Monday, June 27, 2016

Amsterdam/Copenhagen - May 2016

Sun shining right in my eyes at the Little Mermaid


Two days in Amsterdam for meetings and two days in Copenhagen for RIPE. Pretty rainy weather in Amsterdam but really nice sunshine for 18 hours a day in Copenhagen. A fantastic city when the weather is nice. Good meetings both internally and with our partners, and got to present to the AMS office at lunch. A nice new tradition that I hope they keep up for others :) 


Again good seafood at Mossel and Gin in Amsterdam, and nice food in Copenhagen at falernum with drinks at Ruby but the highlight was far and away lunch at Noma. Fantastic food, very attentive service without being over the top or fussy, and the best overall dining experience I can imagine.




Uneventful travel on United through LHR to BA on the way over and LH to FRA on the way back, with a KLM short hop AMS-CPH. Immigration inbound at AMS is fantastically quick, maybe a 30 second wait at passport control and picked up an Uber at the Sheraton across the street from arrivals. Would have taken the train and walked to the W but it was pouring rain. Again reminded how weak the food is at the KLM lounges in AMS, so you are pretty much there for a drink and wifi.

Did not take a ton of photos, but got almost every course at Noma :) 

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Zurich - Barcelona - Munich - Dubai (MWC + Cap ME) 2016



Zurich

Had a nice flight on swiss SFO-ZRH and a quick train/tram combo to the Sheraton Zurich. The hotel is 10 min on a tram from the Hauptbahnhof (Hbf - central train station) but this provides better rates than other hotels in the city center, at least on this particular weekend. Was nice to buy a ZVV zone 110 pass that includes the Zurichsee boats nearby the city. If you have a 110 pass for a couple days, you can update for an hourly or daily basis, for example to add your trip to/from the airport to the city. Zone Map.

Very nice city in winter but a bit tricky as a solo traveler on Saturday night without dinner reservations. The weinstube at Frau Gerolds looked great but was fully booked by larger groups. I would image it would be easier on other nights, and much more room outside during warmer months. 

On Sunday, had a nice sunny day to walk along the lake, from central Zurich to the Kilchberg train station (about 110 min total), then a quick train back to the Hbf. A note that many stores and restaurants in Zurich are closed on Sunday, but there are multiple grocery stores, pharmacies, wine stores, and other very useful places open in the mall under the street connected to the Hbf.

Had a good, if touristy, dinner at the Zeughauskeller. Solid beer, mains, and röstli.

Zurich remains an expensive city, even at $1 = CHF 1.03.




Left Sunday late afternoon for Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Again on Swiss.
Short flight but pretty constant turbulence and a good headwind the whole way making things much longer. Tried to get a better photo out the window, but this one of greater Lyon with the last bit of sunset on the horizon.






Barcelona

A quick cab ride into the city as the one thing staffed very well at Barcelona was the taxi line. The ATM situation at the airport was not great with long lines and some machines running out of cash (MWC takes over the city). The airport has followed the trend of being turned in to a shopping mall with a forced 5 min walk through stores in order to get to/from the gate area. Tough to get a cab or uber in the morning from the city to the exhibition hall so if you go plan to arrange a car/bus or to take public transport.

A number of great food options

Buenos aires steak - ok, but not very local. Decent steak, decent wine.
Dos Cielos - very good. three hour tasting menu as promised. liked the wine pairing.
Maitea Taberna - good tapas at lunch
Restaurante Gorria - very good. the bellota here was outstanding, as was the lamb and short rib
Tandem Cocktail Bar - great bartenders and liquor selection including cuban rums. Good time.
La Boqueria - fantastic market on Rambla. The restaurant with seafood and oxtail soup just after walking in was fantastic

Even though I find razor clams a bit tough, the flavor on these was very good, and their gambas al ajillo and oxtail stew were fantastic. Washed down with a bit of white wine. Very nice. Good timing to hit then headed to the airport for a weekend in Munich via Vueling, which was dramatically understaffed for the departing MWC crowds. No issues at any rate, just a few lines. Pleasant flight. On time. Bit of a wait for bags. 

