35,216 miles

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I love to travel. Clearly I must, because over the next 60 days, I am schedule to fly, 35,216 miles on 23 flights.

That’s a lot of flying…….. Even for me.

So where will be I heading on those 23 flights?  Well heading to Edinburgh for boots, followed by Charlotte for wine, brunch in Raleigh, Mai Tai’s in Maui, Lava Flows in Kona, Burgers in Boston, Work (wait what?) in Orlando, Friends in Denver and well Christmas Market hopping in Europe. ** My Seychelles trip is no longer a go, due to flight schedule changes**

So Flo is on the go. I am looking forward to catching up with old friends and hopefully picking up some new ones along the way.  In the mean time, if anyone has any suggestions on good TV shows to binge on or interesting books to read, I am open to suggestions. Apparently I am going to have a lot of time on my hands….

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Sometimes you just need a little pampering….. Denver September 2014

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I had business meeting in Denver, bright and early on Monday Morning at 8 am. So I needed to fly in on Sunday. But since I am short on nights for keeping my Hyatt Diamond status, I flew out on Saturday to Hyatt Hop.

Hotel Hopping or mattress running are terms near and dear to the frequent traveler trying to maintain their status in hotel programs. To maintain Hyatt Diamond, you have to have 25 stays or 50 nights. I am not about to make the status on nights, but I am coming close on the stays.  Well I was coming close due to hotel hopping. So Saturday night I stayed at the Hyatt Place Denver Airport and Sunday night I moved to the Grand Hyatt.  So 2 stays done. If I had wanted to stretch for a 3rd stay I could have over to the Hyatt Regency, but even I get lazy about packing up and moving every night.

The Hyatt Place was great! First time I’ve been given a rose and the cookie was pretty tasty too.

 

I originally had plans to spend the day with friends down in Colorado Springs, but those plans changed and I ended up at the spa.  It’s funny in all my travels, I think I can name all the places I have every done “spa” days. First time was in Bangkok, Thailand, with my friend Jon. They mistook us for a couple and we were put in the same room for massage.  I refused to take my clothes off. It was awkward.  If you’ve ever had a Thai massage, you know what I mean.  That put me off massages for a little while. The next one was on the beach in Cancun, thought it would be nicer then it was.  And the last one with in Bali, where I was covered in so much oil, that no amount of showering would rinse it off.  So my “spa” experiences up until this trip had not been memorable.

Enter the Oxford Hotel Spa, Club and Salon. I had unintentionally arrived early so Leo and Zero, at the hotel next door invited me to have a seat in the lobby, while I waited. What a beautiful hotel, too bad it’s not a Hilton or Hyatt, I would have liked to stay there. I booked The Perfect Day Package, that included a massage, facial, lunch, manicure and pedicure.  It was bliss…….

I have to wonder why I don’t do it more often. It was a experience that I will definitely plan on repeating again in the future! Possibly even at the Oxford Spa! I wish I had written down everyone’s name’s that had done my treatments, because they were just wonderful! I only remember Christine, who did my facial, because we bonded over our love of travel!  My face still feels amazing!

It was such relaxing day, I headed back to my hotel for my favorite pass time, drinking wine in the lounge, while pretending to work.

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I would like to say I did something awesome during the day on Monday, but well can’t be posting that on a public blog……… However Monday evening, that’s a different story. I love Bacon. . I found a place that had bacon appetizers, but probably should have looked closer at the address though …. Oh well thank goodness for Uber. I ended up at The Berkshire , for some swine and wine.

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After thoroughly enjoying the bacon, it was time for cheese. Yes my perfect night, wine, cheese and bacon……… So off to Cru Wine Bar, for wine flights and goat cheese beignets.

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And finally ended the night at Tom’s Urban for some pork belly tacos. Of which there are not pictures, because at that point, I inhaled them upon sight. It was a nice night, until the damn sidewalk jumped up on me, causing me to roll my ankle. YES, sigh, the same foot.

Lucky for me the Grand Hyatt had a nice gym, so the next morning I was able to work off the remaining effects from the night before. And then I had another seriously boring day at a work conference, that first speaker really should thought about serving coffee as part of their presentation…….

And finally time to head home. Of course the conference ended earlier then planned, and of course, I booked a later flight to be safe, and well I could have switched to the earlier flight but I was not about to trade my confirmed first class seat, for a middle seat in coach. I knew I could find wine at the airport. IMG_2002

Somehow I made it, 5 minutes late for boarding. I was not in a hurry because my carry on’s were small. BIG MISTAKE. I get to the gate and there is not line for boarding, odd. That’s because there was an insane line on the jet bridge and it was hot. IMG_2004

Given the prima donna traveler I have become, I started looking around for the special line for people like me. Yeah, there is not such line……….

And back to Chicago I go, but I have to wonder will I ever get tired of this view?

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Hello Edinburgh……

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I have to laugh at myself sometimes. I gave myself a challenge of visiting 50 countries before 40. In order to do this I would need to actually go to places I’ve never been. Ironically, the next few trips are not new countries, but new places. Oh well, it’s going to make 2015 interesting.

