Holidays and Other Excursions

Tag: Summary

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.

South America – Summary

14 December 2017

All good holidays come to an end and so we emerge from Heathrow in the middle of the day.  The return trip was in premium economy and we both managed to get some sleep.  And some Avios points stacked up for a future trip.

How far did we travel?

JourneyDistance - miles
Heathrow to Santiago7248
Santiago - Mendoza112
Mendoza - Buenos Aires612
Buenos Aires - Iguaza660
Iguazu - Rio de Janeiro736
Rio - Buzios (rtn)218
Rio de Janeiro - Heathrow5760

Inevitably those distances are approximate – but it is telling how short the hop between Santiago and Mendoza was.  I noted as we drove back that Buzios does have an airport – given the traffic jam on the way back to Rio de Janeiro perhaps we should have seen if there were flights we should have used, but I suspect it is only light aircraft.

Highlight of the trip – inevitably the Iguazu Falls.  Narrowly behind was Buenos Aires.  Being based in the Recoleta area was a clear bonus and the city did not feel unsafe despite the regular warnings  given by the guide.  And for a few days of sunshine and pure rest then Buzios was a great way of ending the holiday.  I think we only had one marginal meal on the trip and the leak in the Rio bathroom was very unwelcome.  And only a couple of months before we head off to Sri Lanka for an unusual return visit.

In reality we saw so little of each country, particularly Chile, that making some grandiose summary seems preposterous.  Buenos Aires was much preferred to Rio de Janeiro but Buzios was a lovely break so honours are even I think.

Australia & New Zealand Summary

Holiday Summary

Heathrow - Dubai3420
Dubai- Singapore3637
Singapore - Melbourne3753
Melbourne - Brisbane859
Brisbane - Cairns865
Cairns - Ayres Rock1112
Ayers Rock - Sydney1354
Sydney - Christchurch1323
Christchurch - Queenstown301
Queenstown - Milford Sound and return356
Queenstown - Auckland638
Auckland - Rotarua and return284
Auckland - Sydney1343
Sydney - Bangkok4674
Bangkok - Dubai3050
Dubai - Heathrow3420

Whilst the table covers the major road journeys in New Zealand it does not include the side journeys by coach to and from hotels or to the Puffing Billy, boat trip to the koalas or the distances covered to the Great Barrier Reef and so on – so we probably exceeded 31000 miles.

Flight times were generally well observed with no real delays until we returned to the UK and got stuck on the dear old being dug up M3!  Scenic’s programme was maintained and we have seen down under.  Did we miss much?  Inevitably we could only see a tiny proportion of the wealth that the two countries offers – but we did achieve an awful lot.  Australia was less objectionable than we thought it might be and New Zealand is not as struck by a time warp as is often alleged.

A wonderful holiday.