A little history, a little sand and a little shopping

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I love visiting Christmas Markets in Europe. It’s not even about the shopping, honestly I don’t believe I’ve ever actually purchased something at the markets. It’s more about the electricity and excitement of the upcoming holidays, about spending time with family and friends.

Since I am on my quest to visit 50 before 40, I was originally planning on trying to go to Poland and Hungary in November/December.  But then I got a bee in my bonnet…..

I’ve been stockpiling my airlines miles and hotel points for some fantasy trip that I’ve been planning to take. I’ve now amassed enough points to bring a family of 4 with me on this trip, so maybe it’s time to start burning them?

Unfortunately, one of the bloggers I follow, Nomadic Matt, has been posting on pictures from his trip to Vienna on his instagram page.  He’s been making me hungry.  So I really wanted to go to Vienna for schnitzel.

So I started playing on United’s website……….

First off, I am willing to fly coach on United because of the economy plus, but I draw the line on partner flights. So ideally I was hoping to redeem my miles for a Business class ticket.  Second. I was only willing do a saver award, because I did not “need” to go anywhere, so I did not want to spend miles unnecessarily. So after a few hours searching around and 2 calls into United, this is what I came up with.

Capture flights

I fly to Vienna,Austria where I spend a day so I get my schnitzel on. Overnight flight to Addis Ababa, Ethophia, connecting on to Mahe, Seychelles. 6 days of relaxation before I head to Istanbul,Turkey for a day of shopping. Then I catch an evening flight to Brussels, where I will spend 2 nights, getting my chocolate and family fix! And then home.

Austria, Seychelles, Turkey and Belgium in 11 days! At least I was savvy enough to leave the shopping for the tail end of the trip!

I was able to book this entire flight in Business Class using 160,000 frequent flier miles and $151.70. I will be raiding my Hilton points to cover the hotel stay.  And again,thanks to the various travel blogs, I follow, I was able to build in a stopover to be able to see my family in Brussels!

Now I need to research what the heck am I going to do in Seychelles, by myself for 6 days?????

 

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Flying to Copenhagen

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When I started car shopping I knew I wanted to do European Delivery, if possible, depending on which car I went with. I also knew that I was planning on attending a party in Germany in July. So when I finally decided to purchase the car, I asked if would be possible to do delivery in July.

Of course, I should have known it would not work out as planned. The party was in Hamburg on July 26th. So I had asked if would be possible to do delivery in Leipzig on July 25th. Well we know how this story ends, due to the new model debut, the track time at Leipzig was all booked up. My only choice would be August 11th, if I wanted Leipzig. Or I could take July 7th or 18th in Stuttgart. Hmm. so I either fly over for the 7th and fly home and then back to Hamburg, or I take the 18th and take a nice summer vacation. Option 2 just made more sense.

Originally I was hesitant to drive around for days on end, so a short and simple road trip was planned. But then I had 5 days before I needed to be in Hamburg, so then what? I thought about various places, like Malta or Greece or Poland, but I had little problem, Baggage. I was traveling for 12 days so I had some serious bags. Too much to be schlepping on the train. And have you seen what airlines charge these days for bags? So my options were limited to flying on Star Alliance. And of course there had to be a Hilton or Hyatt. And I wanted to take advantage of the fact it was summer.

So given all that nonsense, going to Copenhagen checked all the boxes. SAS flew direct from Frankfurt, there was a HIlton, and it’s just beautiful in the summer.

So I corral all my bags and head to check in for my flight in Frankfurt.Where I proceed to make a big stink because they try to tell me I need to pay to check my 2nd bag. Fine, I tell the agent, just charge me, it’s wrong but I am not going to argue. The agent I am not oh wait I am sorry you are correct you don’t have to pay. VICTORY for like 2 seconds. Why would I fight with the agent taking my bags, they may end up in Timbuktu……

I make it to the gate area and I overhear some Americans talking. It’s funny the things people will say when they think those around them don’t understand. It was quite entertaining.

And finally board the plane, luckily it’s a quick flight because I am not sure how much time I could handle having my knees in my throat

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Strasbourg

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As you know I travel a lot, so there are few givens to my travel. I am picky about how I am going to get there and where I will stay once I have arrived.

If I were to be honest, my airline of choice would be Lufthansa, but they don’t fly Chicago to Fort Lauderdale, so United is my preferred.  When it comes to hotels, I used to be in committed relationship with Hilton, but Hyatt has since stolen my heart.

Given that there was no Hyatt’s in Strasbourg, we opted to stay at the Hilton. It was located right off the motorway, so it was great because it did not require having to drive thru town.  And due to my status, we were given an upgrade to the executive floor, free wireless, breakfast, and executive lounge access.

After a long day of driving and a really nice happy hour in the lounge, we opted to have dinner at the hotel.  Which turned out for the best given the nice wine selection and dessert options. Can you can say food coma?

 

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