Generally in the 60's (F) for highs and pleasant if chilly at night.


Munich

Colder in Munich, with highs in the 33-38 (F) range with a bit of warming on the Sunday as we were leaving.

So much beer. So much pork. So very very good.

Augustiner Keller - so good we made it here twice. goulashsüppe
Café Am Beethovenplatz - Venison goulash and a weissbier is a healthy lunch!
Wirtshaus In Der Au - how can you go wrong with a mixed plate of meat and german things
Hirschgarten - make sure to look at the deer and goats on the side of the park

Giesinger Bräu - food looked awesome but we had dinner plans. solid, non-mainstream beers.

For future reference: 9 breweries to try  and  top 15 places for craft beer

Nice stay at the Le Meridien near the Hbf, which is a great location. $1.11 = €1 for this trip






If you ever happen to be booked on Emirates in business class, please note that you can upgrade online, at at least as of Feb 2016, you can exchange Starpoints 1:1 for Emirate points. This can come in very very handy.





Dubai

Three days of meetings in Dubai. Many skyscrapers. Can only drink in bars/restaurants connected to the hotel. Rooftop bar at the Four Seasons was nice but a bit chilly. Strange that they serve a mai tai in a baby bottle with a straw in the nipple.

Sambar Iraqi - The Helw Aiwa fish roasted "hot fish" style, with hot sauce on the side, is fantastic. the tomato sauce on the side is very odd and not needed. So good. We went back for this again the night before we left. The hot, awesome bread never stops arriving either :)
Coya - very good Peruvian food at the Four Seasons. nice wine list.
at.mosphere at the Burj Khalifa - great views. The fixed menu and wine pairing were not great. Very expensive.

$1 = AED 3.76. Stayed at the St Regis, which was very nice, but kind of in the middle of nowhere. At least a 15 min taxi/uber ride to get anywhere. Only 25 min from the airport though. Great bar in the lobby and decent breakfast.
FRA-SFO LH A380 - Can I go home now please?




Friday, October 23, 2015

Quick Madrid Trip - September 2015




A very quick trip to Madrid for a couple days of meetings. Had a Saturday to visit the Reina Sofia museum to see Picasso's Guernica and an interesting display of their collection on revolt and change from the 60's to the 80's including the end of Franco's reign in Spain (see what I did there? :) ) Watched a bit of the Battle of Algiers in French dubbed in to Spanish, but it was not hard to understand what was happening. Highly recommended.



A bit of time in the Retiro and two days of meetings. A good amount of ham. Some mediocre white wine by the glass at more than one place. Averaged about 10 miles a day of walking over the weekend according to my phone.

Food and Drink

Marisque Riveira do Mino - Really liked hanging out at the counter with a glass of white eating cold (previously steamed) prawns and the pulpo you get as a tapa with the wine. Great lunch. They have a number of different things to try. Would definitely return.

Charlotte - Huge gin and tonics outside, then around 2:00 or so the party moves inside. "What time do you close?" (asked around 4:30am Saturday with still like 20 people drinking and eating popcorn) "Oh, around 2:30".

Sifón - Nice and little out of the way. Good chill place on a nice day.

Ramses - Can only comment on the terrace, not on the overly fancy looking inside restaurant or the club that looked pretty euro-douce. Good wine by the bottle list. Food was decent. Great to sit outside.

La Giralda II and Restaurante La Despensa - decent if unspectacular places in an area covered with bars and tapa. Not expensive at all, so a decent time. The places that looked "better" from a food standpoint were jammed full both Friday and Saturday nights.

La Venencia - Very touristy off the Gran Via, but really nice sherry and ham for a snack. Interesting differences between the three types they pour from giant kegs, and if you have a couple people a bottle for €14 is a good deal

Botin - So very touristy but for wine, a salad, and some crispy pig it is a very nice stop. Not expensive

La Barraca - Pass. No need to have paella in Madrid. Rice and clams were great but the prawns were either way overdone or just not great to start with. Wine was good. Super touristy. The Del Diego across the street had good cocktails.

