Tag Archives: traveling

Virgin America raises the bar

      
Most check-in kiosks at the airports are pretty much the same – no frills, functional, and utilitarian. Not much to write about, until I passed the Virgin America desk.  Wow! I was so surprised by what I saw! They had white tables with simple, clean lines – no boring grey plastic ATM style kiosks – with modern looking computer monitors to check-in on. The tables were also adorned with beautiful flower arrangements of  white calla lilies, babies-breath sprigs, and leafy twigs. There was was also this soft purple light that glowed from underneath the tables edge and reflected off the table legs. 

Those few changes made such a difference in the whole atmosphere around their counter check-in area. It imparted the feeling of a calm and soothing welcome. What a nice way to start a trip! 

Virgin America, you have set the bar a little higher for other airlines. I hope they stand up and take notice. 

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YORK, ENGLAND

Well, we made it to England! The plane ride was so very long! For the most part none of us were able to sleep, except of course, Ian. During the 10 or so hour plane ride I managed to get maybe 2 hours of sleep, partly at first I was not tired so I watched a couple of movies and also partly because I sat next to an elderly lady who did not have a sense of personal space with her elbows! When you fly or maybe just travel in general, every inch is at a premium and when one persons body or extremities spill over into your seat for 10 hours a person has a tendency to get a little grumpy, just saying…..

Anyways, enough of that, we landed and got through customs really fairly easy other than a rather long line that moved a bit slow mostly because there were not many booths open. Once through, we picked up the rental car and my husband refreshed his memory on having everything in the car, including him, in the wrong spot and on the right side of the car instead of the left and also driving on the left side of the road instead of the right. That is something that you have to think about and reason with the entire time that you are in the car, not only as a driver but also as a passenger. I found myself leaning into the center of the car as if I could help keep the car in the center of the lane! It is rather stressful when you are driving backwards from how you learned!

Ok, so, we are in the car driving down the motorway, on the wrong side of the road (for us), on the wrong sides of the car (for us), none of us has gotten very much rest and all a bit cranky and we have 3 1/2 hours to drive to get to our first B&B in York. Yeah, maybe not the best decision to have to drive so far in such unfamiliar circumstances, but oh well, deal with it we must O-Bei One. We stopped at a “services” area and got coffee, coffee, coffee!

Made it to York without much incidence and located our B&B. It was a cute, and very English, place in a  row house. Very clean and comfy and the hosts were pleasant. The B&B was located close to the city walls so it was very easy to walk every where, which we did! The first full day we were there we walked 121/2 miles! We criss-crossed the city center, walked almost the entire stretch of the walls, up one amazingly antiquated lane and down another, through the cobble stoned Shambles, around the market, through quaint neighborhoods with beautiful postage stamp sized gardens full of fuchsias, peonies and assortment of other colorful flowers. We saw monuments, cathedrals, ruins and some of the fattest pigeons I have ever seen in my life! Even fatter than their NY cousins!

The Shambles
The Shambles
Cliffords Tower built in 1216-1272 by King Henry III
Cliffords Tower built in 1216-1272 by King Henry III

Of course we had to check out the pubs in England! Ian had his first “legal, out in public” drink, legal drinking age in England is 18 and in the States it is 21. So of course we went into many pubs to try theirfoodie fare as well as Ian was trying to decide which ales, ciders or beers he liked. Several pubs and pints and miles later, he decided that his preference wasGuinness. He likes the thick, rich smooth flavor. I would not have pegged him for aguinesser, but then again he is just starting to show and allow his multi-faceted nature to come through.

English Pub
English Pub

After a couple night stay we were off to our next location, Scotland! Again with the driving…. but we had reservations at another B&B which is a working farm with sheep and the long-haired Highland cows located in a tiny town between Edinburgh and Glasgow.

More on that later! We are off and running again!

En Route

Whether we are driving or flying it seems like it only takes Ian a few minutes and he is out cold, it seems like he can sleep any where at almost any time of the day or night. Today was no different. We had been awake for a few hours and about 15 minutes into a 29 minute flight this is what I see….

catching a quick nap
catching a quick nap

I wish that I could fall asleep that fast and easy!

When people were just becoming “connected” it was very difficult to find outlets to charge the assortment of electronics that we carried, lap tops, phones at first and now we have added tablets, cameras and additional back-up batteries to the mix. It seemed like many times when an outlet was found it either did not work or there was a line to use it. The addition of charging stations has been a welcome change that airports have made over the last few years!

charging stations are a welcome sight when traveling
charging stations are a welcome sight when traveling