My desire to visit the much-acclaimed Chicago was an itch I had been dying to scratch for quite some time. Several years ago, I forged a friendship with a number of colleagues while working for a client in Long Island. Several days a week, we would have team dinners and play tennis; we even managed to score Knicks tickets at some point. I look back fondly on that project. It was a good project which yielded equally good company. But I digress… Many of my colleagues there were actually based out of our Chicago office and would travel in from the windy city each week. Aside from the nightmarish winter stories they told, all of them seemed to adore the city and openly gushed about how great it was just about any chance they had. As the project came to a close, I was extended warm and open invitations from a bunch of them to visit anytime. Check that…Anytime but winter.
As we all went our separate ways, one colleague in particular named Manish, whom I had become especially close with would reach out to me every 3 – 6 months to see when I was planning to visit. Each time I would offer up a deep sigh wrapped in a polite decline. I even had a few tentative travel dates set up, but it just seemed life kept getting in the way. Was this trip ever going to happen? continue reading »
Most that know me know just how indifferent I am to baseball. Soccer, Basketball, Football and even tennis are the sports I typically follow or even play. Would you believe that I have never been to a major league baseball game? Well, that is until now. Our coordinating partner was visiting our engagement team in Detroit and generously decided he’d take us all out to a game. There were maybe 15 of us in total. As mentioned earlier, baseball is just not my cup of tea but I have had the urge in recent years to actually go to a game. Really, I just wanted to take in all the “great atmosphere” a ball park is supposed to exude. Or at least that’s what everyone tells me. Well, I can honestly say that I had a great time. The seats were great and the company was enjoyable. Beer and hotdogs filled the air and I quickly understood why baseball games were such a family friendly activity. Definitely more so then NFL or even some NBA games I’ve attended in the past.
The game actually ended pretty early so we decided to make our way to the Greek town Casino which was only a 10 minute walk from the stadium. Gambling really does nothing for me but I will make an annual $20 donation, via slots, to the Mohegan Sun. That seems to be enough to suppress my non-existent appetite for gambling. Our group split in half as there were some that wanted to test their luck at blackjack. I sat back, enjoyed my Heineken, and chatted for about an hour before I made my way back to the hotel. continue reading »
To be honest, Kathleen and I did not have Ireland high up on our travel wishlist. We had been debating whether or not Egypt or Turkey would be our travel destination of choice this year. However, upon further review, we decided we wanted a trip that would be relatively easy and easily accomplished within a weeks time. Egypt would require at least a couple weeks and Turkey felt as though it would require a bit more planning then we were willing to put in at the time of booking. So…We ultimately settled on Ireland after a quick brain storm session which focused in on several factors. English is the primary language…Check. Relatively short flight…Check. Flight logistics worked with my air mileage status…Check. Hotel logistics worked with my status…Check. So off to Ireland we went.
I must admit that we did very little planning for our trip. A week prior to departure we did purchase a Rick Steves travel book for Ireland and got a high-level idea of where we wanted to go. Dublin would be our home base and we had several day trips in mind that would enable us to soak in the Irish countryside. We anticipated heavy rain for our trip as it is Ireland after all. Rain coats, umbrellas, etc. We were ready to go! Would you believe it that it didn’t really rain the entire 7 days we were there? Not only that, it was bright and sunny 5 of the 7 days. It’s amazing how lucky we were. Just to put that into perspective. It’s rains about 270 days per year in Ireland and this past year alone they had a rain streak of 80 straight days. Like I said, we were extremely lucky.
Our trip was unique in the sense that the country didn’t grab hold of us immediately. Honestly, we just didn’t love it right away. In fact, Dublin in particular seemed unremarkable at first blush as compared to most other European cities. However, as we immersed ourselves into the Irish culture and learned of their inspirational history, our view completely changed. Unremarkable details suddenly became extraordinary. For such a small country it’s quite amazing if you think of the large artistic influences it’s had on the rest of the world. We wholeheartedly recommend Ireland to anyone considering visiting the country. continue reading »