The Trip | The Details | Pics | Leaving Toronto For Germany

March 30th, 2019

All packed using travel cubes to help pack clothes.  I was going to bring my big camera, but decided to upgrade to the 64GB iPhone8 to give me more room to capture video and take not to bad pictures of the trip.  Therefore, didn’t bring too much.  Small backpack I got from work as my personal item on the plane and daypack when I would travel to Italy after the work part of the trip.  My weekender bag I would use to bring some work clothes and leave in Frankfurt when I sneak off to Italy and use as a checked bag to transport my bottle of Lufthansa Cocktail back to Toronto.

Was excited to fly on the Boeing 747-400, since it would be my first time on this plane.  After getting checked in and boarded in the two seaters at the back that gives you a gap between the wall and the seat to tuck you legs seen above and also your personal item.  A work peep was also on the flight and she was sitting in front of me on the flight.  After pushback we were waiting for a while.  The captain came on the intercom and announced that when starting the engines they were getting a error message in one of the engines and they were going to move the plane around to the side of the airport and see if they can fix it by changing a fuse.  After doing that they didn’t get success so they decided to pull out all the fuses and wash them and dry them to see if that would help.  Still no luck.  The captain said they would replace a control board to see if that would fix the error message.  On the third hour being on the plane they had no choice but to cancel it.  We boarded around 6pm and this was about 9pm.  We waited for a bus to come to the plane so we can take a bus back to the terminal and go through customs and states we really didn’t leave the country.  After that we were told to go down to the area at Pearson where you get shuttles to hotels and we would be sent to a hotel with hotel vouchers and food vouchers.

 

Video 1 while documenting the trip:

Day two of the trip was in TorontoFURT.  Kind of sucked but you take the time and shift it into a positive so I used the time to edit the vlog I was capturing with my phone and I also did some trip planning.  My work peep was downstairs and we had $20CAD food voucher for breakfast and one for lunch to use so I went downstairs to the hotel’s Fiona McCools and noticed breakfast was $8.95… so I used my voucher to order two of them and made it into a 4 egg + 4 links breakfast.  Why not.  Madeline was my new best friend now and both our goals was to get to Germany early to goof around before the conference starts on the Monday.  Today was Thursday and we both had confirmed space for Friday… so after having lunch together at the Hotel Pub (Lamb Burger which was really sweet) we headed back to the airport to see if we both would squeeze onto the plane.  With the flight cancellation the night before some passengers were put on this plane so it was full and over by 7 people.  We took the free hotel shuttle anyways and went to try.  We didn’t fit so we called our contact at the company that helped us the night before and they set us up in a different hotel and we took a free shuttle to meet them there and they checked us in and gave us some more food vouchers for dinner and lunch the next day since breakfast was free at the hotel.  The video below is us giving it another try.

 

Picked up my two bottles below 😉

After a good nights rest in a hotel bed we knew we would fit on the plane and would fly out Friday and arrive in Frankfurt around 8am the next day.  At the airport we had some more work peeps that had their normal scheduled flights.  Some were on Austrian.  I was on Lufthansa and I had a nice seat at the window just after the wing ended on the Boeing.  I ordered a beer to enjoy before dinner.  I picked the beef stir-fry from the two choices and it was really good.  I just wish I had two of them. 🙂

After touching down in Frankfurt… I checked into my hotel and decided to head down to the old city center square and grab a bite to eat and learn my directions around the city centre.  A little 4 hour walk around… I was ready for a nap since I was up for more than 24 hours straight.  I went back to shower and have a little two hour nap and about 9pm… I ventured out again till about 11:30pm and puttered editing a video before going to bed.  The next morning, I had to make my  way to Seeheim and check out the Conference Hotel and settle in a day early before the conference started.

 

After having breakfast with a little sleep-in… I went to the airport to catch the company bus to the Lufthansa Seeheim Hotel & Conference Center.  As you can see in the video… I missed that bus by minutes and then took a train to the hotel where I checked and ventured around the property checking it out.  My Canadian work peeps were there and some were arriving later in the day.

My room was simple and sweet and I had a nice view out the window.  Each night… I poured myself a glass of Lufthansa Cocktail that they used to serve in the 50’s in first class.  I was a bit of a night owl making coffee at 3am while doing laundry and logging into the computers you can use to check email, etc.

