Whirlwind trip reports (long!)

Discussion in 'Trip Reports and Trip Photos' started by Febs, Aug 9, 2007.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
Welcome to Australia's leading independent Frequent Flyer and Travel Resource!
Our site contains tons of information that will improve your travel experience.
Joining AFF is fast, simple & ABSOLUTELY FREE -  join now by clicking on the JOIN NOW button, and take immediate advantage of these great BENEFITS.
Once registered, this box will disappear. And you will see fewer advertisements :)
  1. Febs

    Febs Established Member

    Aug 15, 2006
    1,657
    158
    HKG
    #1 Febs, Aug 9, 2007
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2007
    Hi guys,

    Just for a bit of fun discussion...I'm wondering if anyone else does the sub-36 hour "whirlwind tour" of a city/country while on business trips?

    I've taken a few business trips since starting full-time employment a bit over 18 months ago (US twice, HK, Europe and soon India), and where possible I always try to squeeze in a bit of a tour of somewhere interesting, and fit as much in as possible, without spending too much of my own money or taking any leave (I prefer to save that for proper trips away with my girlfriend or friends). If there's one thing these trips all have in common, it's a distinct lack of sleep. :D

    So far I've done:

    Mexico City - ~20 hours
    Bit of a crazy one this one. Flew in on a Saturday afternoon (MCI-DFW-MEX), met up with a colleague, took a cab to the Pyramides del Sol at Teotihuacan (an interesting trip itself), climbed to the top, looked around, got hailed on, jumped back in the cab and got back to the hotel (W) at about 6pm. Had a bit of a snooze (in the in-room hammock - very cool touch), then dinner + drinks at the W bar (apparently a popular nightspot for MEX's rich and famous), then hit the local night clubs and got back at about 3am. Up at 8am for a quick look around the city, a tour of the free zoo, then back to the airport for the flight back to DFW (including possibly one of the quickest transits ever - from sitting on the MEX-DFW flight, to the gate awaiting my DFW-MCI flight, in approx 16 minutes), then onto Kansas City. A great trip, and it only cost me ~$220 for the MCI-DFW-MCI flights (DFW-MEX-DFW was 24,000 QFF points...not bad considering it's a $600 fare!)


    Los Angeles - ~20 hours
    On return from Kansas City, I worked my flights so I had ~20 hours to kill in LA. Arriving at Budget LAX at around 11:30pm, I stood in the ridiculously long queue, only to find (once I reached the counter) that I could've gone straight to the front of the queue because of my FastBreak card. Oh well.

    Picked up a Lincoln Towncar (not my choice, really wanted a Mustang Convertible but they were out), headed to the Sheraton LAX Gateway, dumped my bags, quick shower, then off to Hollywood to see if any clubs were still open. Much to my dismay, all the clubs/bars at Hollywood (including the "Monte Martre", which is apparently a pretty popular spot) were closed or closing at 2am, so I didn't get to do much. Was still fun to walk around. Drove back to the Sheraton and crashed into bed at about 4am.

    Up at ~9am, back into the car, and straight to Huntington/Newport beaches in the OC. Looked around for a bit, had a bite to eat at Ruby's Diner, then drove to Beverly Hills Centre to meet up with a colleague for lunch, and check out some of the shops. Left there about 4pm to drive up to Hollywood Hills to see the taping of some unnamed sitcom, which I ended up missing out on (as a consolation, I was given a guaranteed pass to any future show filmed at this studio, provided I call and book in advance. Very handy for when I'm there in Oct with my girlfriend).

    Left there and sat through traffic to get back to Hollywood. Had a walk around, but unfortunately this time I was too early for the bars I wanted to visit (though I did visit Geisha House, which was decent). Realised it was time to head back to the airport, so I did that (noticing three Mustang Convertibles sitting in the Budget lot :rolleyes:) and got in with enough time for a few GTs at the Admirals' Club before boarding a flight home (and subsequently sleeping the whole way home :)). A fun day, taking in a few LA sights I hadn't seen before, and finding a few places to visit again in October. Cost me around $130 for the room + ~$100 for the car (U25, it's a killer).


    Germany - Nürburgring - ~30 hours
    During Oct-Nov 2006 I spent a week in Sweden, a week in Spain, and 2 weeks in Czech Republic (Brno, cool town). The middle weekend in Brno was free, so I decided to live a lifelong dream of mine and drive on Germany's famous Nürburgring racetrack.

    Leaving Brno on a small prop plane at stupid O'clock Sat morning (with two colleagues who were hitting Berlin for the weekend), I flew BRQ-PRG-FRA, arriving in FRA at around 10am Saturday morning. With carry-on only (how many clothes do you need for 2 days on a racetrack? Well, at least one change of underwear :D) Straight to the SixT counter (they were the only ones with "ambiguous" T&C regarding Nürburgring use), I picked up the keys to an E90 BMW 320d (under 25 = nothing decent), and hit the road.

