Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Off to see Europe

So here i sit at JFK airport about to enbark on another trip to Europe. This will be my 3rd pure "backpacking" trip. The one in 2006 that is well documented on this blog was 11 weeks long and my first time doing such a trip. it was a great and eye opening experience. My second trip in 2010 was not as well documented on this blog, and i can blame that on the advent of facebook with quick status updates and photo sharing. 2010 was a great trip watching the World Cup games in 8 different countries when the home team was playing. Also on that trip i met many fellow travelers who i have continued to stay in touch, share travel stories and hope will be long time friends. So now 2012 trip is here, this trip will culminuate with a 9 day stay in the England for the olympics, between soccer games in Manchester and the main events in London i hope to watch a few events live and cheer on the USA in what is still the best "amateur" sports competition that we have ever known... yes its better than the NCAA Final Four etc.

So this 2012 trip might be my last pure backpacking trip, at least to Europe as with the exception of a few countries (Denmark, Sweden, and a smattering of former Yugoslavia places) i've been to most of Europe at least once if not more times. I can still see myself if i ever get spanish language skills doing a similar trip in South America, or with French in West Africa. Now that i'm mostly done with my graduate school classes with only one project left it will be time to hunker down with a job... a job that hopefully will allow me to travel but also save money for those trips and places in the world i have not explored yet. My route for this trip is rather structured after the first 2 weeks. the first 2 weeks is where i hope to meet interesting people, wander to places not inititally known about and enjoy myself. I have booked a few inter country flights and since those are paid for and the dates set, i will have to be in certain places on certain days towards the end of the trip. Due to the fact this is probably my last of these trips i'm going to try my best to keep this blog updated. While the domain name implies some crazy drinking all the time, and i've not turned down many of the finest european beers, i will also take in plenty of culutral sights and catch up with friends who i have not seen in years. But beaches and beer will be a theme hopefully talked about during this trip, along with chants of GO USA! USA! later on during the olympics. I will be exploring new countries for me, with stops in Northern Ireland, and Ireland towards the last 7 days of the trip before returning to the USA on August 20th.

I will for the most part using my frequent flyer miles for the long haul international segments of this trip. I want to try to use as many of these miles as fast as possible due to the changing nature of the airline business. My worry of precious American Airline Aadvantage miles being devauled with a potential merger or bankrupcy issues has me booking my one way over for 30k miles. On the way home i'm using a new trick that i read about on one of the many blogs devoted to frequent flyer travel and only 12.5k British Airways Avios points to fly from Dublin to Boston, this is possible as the route comes in at 2997 as the crow flies air miles. This distance is just below the higher threshold that British Airways has for its distance based awards, so lets hope Aer lingus continues to fly this route as for a short trip from my home in NYC up to Boston, it can give me twice as many flights to europe. I encourage anyone who can take advantage of this "quirk" to do so. Ok.. American Airlines flight 104, on my favorite current plane the Boeing 777 awaits me. I've not yet flown on the double decker Airbus A380 so the triple 7 will remain my favorite. Even in the back of the plane, seat 37C you get a personal TV on the back of the seat with good movies and music. power ports would be nice, or USB powered ports as American still only has cigarette lighter ports and who the heck has that adapter for our electronics??? While this flight across the pond will not compared to my International First class flight.. trust me LIFE CHANGING that i took from Sao Paulo, Brazil to Santiago, Chile this past January 2012, the fact my flight is at 9pm at night and i've had little sleep today it doesnt matter as i should be knocked out..

Ok enjoy the ride, next update from beautiful budapest!!

Post flight update, i have to thank the flight attendants as my seat had a broken video projector, i moved further back in the plane to seat 41G. But i must say this is a great seat, its in the middle but there are only 4 seats wide, instead of 5 seats in most rows so you get a bit more space, plus the legroom is vastly improved. Also while the TV set pulls out of the side of your chair, i like the fact you can adjust it sideways for better viewing.. So on American's 777 if you have to be in coach row 41 is a good row to go for!!


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