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Wanna get away? How about Frankfurt for a day??

22 Jul

Have you ever had one of those “Wanna get away?” moments? Well I have, and the last time it was a strong enough urge that I acted on it…in a pretty big way!

How about Frankfurt for less than a day and then back home? Well, that’s what it took to make me feel better. I tasted new food, smiled at new people and, most importantly, I breathed new air.

OK, so I am a “stand-by” girl. The jig is up, that’s my secret. My mother taught aircraft systems for United Airlines for years and I still have travel benefits from her. YES!

So, you can imagine, it’s fairly easy for me to hop on a flight and jet off somewhere…loads permitting. Stand-by can be a complete nightmare or it can be a dream when everything goes smoothly. In this particular situation I was quite antsy to get outta town, and luckily this trip was more on the dreamy side of the spectrum.

Now, some background information on my family…

We are an aviation family and between my mother and her 9 other siblings there are 7 pilots, 3 of whom were/are captains for United. Only one of my uncles still flies the line as a captain on, and check-airman for, the Boeing 747-400. His name is Chris.

I called Chris on a Tuesday in April and left a message that went something like this, “Hey Chris, um, I was wondering if you have any trips coming up soon (he typically has one per month), and if you do, do you think I could tag along?” His response to me was, “Yep, I’m doing a check-ride on Sunday for a 23 hour turn-around to Frankfurt, meet me in Chicago!”


So 5 days later I was on the plane heading to O’Hare from Denver. I met up with Chris and his first officer, Roman, on the C Concourse and found that our flight was delayed an hour and a half due to an aircraft change. It always amuses me when the passengers get all disgruntled about their flight being late for those kinds of reasons. My thoughts?? The airplane was BRO-KEN, aren’t you glad they figured it out while we were still in the terminal? Broken plane = delay … get over it. I swear, people anymore just want something to complain about!

Sorry – where was I? Oh ya, Concourse C…

C Concourse O'Hare

After finally boarding and settling into my economy seat we were on our way. Now, don’t go thinking I’m stuck up because I had to mention that it was an economy seat, it’s just that typically when traveling stand-by internationally there are more First and Business Class seats available. Just sayin’.

We arrived in the morning the next day, took the crew bus to the Marriott, dropped our bags off and headed to the train station for breakfast. Appropriately, our breakfast consisted of beer and brats… a hearty German start to the day!

From the left...Roman, me and Chris having the breakfast of German champions!

After a seemingly 20 minute nap back a the room, it was actually 2 hours, I met the guys in the hotel bar called Challengers. Their slogan was, “…for a real American experience”. Well, I didn’t come to Frankfurt on my “wanna get away” whim to have a real American experience so we slugged down our beers and went to this cute little restaurant called Pielok… for a real German experience.

The first thing we experienced though was the German smell leaking out of the place. Holy shit, what IS that?? I’m sure it was some kind of warm cheese plate, but it smelled like dirty, sour laundry! I’m not sure if it went away or if our nostrils just assimilated. I’m assuming it was the latter.

Yes, it was that bad!

I mean, don’t get me wrong, the Germans make some fantastic cheeses, its just that this one in particular seemed to offend our little American noses…. a lot.

Chris and I couldn't stop laughing about the pungent cheesy stench!

Unlike the smelly cheese trough, my dinner was to die for! This was comfort food at it’s best…. A burger patty – a real mouth watering burger – topped with 2 thick slices of salty, greasy bacon with sauteed mushrooms and onions and a side of roasted potatoes! Delish. I was feeling better already!

Salty, greasy, meaty German goodness!

We all took a little stroll after dinner and noticed the small differences that definitely lent the foreign feeling I was craving. What a gift. The bicycles, the people, the little shops, the small streets, the flower boxes, the trains, the housing flats, the fresh food. It was perfect for my little getaway!

I present you...Frankfurt

Once back at the hotel, I was asleep by 10 and up by 6. After a more breakfasty breakfast of coffee and danish we were on our way back to the airport with the whole crew.

Airports and airplanes are sometimes my favorite parts of traveling. I think you really get a chance to see who people are when they have to pack a little, tiny piece of their lives and take it with them as they navigate the uncharted terminal territory… I find it very interesting.