Up very early for the return flight.


€1 = $1.12. Flew Virgin Atlantic SFO-LHR RT, BA LHR-MAD, and Iberia MAD-LHR. Quite nice flights. Made it to SFO just in time to drive to our company offsite in Sausalito.

More Photos

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Lyon, St. Briac, London - July 2015


Mixing in some time with Adrienne's family and a couple days in London. SFO-LHR on Virgin Atlantic with a BA LHR-LYS on our outbound.

Lyon

Arriving in Lyon at midnight had us a little hungry, so we started at La Gratineé  a "member club" open from 23:00 to 7:00 each night. Membership costs €2 per person, so not a real impediment. They do have an apparent rule that everyone must order a main, and if you're sitting in the back as opposed to in front of the bar, look at the menu and decide what you want on your way in. Very simple menu with four steaks, three sauces to choose from, and a couple kinds of potatoes. Cannot recommend enough for late-night dining.

Untitled


High temperature was around 38C/101F for our two days. We made the hike to the basilica on the first day and wandered around the heights of the old city which was nice. The second day was very hot and we tried to stay out of the heat as much as possible. Nice walk through a market along the Sôane in the morning and dinner at Le Passage which was very good, but a note that locals eat outside so they can smoke, leaving the inside full of tourists. Good food and fantastic service nonetheless.

Untitled



Saint Malo

UntitledLeft Lyon on a train to St. Malo, transferring at Marne-la-Vallée - Chessy, otherwise known as EuroDisney. You don't have to leave the station to transfer, so the mouse is not pushed on you :) No issues on the way to St. Malo and a quick cab ride to St. Briac. Had a great stay at Le Vieux Logis which has 4 or 5 rooms and fantastic breakfasts served by an excellent hostess.







A couple very nice days with Adrienne's extended family and a little bit of beach time on an actually warm day. This was followed by a windy, cloudy day just to make sure we got the full experience. Had a very nice hike along the Gulf de Dinard despite the conditions and saw a WWII German bunker that was interesting. Good dinner at Les deux sardines where I had very good sardines and fish. I think I ordered poorly at Cotes et Broches, with the pulpo being a bit tough and the fish not great while Adrienne's lamb was fantastic. A quick uneventful flight from Dinard to Standted (DNR-STN) on Ryanair, with the only highlight being the surprisingly great pub on the second level of the Dinard airport. Really a nice place.

UntitledUntitled

London

Two nice dinners with Adrienne's friends at Fifteen (would probably not return based on very slow service) and Ffiona's (great sea bream). Good visit at the Tate Modern including tea and scones on the 6th floor overlooking the Thames. All around an excellent museum stop. A lot of construction in London with a ton of cranes all over the city. Was tough to find a simple pub to watch the Wimbledon's mens semifinals but after trying a couple places (including the Sports Bar & Grill Farringdon which was pretty meh) I ended up at the Kings Stores by Liverpool Stn. Great service and good beer/cocktail list. Food menu was interesting but we had dinner plans.

Completely uneventful return flight to SFO and actually got a bit of sleep to help with the time adjustment.


$1.09 = € and $1.53 = £1 - More Photos

Restaurant Links:

La Gratineé
Le Passage
Les deux sardines

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Amsterdam and Lima - May 2015


Untitled

TK 80 SFO-IST 773 J

A bit of crazyness at SFO to get a boarding pass, waiting 90 min in the business/star gold line. The economy line looked to be about 100 deep and barely moving. Going to guess growing pains as TK just launched this route. Ended up delayed about an hour waiting for everyone to check in. No security line for a 6:30pm scheduled departure. A mobile boarding pass would have been a huge improvement but apparently they needed to physically scan passports. I did receive a mobile boarding pass for my IST-AMS connection when I checked in online but SFO prints a paper pass anyway...

Nice flight. Very good wifi the entire flight which was helpful to kill time. I only snacked, no meals and the cheese was ok. Food looked good overall. Wine was decent with a couple red and white choices. Service was attentive but a slight bit awkward. Got 5-6 hours of sleep which was very helpful. Power and headphone (two prong) under the middle armrest.

