Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Airbus 380

The Airbus 380 was in Minneapolis this week and was shown off to the media, local celebs and executives. Unfortunately, I was out of town and was thinking that I was going to miss out on the oppotunity to see it. Lucky for me, it was still in town when I got back and I was at least able to get some photos of myself with what is now the largest commercial airplane in the world. The other pictures are an up close shot to the front of the aircraft, the second is the main gear which has an incredible 10 tires on each gear. The third is of the first class configuration that Airbus has put together. All carriers put their own signature seat configuration on the aircraft once they order and it is a closely guarded secret. Airbus' seating arrangement is actually quite boring compared to say a Singapore Airlines. The airplane holds roughly 83,000 gallons of fuel and the auxiliary power unit or APU, which is used to power the airplane when on the ground generates enough power to heat and light 800 homes. This was a fun surprise to see!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Smithsonian Opens B747

Northwest Airlines operated the very first Boeing 747 (It was a "dash" 100 series) and when they retired the aircraft they donated it to the Smithsonian Institute, with the museum planning to open a Air and Space exhibit around the ship. This portion of the museum was just opened to the public for the first time.

I was in Washington DC back in September and I always try to make a "pilgrimage" to the Air and Space museum and took a picture of the final stages of the construction. Also included is a picture of the Spirit of St. Louis, which hangs from the ceiling just as you walk into the main lobby.

New York - JFK

JFK International Airport is a city all by itself, with countless nationalities and languages represented. At one point I sat at a table with a person from Ghana, Belarus and India, truly a unique discussion and experience.

My hotel was situated at the very end of the flight approach and so all day and night airplanes winging in from all parts of the world buzzed the top of the hotel. My room had a window facing out toward the West and my first night I received quite a surprise when the first airplane approached so low that its landing lights lit up my room. The airplane literally looked as though it was going to fly through my room! An example is the Singapore Airlines Boeing 747 above. Another picture is an Air Emirates Boeing 777, Air India Boeing 777 and a Singapore Airlines Boeing 747 nose sneaking into the edge of the picture. Finally, the last picture is an NWA A320 preparing for a taxi to take-off on a wet, delay plagued day. Notice all the jetBlue A320's and Embraer 190's hardstanding behind. JFK is so busy there are not enough boarding bridges to park the aircraft

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Traverse City

I used to take Kim up to Traverse City for her birthday so it was a welcome assignment to visit a location that I know so well.

The Traverse City airport is quite unique as the whole architectural design is based on the works of Frank Lloyd Wright. If you are familiar with his work, the classic lines and color patterns instantly take you to thoughts of Fallingwater in Pennsylvania (the TVC airport sign actually envisages this property, though the picture was taken at night and could be better) or the famous Buffalo and Wisconsin area homes that he designed.

Monday, November 12, 2007


No matter how many times I have been to Amsterdam, I can't ever seem to figure out exactly which train to hop on when traveling from the airport to the city. Invariably, I stand around acting like "I am Dutch and I know exactly which train to board", but then, from down the tunnel, I can feel the cool outside air move toward me and know that the train will be arriving and the moment of truth will arrive with it. I swallow my pride and ask a local...I guess it's better than ending up in at The Hague.

I have always enjoyed Amsterdam. It's obviously famous for its canals, but there are other endearing qualities as well. I have never eaten a larger pancake or better french fries than in Amsterdam. I stayed out by the airport on this trip and spent just about all my time working. Amsterdam Central is about a 15 minute train ride from the airport and I have found it is actually one of the easiest mass transit journey's you can make in Europe.

My favorite area in the city is a portion of town called the Jordaan. (pronounced "Yordan") This is where the Anne Frank House is located. I feel that the museum is a bit overrated and is always horribly busy, literally a line out the door and around the building. The two most tangible portions of the house are the bookcase that the family pulled shut to hide themselves and pictures that Anne herself pasted up on the wall. I have visited twice and each time I touch the bookshelf handle and imagine the fears that the family must have felt as they actually pulled on the same handle. My favorite moments are lingering on a bench and listening to the bells of the 17th Century Westerkerk Church play each hour. With a cafe in hand, the people, canal traffic and church bells, is a thoroughly European moment.

One other area I always visit is an out of the way spot called the Begijnhof. It is a quiet courtyard area that was built for a lay Catholic sisterhood. Amsterdam is a noisy, busy place, but the Begijnhof is a place of refuge.

Finally, it is probably the only "touristy" thing I am willing to partake of, but my guilty pleasure is a huge Dutch pancake from a small cozy basement Restaurant called the Pancake Bakery.

I certainly could not capture a city like Amsterdam in a single post. I'll have to go back...

In the beginning....

Welcome. I have often considered creating a blog to document our travels and adventures. Armed with my iPhone or camera, my hope is to post pictures and stories about the locations that Kim and I travel to in the course of my job and our leisure time. While were at it, we'll post anything else we feel like too!