Without a doubt the most relaxing and enjoyable days of 2011 were spent within the beautiful confines of The Carneros Inn. A group of friends and I spent the weekend at the Northern California resort this past fall — an experience I can’t seem to let go of. Having never been to the Napa Valley, the time at Carneros was the perfect introduction to one of the most amazing places in North America. Honestly, I’m disappointed I haven’t visited sooner in life.
I spent a lot of time flying around this year — my frequent flyer account tells me 127,000 miles flown ytd — and the one thing that makes me not regret all those hours spent on planes next to a bunch of C.O.S. is all of the time I was lucky enough to spend experiencing a bunch of different cultures and cuisines. It’s easy to say that no time was more enjoyable than my exploration of Italy with my good friend Courtney, who has been the most amazing guide to all things good in not only Italy, but in life.
With it being the end of the year, I’m guessing that everyone is either on a beach, a ski slope or killing time (at home or work) on the internets. So I figured it would be a good time to think about the places and adventures that will shape 2012. This idea came to me recently while watching every episode of Anthony Bourdain’s food / travel show The Layover. I missed all of these shows when they originally aired (because I don’t really have any time to watch teevee), but thankfully all of the shows are available online and for me to share with you here.
It wasn’t until after WWII that London Airport – Heathrow began to take shape as a major transit hub for London. In 1946 Heathrow was just a small privately owned grass-airfield with little if any infrastructure and no real terminals. Actually, in 1946 when Ministry of Civil Aviation took over the site they erected a tent as the first terminal structure (no word what the departures lounge amenities were like). With the expected growth of post-war air travel London needed a facility that could expand with the demand; at the time the partially built Heathrow site was ideal. More than sixty years later and Heathrow is the busiest airport in Europe and one of largest in the world.
If you haven’t ever been to Berlin (or haven’t been in a some while), then you need to do yourself a favor and visit. The city has gone through such a dramatic transformation and development over the past few years, it is remarkable. The city also has an energy that, to me, is unmatched on the Continent. The food is good, the museums are good, the style is good, and the place is semi-affordable (even with the Dollar exchange pain that we Americans are used to).
I had the pleasure of spending last week in the expansive German city and below are some of the sights from my trip. In addition to what you see here (and a substantial bit of these photos have been appearing on my Instagram @acontinuouslean), I also visited a few shops and will report more on that shortly. If Europe is in your future travel plans, be sure to spend some time in Berlin, you won’t be sorry.
My number one travel tip after:
-Do whatever it takes to get carrier status (thereby allowing airlines to treat you like an actual human being).
Is to always travel with a power strip (above, far left). I know it sounds pretty stupid, but the photo above is just some of the stuff I need to plug in when I get to a hotel. So if you don’t have a power strip you have to plug-in stuff all around the room (if you are lucky enough to have a room with more than one outlet). This can lead to leaving things behind when you checkout.
With a power strip, everything is all together in one place so you generally don’t leave anything behind. Power strips also come in handy when you are at the airport and all of the outlets are taken by cranky passagengers. Just politely ask if the current plug squatter minds if you deploy your power strip and everyone will be happy and fully charged. Finally, having a power strip means that you only need to carry one power adapter if traveling internationally. Because if you travel with a phone, computer, camera, DSLR, iPad and iPod the last thing you need is more crap to tote around. [Monster Travel Power Strip $14]
Update below: Here’s how I do this in Japan with a power strip bought at Muji in Tokyo. Eric this may be even better for you, knowing how much time you spend in Japan.
When most Americans think luggage, they picture soft sided wheelie bags made from ballistic nylon. Nothing challenges an American’s preference for soft nylon bags more than a trip through customs at NRT. It happens quickly, only takes one trip to Japan to make a yank jealous of the ubiquitous Rimowa hard-sided cases that are the travel norm in Japan and the symbol of enduring German design.
Founded in 1898, Rimowa transformed itself from classic trunk maker into a modern metal case company that has stood the test of time. In our normal fashion, we reached out to the people at Rimowa and asked to see exactly what hasn’t changed and we were delighted with all of the historical reference material the company sent back. Light and strong have been the order of the day at Rimowa since the beginning, a philosophy that has continued to this day. It started with wood, eventually became aluminum and when technologies were pushed the company introduced a polycarbonate case to the world.