Last year while celebrating St. Paddy's day in Austin, I made a promise to my wife that in twenty-fifteen we'd be celebrating St. Patrick's Day in the motherland. So after the holidays we started planning our trip to Scotland and Ireland. The plan was to spend 10 days over there, three in Scotland and seven driving around the southern part of The Emerald Isle. We started with our usual research, creating an itinerary and price hunting for the best possible flights. Our flight over left March 11th flying IcelandAir
, and returning on Ireland's own, Aer Lingus
on March 21. The original plan was to have an hour layover in Keflavík, Iceland but one thing I've learned about traveling abroad, is that sometimes things don't always go the way you've planned them. Flight crews are required 24 hours of rest after flying and our crew arrived the night before late, due to a bad storm. Because of this, our 7pm flight out of Orlando Sanford International Airport was delayed until 1am Thursday morning.
We landed in Keflavík around 9 am and since we missed our connecting flight to Glasgow, we had to stay in Iceland for 24 hours. Normally, this would have been a downer, but seeing how Iceland holds special meaning to Kelly and I, we didn't let it ruin the beginning of our trip. Our plan for the next 24 hours in Iceland was to rent a car, check in to the hotel, visit the Blue Lagoon again and have dinner at our favorite restaurant in Reykjavik. The weather in Iceland was overcast, snowy and a chilly 1º Celsius /34º Fahrenheit with about 2 feet of snow on the ground. We quickly loaded up the car and headed to the lagoon, for some much needed relaxation. The lagoon was refreshing as ever, we had some adult beverages, exfoliated our skin and enjoyed the geothermal warm waters that the lagoon offered.
After the lagoon we headed to the hotel to check in and get ready for our dinner. We had reservations for a restaurant called Snaps Bistro, in Reykjavik. Snaps is the restaurant that Kelly and I went to for dinner the night before I proposed to her, so having dinner there a second time and reminiscing about our previous trip to Iceland (See my "Ice from Iceland" post) was really special. After drinks, dinner and dessert we drove back to the hotel to get a good nights rest and prepare for the early morning departure. Read More
After celebrating our wedding with amazing friends and family, Kelly and I boarded a plane on Sunday, April 20th headed for a relaxing beach in Phuket, Thailand. We flew from Orlando to New York and after a two hour layover, we boarded our first Air China flight headed to Beijing. This flight was supposed to be a 14 hours, but we landed in Beijing an hour behind schedule and missed our connecting flight to Phuket. With lack of sleep, being disoriented and a language barrier, we had a really tough time finding our way around Beijing's International Airport. It took us two hours and about twenty different airport employees to book a hotel room and shuttle service for the night. Exhausted, our shuttle dropped us off at the Golden Phoenix Hotel around 9pm and we quickly put our stuff in the room and went down to grab some dinner. After having a mediocre dinner, we headed back to the room to get some rest for the night.
We woke up after fourteen hours of sleep and had about five hours to kill before heading back to the airport. After grabbing lunch and hopping on a shuttle, we arrived at the Beijing airport ready for the next flight to Phuket, Thailand. The six hour flight landed in Phuket around 12:30 am on Wednesday, April 23rd. Our feelings of excitement and relief quickly turned to dread as we walked through the Customs doors. Inside, there were five lines, of tired, weary travelers each waiting to get their passports stamped. The line we decided to stand in suddenly got more complicated as another line merged with ours. Two hours after of pushing and shoving, Kelly and I finally made it through Customs, grabbed our luggage and headed out of Phuket International Airport looking for our private car. Read More