Friday, 11 April 2014

Flying With Virgin Atlantic

Before our trip to California, neither of us had flown long-haul before. But I was assured by friends and family that we were in good hands with Virgin Atlantic. Our flight from London Heathrow to San Francisco International was 10 hours and 40 minutes; but it actually felt a lot shorter. We boarded 'Cosmic Girl' half an hour before take off, and settled into our seats at the back of the plane - after walking through the First Class and Premium Economy cabins, dreaming of an upgrade! In all honesty, our seats were fine. Ash is over 6ft tall and didn't have a problem with leg room. I'm a fidget and found the space ok. We had selected our seats a few weeks before online, and were lucky to nab one of the rows at the back of the plane with only 2 spaces, so we didn't have to deal with Stranger Danger for the best part of 11 hours.
After take off, I started browsing through the on-board Vera software, which is loaded with movies, TV shows, music and games, as well as in-flight stats to see where we were and how far was left to travel, and links to news updates from the ground. The screen is controlled via a handset which clicks in to the arm of the seat. I watched three films, two TV episodes, and listened to Beyonce's new album whilst in the air, whilst Ash scratched up his poker skills. Definitely the best in-flight entertainment we've experienced!
It felt like every hour the air hostesses were bringing round drinks or nibbles; and everything is complimentary! I enjoyed a few white wines whilst Ash had some lagers, and then came the main meal - we chose lasagne, and it was good! (Well, for plane food...) The Gü Key Lime Pie pudding was the best part though ;) On board we also had mini pretzels for snacking during the films and tiny Fab lollies! 
Before we knew it, we were preparing to touch down in California. Sure, nobody enjoys being cooped up on a flight for 11 hours, but our time on board Cosmic Girl was pretty good!
Flying home from Las Vegas to London Gatwick was a little different. We opted for similar seats to before, just the two of us on a row, and I enjoyed watching another couple of films. But, it was a night flight, and both of us really struggled to sleep. I'm the type of person who can fall asleep anywhere, so it surprised me that I didn't manage much more than an hour on board (made up for it on the car journey home!) 
When we bundled through our front door, we both had our Virgin Atlantic Flyer cards waiting for us which had come through the post, and we're hoping to make use of them both again very soon :)

Monday, 7 April 2014

365 x 2014 - San Francisco & Las Vegas (March 26 - April 5)

And, we're back! We had such an incredible time in San Francisco and Las Vegas, and I'm sad that it's all over so quickly. We explored two amazing cities and already have hopes of returning to the US soon. But for now, I'd thought I'd continue my 365 Project with photo from my Instagram which I posted during our trip. I'll share some proper stories and photographs from our trip in the coming weeks.

85/365: Flight time! Neither of us had flown long-haul before, but the 10 hours 40 minutes in the air went surprisingly quickly. I watched Despicable Me 2, Don Jon and The Dallas Buyers Club - all three were pretty good!
86/365: This view took my breath away. It felt like everything we'd been waiting for, for over a year was finally here. We drove over the bridge and then stopped for photos, before touring the rest of the city to get our bearings.
87/365: Here we go Giants! The ballpark was huge, the beer was expensive and the popcorn came in gigantic cones. They lost to local rivals Oakland Athletics but the atmosphere was still really amazing  -  better than any football or rugby match I've been too!
88/365: Our first really rainy day in San Francisco! We had a before-breakfast stroll up Lombard Street, the windiest street in the world. It was incredibly steep, lots of leg work involved. I didn't feel so guilty about all the burgers when I finally got to the top ;)
89/365: Another up-hill stroll! This one found us on Alamo Square, a gorgeous park where you can find some Painted Ladies. We walked from Haight/Ashbury down to the square, and saw so many beautiful houses on the way.
90/365: After days of eating crap (mostly just burgers and fries) I felt like I needed some fruit... blueberry pancakes from Denny's was as close as I got.
91/365: The view of the Golden Gate from Ghirardelli Square whilst we were queuing for the cable car on a rainy San Franciscan day.
92/365: Hotel room selfie before we left for Vegas! As you can see, Ash was very excited to get to Sin City!
93/365: We took a helicopter trip out to the Grand Canyon, and it was the most breathtaking thing every! At the bottom, we had a champagne breakfast and took lots of photos. I was one of my favourite moments of our trip.
94/365: The fountains at the Bellagio were gorgeous, especially at night. I loved them so much that I made Ash go back with my the next day :)
95/365: The view from our room, in the Luxor Hotel (the big pyramid!) We overlooked the Sphinx, and if you looked left you could see more of the Strip.