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Bahrain - a chaotic stopover

Finally, we were ready for a longer trip again. We were happy as hell! After having worked a lot in the last year, it was really time for us to leave our daily lifes in Switzerland for a while. Well, it was just for 2 weeks. But this is better than nothing. Having just made the first steps with our own company our budget and our time was limited. But we definitely needed a break and free our minds of all the business struggeling. Do not get us wrong, we love our business - but nothing can beat travelling.

From Bern in Switzerland we took a 1,5 hours train ride to the airport of Geneva. It was our first flight with Gulf Air ever. The flight from Geneva to Bahrain was quite comfortable and short. Happily we landed in Bahrain where we had to kill 6 hours till our ongoing flight to Kuala Lumpur, our final destination. The airport was quite ok, we had a nice dinner, browsed through some shops and tried to sleep a bit on one of the many benches. There were lots of delays and we were joking a bit about some really unpleasant delays of more than 6 hours. Well, we should not have done that - half an hour before boarding time (and both of us half asleep) we realised that also our flight was delayed. Instead of 2 am it would be at 8.30 am.

a walk through Manama - endless construction sites

Immediately we went to the Gulf Air desk. They were really kind and did not hesitate to offer us a hotel room. So off we went in a minibus through town to the hotel. We arrived there at 1.30 am only with our hand luggage - that meant, we had about 3,5 hours left to get some sleep and have a shower. That was definitely more pleasant than waiting at the airport. Early in the morning we had a short breakfast and went back to the airport realising that our flight was again delayed: expected time 9.30 am. Still also other flights were either cancelled or delayed. Slowly we were understanding what was going on. They had 2 or more planes with technical problems, one of them our plane to KL. Then, I caught up some arguing of an official of the airline with an arab passenger telling him, that our flight will definitely be cancelled. But he did not tell us about this. So I just kept asking this official very persistently about our flight till finally he told me the same and offered us to put us on the next regular flight the next night and pay for our accomodation, food and visa. That was a good deal! So we checked in for the flight one night later than planned and had the whole day and part of the night free for visiting Manama and getting some sleep - well, after waiting another hour at the airport till our luggage was found. We got a second visa for entering Bahrain twice on the same day and got a Minibus to our hotel. It was a different one than before. And it was incredably nice. We checked in and it was time for lunch. Woooooowwww, what a lunch! An arab style buffet - all paid by Gulf Air. The delay of our flight was unpleasant, but how we were treated was just amazing. We enjoyed this fabulous lunch and after that we started to discover the city. First we had a look around the part of

our beautiful second hotel room

town we were staying at: Jufair, with its beautiful Al-Fateh Grand Mosque. Than, we took a taxi to the center. First we walked around the recently built Financial Harbour. There are some really amazing buildings, all being still empty. This was kind of strange to us, as already new buildings are being constructed. It is all about monewy, money, money and prestige. Further on we went to Bab al Bahrain. Through this old building you can enter the Manama Souk. The souk itself was interesting but not really special as it is quite touristic and most parts of the old gold souk were closed (we did not know if it was closed because we came here at prayer time or if it was closed because it was sunday). Anyway, we got a really nice impression of the town and went back to our hotel to get some sleep and have dinner before we had to go to the airport again. Then, finally, at 2 am we were on the plane and on our way to Kuala Lumpur. So, in total, 50 hours after we left home we arrived in KL. We were pretty tired with only a few hours of sleep in all that time. But it was amazing to have such a cheap chance to see Manama. And we cannot complain about the service of Gulf Air - that was excellent.


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Nina Beranek + Markus Jurt

Lake Thun / Switzerland

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