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RTW #3: Eat, Pray, Run – From Marathons to Maui

RTW 3 – Ready or Not (mostly not), Here I Go!

Posted by on Jan 22, 2008 | 0 comments

RTW 3 – Ready or Not (mostly not), Here I Go!

I’m going to have to start the posts for this year’s round the world trip with a MAJOR disclaimer. You may notice I’m starting out a bit later than usual. That’s because I wasn’t entirely sure I was even going to do a trip this year. I had a new client with a show in Atlanta in the middle of January and that has kept me pretty busy for months. I thought I might not have the time to do another trip justice. But, the later it got in January, the more I was itching to cash in those Delta Skymiles and hit the road. So, in a two-week planning whirlwind, I scrambled to pull together as much of a trip as I could.

The flights were definitely the toughest. Imagine trying to cash in miles for more than a dozen flights on two weeks notice. This is the kind of thing most people book at least 6 months in advance if not longer. But, with daily persistence on the phone with the Skyteam Around the World desk, I think I finally have a workable itinerary.

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Beaching it in Nassau Bahamas

Posted by on Jan 24, 2008 | 0 comments

Beaching it in Nassau Bahamas

My first choice for Stop 1 on this trip was Santiago, Chile. Unfortunately, since I didn’t book the ticket until last Thursday, flights to Santiago were totally sold out so I had to get creative. After striking out with every South American destination I could think of, I started looking in the Carribean. To give you a little background: The rules on the Around the World ticket with Delta (or rather, Skyteam) are pretty simple, you pick a direction (east or west) and keep going until you get back to your starting point, no back-tracking allowed. Once again I chose to go east since it allows me to choose overnight flights which save time and hotel nights. Of course, if I had all the time in the world to spend entire days on a plane and money were not an issue, I think I’d go west, it would be a lot easier from a jetlag perspective.

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Spain, Part Uno: Madrid & Seville

Posted by on Jan 29, 2008 | 0 comments

Spain, Part Uno: Madrid & Seville

Well, my trip from Casablanca to Madrid Spain turned out to be a little more exciting than it should have been. I briefly debated whether to share this little nugget with you all but I figured I’m quick to tell the stories when I do something smart so I guess I should fess up when I do something stupid. (Those of you who think I never screw up with travel planning will get a kick out of this one.)

I booked the flight from Casablanca to Madrid with a discount European airline called Easyjet. For those of you not familiar with Easyjet, it’s owned by Richard Branson (the Brit who owns the Virgin Records/Airlines empire) and flies very cheaply to mainly European destinations. I had heard a lot of good things about Easyjet but never flown them before so I was looking forward to trying it out. And the best part (aside from the fact that they actually had a flight to Madrid from Casa) was that the entire flight cost $42 (including the $8 I paid to get something called “Speedy Boarding” which lets you board first – there are no seat assignments on this airline). And I must say, I was quite proud of myself for being so “budget-conscious”.

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Lovin’ Lisbon Portugal

Posted by on Jan 31, 2008 | 0 comments

Lovin’ Lisbon Portugal

Well, first of all, I have to say that the drive to Lisbon Portugal from Seville was delightful! It only took me about 3 hours and it’s great scenery most of the way. Oh, and if you’ve never driven 130 km/hour through the Spanish countryside while belting out Hotel California at the top of your lungs, I highly recommend it. Very therapeutic. You’ve gotta love those European radio stations.

I arrived in Lisbon just before sunset and was amazed at how beautiful the city is. It actually reminds me a lot of San Francisco (with an oddly similar bridge and even cable cars). My trip to Lisbon was actually planned around meeting a friend of mine from Ireland, Des. Des lives in Dublin and he and I used to date a while back and we’ve kept in touch since. When he heard I was planning to be in Lisbon on this trip, he scheduled a business trip (he’s been working over here some lately) to coincide with my dates. I left all of the planning for these two days up to him since I figured I had enough planning to do and he knew the city better than I did.

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Morocco – The Marrakech Marathon

Posted by on Jan 27, 2008 | 0 comments

Morocco – The Marrakech Marathon

Traveling from the Bahamas to Marrakech, Morocco required stops in both Newark and Paris on Continental and then a change of airports in Paris to transfer to an Air France flight to Morocco. All in all, roughly 24 hours of travel time.

I was, however, looking forward to trying out Continental’s Business First service “across the pond” to see how it compares with Delta’s Business Elite. I had heard great things about Continental’s international service and I had high expectations since this one flight (and one Northwest flight from Tokyo to Honolulu) had cost me an extra 60,000 miles on this ticket – the difference between a business class and a first class around the world award. Turns out, Continental and Northwest consider their international Business First cabins as first class (not business) when it comes to award travel – so, of course, I was dying to see why.

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Exploring Casablanca Morocco

Posted by on Jan 28, 2008 | 0 comments

Exploring Casablanca Morocco

Well, I have to say that those expecting romance or adventure here in Casablanca Morocco will be sorely disappointed. Humphrey Bogart never came here, and the film Casablanca was filmed entirely in Hollywood. “Casa“, as the Moroccans call it, is actually Africa’s second-largest city after Cairo with a population between 3 and 4 million. It’s a very modern city compared to Marrakech and also home to Africa’s largest port.

When I arrived at the train station last night just after dusk, I was greeted by a throng of people and about 100 taxis all hustling for a fare. Much more crazed than my arrival in Marrakech. Once I secured a taxi, the first thing he did was try to talk me out of my hotel choice because it was “very expensive” and of course he knew of a hotel that would be much better for me. Thanks buddy, but I think I can decide where I want to stay (not to mention, I ran a marathon this morning and I am in pain from head to toe so argue with me at your own risk). He gave in and took me to the Le Royal Mansour Meridien, my hotel for the one night I will be in Casablanca (and I’m starting to think that will be plenty).

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