Around the world in Christmas baubles

Today’s post is the perfect combination of travel and Christmas. We have a little tradition that whenever we travel somewhere and we manage to find a Christmas bauble we get…

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3 days in Lisbon, Portugal

One city that I wanted to visit for a long time was Lisbon. Having been there, I can say that I definitely want to go again! In all, we went…

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Weekend trip to Aberdeen from Edinburgh

When: 2 days in June  Stayed: At 2 different Airbnbs. Our initial plan was to stay for one night but then decided to stay for 2 nights so due to…

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5 breakfast places in Malta

1. Giorgio’s Cafeteria, Sliema Enjoying a prime location at Tigne Seafront, Giorgio’s Cafeteria is one of my favourites before spending the day shopping. Depending on the weather and your preferences…

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Biking around Berlin

On our recent trip to Berlin we decided to embrace the nice weather and explore the city by bike. It was easier than we thought and it was quite convenient,…

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24 hour in Blackpool

I had the opportunity to spent my 26th birthday in Blackpool and I must say it was one of the most nicest birthdays I had. First of all, I spent…

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5 brunch places in Edinburgh

Loudons Cafe  Situated in the Fountainbridge area, a short walk away from the city centre. Usually very busy, especially if you go on the weekend (we had to wait around 20…

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Gift guide: traveller in your life

Christmas is round the corner and buying presents can be such a headache. Here’s a gift guide for that person in your life who loves nothing other than travel! Neck…

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Cheese fest Edinburgh ?

When I found out that a touring cheese fest exists in the UK I was delighted. When I found out that Cheese fest UK was coming to Edinburgh in November it was a…

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Baking traditional Maltese puddina in 8 steps

What better way to get baking when it’s all cold and rainy outside? I wanted a piece of puddina for so long so I decided why not bake one on…

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Review – Turkish Airlines – Malta to Munich

I’ve been avoiding Turkish Airlines for quite a while now, not because I believe that they offer an inferior service, but because I had certain objections against flying via Istanbul…

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I’ve been avoiding Turkish Airlines for quite a while now, not because I believe that they offer an inferior service, but because I had certain objections against flying via Istanbul and about their safety record – which while it still isn’t the greatest, they’ve been trying to improve massively in recent years. [1] [2]

However, for the lack of other reasonable options, I ended up booking a Turkish Airlines connection from Malta to Munich via Istanbul as part of a recent business trip that I did together with Joanne.

Booking

As a web developer I must say that the Turkish Airlines website is one of the better ones on the market. It’s fairly simple, very well designed and works flawlessly. We didn’t have any issues checking-in online, booking and managing our flights. Only downside is, that the website sometimes reacts rather slowly and that I wasn’t able to check-in multiple passengers simultaneously, even though we were on the same booking. Unfortunately the mobile app didn’t work that well, it’s also anything but intuitive – there I still prefer the much more simplistic mobile apps airlines like Lufthansa, Ryanair and easyJet offer.

Out of 10, I would probably rate Turkish Airlines a 7 in this category.

Check-in and Boarding

We arrived at the airport pretty much exactly two hours before departure. Check-in desks were open and we quickly managed to drop off our luggage at the check-in desk. What’s great is the 30kg luggage allowance which, for two short flights from/to a European destination, is quite generous – especially considering that even the once full-service carriers such as Air France/KLM, Lufthansa and British Airways are nowadays charging extra for luggages.

A330-200 (TC-LNA) in Istanbul

Our flight started boarding rather early (approx. 10am, for a departure of 10.50am) – and with an aircraft that was just barely 50-60% full, boarding was finished quickly and efficiently. Unfortunately, even though technically the aircraft was ready to depart, a single passenger arrived late for boarding and thus we had to wait another 15-20 minutes before we eventually departed (then with a delay of 15 minutes). However, this is certainly not the airlines fault – and the decision to close the gate and unload the luggage would probably have taken the same, if not more time.

9 out of 10 for the timely boarding and generous luggage allowance.

The Aircraft(s)

On our first flight, from Malta to Istanbul, Turkish Airlines regularly deploys one of their Boeing 737-800’s. We were lucky as the 737 used for our flight (TC-JZG) was delivered end of September 2016 and thus is just two years old. The newer 737’s of Turkish Airlines feature the Boeing Sky Interior with larger overhead storages and a generally more spacious-feeling cabin. The aircraft was very clean and modern, way more than expected. Seats were comfortable and appropriate for short to medium distances. (10/10)

View of the cabin on the 737-800

Seat space on the 737-800

On our second flight we weren’t that lucky. Our flight was operated by one of the older A330-200’s (TC-LNA) – delivered approx. ten years ago – and unfortunately very worn out (which is not related to the age of the aircraft, rather to bad care). Some of the seats were ripped and the last cleaning wasn’t anywhere as thorough as on the 737. There has been a fair amount of dirt all around, especially under and next to the seats. The IFE wasn’t working and outdated as well. (4/10)

Seat space on the A330-200

Comes down to a total of 7 out of 10 for the aircrafts.