As you can see from the videos the work part of the trip was jammed pack with seminars & workshops.  Sitting down over breakfast, lunch and dinner with peeps from work was nice to get to know them better and it was also fun to get to know more people from other parts of the world like Innsbruck, Cape Town and Bruno.  Some mingling activities with drinks was nice in the evening.  It was exciting to see all the things behinds the scenes about making the LH Group of Airlines as one in terms of Customer Service and the work involved to streamline processes as well make it easier experience to fly with us for passengers and how we deal with them throughout the entire process from start to during to post travel.

 

The next post will shift with moving along to visiting Naples as the gateway to the Amalfi Coast and into Italy before returning to back to Canada.

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The Trip | The Details | Moving Over Into Italy Before Flying Home

March 30th, 2019

On the last night of the conference after it wrapped up and peeps traveled back to Cape
Town, Manilla and other parts of Europe… the my fellow Canadian peeps stayed at hotel just south of Seeheim and we all took the 35min train north and into Frankfurt for a group dinner and a little bit of shopping.  Thursday morning we all departed and most people went back to Canada.  I decided to use my weekend and 3 vacation days to zip over to Italy since this summer I plan to return with the kids.  A work peep who was heading to Italy too joined me on the flight to Naples.  We took a taxi to the Frankfurt airport to catch our flight.  I only brought a small backpack for this trip and I stored my Lufthansa Weekender Bag at the Airport with my work clothes for 8 euros a day to pack light.

Flying into Naples felt like flying into Mexico looking at all the houses built up and packed close together.  Palm trees when you walk out of the airport to grab a easy bus downtown to get to the main train station to grab a subway to my hostel I picked up on Hostelworld for $30CAD which was lovely.

My hostel was a 100 meter walk from Salvator Rosa subway station.  My hostel was La Controra.  After checking in walked down to the old part of the city to walk around and soak in the city a little and grab a bite to eat.  Along the way I stumbled into a great little italian pastry shop and picked up a selection of treats to try.  So yummy!  In the skinny streets packed with tourists and locals it’s neat how you can hear the vibrancy of the city.  I love just soaking it all in and my eyes are just always moving watching people with the hustle of the mopeds flying around with 2 people zig-zagging around.   They say you have to have pizza in Naples since that’s where it was born… so found a little place and ordered two little ones to enjoy.  After that headed back to the Hostel and had some beers with some people staying there.  The next day… I would take a train heading to the Amalfi Coast and my work peep friend would make her way to Rome.

The next morning it was back to Garibaldi Station to take a train to the Amalfi Coast.  Jump to the next post for that…

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The Trip | Off To Visit The Amalfi Coast in Italy

March 30th, 2019

After taking a train from Naples to Salerno, Italy which was a high speed 32min ride… I took some money out of the bank machine from the national bank since that gives you a fair rate… it was off to find the Sita Bus for 2 euros that would take me along the coast to Atraini where I was staying three nights at a Hostel for about 50CAD per night.  Above and the two collages below is Atrani and the little village where I stayed and enjoyed breakfast each morning.   After Easter the waves of tourists come and the beaches are lined with little umbrellas.  It was pretty quiet at this time of the year and the weather was pleasant.  I didn’t bring a jacket on the trip and just used my reversible Tommy Bahamas sweater.  Kinda neat to have one sweater in two colours 😉

Walking along the side of the road as cars zip past you was interesting since the roads are so narrow.  Walking to the town of Amalfi from Atrani is under 10min but you find yourself stopping and looking at the water and the hills rolling along the coastline.  Amalfi is where you would take another Sita Bus to Positano and the small towns along the way for 2.40 euro’s.  I loved the bus rides as you look at all the little houses and hotels stuck on the side of cliffs wondering if they ever will fall down and into the sea.  I’m sure they have been there for about a 100 years and will continue to do so for another 100.

As soon as you get off the bus you are just looking at all the little houses sitting on top of each other in the distance and everyone is snapping photos on their phone.  3 minutes getting off the bus I see some tables across the street from a little bar/restaurant.  Why not sit and have a coffee and get something to nibble on and shoot some time-lapses and just listen to the “quiet” of waves and birds in the background playing in the wind as they float over the beach in the last rays of sunshine for the day.  The sun will be setting soon.

I didn’t venture down to the beach.  I will save that for tomorrow.  When I walked into Amalfi the bus was going to leave and there was spots along the water side… so I thought I would sneak into Positano a day early.  So I walked around the top part and took the bus back to then really visit the town of Amalfi.

When I ventured back to Positano… I had to find my way down to the beach and just walked anything going down.  Every 40 feet you stop to look at the houses on the cliffside and there are lots of little shops to venture in and look.  At the bottom along the water there are more shops and seaside patios to busy restaurants.  I can’t imagine the amount of people there would be in the summer.

