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Old 12-03-2012, 10:13 AM   #16
Wills Mom
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Looking forward to your report
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Wills First Adventure TR May 2013

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Old 12-03-2012, 03:54 PM   #17
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Dinner looked really good. The Christmas decorations were so cute.
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Old 12-03-2012, 04:01 PM   #18
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I'm in!

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Old 12-03-2012, 04:47 PM   #19
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Welcome on board everybody. I am hoping to post the next instalment on Thursday. I had my first day back at work today and I am going to be good and busy for a few days especially as I have another day leave on Wednesday as this is the day when I have my citizenship ceremony.

Corinna
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Old 12-04-2012, 06:16 AM   #20
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Looking forward to reading your TR, new follower here and can't wait to read more. Thanks for sharing...
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Old 12-06-2012, 02:47 PM   #21
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Oh good! I'm not too late to the party! I can't wait to hear about your cruise since I now have one booked too! Loved the meal! It looks like some great food. It's nice that they gave you small portions so you could try so many different things!

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Old 12-06-2012, 03:50 PM   #22
dolphingirl47
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By UK standards, those are not small portions and we most certainly stuffed by the end of it, but the food was so good.

Corinna
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Old 12-06-2012, 03:54 PM   #23
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Day 2

We had an extremely early start to the day. As our flight already left at 6:35, we had to be up at 4:00. When the alarm went off, we quickly got up and got ready. There was nobody in front of us at check out so this went fairy smoothly. We were advised at the shuttle was currently over at the airport, but that it should be back within the next 5 minutes or so. We took our luggage outside and the shuttle arrived shortly afterwards. About 5 minutes later, we were at Terminal 1. I had no clear idea where we needed to check in. Lufthansa has never been in the main check in area, but they also keep moving. Still, Graham found it very quickly. We had to check in using the self -service machines. For Graham, this was not a problem, but it took a few attempts until it was able to read my passport. Still, it did not take long until we were all checked in and had our boarding cards. We had been checked through all the way to Houston. We dropped off our luggage and the we were on the way.

Security was a different matter. There were not many people around, but quite a few had to go through the body scanner, which created a backlog at the baggage screening. When we approached security, we were told to empty our pockets, take off watches, belts and jackets. I overheard two of of the staff doing the screening saying that all the people who had to go through the body scanner had items in their pocket. We also saw bottles of water and soft drinks in hand luggage that was set aside for manual screening. Some people really are thick. There are so many signs around regarding the regulations for liquid and we were asked twice if we had any liquids in the hand luggage and people still did not get the message.

Once we had finally cleared security, we headed to the departure lounge. I wanted to get a neck pillow and fortunately the first shop we passed had precisely the thing I had been looking for. Graham was hungry by this time, but everywhere that served breakfast had long lines. So he gave up on this idea and found somewhere to sit. I wanted to get a limited edition eye shadow that was just released last week and is a perfect match for one of the dresses I have packed for the cruise. Fortunately they did have it and I soon rejoined Graham. I had one last thing to do before I really could relax and enjoy my holiday. On Tuesday a last minute meeting was sprung on me and I had to type up the minutes for this. I got started on this while we were waiting for the gate to be announced.

It did not take long until our gate was displayed on the information board. We sat at the gate for about 30 minutes until it was time to board. The flight took a little over an hour and I kept myself amused reading the onboard magazine. They came round with Cinnamon and Raisin Danish. I gave mine to Graham as I am not too keen on this kind of thing. We also both had an orange juice and some water.

In Frankfurt, we landed at a gate, which was about as far away as you could get and still be at the same terminal. Still, we had plenty of time. Our departure gate was in a terminal that I did not even know existed. They have been talking about building a completely new terminal for a while, but don't seem to make any progress with this. Instead they had added a new terminal area on top of the existing terminal. When I was not sure if we would be checked through all the way to Houston, I checked out if they still have the viewing areas that used to be one of my favourite hang outs as a child. I had noticed that they still have one at Terminal 2, but no longer at Terminal 1, which was the better one of the two. The reason for this soon became obvious. The new terminal is where the old visitor area used to be. Graham had asked if we would get to go on the little train that they have at the airport and I did not think we would as we were staying in the transit area, but we actually did get a ride.







When we finally got to security, there was some fun and games. After completely smooth sailing in Manchester, both my wheelie bag and my handbag were singled out for manual screening at Frankfurt. They asked me if I had a camera in my wheelie bag and I was asked to take it out. In my handbag, it was my iPad that caused offence. I have previously asked in Manchester and at different airports in the USA if I had to take this out of the bag in the same way as you would a laptop and was told "no". So I did not even think to ask at Frankfurt. However, there they do screen iPads separately. They send the iPad through again and then I was asked to take my things and follow a member of staff to a separate room where my camera was swapped for chemicals and also subjected to some heat tests. The irony was that we had a total of 5 cameras between us, but only my Lumix Bridge caused any interest.

Eventually, we were on our way again. By then we both were ready for some food. We found a German restaurant. We both had coffee, which was served with a piece of Milka chocolate. Graham had the Farmer's Omelette, which was almost like a Fritata with sliced fried potatoes and onions in the egg and was served with assorted German sausages and cheeses and a bread basket. I had Wiener Schnitzel with Potato Salad and a mixed salad. We both loved our food.