The lounge in IST was nice but very busy upstairs so I went downstairs which was a bit better. Olive bar was a little disappointing. Mezze bar was good but the other food was pretty uninteresting. Good wifi in the lounge as well.

Untitled

TK 1195 IST-AMS 321 J

Very quick boarding. Not much legroom in business, just the middle seat blocked. Good food on this flight. Right on time. Landed on the close runway at AMS. Less than a 5 min wait for immigration to open new lanes. Uber pick up at the Sheraton across the street from the arrivals and I was at my hotel in under an hour after touchdown at 22:30.

Untitled

Amsterdam 

Went out for a wander around AMS on arrival and had a couple drinks then amazingly slept from 1:30 to 10:00 which helped reset my clock. Woke up the 2nd night from about 4:30 to 6:00. The Andaz Pricegeracht was very nice. Had a great room with a canal view. Good bar where, as with every other bar in Amsterdam, they featured a wide variety of gin and tonics. Yelp was very helpful for restaurants and other things, like finding a laundromat.

For the love of god, buy Rijksmuseum tickets online. The line was wrapped around inside the building and far down the street outside, but with the pdf on my phone from buying online, zero lines to wait in. Museum itself was very crowded as well, but the ship modeling and other temporary exhibits in the bottom floor were interesting

Restaurants and Bars

Mossel Gin - fantastic mussels and gin cocktails. had oysters and calamari as well. just great
Butcher's Tears - good beers, both theirs and the guest taps. cheese plate has a *lot* of cheese :)
de Biertun - great beer selection. good snacks. did not get to try the food as they do not serve from 2:30 to 5:30 or something along those lines
Staring at Jacob - good American style Sunday brunch 
Restaurant de kas - great setting. good food. very reasonable wine list.
Restaurant Shiva - very good Indian. Not fooling around with heat on the vindaloo. good pickles 
Cafe Toussant - nice cafe for a couple lunches. really liked the tomato soup, the salmon bread, and I think there was a good salad involved one afternoon
Bar Oldendorf - good cocktails. nice people. pricey at €17 each, but that was unfortunately common at similar places
Wurst & Schnitzel - Good schnitzel. liked the bratwusrst a little less. the potato salad and fried potatoes were a little meh
Sampurna - indonesian - just ok. would probably find something else next trip


Additional Amsterdam Photos - $1.12 per 1 euro for this trip.


KL 743 AMS-LIM 773 J (KLM Asia on tail)

Mobile boarding pass really worked for this flight. 28 min from getting in an uber at the Andaz to the KL lounge, which was boring, almost UA red carpet-esque. Food was sliced cheese and salami along with some cereal and dried fruit for breakfast. Had a bloody mary which was fine. Under construction so might improve. Flight was ok, but no wifi. OK movie selection. For the TV series, they had one episode per series. This could be so much better. Headphone jacks (three prongs) were under middle armrest which made them a bit annoying. Power on front of middle armrest. Lunch finished about 2.5 hours from takeoff, followed about 90 min later by a snack (ice cream, cheese, veggie something). With about 3:30 left in the flight we were back over land entering South America over Guyana

Lima

Not a particularly attractive city but Miraflores and San Isidro were nice. Lunch starts late and runs late in Lima. The Westin Lima was a good hotel, pretty much what you would expect from a Westin in a city. Nice executive lounge on the 29th floor. Breakfast buffet on the first floor was good but a bit boring after five days.

Untitled

Pescados Capitales - Great ceviche, pulpo, grilled fish, and drinks. Just great.
La Carreta on Ricardo Rivera Navarrete - San Isidro. Love the Rafael sauce (dijon and peppercorn) on a steak and paps rosti. So good.
El Hornero - Francisco Masias 505 - San Isidro. Good steaks and salmon here as well.
Astrid y Gaston - pass. 3.5 hours of touristy tasting menu. experience was very good, but the meal dragged way too long. 29 courses is just too many. I did really like the wine paring.
El Mercado - meh. very upper class clientele in a casual space. the grilled fish was good but everything else was kind of a miss. service was  uneven during brunch. much more interested in taking food orders than drink orders.

