36 hours in San Antonio

In celebration of the start of the Final Four tomorrow, culminating in an undoubtably fantastic NCAA championship game Monday (hopefully featuring my school, I won’t say which, but if you read this blog, you can probably guess), here’s to planning your weekend in San Antonio!


Inexplicably, I’ve been to San Antonio several times for work.  Texas’s second largest city, it’s one of the fastest growing cities in the country.  There’s a huge US armed forces contingent there and is probably best known for being home to the Alamo and previously, Tim Duncan.

Beyond that, the food and drink scene in San Antonio is fantastic.  Not only do you have spectacular Tex Mex regional cuisine, but every restaurant has it’s own unique look and feel.  The decor in some of these restaurants–especially the ones in repurposed spaces is something to behold.  It’s a multicultural city with so many identities, and that’s what makes it a great place to create some memories.

Remember the Alamo…

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3 days in Portland


Portland is one of the great food cities in the country.  Add the lush backdrop of Mt. Hood and the proximity to natural beauties such as Columbia River Gorge, and you have a perfect destination to spend a few days.

There are so many distinct personalities of the city, as depicted on Portlandia.  While maybe a slight exaggeration, it certainly is an amalgam of cultures and types of people. So come with an open mind and an open stomach, grab a pair of Portland based Nikes and…

Just do it.

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know before you go: Dublin (DUB)


Top of the morning to ya. Dublin (DUB) is an exceptionally beautiful airport that serves a lot of flights to and from the US to Europe.

There are two terminals connected via pedestrian bridge.  Terminal 1 serves: most european carriers including Air France, British Airways, Etihad, FinnAir, KLM, and Lufthansa.

Terminal two serves: Aer Lingus, Delta, American, Emirates and United.  This is the modern terminal that opened in 2010,  underscoring the lush Irish countryside with floor to ceiling glass.  This is also the terminal I flew into on Aer Lingus.

Because it is modern, there is good signage, a good amount of restrooms and charging areas.   As an aside, I will say that the people who work in this airport (especially for Aer Lingus) are unnervingly attractive.  Like really, did they do a casting call for good-looking young Irish folk or something?  Their emerald-hued uniforms are so striking, and all of the flight attendants look like the could be a member of the Corrs family.

This airport also features a special pre-clearance area for travelers going to the US.  It is the best thing ever.  You get all of your customs screening done here and when you return to the US, you’re treated like a domestic arrival because it’s all done. Apparently, there’s also a new executive lounge for pre-clearance customers available for a small free as well.

Remember: ✈️ = one pint of Guinness to ✈️✈️✈️✈️✈️ = many pints of Guinness

Ease of navigating through terminals: ✈️✈️✈️✈️

Convenience of security lines: N/A, but customs line was ✈️✈️

Dining: ✈️✈️ (some Irish offerings, grab and gos and Burger King)

Bathrooms:✈️✈️✈️✈️ (incredibly clean facilities)

Charging stations/wifi: ✈️✈️  (free wifi available—none of their chargers seemed to work and are very few in terminal 2)

Amenities: ✈️✈️✈️ (preclearance to the US, airline lounges, but duty free shopping could be better, there’s a chocolate lounge that serves sundaes and fondue though so…call it a draw?)

Consider yourself to have the luck of the Irish if you get to have a layover here.

know before you go: Venice (VCE)



… POLO!!!

That’s right, the official name of Venice’s airport is Marco Polo, named after the famous Venetian native son known for being a well-traveled explorer and trader.  Luckily for us, we don’t have to take years long journeys to get from one place to the other now, we can jet in and out from his airport.

Flying into Venice through his airport will afford you one of the most marvelous views of your life.  If you’re sure to catch a seat on the right side of the plane, towards the front, you may catch a glimpse of one of the most beautiful cities in the world from a birds eye vantage point.

It’s not a huge airport, one terminal split into only about 35 gates, but it understandably serves a lot of tourists heading on their Italian holidays.  Lots of european airlines, and SkyTeam airlines.  The airport itself sits about 5 miles from Venice’s city center, and can be reached by ACTV bus, Aliguna ferry or water taxi.  Careful, water taxis alone can be very expensive (but may be a little faster).

