I have spent many nights away from home during my airline career. Sometimes I jokingly refer to my home as an overpriced storage shed. I spend most of my nights in a bed that has been slept in thousands of times...very few of them by me. It sometimes can be very difficult to get to sleep when you are in a bed that feels very different to your own, or with pillows that are not quite like yours. It's funny how quickly you can figure out what your idiosyncrasies are when you spend so many nights away from home. For example, I hate big thick pillows. They might be great for watching tv, but I'm not a fan of when I lay my head down, my chin touches my chest plate!
Here's another example, have you ever noticed what side of the bed you sleep on. I have, and every time I enter a hotel room, I never know what side of the room the bed will be on. This determines which side of the bed I sleep on. In my home, my bed is always on the left wall, which means I sleep on the right side of the bed. Surprisingly, you get used to it being that way. Do you sleep on your side? Is you right or left arm out to the side. These things are predicated on which side of the bed you're on.
People often ask me if I ever wake up in a hotel and not know where I am. Fortunately, I have not had that too many times. The one thing I do have a problem with is which way to turn when I walk out of my room. The hallways are long, seem to go on forever, and look the same. Rarely can you see where the elevators are, so you think to yourself, which way do I go. I try to make a mental not when I get to my room, so I know which way I have to go when I leave. It's these little things that can be disorienting.
The one thing that is consistent when I enter a hotel room is the first thing I do: remove the bedspread. When you think about it, that is the one thing the housekeeping staff don't change on a daily basis. The next thing I do is check the sheets. I like to look for any telltale signs that the sheets have not been changed since their last use. You also want to make sure there are no critters in there. There's nothing like sharing your bed with a bunch of uninvited guests.
Most times, I try not to think of these things. If you did, you'd never stay in a hotel. It's a lot like hot dogs...I love them, but I don't want to know what's in them. I try to focus on the good things, like what I'm going to do during my overnight. I certainly try to make the best of my times away from home.
In Paris, you could do the Louvre during one trip, and Sacre Coeur the next.
|Jameson Distillery, Dublin|
|Guinness Brewery, Dublin|
|Scotch Whiskey Experience, Edinburgh|
Speaking of Amsterdam, after you finished taking in the Heineken Brewery, stroll over the the Museum District for some of the best museums in the world. If you're into World War II history, you should also check out the Anne Frank Museum. This is a must see! Better to remember than to forget.
|Anne Frank House|
I have to apologize for my formatting. I haven't quite figured out how to get the pictures into the right spot and have text around it. I'll have to take that blog lesson in the near future. It's a good thing I can put a 570.000 pound airplane on the same spot every time, because I sure can't do the same with a picture and some words. But I digress...
If you're thinking the bills can really add up on these overnights, you're not the only one. Most of these things cost money. While not much, it does add up. Occasionally though, I find myself spending spending more money to do something than I normally would. I call these the "things I would do once." Not that they are so bad that I wouldn't consider doing them again, they are just a little more costly than other things. For example, I had an overnight in Seattle a few years ago. My crew got together and we all went to the Boeing Museum of Flight at Boeing Field. On the ramp next to the museum, there was a company giving rides in an old Stearman. I had always wanted to fly one, and thought this would be the perfect place to do it. There's nothing like flying around the Puget Sound. I asked the lady at the table about the cost and was told that if I wanted to fly it, I should take the 40 minute tour and the pilot would let me fly once we got out over the Sound. The cost was $240. To fly an old, open cockpit biplane around Seattle would be priceless. This is something I had to do: Once. That would be all I'd need. Check that one off the Bucket List.
I had always heard that Portland, Oregon was a great city. I had a trip with a 48 hour layover, so I rented a car for 2 days. On the first day, my Captain and I drove around the Columbia River Gourge. It a truly spectacular drive, with many opportunities to stop and take pictures, or take a hike. The following day, we went down to the Evergreen Aviation Museum. This is where the Spruce Goose was moved to a number of years ago. The Spruce Goose was the huge sea plane built by Howard Hughes that only flew once. The story was shown in the Leonardo DeCaprio movie called The Aviator. If you wanted to spend an extra $50 dollars at the museum, you could get a private tour of the upper deck of the plane with one of the museum's Docents. There was no time limit on this tour and you got to have your picture taken while sitting in the pilot seat that Howard Hughes himself had occupied on that only flight. It was a wonderful experience and one that I will never forget.
I don't know about you, but I'm getting tired from all of the worldly adventures we've shared today. I think it's time to get back to the hotel for some rest. It's a good thing I've already checked the bed and packed my bag.
Until next time, please make sure your tray tables and seat backs are in their fully upright and locked positions. Flight Attendants, please prepare the cabin for arrival.