Additional Lima Photos  3.12 Peruvian Soles for $1

Untitled

LAN 600 LIM-LAX 789 J

Online check-in only served to allow for seat changes. Have to physically check in at the desk but there was not a line two hours before the flight. Made it from the Westin to my gate in 55 min having left at 22:30. LIM is a nice airport but the lounge here is tiny and jammed with people having flights between 00:00 and 02:00.

Flight was fine until the attendants began waking people up for breakfast two hours in advance of landing, at 5:30 Pacific Time. OMG, just let people in business sleep a bit longer and make breakfast much shorter. Why even serve breakfast? Just stay quiet until 6:50 or so and wake people for approach. Nice plane though.

AA LAX-SFO Y

Yeah, so you have been on an E-175? Yup. That was this flight. An unglamorous ending to what were a few really nice flights. But great to have made it home!




Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Santiago - October 2014



A pretty quick trip to Santiago for meetings with ISPs at LACNIC 22. Flew Delta SFO-ATL-SCL as the lowest total flight time. Not particularly impressed with J in the 767 for 9-10 hours ATL-SCL and back, but was fine. The food was reasonable and FA's were nice. Just felt cramped as there was not a lot of space around the seat to store anything. All flights on time and the DL lounges in ATL were decent. Not sure of the appeal of the lounge in Terminal F with the outside area as I could not get past the constant smell of jet exhaust...



I was very bad at taking photos this trip, basically being inside for meetings for four days and not building any extra time in for sightseeing. The air was not particularly clear for any of the days I was there, rather a mix of haze and smog that was not good for either landscapes or my allergies. Good stay at the W Santiago. Nice residential and business neighborhood by the W but funky in that there was an Appleby's and a Denny's within two blocks, along with a number of pizza places. Took the metro to the conference hotel which took 10 minutes and worked very well. Area was pretty dead at night from what I could tell in my brief ventures out.



Apparently the tallest building in South America was right down the street from my hotel. Office and residential space on top of what appeared to be a huge mall. Chile remains on my list for further exploration but will definitely get out of Santiago. Good reports on Valapariso, skiing in Portillo, fly fishing south of Santiago, and hiking in Patagonia. $1 = CLP 584 at the time of the trip.

Do have to make mention of the California Sports Cantina where we watched the Giants win Game 7 of the World Series. Probably the best American-style sports bar I have been to anywhere outside of North America. Highly recommended.

Croatia and München - September 2014





One busy week in Croatia. Mostly a work trip with a bit of sightseeing thrown in. Started another one of my convoluted travel days with SFO-MUC in LH First on a donated upgrade, which was really really nice. Food was good but the best part was the space including a foot locker and full lie-flat without anyone near. Very attentive service. Felt a little bit funny after the flight but may have been due to overindulging in the caviar. Basically progressed downhill from there in the luxury department as MUC-SPU on Croatia Airlines was ok, followed with a completely reasonable $5 bus ride from SPU to the port of Split, then a 60 min ferry ride to Hvar town. All told about 18 hours in transit.

Nice stay at the Adriana Hotel with a room overlooking the harbor. Roughly $1 to 6 HRK and 1.34 EUR on this trip. Had a day and a half in Hvar and was great to wander around. Very lively at night with a chill crowd for a small town.  Food was decent but not spectacular on average, without a real highlight excluding the consistently good octopus. Hiking trails in multiple directions from the center of town. Had a longer hike along the coast planned that was cancelled due to a day of pretty good thunderstorms. Very pretty when it was not raining and I can see why people bounce from island to island in the Dalmatians. Clean water with many visible sea urchins and abundant fish. Could definitely spend some time here.