After our brunch, we had a quick look around the shops and then headed over towards our departure gate. Graham was watching the world go by from a window near the gate. I left him with our hand luggage and then set off to find something to drink. I was in luck. I found a news agent that had some Mezzo Mix, which should be familiar to those of you who have been to Club Cool at Epcot. I love this stuff and was glad that I managed to find a bottle. They also had a bunch of Disney comic books that I loved as a child and when I spotted one that had something to do with the Maya, I had to get this. With the shopping done, I rejoined Graham, who by then had found himself a table by our gate where he had a clear view over the runway. He was happy looking at the planes and I used the time to finish off the minutes for the meeting that I had on Tuesday. I had told my boss that I would email them to him once I get to Texas, but they offer 30 minutes free WiFi at the airport so I managed to send this before I got on the plane. I then had a bit of time left to enjoy the view and take some photos of some of the more unusual planes that came by.















With about 20 minutes to go before boarding, they changed our gate. The new gate was nearby so this did not present any problems. However, shortly after we arrived at the new gate, somebody noticed that the transit passengers, which seemed to be the majority of people on the flight, had not been security checked. So a call was made that all transit passengers should report to the desks at the gate. Complete and other chaos resulted out if this. The line that we had to join was impressive. This was made worse by the fact that most of the people in that line did not speak either German or English. The person dealing with us was quite relieved when he realised that I spoke German. He asked us just the standard questions about whether we had packed everything ourselves, if somebody had given us something to take and if we had any electronic devices. We then were sent to the desk, where they updated something on the system. The supervisor was not happy about this hold up as they had to get the plane out on time. In Frankfurt, if you lose your slot for take off, you have a lengthy wait to get another. It was a minor miracle that they got everybody processed in time and we left on schedule.
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Old 12-06-2012, 04:01 PM   #24
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The flight was long at just over 11 hours, but comfortable and eventless. We were on a Boeing 767 and we had two seats to ourselves. They also had a pretty good entertainment system. I had decided on four films that I wanted to watch, but in the end I only wanted one film; The Odd Life of Timothy Green that I had wanted to watch for a while. I really enjoyed it. Lunch was quite pleasant. We both had Chicken with ****ake Mushroom Sauce with Beans and a Risotto. We also had a salad, a roll, cheese and crackers and a dessert that I can't remember. Unlike on Delta,no alcohol at all is included on United so there was no wine with dinner, but the soft drinks were flowing freely. Apart from watching the film, I spent some time playing games on the onboard entertainment system, read my comic book, work on the first instalment of the trip report and most importantly napped. I think I actually spent quite a bit of the flight asleep.

We did get a very unusual and very beautiful view. Because of the remnants of Sandy still being around, we flew right over Greenland rather than just flying across the tip. The snow covered mountains were so beautiful. As Graham was sitting by the window, he borrowed my camera to take some photos.





































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Old 12-06-2012, 04:04 PM   #25
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I will post my goodies once I am back
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Fortunately time went quickly about an hour before we got into Houston, they came round with Cheese and Ham Paninis and Vanilla Ice Cream. When we approached Houston, we had a beautiful sunset. Soon we were getting ready to land. I have to say I was impressed with the airport at Houston. The distances involved were quite big. At one point we were both joking that we had not realised that we were walking to Galveston. The line for immigration was long, but moved quite quickly. Graham had expected that the system would reflect that my application for British citizenship had been approved and that this would cause some questions, but there was no such problem. When we got to the baggage hall, our suitcases arrived on the belt just as we were walking up to it and customs was also quick and easy. When we got through customs, Graham spotted that there was somebody waiting who held an iPad with my name. The driver welcomed us and mentioned that he had started to get a bit worried that he had missed us. I was quite surprised by this. Despite the distances involved, it had taken exactly an hour between us landing and us getting into the car.





















I had booked our airport transfer through ExecuCar, which is a sister company to Supershuttle. We have used ExecuCar previously in Los Angeles to get to our friends in Seal Beach and I was impressed with their service. Their service in Houston was fantastic. Unlike in Los Angeles, where they use mini vans, we had a sedan in Houston. I felt rather posh. Our driver was great, even though we were both tired, we spent the entire journey chatting to him. He has lived in Houston all his life and his wife is from Galveston county. He pointed out various landmarks to us and we just had a really nice chat. We must have missed the rush hour. I had been told that it would take about 75 minutes to get to Galveston, but it was actually about an hour. When we got to the hotel, we said goodbye to our driver and went to check in.

When I had booked the room, all they had available was smoking rooms at the travel industry rate, but I figured that this would be OK. When we got to the hotel, we were asked if we preferred smoking or non-smoking. So we ended up with a non-smoking room after all. We were also given a goody bag with a bottle of water, some Goldfish Crackers and some mini cookies. Our room was huge, clean and comfortable. When we got to our room, we quickly went to the bathroom and cleaned our teeth and then we went to bed.

Last edited by UKDEB; 12-07-2012 at 11:54 AM. Reason: Edited at request of OP
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Old 12-06-2012, 05:07 PM   #26
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What a nice start to your trip, but oh my! What a long day!
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Old 12-07-2012, 10:31 AM   #27
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Signing on!

Your dinner the first night looked SO good! Glad to hear the flight was uneventful.
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Old 12-07-2012, 02:31 PM   #28
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I'm glad your arrival was uneventful. What hotel did you end up staying at?
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Old 12-07-2012, 02:34 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by franandaj View Post
I'm glad your arrival was uneventful. What hotel did you end up staying at?
Holiday Inn on the Beach - I was a bit nervous about this as I had read very mixed reviews especially to do with noise, but the hotel was clean and comfortable, the staff where wonderful and the only noise we had was the dawn chorus from the grackles, which did not bother us at all.

Corinna
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Old 12-10-2012, 07:16 AM   #30
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Sounds like a pretty good flight.
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