    With little sleep and only a few days' experience driving in foreign countries, I fired up the SatNav, hit the Autobahn and quickly settled into the "little 320d that could", as it later became known*. 2 and a bit hours later (through some horrid weather), I was in a cold and damp Nürburg.

    The hardest part was actually finding my hotel (Hotel An Der Nordschleife), which was in Adenau, a few kms from Nürburging. I have to say, this place was fantastic. Cheap (~$50/night for a single room), perfect location (not only is it literally on the Nürburgring Nordschleife, it's at the Adenau entrance, which means for every lap you purchase, you effectively get an extra 1/2 lap for free), run by a delightful older German couple, and with a garage! Perfect!

    I was lucky that this weekend was a 1.5 day weekend (ie: the 'ring was open for public use for a few hours on Saturday, and all day Sunday). I hoped this meant that the UK tourists would stay away (instead favouring a full weekend), while still giving me a reasonable crack at the track. I was right.

    After settling into the hotel room (read: dumping my bag), I opened the window to find a variety of weird and wonderful race cars traversing the 'ring, in reverse. This was due to end in a few hours, so I headed down to join the crowd and snap some photos, before heading down to the local café to buy my 6 lap ticket, and wait until the Adenau entrance opened. After what seemed like an eternity, I hit the track, and felt an immense sense of "Wow, I'm finally here!"

    I did about 3 laps that afternoon (unfortunately, it was damp/drizzling the whole time) and was quite impressed with the 320d's capabilities - 190km/h on the straight, brakes that didn't give up, and decent handling for a small, family-oriented 2L oiler! Taking a break, I bumped into two very lucky men (Melbournites, as it turned out) who worked for Mercedes Benz and decided to try their company cars out on the 'ring. Those cars? An AMG E63 and CLS63. :shock:

    I left as the 'ring closed, and made my way back to the hotel for a quick nap, then a walk into a nearby city (forget the name) for some Schweinfleisch mit Champingnons. Yum. Hit the sack early (~11pm) for a big day on Sunday.

    Up as the 'ring opened on Sunday, I was pleasantly surprised to find it practically dead. In fact, over the whole weekend, I only ever encountered other cars/bikes on two of my laps. Effectively, for all the other laps, I had the 'ring "all to myself" (one of those other cars was a Z4M, which I took great delight in catching on every corner for about 1/2 a lap. Very much a "point and shoot" driver, who was no doubt being cautious with his prized M in the wet).

    I spent the day driving the 'ring, talking to fellow car nuts, and going for the odd paxlap (one in an M3 CSL with a very competent ring-goer, the other in an STi owned by a US soldier who I'm sure posted a worse time than I did in the 320d!) Left early in the afternoon to take a leisurely trip back to FRA, stopping at a few spots along the way for some scenery photos around the 'ring.

    FRA-PRG, met up with my colleagues (who had a great time in Berlin) plus another who'd come from London, then back to Brno where we arrived at around 11pm.

    An expensive weekend all up (flights + car hire + petrol + 'ring tickets) came to almost $1,000, but one I'd do again in a heartbeat.

    *"The little 320d that could" cope with a weekend of punishment on the 'ring without even the slightest hint of trouble (or brake fade), and "the little 320d that could" hit 235km/h on the Autobahn, despite a manufacturer-specified top speed of 220km/h for the auto model.

    That's it so far...but I thoroughly enjoy these trips, and plan on taking as many more as I can on upcoming business trips. :) I'm heading to India via SIN in just under two weeks, and have 10 hours to kill in SIN (approx 10pm to 8am), which I plan on utilising as best as possible. Definitely going to check out the nightlife near Orchard Rd ("Clark something" I was told), and any large shops that are open, though at this time, I'm not sure if many shops would be open?

    Anyone got similar stories to share?

    Cheers,
    - Febs.
     

  2. dot

    dot Active Member

    Mar 2, 2007
    771
    74
    MEL
    Twitter:
    Facebook:
    Linkedin:
    Clark Quay - and it will definanately be open for you - plenty of bars and resturants there - given the time you will be arriving - I think it will be too late for all of the real resturants - some of the el fresco places on the water may still be serving food though. I cant remember what times the bars close there, but I have stumbled out at about 3am leaving a bar that was still open... just make sure you arent too pissed for your India flight.;)
     
  3. Febs

    Febs Established Member

    Aug 15, 2006
    1,657
    158
    HKG
    Thanks. :)

    Heh, I'll try.
    Nah, when I'm by myself and due to fly out soon, I'll never get pissed (one, because it's a tad sad, two, because it's a tad stupid)...just a few drinks and I'll be right. :) Is it a bit like LKF in Hong Kong (ie: crazy)?

    Cheers,
    - Febs.
     
