Friday, November 08, 2013

RTW 2013 / Austria to USA

It was an early morning rise on our last day in Vienna.
The CAT airport train left from the station just across the road from our hotel. They have airline check in and a dedicated waiting room and platform so it was all very unrushed and civilized.
A full English breakfast at the airport, a bus ride from the terminal gate to our smallish plane to Zurich.
Another bus ride from the plane to the terminal, then a bit of a rush changing terminals, getting through immigration and security as we had arrived late.
Then it was a 12 hour flight to Los Angeles with Swiss. We flew north of Iceland, across Greenland and down over Hudson Bay through Canada into the USA.

We arrived at LAX on time but immigration and customs at Tom Bradley International was a zoo. It took me nearly 2 hours to complete formalities. Being a  USA citizen, the co driver got through relatively quickly, collected our luggage and waited patiently.
After another longish wait at customs, we high tailed it down to the Delta terminal to check in for our flight to Las Vegas.
Luckily we had organized enough time between flights to not make the transfer too stressful and even had more than enough time for....a hamburger, fries and a coke! Super size me, please!
The DL plane left the gate on time taxied all the way out to the runway, then turned around and returned to the gate. The captain good humoredly advised us that the cabin crew had "run out of hours". Any sane person may have thought this situation would have been addressed a little earlier.

Las Vegas airport was jumping even at midnight (I know....the town never sleeps) and we were soon in our very comfortable room high up in the Trump International overlooking the strip.
Exhausted from nearly 24 hours travel we fell into bed.
Next morning (or actually later on that morning) I indulged in my fave American breakfast: pancakes, fried eggs (over easy), bacon, sausage and hash browns all smothered in genuine maple syrup.
Sorry, Dr. M.
The co driver was catching up with an old friend during the day so I hit the strip and worked my way up to Flamingo Road from casino to casino, from themed shopping centre to themed shopping centre.
And I didn't drop too many $ on the way either!
Next day the co driver and I did the same stopping off at Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville for a genuinely good lunch accompanied by genuinely good cocktails. The place was rocking and great fun.
By the afternoon however we had had enough. Las Vegas is brassier, noisier and more hedonistic than ever.
Time to move on but still time for a good pizza and a nice bottle of Californian Pinot Noir at Grimaldi's for dinner.
At the airport (where even the trash cans say 'thank you') next morning at 6am we checked into our flights to Sioux Falls, SD. 
The route took us via Denver where heavy rain delayed our on going flight for a while.
Time for out first cup of Caribou coffee in two years. YAY!
But we eventually arrived (minus luggage which arrived a few hours later) into the welcoming arms of family.

They had organized a get together over supper and it was fun catching up with everyone again.
Let the mid west USA adventure begin!

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