Town of Amalfi at night below.  Always people around and it was nice to wander around and snack on little things before walking back to Atrani along the road between the two towns.

Checked out of my Hostel and took a early Sita bus back to Salerno where I would take a hour train to Naples to fly out.  Since there is one flight at 11am from Naples to Frankfurt… I was scared and I decided to use NAP to Munich at 1pm and then the small 1 hour flight MUC FRA.  We have 3 flights a day from NAP to Munich so there was another plane at 5ish as a backup.  When I was at the conference I purchased tickets to fly to Italy and back to Frankfurt for next to nothing on my discount which is sweet.

Flight to Frankfurt to Munich had a curved wing that you just stare at as you float in the air.  I was sitting alone in the back with the flight attendants.  Nobody sitting with me or on the other side which was nice.  One flight attendant was so sweet.  I kept looking at her.  I stayed and talked to her after we landed and she told me she went to Halifax to look for houses to retire.  Small world to think why would someone from Germany who goes everywhere think of Halifax.  When we landed there was a plane with retro livery which was sweet.  After getting off the plane it was a quick 3 stops on the train to the main train station downtown to check into my Hostel that is such a great place for crashing.  I would fly out the next day with LH.  (but I didn’t… since my space on LH was removed somehow and I was booked on Air Canada at 5pm so I had the next day to take in Frankfurt a little more.

Love maps where people put where they came from.  The Hostel has a little bar and I had a bottle of red before retiring for the night.  Beside it was a little poutine place so I had some pommies.  The next day was a food truck festival outside the hostel so I had a little sample of that.  They even had a wine truck as you can see below bottom left.

 

 

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Frankfurt To Toronto | Air Canada Signature Business Class | Coming Home

March 26th, 2019

Getting in line to board the plane in economy… I was first for my section.  I followed the agent and she swiped my boarding pass and I heard a “beeeeep” and I thought… i’m not going to be on this flight or my seat has changed.  I was scheduled for a window which I always want.  She told me I was moved to 4D and I knew that was up at the front and not in the economy rows.  I asked her if I could change my seat and she helped me get a window and off I was down the tunnel heading to the plane with a business class boarding pass.  The cost to a passenger for that cabin for that direction is $2500-3500CAD.  My Duty travel ticket was under $140CAD in economy.

The Dreamliner is the worlds most advanced commercial jetliner that travels higher, faster and smoother.  This has Air Canada’s newest business pods.  With the window seats now facing the window.  The windows on the Dreamliner are huge with no more plastic shade that slides down.  Button controlled dimming that allows you 5 different settings.  The staff can also control the cabin when it’s time to sleep and dim all the shades to darken the cabin.  Noise canceling headphones are given to plug in.  Seats have USB and plugs to power laptops.  Touch screen remote for the inflight entertainment.  Coming soon in flight messaging with other passengers if you are traveling with peeps.  18 inch screen with great quality for movies and television that remember where you are in the movie if you tap out to check the flight status of your trip.  The table slides towards you and has two folds with locking positions.

The drink menu is full of options.  The amenity kit has the basic things you need or would expect to find.  Hot towels are passed around before the dinner service starts with white linens for the dinner service and light meal before you land.

Seats have built in massage option and you can control the firmness of the seat or mattress.  Many different angles you can adjust your seat to relax, work, rest or watch the entertainment screen.  Adjustable armrests that are extra wide.  Full duvets, mattress and pillow are provided for resting.  Washrooms are sensor and touch free.  Throughout the flight there is a basket of chocolate bars and fruit if you want to help yourself to snack and throughout the flight the staff are always coming around offering drinks, juices and water.

Before getting on the plane i used my last euros to buy the biggest coffee i could find and i actually bought a sandwich to bring on the flight lol… which i kept in my bag for the flight.  Richard the flight director came around and asked me if i wanted a boarding glass of sparkling wine and winenot.  After takeoff he came around to serve drinks and i got him to make me the signature drink with crown royal 😉

Before take off… I ordered my main dish and i just waited for the food trolley to roll up and see what the people in business class eat.  Honestly… each portion was incredible.  I was completely blown away and I felt like I was served in a exceptional restaurant and the food and service was top notch.

After dinner and dessert… i didn’t want to sleep so I watched a movie and I did close my eyes with the lie flat bed for a hour to listen to a concert.  I didn’t want to miss breakfast below to see what’s up with that.

Vlog on the way home is below with my flight on Air Canada in Business Class.  Truly incredible service and flight on the Dreamliner by Air Canada.  Exceptional.