Crew

There isn’t much to say about the crew on these flights. They’ve been absolutely professional and friendly, though definitely not one of the most friendly crews I’ve witnessed on my flights so far.

8 out of 10 for a solid, friendly (but not outstanding) service.

Amenities

I’ve already mentioned the 30 kilo luggage allowance. It’s also fair to say that even on both flights, MLA-IST and IST-MUC they served a, given the length of the flight, quite sumptuous inflight meal. They also offer a quite extensive selection of drinks. On both flights we had inflight entertainment systems, one top-notch, the other was quite dated and remained not functional for the whole duration of the flight. Unfortunately no wi-fi though (on either flight).

IFE on the 737-800

Turkish scores 8/10 in this section. While there are other airlines with similar offering, I’m not aware of any that offer significantly more than what I mentioned (on intra-European flights in Economy) – the only down-side (hence the missing points) are the lack of wi-fi and the non-working IFE on the second flight.

Meals and Beverages

Unlike most of their competitors (on intra-European flights), Turkish Airlines served a full hot meal on both flights – quite decent considering that both flights last barely over two hours. They offered different options (including vegetarian) and generally speaking I liked the food on both flights. Without going into too much detail, I’d easily give Turkish 9 out of 10.

Meal (vegetarian option) on the first flight MLA-IST

Meal on the second flight IST-MUC

Performance

I can’t say anything bad about the general performance at all. Our first flight left just a few minutes late but arrived well on time. Our connection went without any issues and smoothly – and our second flight arrived a decent 20 minutes ahead of schedule.

10 out of 10 – easily.

Conclusion

Unfortunately the connection through Istanbul means quite a detour on most flights from Malta to other European destinations, otherwise I might’ve been tempted to use Turkish Airlines more often. I’m not sure yet whether I’d use Turkish for long-haul flights, as the experience on their A330 was in stark contrast to the prior flight. Overall Turkish is offering a very solid product that can very well be recommended especially for flights to central/northern Europe. However, I think it’s fair to note that the review is heavily boosted by the experience on the first flight – looking at the second flight separately, the rating could’ve been lower.

A short disclaimer: I try to review in comparison to similar flights/airlines – so this flight can be seen as a comparison to other full-service carriers on intra-European flights rather than a comparison to intercontinental flights or intra-European low-cost carriers. The same meals and amenities would likely score lower in comparison for a long-haul flight due to the difference in competing airlines.

Section Rating
Booking 7 /10
Check-in and Boarding 9 / 10
Aircraft(s) 7 / 10
Crew 8 / 10
Amenities 8 / 10
Meals and Beverages 9 / 10
Performance 10 / 10
Total 8.29
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Gift guide: traveller in your life

Christmas is round the corner and buying presents can be such a headache. Here’s a gift guide for that person in your life who loves nothing other than travel! Neck…

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Christmas is round the corner and buying presents can be such a headache. Here’s a gift guide for that person in your life who loves nothing other than travel!

Neck pillow 

Nothing better than making the trip comfortable for someone. These neck pillows from Samsonite are inflatable so that they can easily be deflated and put away in a tiny pouch.

Travel book/guide

Whether a travel guide about a place that they want to visit badly or a random place to instinct the wish of visiting that place, a travel book would go done nicely. My personal favourites are Berlitz or Lonely Planet.

Headphones 

Blocking all the noise out while traveling is bliss. These wireless ones from Sony do the job perfectly. Similar, if the person you’re buying gifts for prefers in-ear headphones, these come as wireless too.

Power bank

Nothing worse than your phone dying on you whilst on holiday. A power bank ensures that you have a backup of charging when you can’t be stuck to a plug. There are varies ones on Amazon.co.uk, like this one here which is not bulky.

Luggage tag

This cute one from Antropologie comes with a matching passport cover too. Or this one from etsy.com can be personalised.

Now onto the more pricey gifts for that special traveller in your life…

Good durable luggage/travel bag

Well, travelling isn’t possible without a good luggage. Whether it is a hand luggage, a full-sized luggage, a rack sack or a little personal handbag it would sure come in handy at some point.

