009.I took the opportunity to participate by wearing batik to office. See my selfie, taken discreetly during early office hours 🙂

BatikDay2014

Long Term Parking @HIA

It was back in last August when I had to go back to Indonesia for my second batch of summer vacation. Unlucky enough that I couldn’t take a straight 7-week vacation. Travelling alone, I have a liberty to drive and park at HIA Employee Parking area. I left my car for two weeks and it was fine and FREE.

Apart from Employee Parking there are actually short term paid parking area and long term free parking area (at least until now).

Shuttle bus will ferry “Employee” from parking area to dropping point on the left side of arrival terminal, a mere few (5-7 min) drive. As HIA operates 24-hour shuttle bus is supposedly always available with very short waiting time. I left my car at around 10pm when departing and picked up at 4.30am when landing and on both cases I waited for no time.

If you have big luggage you may face some difficulties as the bus is not designed to carry passenger with luggages.

I haven’t tried Long Term Parking area yet so not sure if shuttle bus is also available. I was initially lost to Long Term Parking area and observed no shuttle. Not sure now though.

If you’d like to try, I suggest that you make a dry run to the location to avoid any hassle on the D-day.

Coordinate “J”block – Employee Parking Area: 25 15’06.5″N 51 36’52″E

How to reach Employee Parking Area

Route 1:

Follow normal route from Ras Abu Aboud Road to HIA Road (F Ring Road). After passing two bridges, just before the road forks out into Parking and Arrival/Departure look for the yellow “High Vehicle Exit” sign. Then you’ll see blue signs to Long Term Parking and Employee Parking. Follow Employee Parking sign, passing through Rental Center on your right and Long Term Parking on your left. Turn left at intersection with Exit sign on blue-arrows signboard. Aim for “J” block which can be identified from high mast with black letter at the top. This is where shuttle bus picks the employees from. Last September construction was on going to provide an air conditioned waiting room at every block.

How to reach Employee Parking area
How to reach Employee Parking area

 

Route 2.

Google Maps shows that this route is possible. From HIA Road (F Ring Road) take the second ramp down (the first one being to Emiri Terminal). Turn left at the first intersection to pass through underpass. Turn right at the first next intersection, and again aim for “J”block.

How to reach Employee Parking Area
How to reach Employee Parking Area

 

Look for the yellow "High Vehicle Exit" sign
Look for the yellow “High Vehicle Exit” sign

 

Employee Parking Area. Look for "J" block
Employee Parking Area. Look for “J” block

 

Dropping Points - Shuttle Bus on the left side of Arrival Terminal
Dropping Points – Shuttle Bus on the left side of Arrival Terminal

 

Bird-eye view to access to Drop Point (left; gate behind Ooredoo counter)
Bird-eye view to access to Drop Point (left; gate behind Ooredoo counter)