Saturday, December 20, 2008

Road Trippin'

I love setting random, meaningless goals for myself, what's even better is when I achieve those goals. The random goal I'm referring to this time is the desire to visit 30 different cities this year. Some cities I visited more than once but there were 30 unique places this year. This goal was achieved with the help of some friends today when they agreed to go on a road trip with me. We got up early this morning (which wasn't an easy task) and drove down to Bath for the day. Now I just need to decide what sort of random goal I'll set for next year. I'm toying with the idea of tracking actual miles flown next year to see if I'll hit 100K miles, considering that by the end of January I will have flown almost 20K miles it may be very possible. I'm open to other suggestions as well, bear in mind I don't have to take the suggestions that are offered.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Photo Friday - Episode 5

Using some photos from the past few years I created this masterpiece. Enjoy!

Please be patient it may take some time to load.

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Thursday, December 18, 2008

It's a Hard Knock Life

I completed my last business trip of the year yesterday and it was a doozy. Woke up at 3:45 went to Luton airport, flew to Paris. Took 1.5 hours to get to the office due to traffic, had meetings all day then back to the airport to return home. Luton airport doesn't have the IRIS scanners so I had to queue with all the other non-EU passport holders, unfortunately the flight just before mine was filled with a number of people that didn't speak English which made the queue move very slowly as they had to try and find translators, luckily one of the passengers agreed to translate. As we were all patiently waiting this American woman comes walking past everybody and says excuse me but my taxi is waiting for me outside can I go ahead of you. Myself and a couple others responded that we were all in the same situation and no she could not go ahead. She ended up just standing behind me. After traffic on the motorway due to construction I finally got home around 11:30.

This week I decided to treat myself to a little present. In January I'll be heading to Singapore for a week (yes for work) and have booked myself a business class seat on the new A380! I had to pay for the upgrade but from what I've heard it will be worth it.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Making Our Dreams Come True

I just realized my blog has hit another milestone. Friday's post was the 200th post, not sure how I missed that this milestone was approaching.

As you know I set a random goal for myself to visit 30 different cities this year and am currently sitting at 29. No more trips for work are planned so I wasn't sure I would make it. Last night at dinner with friends we decided to take a road trip next weekend so I can hit 30 cities. Not sure where we'll end up maybe the white cliffs of Dover, maybe Bath, maybe somewhere else it doesn't matter. All that matters is the random goal I set for myself will have been achieved.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Photo Friday - Episode 4

OK. This isn't officially a photo but I'm using my creative license here.

Speaking of photos if you haven't checked them out the shots I took in Paris last week have been posted to my photography site.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Things That Make You go Hmmm

  • Hotels that require you to insert your key to select a room number for security in the elevator, but the stairs are right across and have no doors and require no keys.

  • People on a plane that pick up the magazine/book you put down on the seat next to you when you got up to return and find they were reading it.

  • Clubs that put you on the guest list only to be told when you arrive that they're not letting people in off the guest list.

  • Signs like this in hotel bathrooms.:

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Last Time I Saw Paris

While I've been to Paris many times over the last couple of years for work I haven't had a chance to really spend any time in the city until this weekend. My friend Michelle was heading to Paris for work and I decided to tag along for the weekend. At first we were going to stay in a hostel but then I remembered that I have tons of points at Hilton and we might as well splurge a little. I redeemed some points to stay at the Hilton, since I am currently a gold member I was upgraded to a room on the Executive floor. This meant I had a view of the Eiffel Tower from the room and access to the lounge with free breakfast and drinks all day. Not too shabby. I was quite entertained by Michelle's reaction when she saw the view, the amenities in the room like bathrobe and Crabtree & Evelyn toiletries and the fact that we got free food and wine. What I found most interesting about the Hilton was that almost everybody in the executive lounge was American. I guess it's only natural as it is a US chain and most Europeans would stay at a European chain or a boutique hotel instead.

With all the luxury at the hotel I did still manage to wander around the city all day yesterday and most of today. Overall walked over 20 KM over the
past 2 days. Ike made an appearance yesterday as well. To the right you can see Invisible Kangaroo at the Eiffel Tower. I've discovered that the tower is much nicer late at night than during the day. On Friday night after dinner we walked over and there were very few people around, during the day the place is mobbed. I didn't take my camera out on Friday but Michelle did and I was giving her pointers on how to take night shots of the tower by finding something to balance the camera on for support. I really wish I had my camera as she was getting some very strange looks and I would have loved to have captured them. She had found a garbage can to put the camera on but all the cars going by could see was a person crouched behind a garbage can looking up at the tower, no way to tell that there was a camera involved.

Today since we were already living the high life at the Hilton we decided to end our visit to Paris with lunch at L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon. It was by far one of the best meals I've had in a while. We almost weren't able to have lunch there but we convinced the hostess we could be gone in an hour and she allowed us 2 seats. Here's just a couple of shots of our meal.

Speaking of photos I will be uploading the shots I took over the weekend to my photography site at some point on Monday.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Photo Friday - Episode 3

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Madrid.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

So Close and Yet So Far

I'm gutted that for the second time in less than 7 days I've been less than 30 minutes from a friend was in the same country I was and yet haven't been able to see them. Over the weekend a friend I used to work with flew to the UK to see a rugby game. The tailgate pub was 2 miles from my house but unfortunately I was too busy trying to get Thanksgiving dinner ready that I wasn't able to go.

Today I found out that a friend of mine from Boston was in Paris, which is where I'm writing this from. Given the short notice and the fact that she didn't have a mobile we weren't able to connect. Facebook is what informed me that both of these people were so close and yet so far. This has gotten me to thinking how Facebook has changed the way things are. In the past I'm sure there have been people I know the next town over or in the same city but I never would have known. With Facebook sharing up to the minute information on where you are and what you're doing you start to realize what you're missing out on. If I didn't know friends were in the same town I was,it wouldn't matter, but knowing people were so close makes me a little homesick. On the plus side only 21 more days until I'm back in the US and able to catch up in person with many friends.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

What a Difference a Day Makes

I am so happy that November only had 30 days and not 31, as I wasn't able to post yesterday. For those of you who thought I was just taking a break after 30 consecutive posts that unfortunately wasn't the case at all. There are a number of factors that prevented me from blogging yesterday.
  1. I decided to sleep in. After being a tour guide for 2 days, cooking Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday and getting up at 5 AM on Sunday to travel I really needed a few extra hours of sleep.
  2. Once I checked out of my hotel on Monday I was in customer meetings all day and had no access to Internet. Normally I would just get online at the airport but...
  3. My flight was delayed. I took the last possible flight out of Stockholm to Madrid which involved a change in Amsterdam. As the flight was delayed I would have missed the connection. This meant after walking all the way across the terminal to get to KLM, I had to walk all the way to the other end to SAS. I got to the security gate and was told I should go to a different gate. Which was at the furthest end of the terminal and guess where my gate was - that's right all the way at the other end of the terminal. I definitely got my exercise and did manage to make my connection. However I didn't have any time to get online.
  4. I landed in Madrid at around 1130 PM and didn't get to the hotel until after 12. I actually did try to get online at the hotel but...
  5. The Ethernet cable in my room wasn't working so I had to wait until today before I had Internet access once again.