Wednesday, September 17, 2008

International Traveling

I'm in Europe right now - I'm not calling Europe a single country, I'm just being vague.

I have been on this side of the Atlantic several times this year, every time in a different country. However, I always fly into the same airport first. This is simply because I have a favorite airline, which flies non-stop from where I live to one airport in Europe. It is my favorite for several reasons: 1) it gives me a 50% mileage bonus for free which is transferable to my FF club, so I get 150% of the miles (ie I don't have to join their FF club) , 2) they serve really good food, 3) the seats are all equipped with the mini-TVs which are uniquely controlled - ie the movies can be started and stopped whenever you choose. These may seem like small things, but they add up. Especially the movies - the only time I watch movies is when I am on planes - I view my airplane time as my time. It is really the only time I get alone without email interruption. Although right now I'm not getting many emails, as almost everyone I know is asleep.

And about the first point - I know many airlines have the joint membership programs, but very few give you the 50% mileage bonus. On ~20hrs of flying (roundtrip), it adds up.

But that wasn't the point. My favorite part about being in Europe is the coffee and the sandwiches. I realize this seems strange (maybe not the coffee part), but I really love prosciutto and brie sandwiches. If you have never had one, you are truly missing out. And they are everywhere over here - even in airports. Or at least so I thought.

I spent this morning trying to find the sandwich - no such luck. I didn't want it for breakfast, but I wanted to figure out where I would go for lunch. I found coffee (it was everywhere, par normal). I found Subway (bizarre) - and they only had the standard American selection. I found a lot of food I really didn't want to smell, let alone eat, at 6am. But I didn't find any stores which even looked like sandwich stores or bakeries (except the Subway). And there were alot of people having subway for breakfast, which I could understand given the alternative.

I'm quite disappointed to be honest. It is really how I motivate myself to get on the plane and travel for typically 12+ hrs to get here (including the secondary leg which can be a plane/train/bus/taxi), and travel far away from my husband, my cat and my dog. I love all of them very much, and while I love going to conferences and giving talks at schools/universities, I love being with them too.

I realize I came for the science not the food - and I'm sure the science will be great too. But I'm only here for 1 day. So, 1 day of science vs. 2 days of traveling... The prospect of getting the prosciutto really played a big role in my decision to come. And I know I can get prosciutto in the US (and in the airport), but I can't get the bread and the same quality Brie in the US. So, really, it just isn't the same.

But I'll stop now. I know there are much worse problems in the world - and even in the US. People in TX would love to have Subway for breakfast.

1 comment:

Try-a-thlete said...

Have fun on your trip. I'm totally jealous.
But yes, Europe has a very high variation in terms of food (I'm from there and have lived in five European countries). Bread and sandwiches are great in France, Belgium, the Netherlands etc... But the more you go South and East the more you will be disappointed. And coffee means a totally different think in every country.