A couple of weeks ago I got back from a Round the World Thanksgiving trip with my wife and mother in law. This was something of a bucket list trip for her and us. I’ll put together a full trip report in the coming weeks, but I thought I would share some of my initial thoughts of the whole trip. I will make it a point to focus on the destinations more than the flights.
My wife and I had been to Tokyo twice before. This visit didn’t disappoint. Broadly, we really enjoyed our time in Japan. The people and infrastructure (read: Subway) are great, and the Grand Hyatt Tokyo once again exceeded expectations. The highlight of this stop was our first visit to the Tsukiji Fish Market.
It’s been a couple of weeks since we left China, but I still feel very strongly. There is not a place lower on my list to return to. We stayed at the Grand Hyatt Beijing which had its ups and downs. We saw the Great Wall, which was a bucket list item, as well as Tienanmen Square and the Forbidden City. For me, the people are usually the best part of traveling, not the case here. There were some that stood out, like Mike our tour guide to the Great Wall, or Vincy at the Grand Hyatt Lounge, but from most I didn’t get the warm fuzzies. The air quality wasn’t very good either, but, I think you pretty much expect that one.
Ever since I saw a post that Wandering Aramean did last year on the Christmas Markets, they have been on my list. I fought tooth and nail with United over the course of a week (here are some valuable lessons I learned from it) to allow us to stop for a night in Germany. Having the chance to visit Mainz, and stroll through the Christmas Market, was the highlight of the trip for me.
Up until recently, I’ve been more focused on the flights, the aircraft, the hard and soft products, than on the destination. This trip was different. I had the opportunity to fly two flights in First Class (ANA and Lufthansa United) and three flights in Business (JAL, Swiss (2)), and I was more impressed with the business class flights than the first class flights. I felt the JAL Business flight was nearly on par with ANA Square Class (nearly because they had less to work with on the hard product). I had the best steak I’ve had in the air on Swiss, and well, then there was United–need I say more?
Overall, the trip was good, but we did run into potholes along the way. I’ll get into more detail in the particular posts. I’d be a fool not to be thankful for the opportunity to have made the trip. Especially important for my wife and I, was being able to share with her mother, the way we travel, and to help her visit China. It was something that she had been wanting to do for many years, and I’m sure she’ll be talking about it for ages. As far as my wife and I – we were very happy to return to Tokyo, happy to see the Great Wall and Tienanmen Square —although happier to leave China—and appreciated the overall time spent with family. The whole point of miles, as cliche as it sounds, is to open the door to opportunities—brass rings if you will—that you couldn’t otherwise make happen. This trip did that.