Ferry back to Split and a totally crazy cab ride to the Le Meridien Split, which is about 15 min from the port. A decent hotel but a bit eastern European feeling as opposed to a relaxing destination. Was fine for our four days of meetings and presentations. Not in a real hurry to return to Split as the city is pretty built up for tourists and the number of mid-rise residential buildings do not make it particularly attractive or interesting from a visual perspective. A bit surprising but the food at the restaurants right outside the hotel, on the marina by the yachts was very good. In particular the grilled octopus and fish were outstanding with a good wood grill taste coming through. The clams, mussels, and avocado salads were also fresh.



A tiny bit tricky to find, but one of the better meals I have eaten was at F de Mar in the Split harbor area. There are two or three other F restaurants in the area, and friends gave one of them less than stellar reviews, but this is the one furthest from the cruise port on the water. Did essentially a 7 course chef's choice served 3 "starters" then 3 "mains" that is not on the menu but our waiter put together based on things we wanted to try and/or avoid. Great seafood bisque to start, a couple shrimp dishes, a cuttlefish risotto, a small crunchy fried fish, one sort of forgettable octopus dish, and with the final plate, the best piece of beef tenderloin I can remember having. Just perfect temperature, color, taste, and prep. No idea where it came from, but absolutely perfect. So stuffed from the soup and six courses that nobody could manage desert. All told, including two bottles of Croatian white wine, $180 for three people.



Limited flights out of Split and needed to be in LA Thursday night for meetings on Friday, so took a late afternoon flight SPU-MUC on LH and spent the night in Munich. Good service and seasonal food on the short flight. LH really delivers on these. Did not go to Octoberfest, rather opting for a more quiet experience in the Hirschgarten, made even more quiet by everyone else apparently being at the Weisen :) Had a good dinner and no issues with MUC-LAX the next day. A good trip with some highs (Hvar, München, the food in Split) and meh's (Split overall, the flight situation to/from SPU) but no travel issues.





More Croatia + Munich Photos on Flickr

Monday, September 15, 2014

Taipei 2014


Four day work trip to Taipei but got a decent amount of sightseeing in at night. Very warm, 96F and humid. Not bad in the morning but high heat very early in the day. Decent flights on UA SFO-TPE. Taxi to the hotel and Uber back ($52). Great stay at the W Taipei including excellent buffet style breakfasts and a highly respectable Tuesday night American-style BBQ with a number of other Taiwanese/Chinese/Japanese dishes to go along.

Very nice people wherever we went, but one recurring question: Why on earth does a city with such hot weather specialize in hot beef noodle soup?

The soup was indeed good but not much food variety in local dishes other than soup, dumplings, pork buns, and the occasional vegetable. Many Japanese restaurants around the area of our hotel but we never sought one out for some reason. The Rahoe Night Market had some nice food including great steamed pork buns and a whole crispy pig (weekends only). Ling Tong Fung had great noodle soup and sides for around $8 per person for 5 of us. Good dumplings at Din Tai Fung, but a bit cliched and touristy. Still worth the trip at least once. The fried pork was good there if you have tired of soup and dumplings.





World-class cocktails at Alchemy, which is a great speakeasy vibe upstairs and opposite a more normal bar. Couple decent western beers at Beer and Cheese Social House with your average US/Aussie/Canadian traveler crowd.





More photos and the exchange rate was around 30.0 Taiwan New Dollars per 1 USD.

EU - May 2014

Fondue in Zürich
A bit belated in this one, but a quick hitting trip to BRU, FRA, Bonn, Zürich, and Paris. Generally busy with work efforts but a few notes follow. Great weather for this trip. Very sunny and warm other than 30 min of rain one day in Paris. Almost too warm in Zürich at 85F. Warm hotel, particularly for Dave on the top floor of an older but nice building down the street. Very good trip overall.

Liked flying Virgin Atlantic SFO-LHR, then into BRU and out of ORY on BA. Only minus was the transfer to BA at LHR T5 which was an absolute mess, even with a fast track security pass. Many people, not signed well, lots of lines, a lot of walking. Able to get an Uber at BRU and CDG on the way in which was nice. Train'd in to FRA and ZRH. Took Uber from central Zürich to ZRH ($90) and Opera to ORY ($70). Good to see their service expanding.

