Sunday, December 25, 2016

Our 12 Months of Travel: 2016

We count ourselves fortunate to have enjoyed a great year of travel in 2016. Our 12 months of travel turned out to be seven months of travel with a lot of time at home in the middle part of the year.

The first few months of 2016 count among our busiest travel months ever, for which there's a fairly simple reason. We switched our airline loyalty program to Alaska. To reach top tier on that carrier, you have to fly either 75,000 miles solely on Alaska metal (flights), or 90,000 miles on Alaska's partner airlines.

Since it would be highly unlikely for us to fly 75K within the U.S. (okay, with some Canada and Mexico also on Alaska's routes), we are constantly on the lookout for bargain business-class flights on Alaska's partners (we no longer have within us the motivation to fly in coach on long overnight flights - as one of John Cleese's Monty Python characters remarked of certain strenuous achievements, "Where's the pleasure in that?"). Yes, we found some bargains and we did some serious flying.

A highlight of the year was taking our third-eldest grandchild, Taegan, on a Spring-Break trip to Europe in March. We think she enjoyed it almost as much as we did. We have five more grandchildren to take on promised trips, and we'll do our best to stay healthy and strong.

Speaking of health and strength, Kathy tore her meniscus three nights before we were leaving for Peru and Macchu Picchu - how's that for timing? We still made the trip. and even saw a fair amount of that classic bucket-list destination, thanks to a sympathetic guide and Kathy's determination.

How many people have seen the Northern Lights in Iceland and a torrid Buenos Aires tango in the same month?  Heck, between January and early June we saw those along with the Eiffel Tower, the Colosseum, the Panama Canal, Machu Picchu, and the Sydney Opera House, an intensive level of landmark sightings even for us.

Our travel between June and November consisted largely of trips to physical therapy and we did enjoy our time at home, the longest period of time we've gone without boarding a plane in many years. We managed a little more travel as the year drew to a close. Along the way, we managed to qualify again for Alaska Airlines MVP75K and Hilton Diamond.

This is also the first year in quite a few that didn't include a cruise, but we'll make that up with two in 2017. Yes, we're already looking forward to trips in our future.

January

New Orleans, Amtrak City of New Orleans to Chicago and Empire Builder from Chicago to Seattle, Puerto Rico, San Francisco, Florida.

February

Florida (still), Iceland, Buenos Aires

March

Europe with Taegan (Paris, Rome, Venice, Salzburg, Munich)

April

Changsha, China, Peru, Panama

May/June

Panama (still), Thailand, Australia (Oz Fest)

November

Hawaii (Big Island), San Francisco

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