Happy New Year

A new year has come to an end, with trips to Gran Canary, Ras Al-Khaimah, Dubai, Chicago and Barcelona as travel highlights and definetely the marathon medal in Chicago as a running highlight.

Wish you all a happy new year and let us hope 2019 will bring even more travel and running histories to remember. ❤️🍾

Hilton Dubai Jumeirah Beach/Hilton Dubai The Walk – 7 reasons why we always return

This is the seventh time we celebrate Christmas in Dubai, and I have also been here for Easter, spring, autum. and even summer several times. I have stayed at multiple hotels at Juneirah Beach Residence (JBR), but there is one hotel i special (or really two sister hotels sharing the same facilities) I keep coming back to and which I consider my favorite(s): Hilton Dubai Jumeirah Beach / Hilton Dubai The Walk.

Hilton Dubai Jumeirah Beach (5 star rating) is located right by the sea, and is surrounded by skyscrapers. It only has 10 floors, which makes it one of the lowest buildings in the area. Right across the street is Hilton Dubai The Walk (four star rating), a much taller building with about 45 floors and the two sister hotels are connected through walking bridge. Guests at either hotel are free to use all the facilities of the two hotels. The rooms at Jumeirah Beach are a bit small and the elevator at The Walk is icredible slow. But other than that, and the fact that the two swimming pools are engulfed in shade parts of the day, I simply love the place, and here are some of the reasons why:

THE BEACH

The hotels have a private beach with lots of sunbeds/umbrellas and a staff that is most service minded and help you drag the sunbed to your requested position. The towles are huge and soft and the sunbeds are very comfortable.


THE POOL AREA2

The area have two pools, one outside The Walk and one down by the beach. As mentioned earlier these are in the shade parts of the day, but are wonderful for morning swim or if it gets too hot in the sun and have a comfortable temperature of about 27-28 degrees C.mrådet har to bassenger, et utenfor The Walk og et nede ved stranden.

3

THE GARDEN

The «garden» is really levels of artificial grass with sunbeds and unbrellas and are conveniently located between the pool and the beach. Here it is very quiet and you gave the option of staying both in the sun or or in the shades. It is also a short way to the rest rooms and showers that quite exceeds the regular charter destination standards.

BEACH BUTLER

OK, it sounds laxy, but you get use to the table service really fast. A new feature this year, was the option of ordering through an app and just enter which sunbed you would like the order to be delivered to. LOVED IT!


PRICE LEVEL

The price level for the hotels varies from year to year, dependent on availbility and time of booking, This year we managed to get a price of around USD 130 / night, breakfast included, which is a fairly decent price compared with some of their neighbours. The price level for food and drinks are steep all over Dubai, especially in hotels with an alcohol license, but if you take advantage of the promotions and the happy hour offerings, it is not so bad, at least compared to Norway.

CHILD FRIENDLINESS

I have travelled alone with my son to Dubai since he was a toddler and this is by far the country I have felt the most safe in. I even feel more safe here than back in Norway. Dubai is also incredible family friendly with tons pf activities for families with children, cozy parks and lots of play grounds. On Hilton DUbai Jumeirah Beach / The Walk, they have safety wests for non-swimmers, lifeguards in both the pools and at the beach ans a really professional security team. One year, when my son was about, he ran ahead of me, but ran into the wrong elevator, which I did not notice. Suddenly I couldn’t find him and I soon started to panic. I stopped one of the staff members and asked if she had seen him and she immediately engaged Security, which started to go through surveillance tapes and just 5 minutes later they had located and less than 10 minutes a crying little boy was returned to his also crying mother. Later that night, the head of security stopped by our room to give my son balloons and candy to make him feel better (and it worked..)

THE WALK, JUMEIRAH BEACH RESIDENCE (JBR)

The hotels are located in the 2 km long beach promenade called The Walk at JBR. Here you can find plenty of small stores, restaurants, beach facilities, entertainment and lots of other activities. It also has a 550m long jogging track with a soft surface, which has been my friend several mornings during this holiday.

As you might have gathered, we have had a blast here in Dubai yet again and I cannot wait to return in 8 weeks. This time with my son and nephew.


The Early-Bird Treat

Finally departure day is here! Since our flight was at 6 AM I had big plans for an early evening yesterday, bit that didn’t quite happen so I did not fall asleep until close to midnight. So, at 3 AM, 1 whole hour befor my alarmbell was to go off, KLM thought it wise to send a text, weaking me up, with the message that the airport was crowded. Yea right, it took us like 15 minutes from we were dropped off by the taxi until we had checked our luggage and been through security (#LoveTorpAirport).

So, still a bit grumpy from the inscheduled early morning, we boarded the plane where the temperature felt sub-zero an the seats were cold as ice. We had to de-ice before we could take off, and that took about 40 minutes, but finally we were in the air. So, to re-cap: still grumpy and now also freezing… But then I took a look out the window and saw the most beautiful of sunrises and my dark mood vaporized immediately. It was really calming to see the rays of sun slowly break through the thick layer of clouds.

