A runner with an appetite for adventure!

LAX to TXL September 11, 2011

Filed under: Contiki,Europe,Germany,Travel — Kelocity @ 6:56 am
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We are just wrapping up an amazing 17-day trip to Eastern Europe. Lots of pictures and stories to share, but I am going to roll out my posts over the next week or so. Stay tuned!
From August 26, 2011

Here we are again! Heading to the airport for our 4th international trip with Contiki. It is really surreal that it’s already here. We usually go in October/November so it was a treat this year to go so soon. Our original plan was to fly Delta from LAX to JFK (New York) and then to Berlin. But hurricane Irene was threatening our plans, so we called the night before and asked to be rerouted. Now we are scheduled LAX to Amsterdam (non-stop YAY!) and then on to Berlin. We much prefer those long haul flights so it worked out perfect!IMG_7004

The flight was only 9.5 hours (which was nothing compared to our 16 hour LAX to Dubai flight last year). It was super easy and flew by (no pun intended!)

We watched a couple of movies and snoozed for a bit. I love those big planes.


We arrived into Amsterdam on time, but we only had an hour to get to our connecting flight… and that time included going through customs and running three terminals over. Eek! It was close.

We made it just in time (but later learned that our luggage unfortunately didn’t…)


But KLM and Berlin airport in general is very organized and they scheduled to have our bag delivered straight to our hotel just a few hours later.

The flight from Amsterdam to Berlin was only an hour (I love how close everything is in Europe!)

Welcome to Berlin!

Despite how extremely well rested I look in the photo above (kidding) we made our way via bus to our hotel!


Contiki hotels are all pretty much the same, but we were really impressed by the Hotel Aldea.


I think they called it a 3-star hotel, but the beds were some of the best we’ve ever had in Europe. I loved the duvet covers. We used our free afternoon to catch up on sleep, boy did we need it. Plus this bed was just too tempting to ignore. zzzzzzzz

Later on we met up with our group to hear more about the tour and what to expect.

Meet Joe! Our trusty tour manager. Those guys are amazing at keeping everything together and making our vacation flawless.

We love these meetings, they definitely get us pumped up. We have a great group this time.

First stop is Berlin! We can’t wait!


Accidentally in London! September 30, 2008

Filed under: Contiki,Europe,Travel — Kelocity @ 10:02 pm
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This post was also featured on!

I’m so excited Andy and Amanda asked me to guest post! I’m SO jealous they are in Europe right now, hopefully eating gelato as we speak! I’m Kelley and I blog over at!

I’m a type-A planner. I like to research, gather information and make informative decisions. This is especially true when it comes to planning vacations. My husband, Irving, and I rent videos, go to seminars, and read lots of books to learn more about the destinations we plan to visit.


In 2008, we planned our first real international trip together: a two-week Contiki tour of Italy. We booked it a year prior, and used those 12 months to vigorously plan our vacation. We scheduled our flights to arrive into Rome a day and a half early. We wanted to get acclimated to the time change, and get a lay of the land. The extra hotel nights were booked, and so was a hop-on/hop-off bus tour once we landed.

The plan was to fly from LAX to London and then London to Rome. We settled into our British Airways seats and enjoyed the flight. Once we arrived in London, we had a two-hour layover. We had never been to London, so we immediately got giddy we were here. Even if it was just the airport.
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We found a hokey British Pub and enjoyed a leisurely dinner. People all around us were hustling about, but we didn’t think anything of it. Everyone seemed to be walking in the same direction, but we ignored it. After our dinner, we saw employees passing out chocolate truffles! “The British are so nice” I exclaimed! “Look Irving, free chocolate!” We were completely oblivious to the chaos that was starting to form around us. And then we got wind of the news…. Heathrow Airport was shut down indefinitely. (Thus the reason for the free chocolate… to appease the passengers!) We were told to get in line with thousands of other people.
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Everyone around us was calling with their cell phones and making alternate arrangements. When we travel internationally, we leave our phones at home. So by the time we got to the front of the lines, we were told to come back the next day. After a little more waiting, we were given free hotel vouchers, along with credits for food, transportation and a small stipend. Our flight to Rome would leave the following night. What? 24 hours of free time in London? I didn’t plan for this! I don’t know what I’m supposed to do or which landmarks to see. I haven’t done research on restaurants, hotels or neighborhoods!

But we did what any world traveler would do. We hopped on the underground and made the best of it!
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We checked our bags at a train station, got a tourist map from an information booth, and set out to discover London! First stop: Buckingham Palace!
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And the changing of the guards!
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Big Ben and the London Eye!

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Westminster Abbey! (What’s up Will and Kate!)
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The British Parliament!

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Shakesphere’s Globe Theater!
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The London Bridge!
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And of course, Harrods!
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Not bad for just having ONE DAY in London, right? And we did it all without a tour book! When we realized we were stranded in London, we had two choices: sulk and stay on the phone for hours pleading for the next flight out…. or seizing an opportunity to enjoy a FREE TRIP to London! The airlines paid for our hotel, food, transportation and baggage costs! London hadn’t been on my “Top 10 places to visit” list, but I can already check it off anyways!

And by the way, we did make it to our Contiki tour on time! And it ended up being an amazing trip.

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Sometimes it’s nice to get out of your comfort zone and let the “type-A” in us go. The best moments in life happen that way. It was a great lesson for us, especially since it was our first trip together. We both went with the flow, and made the best decisions we could, enjoying the journey as it unfolded. Bon Voyage!


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