After people watching for about an hour while sitting at our gate, I was escorted to the plane with the crew by one of the Lufthansa gate agents who was working our United flight. I loved it when another agent we passed by tried to stop me, because clearly I wasn’t in uniform, and tell me that I couldn’t go that way. Chris simply threw a quick head nod her way and said, “Uh, she’s with us.” HA! Royal treatment when you’re with the captain.

This time, as we returned to Chicago, the travel itch was out of my system. I was loving my lavish upper-deck business class seat, sipping my wine and enjoying the added pride that my uncle was flyin that bird. Thanks Chris for helping me get away.

What a trip!



Need a better travel wardrobe? Drop the plaid pj’s and pillows ASAP!

8 Jul

What are you wearing?

Since when did air travel become such a relaxed thing? The amount of pajamas, sweats, UGG boots, slippers, bed-head and pillows that I’m seeing in this airport is unacceptable! I don’t care what you’re doing, there is no time when it’s appropriate to wear these things in public.

Ok, I take that back, if your house is on fire that’s a different story! Notice there is an Emergency in this scenario!?

However, when traveling, are normal clothes so uncomfortable that you just cannot stand to wear jeans and a sweater for two hours while you sit in one place in your airplane seat? It’s ridiculous.


What happened to the times when travel by air was something special? Folks would put on their Sunday best to board a plane. These days, it has become the norm to see a flock of teenagers in flannel plaid pj bottoms or a grown woman toting a soggy pillow on top of her wheely bag. GET DRESSED! Act like the adult that you are, brush your damn hair, and leave your pillow where it belongs – at home in your bed! Johnny Depp is the only adult I know of who can get away with plaid in public. The majority of us travelers look presentable for you, please return the favor. It’s really not asking too much! You’re not going to a slumber party, you’re going on an airplane.

It’s important to be comfortable

Now, I completely understand the need to be in comfortable, flexible clothing so don’t get me wrong! This is especially important for long trans-oceanic flights. But there is a very easy way to dress comfortably and appropriately at the same time! Are you ready for this?

YOGA PANTS!!! It’s incredible how comfy they are and they look presentable too. Even if you’ve never done a Chaturanga in your life they will still be a great addition to your travel wardrobe! There are some basic rules around the fashionable yoga pant:

1. They must fit properly, no one needs to know what your panties look like.

2. Pair them with a nicely fitting top or tank with a button up sweater (that’s tastefully long enough) – airplane air can get cold!

3. Footwear should be complimenting, cute flats are everywhere these days – and so comfortable too!

Totally cute and comfy!

There are many retail stores that offer cute yoga pants and flattering tops. Yoga pants will suit any body type too as long as you choose the correct top and accessories. Trust me, you will feel much better about yourself when you are looking sharp. Who knows, you could meet your future spouse while sitting in the boarding area!

I hope this helps next time you are faced with the question of what to wear on the airplane. You should feel fashionable and comfortable. As for your hair, you’re on your own with that one, but honestly, it will look better with your new yoga pants on anyway.


Gaiam has a terrific selection of casual yoga inspired clothing!

Click the logo to shop online :

Write while away, you’ll thank yourself later!

29 Jun

Writing has always been my way of recording and remembering my traveling experiences so that I could share them later with friends, family and sometimes even strangers.

My journal has been my friend when I didn’t have one, my proof when I needed some, and my memories forever!

I would recommend everyone to travel with a journal.  When you are in the midst of experiencing your trip of a lifetime sometimes it can be burdensome to remember to pick up your pen and jot down what happened.  All I can tell you is that you will thank yourself later when you can’t recall the name of the town in the south of France you wizzed through on your tandem bicycle, or what the food was that you ate with the potato thingy in India, or who the guy was on the train in Amsterdam with the concept for a working hovercraft; he was probably on drugs.

The point is that once we return from our travels it is so easy for us to forget the little details.  Without a journal, the tidbits simply slip through the cracks of your stories told over and over to your friends.

I have revisited my journal entries countless times and I am amazed at what I had no memory of until reading my handwriting on the pages.  It truly is like reliving that experience all over again because the you that wrote those words is the you that was there!


PS:  The best journals are the unlined, spiral bound ones!!  Sometimes you have to look harder for these, but trust me, it’s worth it!