london calling part 1

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As the world gears up for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding, scores and scores of journalists and fans will be flocking to London town (well, Windsor for the actual nuptials) to try and catch a glimpse of the royal entourage.

If you’re one of the lucky few, or even if you’re not, take this opportunity to delight in the sights of one of the best cities in the world.  It’s incomparable, really.  So much jam packed history, art, music, everything!  All roads lead back to London.

Mind the gap…

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know before you go: PHX

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Phoenix SkyHarbor has to be one of the most connected through airports to the West. A hub for Southwest, I feel like I’ve flown into here or Denver a million times.  It’s a nice airport to have a layover, there are a lot of casual dining options and there’s a lot of space to stretch out and relax, although I wish things were open later. Recently in the news for its newest feature, an Urgent Care, it’s a huge facility that has a lot of interesting amenities.

There are 3 terminals (2, 3 and 4) comprised of 116 gates.  There are people movers, but the distance between the concourses is vast.  Terminal 2 serves United, Spirit and Alaska.  Terminal 3 is the home of Delta, Frontier, Hawaiian and JetBlue.  Terminal 4 serves American, British Airways, Southwest, Volaris and WestJet.  Almost every domestic carrier is represented here.

Remember: ✈️ = from the ashes to ✈️✈️✈️✈️✈️ = phoenix rising

Convenience to the city: ✈️✈️ (it’s a little bit of a trek, and driving around in the airport loop can be tiresome)

Ease of navigating through terminals: ✈️✈️ (would be impossible without people movers)

Convenience of check in/security lines: ✈️✈️✈️ (not the worst, not the best)

Dining: ✈️✈️✈️✈️  (it’s a large airport, so there’s lots of food: from McDonald’s to Cartel Coffee, Panda Express and Pei Wei, Starbucks, Coffee Bean and Peet’s).

Bathrooms: ✈️✈️✈️  (they could have more, but usually clean)

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

Amenities: ✈️✈️✈️✈️  (Urgent Care, airport lounges for each of the  major carriers, FitPHX trails, XpressSpa, a lot of Native American themed shops)

 

 

 

3 days in Reykjavik

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Iceland is super trendy.  In the past decade, there’s been a >300% increase in the amount of visitors to Iceland — it’s almost to the point where you barely see any locals.  Because I have the worst FOMO ever, I needed to go here before tourists overrun everything and American chains start moving in.  Everyone in my family had already gone (which is not a reason to travel, but again, FOMO), so off I headed to Reykjavik for an Icelandic adventure.

all is full of love…

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Rome if you want to…

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Rome is a polarizing place.  For some, it represents the peak of romance, beauty and charm. For others, it’s a crowded, tourist-laden nightmare.  I think its real appeal is that it’s both; it’s a city of contradictions.  There is a mix of ancient and modern, sometimes seamless in execution (turning on a busy street and seeing the Parthenon) and others not so much (the futile attempt of expanding the Metro due to delays in the name of archeology). It’s very urban, but yet has simple charms similar to those found in Italy’s most rural countryside villages.  There are so many relics and ruins; it’s often a little overwhelming! But, if you take a step back to enjoy the moment, it’s a city that can leave you breathless.  You will understand why it’s called the Eternal City.

Take a Roman holiday…

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know before you go: Edinburgh (EDI)

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not sure what the reverse man hole cover is

Great Scott!  There’s no flying Deloreans, but plenty of planes.  Edinburgh (EDI) is a pretty cool little airport.  I mean, it kind of looks like a weird face from above or at least a pair of goggles, so that’s something.

For being a smaller airport, it’s the largest in Scotland and the 6th largest in passenger volume in the UK.  Not too shabby.  With many low cost carriers like WOW and RyanAir offering flights, I’m sure it’ll only get more popular with time.

There’s only one terminal and about 25 gates, so it’s easy to manage.  The best thing about it is that the exit is just steps from the Edinburgh tram stop, the most convenient way to get into the city (takes about 30-35 minutes).  This was HUGE when I had a long layover here — I just bought a return ticket and got to see all of Edinburgh in a few hours.

Remember: ✈️ = duke of edinburgh the crown season 2 to ✈️✈️✈️✈️✈️ = duke of edinburgh season 1 (very specific example, I know)

Convenience to the city: ✈️✈️✈️ (the tram is a godsend)

Ease of navigating through terminals: ✈️✈️✈️ (there’s only one)

Convenience of check in/security lines: ✈️✈️✈️ (was pretty quick)

Dining: ✈️✈️  (not much, there’s a Costa coffee and Starbucks before security and a Krispy Kreme and M&S after)

Bathrooms: ✈️✈️  (could use a little updating)

Charging stations/wifi: ✈️✈️✈️ (free wifi available–tons of charging at Starbucks)

Amenities: ✈️✈️  (a few souvenir shops, Michael Kors, Aerospa, Superdrug)

 

 

lovers in japan: tokyo and mt fuji

Japan is a special place.  Its culture is unique and traditions well preserved.  Tokyo is probably the most interesting city in the world, as it is a city of contradictions.  There’s an avant garde, boldness to it, but yet there’s also a timid sensibility, too.  It’s both modern and ancient, debaucherous and pious.  The food, the facilities, everything is deliberated over and planned out, but there’s spontaneity around every corner.  It’s edgy, real and fearless.  Yet, for a city of its size, it’s unimaginably safe and tidy.

Japanese citizens have a sense of responsibility in keeping their homeland organized and neat, and proudly show off their incredible technology and forward thinking nature.  I love everything about it.  There’s so much to see and do in Japan, and often times not enough money.

turning japanese

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3 days in Tucson

IMG_7488.jpgA few years ago, for her birthday, I promised my sister that I would treat her to one of her bucket list destinations, Miraval Spa near Tucson, Arizona (it was one of mine, too).  It took a few years before I became financially solvent enough, but we finally made it.

Started from the bottom, now we’re here.

So, we packed our bags for the vast, arid landscape of the Sonoran desert to enjoy some pampering, national park sights and southwestern culture.  Listen to the Blink 182 song, that you’ll beat to death in Tucson, okay?

In the desert, you can remember your name…

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3 days in New York

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New Year, New York.  Sometimes I feel it’s a little futile to write a guide of New York.  Obviously there’s a lot to do, see and eat, that you couldn’t possibly cover everything in 3 days or 3 weeks or even 3 years.   The magic of New York is that I find something new every time I’m there, often by just wandering around aimlessly.  It’s the easiest city in the world to do that, you can meander for hours and be entertained by just that simple action.  That’s why I love it so, there’s so much to take in, it keeps the flight of ideas going.

Here are my must sees when I’m in New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made.

Start spreading the news…

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