Holidays and Other Excursions

Tag: Heathrow

USA- Deep South – 13

NASA Gateway

NASA Gateway

Friday 10.11.23

A late afternoon flight departing Houston arriving at Heathrow early on Saturday morning.  After very nearly two busy weeks it seems appropriate to take it easy this morning, pack and get ready for the trip so no additional exploring.

The trip has been fantastic.  All of the anticipated highlights achieved and we have seen much of the recent history of American music from the part of the world.  Alongside that two of the famous names trains – The City of New Orleans and The Sunset Limited.  Graceland, Casey Jones, Tina Turner’s school and the related museum, a paddle steamer on the Mississippi plus the wonders of Space Center, Houston, particularly the Apollo Mission control room and not forgetting the peak at the history of Martin Luther King and Lookout Mountain.  And of course the Peabody Ducks in Memphis.

The organisation of the trip all worked extremely well, the tour manager was capable and able to ensure that matters run smoothly – a good tour manager knowing what is going to happen and ensuring it does and being prepared when things need to change (such as the breakfast in Memphis when the train failed to appear) as well as being visible and knowing answers when asked all make it so much easier for the participants.

After flying back from Vancouver in somewhat uncomfortable Premium Economy we bit the bullet and came back business class – so we were assured at least some sleep and relatively comfortable flat beds for this journey.

We have covered something like 10400 miles – probably more given some of the routings and city tours as routes were not always direct.  An excellent holiday.

Thailand Day 1

Wednesday 9 December 2015

Not our planned holiday but we are still travelling business class to Phuket rather than Chennai. Etihad provide a collection service so the taxi arrives and we get a text message confirming he is waiting outside. House secure we are on our way.

And the continuing advantages of business class at the airport are numerous. No waiting in line to deposit cases, fast track through security (why does the UK insist on laptops being extracted from carry on bags – this does not seem to happen elsewhere?) and into the shopping area. No need to stay there long, where is gate 10? The lounge is opposite but one floor down. And in the corner is a Six Senses spa; we book a back and neck massage for 20 minutes time; still allows a glass of champagne to be consumed.

Massage over and it is time to dine; spicy tomato soup, some white wine, a slightly spicy chicken, some more white wine, some fresh fruit, finish off the white wine plus a cup of coffee and we have had a leisurely couple of hours with about an hour to kill before we fly.

The plane is waiting at gate 10, so convenient! More champagne. Once airborne we order some fine cheeses and some red wine before seeking to get some sleep. Manage about 4 hours with some breaks. Listening matters is some recorded Mike Brown on CHBN from some months ago. His “More Me Time” hours are always relaxing.

Manage to get a cup of coffee before we descend into Abu Dhabi. Good lord we have also advanced four hours so it is 7 in the morning, so we move onto Day 2.

O Canada

Heathrow – Toronto 6 May 2015

This was always planned as a primary post retirement holiday and it is exactly 1 year since work and I separated. We have been elsewhere in the interim but this was a big one and it will be our most expensive holiday to date (according to my wife who knows about such things) plus being one of our longer breaks.

We head for Heathrow and Terminal 5 for a Ramsay breakfast and then our first “train” – the underground shuttle service to B gates and sadly the 787 has gone technical and it is a 777 to Toronto.  Some delays but up, up and away.

Due to a lack of communication somewhere I get an upgrade to a business class salmon salad for lunch – very nice.  Then settle back to watch series 3 of Borgen as we head west.

Even when we land the sky remains blue as we find that it can be warm and sunny in May in Toronto.  Indeed the weather we later find is a surprise for the locals – although they seem keen to enjoy it!  A coach takes us to our hotel and we unpack enough for a couple of nights.  We are tired and return to the ground floor and find an exit marked “Elm” – Elm Street running along one side of the hotel and we are looking for the Elm Street restaurant.  Which turns out to be immediately across the road!  A warm welcome from the girl on the door and we can sit out at the front to watch the world go by.  Local cider for my wife and some beer for me.  Having had about four meals already today we both simply choose a duck confit on mushroom risotto main course.

The place seems very popular by the numbers inside and the coming and going and when the food arrives we can see why.  A better duck than my last one and a very good risotto underneath.  The cider and beer both go down well.

Time for bed.