When we landed in Amsterdam, my mood was much better. We have some hours to kill here before our last leg to Dubai, but at least we are fortunate enough to have access to the lounge. All in all, a good start on our Christmas trip.

9 things I HATE about flying (#SoManyIdiotsSoLittleTime)

It is not exactly a well hidden secret that travelling is one of my greatest obsessions and I can honestly admit (without a shred of shame) that I use all the money I can spare on travels around the globe, preferably to the more warmer destinations. The biggest disadvantage of travelling is however, in my opinion, getting there, so in this post I will share my top 9 things that irritates me when flying. 

OK, many will maybe include crying babies in their list, but here I am a bit ambivalent. Even though I of course hope to avoid being seated next to families with a baby, it is impossible to blame that little bundle of joy for anything. I have myself been very lucky with my own son, given he has behaved like an angel from his first flight when he was about 6 months old. From that trip I remember one stressed out mom (namely me) trying to change his diaper on the tiny toilet, while I myself had to use the toilet. How anyone can be physically able to join the mile high club in these conditions is to me a … Anyway, back to the toilet changing my son’s diaper. Afterwards I tried to place him up against the wall, so that I could use the toilet, but he just kept falling over on the dirty floor. In the end I had to open the door and pass him to the next person in a very long line, asking him to pass my son down the line and hope that his father would recognize him when he passed by. Worked like a charm (this was not a very big plane, so the risk of handing over my baby to a stranger was slim to none). The flight attendants later fell in love with my son and carried him around for the remainder of the trip. 

OK, that was a bit off topic, but the point was that I have excluded innocent, little babies from my hate list, even the crying ones. The list is therefore as follows: 

9. Slow (as in so-incredible-slow-it-shouldn’t-be possible) people in the security check line. You know the type, right? The ones that are wearing like 10 metal necklaces, shoes with metal tip, watch, rings, multiple computers, Ipads and what nots, scarfs, jacket, glasses, sun lotion, aloe very juice etc and who doesn’t prepare a thing before they are in front of the line and hence occupy it for a looooong time. For some reason I always end up in that line..

8. People who bring all their belongings as carry-on and take up all the room in the cabin (and under my seat as well…). They also often manage to fill up the compartments behind their own seat as well, so when the passengers are to exit the plane, they are struggling their way in the opposite direction to retrieve their belongings. 

7. People who ignore the yellow line in front of the conveyor belt and places themselves almost on the belt itself to retrieve their luggage. Don’t mind the rest of the passengers who cannot get to their suitcase when it passes by. 

6. Flights involving a shuttle bus. To me is like winning the lottery if I get to board the plane directly without having to be transferred to it in I shuttle bus. 

5. Flights from Oslo (Norway’s main airport). Gardermoen is all lines, slow service, delayed flights and crowds. Also, it is a 2 hour train ride with a train service that is often late and almost as often replaced with pedestrian-for-bus-for-train service. Since I am also pathologically inclined to always being early at the airport, it means that several hours have to be added as buffer to the total travel trip. To make things worse, I have a just-in-time boyfriend, but he indulges me by not asking when our flight is but only when we are to leave. In return I buy him a beer at the bar when he discovers that we yet again are 3+ hours early at the airport. I much prefer travelling from our local airport in Sandefjord, a 10 minutes drive away. Even I do not have to add so much buffer time then.

4. When the not-so-baby-anymore kids are kicking the back of my seat and the parents ignore them while sipping their wine and watching movies and pretend not to notice my after a while not so subtle hints that this is frowned upon. My strategy then is to directly confront the little prince/princess and tell them to stop pronto! Even when doing this it seems like there is only a 50% chance of the parents  noticing. 

3. People hovering in the aisle when passengers are boarding. How hard can it be to move aside and let other people pass by? This is by the way closely connected with earlier point of bringing all of their belongings into the plane. The less carry-on the faster they can be seated and the less risk of delayed departure (and, most important, the less frustration for yours truly.)

2. People taking up parts of my seat or my personal space. Once I had treated myself to a place by the emergency exit for better legroom and I anticipated a smooth ride. Then, this huge bodybuilder’ish guy drops down in the seat next to me and need I say that his upper body needed some of my space as well? In addition he was seriously man spreading, which left me no choice than to lean up against the window. Then the guy fell asleep and leaned towards me even more, which resulted in me being pinned to the wall, and not being able to move at all

1. People who pushes back the chair while I am in the middle of my meal. Plenty of times I have had to grab on to my drink or tray to avoid it ending in may lap due to the moron in front of me pushing back his seat without any considerations, leaving me to finish my meal while having to watch his dandruff head threatening to sprinkle my food. 

Wow, despite these hick-ups (I know I sound awful, but most of the time the people that annoys me are blessfully ignorant about it), I do really love travelling. Or, more specific, I really love getting there. My next trip will be to Dubai in just a few days and I am so looking forward to getting away from the snow and the cold. Bon Voyage…