 

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OSE (One Second Everyday) The Return | The Trip | Video

March 22nd, 2019

I started to make videos again.  Below is all the videos from the trip I just got back from.

The 8 films are a total of 45 minutes of viewing.

I will make a blog post and post photos from the trip.  I had difficulty flying out and you see that in the first two videos.  If you click the link below they will all play in a row.  You can skip over videos also.  Don’t laugh at them…. they are cheesy and I made them using my iPhone and using iMovie inside my phone to edit and publish them to Facebook and YouTube while traveling.</p

You can open the menu in YouTube and go to any selected video to view.

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Work Trip | The Plans

February 22nd, 2019

March 10th is the start of a Conference held in Seeheim, Germany, and 15 of us are representing Lufthansa YPQ and heading over to Germany for the 3 day conference.  With March Break also starting the planes are pretty full with vacation travelers, so leaving on the Friday is tight.  So going early will help and also allow some time to get used to the “jet-lag” and allow to explore Germany a little before traveling to Seeheim.  I’ve decided to leave on Wednesday March 6th.  Currently,  work has me booked on two flights on the outbound just in case.  LH471 YYZ – FRA on the Boeing 747-400 which is a 7hr, 35min flight has me wait-listed at the moment which I hope will clear.  I’ve never been on the “Queen Of The Sky” since the last time leaving Toronto was to Munich on our Airbus 340.  This Boeing 474-400  holds 67 pax in business, 32 in premium economy and 272 in economy.   Duty travel for work has a higher priority than staff-standby for personal trips.  Hey… all I need is one spot for me in a window seat and a cold beer sitting on a flight beside Rachel McAdams.  Right now I’m confirmed on Austrian Airlines which Lufthansa owns departing YYZ towards Vienna, Austria (VIE) on OS072.  I’ve never flown on Austrian before.  Right now, that’s my back-up route.  The equipment for Austrian is a Boeing 767-300 which holds 26 pax in Business, 18 in Premium Economy and 167 in Economy for the 8hr, 35min flight.  So the connecting flight the next morning  to Frankfurt will be on OS129 that will get me into Frankfurt for 11:40am compared to 7:45am by flying the direct route with Lufthansa.  I’ve picked both my window seats for Austrian.  Let’s hope that my LH booking confirms!

I’ve only been to Frankfurt Airport once before.  Just connected into it and have not ventured into the city.    So when I land… I’m going to store my work bag with my clothes for the conference at the airport storage service and just pack light with a small backpack into Frankfurt for 3 nights.  Upon my arrival at the airport, I have my WordShop purchase to pick up with my two bottles of the Lufthansa Cocktail mix.  After that it will be downstairs to the basement of the Airport where you pick up the S-Bahn to ride into Frankfurt.  Frankfurt Main Hauptbahnhof is Germany’s busiest train station.  In 1866 the thought of a main station would be needed in Frankfurt and this station had construction start in 1883 which was completed and opened in 1888.  Crazy.  The postcard you can see in the picture below is from 1915.  Today it has 120 tracks and handles about 350,000 people a day.

I’m sure I’m going to be sleepy depending on which flight I take to Frankfurt, so my first night is 3 min’s from the train station.  Before bed I will take 3mg of Melatonin about 2hrs before I want to go to sleep to help my body learn the new cycle.  I will also start to adjust my bedtime a week out before the trip to help.  Then next two nights in Frankfurt I have a room across the street at the same place.  For my first half day in Frankfurt… I’m going to take it easy and stroll around the streets near my hotel.

My first sleep will be in this place above and it’s just a basic little room just to crash the first night.  You can see the train station from the window.

Day two will start off heading to the the old city centre.  The Römerberg is a public space in Frankfurt, Germany. It is located in front of the Römer building complex, and houses Frankfurt’s city administration since the 15th century.

 

I’m going to take advantage of the 4 hour walking tour on Day2 to learn more about Germany and the history of Frankfurt.  After dinner, I will be back to the square to partake in a little Frankfurt Pub Crawl that will cover four German Bars.  After that, I will grab a Uber back to the hotel.  The next day is open since I’m still trying to narrow down what to do.  The evening will be a walking food tour that I signed up for.

On Sunday morning after a German Breakfast… it’s off to the Airport to pick up the Hotel bus that will depart to Seeheim for the conference that starts Monday and cover 3 full days till Wednesday and one last night at the hotel bar with whoever is flying out Thursday morning.  For me, I will wake up and make my way to the airport to fly to Naples, Italy for a night before making my way to the Amalfi Coast for 3 nights before returning to Frankfurt to fly out on the 19th back to Canada.