Stayed at the Hotel Amigo in BRU (meh), Le Meridien Statpark in FRA (nice, small gym), the Sheraton Zürich (just ok), and W Opera Paris (excellent).

L'Avant Comptoir

Notable food at Atschel (ordering the pig shoulder "Schäufelchen, mariniert mit Bratkartoffelnund gemischtem Salat" next time) and beer and sausage at Dauth Schneider in Frankfurt. Enjoyed the Summergarden at Bauschaenzli and the excellent if touristy cheese fondue at Le Dezaley (with a couple bottles of acidic white Epesses „Terre à boire“, Louis Bovard) in Zurich. Very disappointed with our concierge's recommendation of Le Petit Marius for seafood in Paris. Very expensive. Not very good. Oysters and belon were served almost warm even though they were on ice. Not great texture on those or the crab. Small portion of lump crab meat. Would not return. Much better food at excellent prices standing at the bar of L'Avant Comptoir around 5:30. Excellent oysters, charcutiere, tortilla, wine, and service. Meh again at Le Boeuf Sur Le Toit in Paris and the moules frites I had in Brussels. Neither that impressive.

The Tower!


More Photos  Around $1.38 for €1, and $1 for 0.97 CHF.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Athens - October 2013




Flew United to Paris then Aegean to Athens. Not a bad combination but the Star Alliance lounge in CDG Terminal 1 is not much to write home about, particularly on the food front. Not a ton of options in the terminal either. The SAS lounge next to the Aegean gate was no better.

Athens was fantastic and greatly exceeded expectations. Very lively central area. Many options for outside eating, drinking, and hanging out. The north and south sides of the Acropolis seemed to be mostly tourists while the northeast seemed to be more locals. Kind of a mix elsewhere. People were very helpful even when they were not great at English, although spoke a bit.



The food was very good with fresh vegetables, fresh seafood, and lots of good cheese. Would recommend Koallis for seafood although having a map and knowing it is near the Hotel Metropolitan was very helpful to the taxi. The greek salad from Kuzina was almost a panzanella with excellent tomatoes, arugula, croutons, capers, and excellent olive oil. Would recommend the 12-hour pork here as well even though I opted for the salad. Great starters. For lunch and cafe time, there are a few on or near Vasilis in the Thiseio area but you can really look anywhere around the city. They love their iced coffee. Could also recommend the roof bars around A for Athens and 360.

For a break from the Acropolis and nearby crowd, highly recommend wandering around
Filopappou Hill which is right next door. Very few people and great views. About a 30 min walk away you get to the base of Mount Lycabettus. About 25 min up to see the Church of St George and look down on the entire city. Fantastic views. Make sure to take water.





Stayed at the New Hotel Athens which was great. Nice rooms. Excellent full breakfast in their restaurant. Great little tea cookies by the check in desk and chocolate at turn down :)

Perhaps one too many fantastic martinis at Osterman on Plateia Agias Irinis (menu looked great. should have eaten more) and was off to the Athens airport Sofitel for a 5:00am wake up to catch my Aegean flight to MUC then Lufthansa to SFO, only 0.2% over the direct route. Good although unintentional carbon footprint minimization. Had planned a longer layover to head in to MUC but it was 3C and very foggy, and I was underdressed, so settled for an airBrau at MUC. Pretty good helles and only €2.60 for a 0.5L. Highly recommended. You can go outside security to the location outside the check-in area (do not have to clear passport control connecting from within the EU) or visit the smaller one in Terminal 2 after you go though passport control for international flights.

$1.375 = €1 which was not a great rate compared to recent trips. Ended up with a 3G SIM from Vodafone from a store in Athens. €17 for a micro SIM for my 4s including 500M of data for 30 days and 400 minutes of local calling. Very helpful to call a local conference bridge number for work. No stores for SIM cards on arrival at ATH. BKK still wins at that game. Tried to buy a Wind SIM first but it did not work with my US 4s. The guy at their store said this happens frequently with unlocked iPhones from various other countries. Google Maps and Apple's friend stalking apps were so very helpful in Athens.

Additional Photos