Hilton

Work trip to the UK (Leicester)

In my ongoing effort to catch-up to the present day I bring you a quick photo report of my business trip to the UK in Spring 2016. My client has a location in Leicester that was deemed important enough for us to spend a week reviewing procedures so plans were made and tickets booked. In order to sample more products I booked Delta Business Class (ATL-LHR) on the outbound and Virgin Atlantic Upper Class (LHR-ATL) on the return. This was also done so I could visit the Virgin Clubhouse at LHR.

From London, I took a East Midlands train to Leicester the same day of arrival and then 5 days later on the return. Hotel options aren’t great in the city center of Leicester so I booked at the MERCURE LEICESTER THE GRAND and the final night in London was spent at HILTON LONDON METROPOLE. The Mecure property was OK but was definitely starting to show its age. The Hilton Metropole was a pretty standard big-city Hilton property. I wouldn’t go out of my way to stay at either property in the future.

One really cool aspect of the trip was that Leicester City was one week away from claiming the EPL title. The city was alive with team spirit and was quite enjoyable to experience the pride the city felt in the team. To this day, I will support Leicester City when I happen to turn on EPL.

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Delta Business Class seat. Booked last minute so got stuck in a middle section on the older hard product. I know, first world problems.

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View from outside looking in to St Pancras Station in London. This is where the East Midlands train departed to Leicester.

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Brick Lane Market. The London Marathon was going on the day I arrived so a lot of areas were blocked off due to the marathon route. This was a really cool market scene with lots of good street food and great people watching.

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Shot of the Tube in London.

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Another view of St Pancras Station.

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City center of Leicester. Overall, pleasant enough city for a work trip but not much to see for a tourist. In the evenings the city center felt pretty empty.

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Pedestrian road (New Walk) in Leicester. Used this path each day from the client location to the hotel.

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Near the University of Leicester campus. Passed through on the way to lunch one day from the client location. On a slightly unrelated note, the weather was ridiculous. During the span of 1 hour it snowed, rained, and was sunny.

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Virgin Atlantic Upper Class

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Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse

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Trip Report: South Korea and Thailand

One of our bucket list locations had always been Thailand and when we came across a great fare on Korean Air from Atlanta to Bangkok, we couldn’t pass it up. We first came across the airfare during the summer of 2014 and booked the trip for November, 2014. The trip report will have the following sections:

ATL-ICN on Korean Air

1 Night at the Grand Hyatt Incheon

ICN-BKK on Korean Air

3 Nights at the Millenium Hilton Bangkok

BKK-CNX on Bangkok Airways

2 Nights at the Le Meridien Chiang Mai

CNX-KBV on Thai AirAsia

2 Nights at the Sheraton Krabi

KBV-USM on Bangkok Airways

1 Night at the Le Meridien Koh Samui

1 Night at the Conrad Koh Samui

USM-BKK on Bangkok Airways

BKK-ICN-ATL on Korean Airways

Stay tuned for the next installments…..

Trip Report: Christmas in Rome and New Year’s in Barcelona (Day 6-10)

New goal for this summer is to post much more frequently and as part of that I am trying to wrap up several old trip report series.  Today’s post will cover the last 5 days of our trip in 2012 to Rome and Barcelona.  Photo’s are from both Barcelona and the costa brava.  I will let the pictures do the talking in this post.  Looking forward to more posts soon!

View from our room in the Hilton Del Mar Barcelona

View from our room in the Hilton Del Mar Barcelona

Gothic Quarter

Gothic Quarter

Gothic Quarter

Gothic Quarter

Harbor

Harbor

Sagrada Familia

Sagrada Familia

Our Smart car rental

Our Smart car rental

German Shorthaired Pointer reminding us of our dog at home

German Shorthaired Pointer reminding us of our dog at home

View over Cadaques

View over Cadaques

Waterfront near Dali's home

Waterfront near Dali’s home

Trip Report: Christmas in Rome and New Year’s in Barcelona (Day 5)

No excuse really for not posting the next installment in this trip report for more than 4 months, just have been extremely busy at work and haven’t dedicated the time to complete it.  Given that I have had such a long gap in between reports, the final installments in this trip report will be more picture heavy since I don’t remember the specific details of what we did/saw/ate each day.

 

Baths of Caracalla

Baths of Caracalla

Basilica San Giovanni in Laterano

Basilica San Giovanni in Laterano

Teatro dell'Opera di Roma

Teatro dell’Opera di Roma

Rome Street Scene

Rome Street Scene

Veterinario

Veterinario

This was our final day in Rome with my family.  The continued on to Naples/Pompeii/Florence and my wife and I continued on to Barcelona.  We thoroughly enjoyed spending Christmas break with them in Rome.

I will write the remaining Trip Report installments covering our time in Barcelona over the next two weeks.  After that I will begin an introduction to our upcoming trip to Thailand this fall.

Trip Report: Christmas in Rome and New Year’s in Barcelona (Day 4)

Given that it was Christmas Day we had planned to sleep in a bit and meet my family a little bit later (10:30) near the Vatican.   Our plan was to meet outside the Vatican walls and proceed into St. Peter’s Square in order to listen to the Pope give his Christmas address. Amazingly, our plan worked.

We met outside of the walls and walked as a group into St. Peter’s Square finding it to be less crowded than we initially had feared (still about 30-40 minutes before his speech).  We managed to get within 10-15 people of the northwest corner barricade, all-in-all a really good spot to watch.  As the time for his appearance and address approached the square became more and more crowded, to the point that it was filled out to the very edges. Pretty neat to be as close as we were. (I should clarify that I am not Catholic but do find it very neat to witness events like this)

I definitely count myself incredibly lucky as this is the second time I have been able to watch a Pope deliver a religious holiday address in St. Peter’s Square. (My wife and I saw Pope Benedict give an Easter Mass on our honeymoon)

Some pictures from our time watching the Pope.

St. Peter's Christmas Morning

St. Peter’s Christmas Morning

Waiting on the Pope

Waiting on the Pope

Pope Francis Christmas Address

Pope Francis Christmas Address

Once the Pope was finished giving his Christmas address we had decided, as a family, to have a long late lunch for our Christmas day meal.  We met the owner (Frederico) the previous day and he was at the restaurant when we returned ensuring we were well taken care of.  It was a good experience and I think we all enjoyed the chance to spend a couple of hours together celebrating Christmas.

After our long meal (2.5+ hours) we strolled leisurely back towards the Spanish Steps doing some window shopping along the way.  We were surprised, but happy, at the amount of people out and about on Christmas Day.  Made for a very fun atmosphere.

Beautiful Ceiling

Beautiful Ceiling

Sorry for the quality of the above picture but the lighting was difficult to capture just how magnificent the ceiling of this church is.  We went there on the recommendation of the aforementioned Frederico and it was amazing.  The church is tucked into a small piazza behind and to the left of the Pantheon.  Well worth it to go out of your way to find this church.

Elephant statue

Elephant statue

My wife really liked this one 🙂

Christmas Day - Trevi Fountain

Christmas Day – Trevi Fountain

Alright, one more day in Rome with my family to blog and then we head our separate ways. My wife and I went on to Barcelona and the family continued onto Florence.  Hopefully, I can get our Day 5 post out tomorrow. Until then, enjoy!