When I was in Tanzania, I met a nice couple that live in Scotland. We have since kept in touch and I mentioned that I wanted to go to London to go boot shopping. Yes boots. Well lucky for me,maybe not so much for my friends, there is a  Duo Fit Ship in Edinburgh. So I can get my boots, visits a new place and see some friends. Win win.

Why am I flying to the UK for boots? I am tall, have wide calves and big feet. Finding boots to fit are a problem. Duo Boots have 21 different calf sizes, 3 widths and various heights.  I think my biggest challenge is going to be suitcase space!

So I made the decision, but I had to find flights. I considered the direct flight from Chicago to Edinburgh on United for about a hot minute. They fly a 757 on that route. Anyone that knows planes, know that 7 hour 35 minutes on a 757 is pushing the level of comfort. So to spare my bum, I opted to go out of my way to Frankfurt and Brussels.  Yes I realize that I would have been better off time wise, but nope. I flew Newark-Dublin once on a 757, that was the first and last time.EDI

 

So other then buying boots, eating shortbread and drinking scotch, I guess I need to research what there is to do in Edinburgh. I am looking forward to discovering a new city and catching up with my friends!

 

 

Travel woes from a leisure traveler….

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I realized that I am very blessed when it comes to travel.  As of today I’ve actually flown 77,728 miles, butt in seat, in 34 flights. Of those 34 flight, 10 flights were in coach.  Of  those 10, the shortest flight was 20 minutes, from Zanzibar to Dar Es Salaam, and the longest, Chicago to Los Angeles.

I am not ridiculous enough to need a nice seat on a 20 minute flight, but man, that 4 hour 15 minute flight to LA was interesting.  When I am lucky enough to travel in a premium cabin, I do not worry about getting food before the flight, because I will be feed. I do not run to the gate and line up for boarding because they will always find space for my carry on. I do not worry about dressing in layers, because if I am cold, they will provide a blanket.

Well flying coach to LA this past weekend, was a reality check for me. First I had to raid my “travel” bag for expiring emergency food rations. You know the bag that normally goes everywhere with me but was not needed for an overnight, that has everything and anything I could possible need on a trip in it.  Then I had to think about if I needed my travel blanket and pillow. It being August, it really could go either way, plane could be too hot or too cold, for sake of traveling light I left it at home.  My flight has a 12:00 pm departure, so I no leaving at 10:30 like I normally would, I need to leave no later then 9:45 am.

I arrived at the airport with plenty of time, or so I thought. I stopped to buy a sandwich, in case I did not like the food options on the plane. Again, never really paid any attention to the food choices before. $13.10 later for 1 turkey, brie and apple sandwich and a Coke.  I make it to the gate 2 minutes before they are starting to board. I line up with all the other anxious coach travelers jockeying for overhead space.

No matter what time of day, airline, country, I always, and I mean always, say Hello, Good Morning, How are You? to everyone that I encounter that is assisting me on my travels. I am always appalled by how rude people can be.  Maybe the agent is having a bad day? Try saying Hi, How are you? before demanding to have your seat changed. Sugar goes a long way. And until I reach my final destination, I may need help,  just saying…..

So I leisurely stroll down the jet way, because I could, and I say Good Morning to the flight attendant, she was kind of shocked, Morning, you don’t look happy? I said, Doll, I am flying COACH, of course I am not happy. Smiling as I get to 10A. Bag is safe in overhead bin, I can now relax.  Hmmm, if only the story ends here.

Something fun I learned on this flight, the armrest on the left actually raises as well, it maybe because it’s an old Continental plane, but it sure made me happy.  I grab my Ipod, put my headphones on and try to ignore those walking by me. An older lady comes and stops by my row,  she hands me her ticket and points to my seat. I thought, YEAH, my upgrade cleared, nope, she was the aisle seat.  She then proceeds to take off her shoes and put her feet up. Seriously, I know we have extra legroom, but you are not at home, put your feet down.

I then notice the flight attendant trying to swim upstream, coming from the rear of the plane to front, poor thing. Apparently, the guy in front of me had hit his call button. Oh this is not going to be good. He tells her that he has just flown in from Frankfut and wanted to make sure his bag made the connection.  ** If you have ever had an international connection in the US, you know that when you arrive you must clear Passport Control and Customs, so you collect your bags, clear customs, and recheck your bags for the next flight**  He could only have come in on the United flight that arrived in 10.30,  so it was safe to assume that since he was already on the plane, his bag made the flight.  So the Flight Attendant offered to go find out. Apparently not fast enough for Mr. 9A. He pressed his call button again, and then after 30 seconds, again, and then 30 seconds later, again. I was about to tell him what he could if he pushed that button again, when he got up to go and find a flight attendant, as one was coming over. A manager came on board, told the man in a firm tone, your bag is on the plane, enough already.

So now we’ve got the complainer in 9a and the feet up on the tray table in 10c. Did I mention it was 10b’s tray table she had her feet on?  Enough already, jeez we have not even taken off yet!   You can imagine what 9a had to say about the food and drink selection,  I may not have been familiar with the options before but I sure was now, after the poor flight attendant had to explain each and everyone of them.

I survived the flight, but that could be because a little wine and cheese can make just about anything bearable………

 

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