  4. Keith009

    Keith009 Established Member

    Mar 6, 2005
    4,432
    244
    Brisbane / Sydney
    #4 Keith009, Aug 9, 2007
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2007
    When in SIN, don't forget to visit the New Asia Bar. Located at the top floor of the Swissotel STAMFORD (there r 2 Swissotels - you want the Stamford one), one of the tallest bldgs in SIN. The atmosphere is funky and the views are spectacular. Might be hard to get a seat if busy though. You might be up for some interesting convos with QF and BA FAs doing their night stops. ;)

    I personally found Clark Quay more subdued than LKF but YMMV.
     
  5. NM

    NM
    Moderator

    Aug 27, 2004
    15,760
    1,211
    Flight Map:
    View my flight map
    Yeah, I have done a few. The most out-of-the-way one was spending a weekend in Kiev (KBP) while on-route between Ft Worth and London. I have also gone to NCL to visit relatives for a weekend when working near London. And plenty of times I have gone to extra places in the USA for a night just because I can.
     
  6. dot

    dot Active Member

    Mar 2, 2007
    771
    74
    MEL
    Twitter:
    Facebook:
    Linkedin:
    Yes - worth taking the express lift up there - it's apparently the only building in the world that you can see the whole country from.

    I agree - every time, I've been to Clark Quay, it's been for a few casual drinks at one (or a few) of the bars and hasn't been super crowded - perfect for a few ales on a hot evening...
     
  7. tscharke

    tscharke Member

    Sep 28, 2006
    303
    0
    there's always the 4FOW's :shock:
     
  8. dot

    dot Active Member

    Mar 2, 2007
    771
    74
    MEL
    Twitter:
    Facebook:
    Linkedin:
    Yes - that is an experience... for me tough, it's the sort of place you go with some mates for a bit of a perv and a laugh... I woulnt go by myself, but it depends on personal perfs I guess.
     
  9. tscharke

    tscharke Member

    Sep 28, 2006
    303
    0
    very true - def a once off experience with the mates!!! playing spot the adam's apple is quite a laugh :eek: :D
     
  10. simongr

    simongr Enthusiast

    Jul 10, 2006
    14,229
    1,742
    I really am glad I don't travel with you TScharke - there are probably things best not worth sharing...
     
  11. tscharke

    tscharke Member

    Sep 28, 2006
    303
    0
    all above board mate :)
     
  12. Febs

    Febs Established Member

    Aug 15, 2006
    1,657
    158
    HKG
    Hah...had no idea what "4FOWs" was when you posted, but a few mates mentioned it and now I know exactly what it is. :D Sounds like a laugh, but no thanks. :p

    Decided after landing/dumping my luggage/having a shower, I'll hit Raffles for a Singapore Sling, then explore Clarke Quay and wander around the city til I either a) Collapse due to exhaustion, or b) Need to head back to the airport to catch my connection. Probably b), as I usually managed to grab a decent amount of sleep when in a skybed. :)

    Cheers,
    - Febs.
     
  13. Febs

    Febs Established Member

    Aug 15, 2006
    1,657
    158
    HKG
    Wellllll....
    I landed in SIN about 30min late but was out of the airport within 15 minutes, and at my hotel in under 40min. Headed straight to the Long Bar (as that was the number one thing on my list), got my Singapore Sling, and as I was about to sit down got approached by a really friendly girl who was with her husband and about 8 friends (from Britain and South Africa), some of them documentary film makers.

    Had a drink and a chat with them, then jumped in a taxi with 3 of them and headed to....4FOW. :oops: Went to one of the bars on the top floor (Crazy Horse Disco I think) and sat around for about an hour playing "spot the male" with them, while sinking a few Tigers (and umm..shots of Tequilla :D).

    Left them at around 1am and headed to Clarke Quay. Had a quick meal at one of the places on the inside (forget what it was called...some basic noodle place) then went to the "Brew House" where a live band were playing. Sampled their Pale Ale (good, but not cheap!) then stayed til the band finished. Didn't really feel like dancing, so I headed out and checked out another bar, which looked like it would've been good about 2 hours before I got there (it was dead). Started walking back to the hotel (around 3am), got fairly lost (which is fine, to me that's a good way to explore a city) then caught a cab and got back to the hotel a bit after 3:30am. Got up about 3 hours later and headed to the airport to catch my flight. :)

    All up a productive way to spend my ~8hrs in SIN...though I was a bit disappointed I didn't get to the Swissotel bar, nor the QF J lounge for a Singapore Sling. Oh well, next time. :)

    Thanks for the advice. :)

    Cheers,
    - Febs.

    PS: Agreed that Clarke Quay is nothing like LKF. Much less crazy/busy. Great place though - reminded me a lot of Cockle Bay/King St Wharf.
     
  14. Keith009

    Keith009 Established Member

    Mar 6, 2005
    4,432
    244
    Brisbane / Sydney
    I've not been to 4FOW... the endorsements on this thread make me want to check it out next time I'm in SIN. :p :oops:

    That's definitely a very productive 8 hrs, Febs! :D
     
Loading...

Share This Page