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

Lufthansa First Class Terminal: Weekend Jaunt to Europe, Part III

Recommended listening for this post: Common Ground by Andy McKee, it sounds like it was written about someone on a journey I’m back! You all have been so patient while I’ve been on my blogging sabbatical which I took in order to take care of a very complex project at my real job.  I love my clients, and this specific one deserved my full attention (the project is going to be a success and finish on schedule, for those wondering). So, where was I?  Oh yes.  I had just arrived at Frankfurt’s amazingly complex airport.  I was the first person to clear German customs that day and quickly scampered past the international transfers desk and into the arrivals area.  Why in the world would I leave the airport when my flight to Barcelona left after a relatively short (2.5 hours) layover?  Because it was time to make a return visit to Lufthansa’s First Class Terminal.  My first experience was eye-rollingly full of adverbs, and I made some rookie mistakes, but this time I’d do better, I told myself.

To Middle Earth, Beautiful Part: Milford Sound

Rudyard Kipling very famously (and unsourcedly) called Milford Sound the Eighth Wonder of the World.  I’ve often called Rudyard Kipling the Eighth Most Uninteresting Writer Based on Half of a Book I Read in High School, so the connection was immediate. Put simply, Milford Sound is the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen. My journey to Milford Sound started very similar to many others.  There are quite a few tour operators that will trot you out to the Sound for a scenic boat tour, and the one with the best reviews on Tripadvisor was a lovely organization called Real Journeys.  If you’re in Queenstown they’re hard to miss.  Or even if you’re on the internet, they’re hard to miss.  The second you type in New Zealand to Google, for about the next six months all you’ll see are Real Journeys ads.  I found them a good value with great service. They sent a taxi to pick me up at 7am from the Hilton (included in the tour ticket) to take me to the bus station.  It was a bit chilly that morning, so the taxi driver very graciously offered to let me stay in the cab where it was warm.  Soon enough the bus pulled around and we were on our way.  Real Journeys has coaches that are perfectly suited for sightseeing in a place as dramatic as the Milford Road, with clear glass windows and seats that are angled towards the windows. Milford Sound is near pretty much nothing,… read more

Cathay Pacific First Class HKG-SFO: First Class 30th Birthday Trip, Finale

Planning Re-planning Lufthansa A330 Old First Class DFW-FRA Driving the Nurburgring Nordschleife Lufthansa First Class Terminal Oslo to celebrate Chris Guillebeau Singapore A380 Suites Class FRA-SIN Singapore Airlines Private Room and Singapore 777-300ER First Class SIN-HKG Hong Kong and the Hyatt Regency Tsim Sha Tsui Cathay Pacific’s The Wing Lounge and 747 First Class HKG-SFO “All good things must come to an end” -Some Pessimistic Jerk I slowly awoke from an incredible night of sleep, opened my windows, and thought “man, there’s nothing like Hong Kong under a blue morning sky”.  It’s true, and I someday hope to experience that, since it was really cloudy that morning.  It didn’t look Airline Delay Cloudy, so I lazily threw on some clothes and scampered up to the Regency Club for a light breakfast with one of the great urban views in the world. Between the breakfast, the great night’s sleep, unmaking my bed to take a picture of it to frustrate all those who are annoyed by those pictures, and packing, it was almost time to leave for the airport.  This trip was going to be different for a lot of reasons.  First, I was crossing off another Travel Bucket List Item: flying at the front of a 747.  Seat 1A was mine for my flight from Hong Kong to San Francisco.  Second, the reason I decided to route through San Francisco was to see a client in Palo Alto for a few hours on my layover.  This meant the unthinkable: I’d have to… read more



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