I will take LH334 from FRA – NAP that will depart at 11:15am on Thursday and will touch down at 1:10pm where I will make my way to my hotel in the city centre in Naples.

Naples below is in southern Italy on the east side a little more than halfway down the “boot” 😉  Nearby is Mount Vesuvius, which is still active volcano that destroyed the nearby Roman town of Pompeii.  Naples has about a million people and is Europe’s ninth most densely populated city with 8,183 per square kilometer.

I don’t have much time in Naples, so I want to walk down Spaccanapoll Street which you can see below in the bottom left photo in the collage.  Spaccanapoll divides the city and a very interesting street.  It’s straight and narrow pathway that traverses the old historic city centre.  It’s name means “Naples splitter” and it’s 2km long!  Neapolitan cuisine is synonymous with Pizza – which originated in Naples.   With my short time before the day ends I will walk around and sample local eats and get back and hang out near my hotel after it gets dark.

The next morning after breakfast and exploring a little more, I will head to the Giribaldi Station to board my 12:10pm train from Naples to Salerno, Italy.  Salerno, will be my gateway into the Amalfi Coast.  I bought a ticket on the high speed train that should take only 30min.  I got a upgrade with my $16CAD ticket to first class cabin on the train that allows me to pick a single window seat in advance.  On my way home I picked the normal 2nd class tkt for $6CAD for the hour long regular train trip back to Naples to fly back to Germany.

Excited to follow the roads from Salerno to Amalfi by using the Sita bus.  I will use this bus network to get to places like Positano and Sorrento if I want to sneak a little farther during my 3 nights along the coast.  In the Summer with the kids we will fly into Germany and make our way to Portugal, Spain and ferry to Capri from Barcelona to visit the Amalfi Coast.  I know that they would love it!

I’ve booked 3 nights at this little town called Atrani (shown above) that is just to the left of the town Amalfi.  It takes about 10 minutes to walk into Amalfi from here.  (below) is a shot from above of of the little town.  Only about 900 people live here and the the town has only a surface area of 0.12 km squared.  That’s crazy.

I’m going to use the little Sita bus to go up and down the coast.  You can get a all day pass for about 11 euros.  One day will be in Amalfi and one day will be spent in Positano.  I’m trying to research what looks neat along the narrow road along the way to jump off the bus and walk around.  Amalfi gets the spike in tourists after Easter, so it should be fairly quiet and the weather should be around +16.  So not super hot and simply comfortable.

Town of Amalfi shown below in the collage.

Positano shown below with it’s people living along the cliffside.

Positano (above – below)is a cliffside village on southern Italy’s Amalfi Coast. It’s a well-known holiday destination with a pebble beachfront and steep, narrow streets lined with boutiques and cafes. Its Chiesa di Santa Maria Assunta features a majolica-tiled dome and a 13th-century Byzantine icon of the Virgin Mary. The Sentiero degli Dei hiking trail links Positano to other coastal towns.

 

It has a total area of about 8.6km and about 4,000 people who live there.  The cliffs have been photographed many of times.  This is a little bonus trip trip for me to scout for the future.  This summer I have two weeks and planning a trip with the kids and we will come here to explore.  I also want to come back with a woman to relax and casually explore with.

After 3 nights in Amalfi, I will take the bus back to Salerno to take the train to Naples to fly out.  Going back to Germany… I will take LH1927 that leaves at 1pm and connects in Munich with LH113 back to Frankfurt.  I picked this connection since there is a later flight if I don’t make this one due to space since this was a little $115CAD staff standby round trip ticket in economy.  Making the 1pm flight will get me back in Frankfurt by 5pm and will spend a night at the first hotel I stayed at.  This will just be a place to crash since the next afternoon I fly out after lunch on LH470 departing at 1:25pm for a 8hour and 40 min flight to Toronto.  I will land in YYZ at 5pm same day with the magic of time travel across time zones.  After a large jumbo Bazlac’s coffee… it’s off to PTBO via shuttle arranged from work.  Excited to fly on the Boeing 747-400 if I fly on Austrian on the outbound.  So far… I’m only waitlisted on return Lufthansa flight that should confirm soon.  The numbers look good on the plane.  I just need one window seat.

Very thankful for the opportunity to fly to Europe for work for the conference and utilize some weekends pushed to the front and end of the trip with 3 vacation days to stretch it out from the 6th to the 19th.  I’m going to try and vlog this trip for work and will start my OSE videos again while getting back into the swing of documenting + editing video on my phone.

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