Remember: ✈️ = o sole mio  ✈️✈️✈️✈️✈️ = volare

Convenience to the city: ✈️✈️ (mainly because of the large sea in between airport and city, understandable though)

Ease of navigating through terminals: ✈️✈️✈️ (only one terminal)

Dining: ✈️✈️ (all italian, but extra points for a gelateria on site)

Bathrooms: ✈️✈️✈️  (fairly clean)

Charging stations/wifi: ✈️✈️✈️ (free wifi available)

Amenities: ✈️✈️✈️✈️  (Two lounges.  For being a smaller airport, there’s a lot of designer shops: Bvlgari, Versace, Ferragamo, Valentino — hey, you’re in Italy, what do you expect?)


3 days in Chicago


Chicago is one of the best cities in the country…nay, the world, to visit.  An epicenter of food, culture, art, sport, and architecture–it has it all.  I’ve been to the Windy City at least a dozen times (and I’m heading back there this weekend), and undoubtedly, I’ve had some of the best times of my life there.  This guide is my ideal time in the city, but there’s no humanly way possible you can eat to your heart’s content in such a short period of time.  But no one will hold it against you for trying.

Do you remember when? Fireworks at Lake Michigan, cuz I’m coming home again –‘Ye

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know before you go: Frankfurt

DF204D50-828D-45A0-961D-6A01194B7FF0Frankfurt is one of the main financial centers of the world (this is where the Euro comes from), and thusly, it’s airport is one of the busiest (fourth busiest in Europe).  It’s the hub for Lufthansa and has arrivals from all over the world with planes landing something like every 2-4 minutes.

I have family in Germany, so on occasion, there’s reason to fly into this airport.  It’s huge and can be quite overwhelming.  There are 2 terminals, Terminal 1 and 2 connected by a sky train.  Terminal 1 has about 105 gates, split into concourses A, B, C, and Z.  Terminal 2 has 42 gates split into D & E.  The airlines are split between the terminals/gates based on airline alliances rather than domestic/international so you could conceivably have to go from terminal to terminal.

There are railway stations below the airport, for both regional and long distance trains, which is helpful because Germany is a huge country.

Shopping is decent, but more geared towards business travelers.  There’s a Burberry, Ferragamo, Versace, Mont Blanc, Porsche, and Hermes in terms of high end, but mostly it’s airport shops.  Dining has a variety of German bakeries, many Italian takeaways and restaurants, Asian (lots, there’s crazy traffic from Asian countries here), McDonald’s, KFC, Burger King and Starbucks.  I wish there was more traditional German offerings, but Ludwig’s fits that bill.  Notably, there’s a Nordsee, which is one of my favorite Scandinavian fast food chains.

Remember: ✈️ = the wurst to ✈️✈️✈️✈️✈️ = the best

Convenience: ✈️✈️✈️  (the railways make it easy to get to from near and far)

Ease of navigating through terminals: ✈️ (this is a VERY large airport with multiple levels, although signage and directions are in both German/English, there’s not many of them, so make sure you have enough time for layovers as it can be very difficult to get from one end to another especially if you have to go between Terminals on the tram)

Convenience of check in/security lines: ✈️✈️ (for the scale of the airport, it’s as efficient as it could be, but there’s going to be a line)

Dining: ✈️✈️✈️  (not enough German food, but your basics of American and Italian fare)

Bathrooms: ✈️✈️✈️  (clean)

Charging stations/wifi: ✈️✈️✈️ (free wifi in certain areas)

Amenities: ✈️✈️✈️ (stores are okay, there is gate to gate transfer service available for a fee, showers for a fee, lots of executive lounges and even the ultra exclusive Lufthansa first class separate building)


3 days in Sedona feat. Grand and Antelope Canyons


Sedona, Arizona is one of those rare, special places that has be experienced first hand to understand what people are talking about when they describe its magic.  Famous for being a “vortex,” an area where energy is entering or exiting the earth, Sedona draws millions of visitors from all over seeking its intrinsic benefits along with being a kickass vacation destination.  These energy flows are said to enhance wellness, mindfulness, and spirituality.  Those who have experienced it often feel recharged, refreshed and awakened.   And even if you don’t feel anything specific, the breathtaking views of Sedona’s natural beauty are definitely inspiring enough.

I’ve always liked heading to the desert.  There is a quiet peacefulness about it that is very calming to me.  Not a ton of chirping birds or rustling leaves, it’s very still.  I love that about Arizona.  And I especially like visiting in the winter offseason when crowds are less and it’s not a billion degrees (highly recommend).

the red sandstone it fell, right smack on top, Sedona…

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