All My Travels

I am back home and going back to work tomorrow. Although not everything happened as planned, I am happy with my trip. I boarded a plane eleven times during these two weeks, my personal record. Out of these eleven times, four times it was business class.

It turned out that business class might be very different even within one airline, from “barely any difference” to something very sophisticated:

The bug plus was that I was able to use lounges on every connection because of the Finnair Gold. If not for the lounges, I won’t survive the travel of that intensity. I stayed at nine different lounges (two different ones in Helsinki and three different ones in Heathrow); Vaanta and Heathrow are on the top, although one of the lounges in Heathrow was so crowded and loud that it was not much different from waiting in the gate (of cause, there was a delicious food which makes a difference :))

I loved this tea service in one of the Heathrow lounges: you can pick up the tray with the teapot and milk pitcher, choose your teabag, pour the hot water and the milk of your choice, and happily enjoy the tea!
Breakfast in Paris
Finnair lounge breakfast

Another thing I learned on this trip is that you can survive without some beauty products for several days. I always take my “thirteen bottles of liquids” everywhere I go, and I mastered the art of fitting them into a one-liter bag.

This time, I knew I would need more than that because it was a two-week journey without touching base in Helsinki, so I had some extras in my checked luggage. However, when I was heading to Paris from Stockholm, I was already more than a half through, and I decided to consolidate all of the remaining liquids in one bag. And I left this bag in my carry-on, just because I always think: what if the luggage is delayed and I will need something?

And you know what happened?! In Stockho;m, they told me that my one-liter bag was”too big” and I needed to repack my liquids into a smaller bag which they gave me. And they told me “it’s EU regulations” as if I was not on the second week of my trip! They would not give in, and I was nervously choosing what I could leave behind (my checked-in luggage was already checked!) I decided that the hotel would have shampoo, conditioner, and a body lotion and parted with those, only to find out that this hotel in Paris had only the body wash! It was a completely ridiculous situation because some of the tubes had very little of the cream left. At the same time, I had two bottles of the eye wetting drops in two bags inside my backpack, and nobody paid attention!

But I learned that I could wash my hair with a body wash and survived without the hair conditioner. And moreover, when I forgot my eye cream in the hotel, I found out I can survive a day without it as well 🙂

Traveling As Finnair Gold

My two weeks of travel had begun. There are no direct flights to from Chicago to Helsinki this time of the year, so I had a connection in London. It was the first time I used a Oneworld lounge in O’Hare, and it was a great decision because I could have a way better dinner than on the plane. Also, I could go to sleep immediately after the boarding was complete and have close to normal sleep time. No need to wake up for food :).

Same with breakfast – they gave us just a half-cup of yogurt on the plane, but I went to the Oneworld lounge in Heathrow and had an English breakfast there.

I loved that they had small teapots with a cup and a milk pitcher (same as when you have plates and cups at the buffet). You can take one, choose your tea bag(s) and pore whatever milk you prefer, and then take this set back to where you sit.

After I arrived in Helsinki, I tried to put a contact lens in my right eye for the first time since this weird thing happened, and it felt OK. Today, I wore both lenses for about six hours, and it was all good, but I am not sure for how long I will wear them tomorrow. Tomorrow will be a very long day!

Fall Is Here

Boris arrived last night, once again in the aircraft barely 1/4 full, and this time, nobody asked him for his marriage certificate or proof of vaccination. Which, honestly, makes me worry! Because it means that the border control does not know anymore what’s allowed and what’s not.

On the good side of things, Uber from ORD does not cost $100 anymore, but somewhat around $35, which is cheaper than before the pandemic.

Today was the first seriously autumn day, with rain, and wind, and cold. From sandals to boots, in a matter of several days.

Delayed Flight

On Friday, my flight to Helsinki was delayed because of the snow. Funny how everybody forgets how to operate in winter when snow is expected! It was delayed just enough to make my connection impossible – I only had a little bit over an hour.
But I was amazed by how well Icelandair operated: the moment we landed in Reykjavik I received both email and text with rebooked flight; the new flight was by Finnair and less than three hours. The rest of my schedule didn’t suffer. Plus, they gave me a meal voucher, and I had a huge breakfast at the airport:

Turned out, that we were lucky: over 600 flights from ORD were canceled that night!