 

Kindle

Starting from £60 and going up to £230, a Kindle is a perfect gift to keep you busy whilst on the move without needing to carry thick books.

VIP Lounge pass

Varies airports offer the possibility to use the VIP Lounge at an extra cost. This will be the perfect way to start a holiday. For example, a one time pass through the La Vallette Lounge at Malta International Airport is €35 and gives you access to the lounge, unlimited food and drinks.

A flight

This one is a bit more tricky and is recommended for someone you know really well. First of all, if you are booking specific dates you need to make sure he/she would have time off to actually make the holiday. Another issue is that if you gift someone a holiday they need to book accommodation and budget for spending money – so you need to be certain that this fit in their budget. But hey, if you have been listening to that special someone saying how much he would love to visit Rome – just go for it, after all, travel is always a good idea ?

 

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Cheese fest Edinburgh ?

When I found out that a touring cheese fest exists in the UK I was delighted. When I found out that Cheese fest UK was coming to Edinburgh in November it was a…

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When I found out that a touring cheese fest exists in the UK I was delighted. When I found out that Cheese fest UK was coming to Edinburgh in November it was a no-brainer that we HAD to get tickets. So when the tickets were out, we purchased our early bird tickets quite early. Our tickets cost £4 each (but prices vary depending on the time of the event when you purchase it etc.). I honestly didn’t know what to expect from this event but was soooo looking forward to it.

The event and the food definitely didn’t disappoint. There were stands where you could buy blocks of cheese but we were more interested in trying the foods. There were so many things we wanted to try but it was not possible because we were so stuffed that it was physically impossible to keep eating. ?  It was not only savory food as there was some sweet stuff like pancakes and cheesecakes. Most of the vendors (if not all) had the option that you could go for a ‘taster’ portion which would be half the portion for half the price.

Without further ado here are some pictures from the event and some of the foods that we tried (I am so gutted that we didn’t try the waffle mac and cheese ?) but the things that we tried were really yummy.?It was a perfect Saturday evening, with good food & music. I would certainly recommend you attend this event if you happen to be near one.

 

Parmesan Wheel Alfredo 

The full portion of pasta from the Parmesan Wheel Alfredo, at £8

Cheese Bites for £4  

Halloumi fries for £5 

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Baking traditional Maltese puddina in 8 steps

What better way to get baking when it’s all cold and rainy outside? I wanted a piece of puddina for so long so I decided why not bake one on…

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What better way to get baking when it’s all cold and rainy outside? I wanted a piece of puddina for so long so I decided why not bake one on a rainy Sunday? ? Puddina is a traditional Maltese sweet bake made of day old bread. Since it was all cold I just ran to the next store available to get what I need to start my puddina mission, this meant that I didn’t have a lot of choices but it worked out pretty well.

Here is a step-by-step ‘guide’ as to how to make the famous puddina which is fairly quick and easy.

The ingredients:-

  • A loaf of bread ? (typically this would be a day old Maltese bread but any bread would work)
  • 2 eggs? (beaten)
  • 6 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • Milk ? (enough to soak the bread in step 3)
  • Nuts ? (walnuts, cashews, almonds – whatever you like really!)
  • Raisins (I made a ‘special small one’ without raisins as Jannik doesn’t like them)
  • Chocolate chunks ? (I had a whole dark chocolate one and put pieces of it)

Step 1:

Cut the bread into small chunks so it would be easier to handle (drain and mash into ‘one’ thing).

Step 2:

Cover the bread with milk and leave for 20 minutes, you can use water instead of milk but milk gives it a smoother feel and taste.

Step 3:

Drain the bread thoroughly and mash the bread so that the pieces become one as shown in the picture below.

Step 4:

Mix in all the ingredients and stir well – make sure that all the bread turns brown with the cocoa powder. You may want to pour in some whiskey, sherry or brandy too (I left ours alcohol-free).

 

Step 5:

Grease a dish – be generous as to avoid it sticking to the pan (same old usual baking heck)

Step 6:

Pour the mixture in the dish. You may want to decorate the top with nuts or with glace cherries (I left the cherries out – as they are a no no for me!)

Step 7:

Bake for 30-45 minutes on 200 degrees. You want to treat it as a cake, in the sense that when you poke it with a skewer it should be clean as to know that it is done.

Step 8:

Cut a huge slice of puddina, pour yourself a cup of tea/coffee ☕ & ENJOY ?

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