Planning: Eurabia, Part I

Well friends, it’s here, my latest trip report!  Come along as I traverse Europe and make a quick stopover in the Middle East on my way home. Onus Man that’s a weird subject heading isn’t it?  Anyway, the onus for this trip was simple: I needed to use 2 nights at any Hyatt in the world, and I needed to do it by the end of June.  Now, I can hear you saying “Andy, that doesn’t mean you have to go to Europe and the Middle East just to stay at a hotel.”  If that’s you, then welcome to my blog!  I’ve taken trips for far more random of a reason than hotel nights, check out my Trip Reports for those stories. My target for the Hyatt nights was the Park Hyatt Vendome in Paris.  It’s one of the nicest Hyatt properties in the world, definitely an “aspirational” stay.  I had the nights, I could get the flights, all I needed to do was find the right dates.  I always try to take advantage of federal bank holidays, as my office is closed, which means I get a free day without having to use PTO!  The U.S. Memorial Day holiday was quickly approaching, so that weekend in May became my target.  I eventually figured out the dates that would work at the Park Hyatt, secured those dates, then started looking at flights.  I didn’t just want to go to Paris.  You guys know me by now, I want it to be… read more

Coming up: Another Trip!

Well this all escalated quickly.  I won’t bore you with the details yet (you’ll have to wait until the trip report for that) but I’m heading out Sunday for what was originally going to be a couple of days in Europe.  At the last minute I decided to add on the Middle East.  I’m excited about this one because it all kind of came together in about a 6 hour period tonight and used a variety of points from a lot of different programs. Here’s what’s on deck: US Airways Domestic Coach US Airways International Coach Air France Short-haul Coach Lufthansa Short-haul Coach Lufthansa International Coach and then… Etihad International Diamond First Class American Domestic First Class The hotels, you ask? Hilton Molino Stucky, Venice Park Hyatt Vendome, Paris Conrad Dubai, Dubai Hilton Capital Gate, Abu Dhabi (THE BIG ONE) Hyatt Dulles, Herndon, Virginia In typical Andy’s Travel Blog fashion, I’m cramming 17,700 miles of flying and 5 hotel nights into about 6-7 days.  Follow me on instagram (@realandyluten) for updates!

Weekend Jaunt to Europe, Part Finale: Finale

All good things come to an end, say pessimists everywhere, and indeed my trip was coming to a rapid halt.  Where did we leave off last time, oh yes, I was driving like a crazed banshee to Berlin. I screeched into Berlin, barely missing my turn-in time for my rental by about 30 minutes or so.  I expertly assuaged my way out of a late fee by, well, doing nothing particularly scandalous I guess, so what.  I scampered into a taxi and made way for the hostel for the night, called the…I honestly don’t remember.  Going from the peaceful serenity of St. Gilgen to a (albeit popular, safe, and very clean) hostel in Berlin was about as big of a punch in the culture as is imaginable in the known world. I had never been to Berlin before, only to one of its many unimpressive airports.  There are actually quite a few large airports in Berlin: Schonefeld, Tegel, the closed Tempelhof, and the absolute disaster of a public works project called Brandenburg.  Construction began on Brandenburg in 2004 (permanently displacing 335 Germans who were bought out of their homes and relocated elsewhere) and was scheduled to open in 2012, to replace all of the other airports in Berlin.  The date was pushed back to September 2012, and then October 2012, and then January 2013.  In January 2013, they announced the opening was postponed indefinitely.  They estimate necessary fixes will take 18 months, and haven’t even begun at the time of… read more

Weekend Jaunt to Europe, Part V: Spontaneity (St. Gilgen, Austria)

I generally pride myself on being a solid speller and grammaristicianizationer.  I will happily admit, however, that ‘spontaneity’ is one of those words that just never looks quite right, no matter if it’s spelled correctly or not. Whenever I plan trips, there needs to be an element of “epicness” to them, or else I won’t go.  There has to be something that compels me to either the journey or the destination.  Spontaneity can be very compelling, especially to a place that has your heart.


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