Happy place Barcelona and my insider tips

Happy place Barcelona and my insider tips

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Hello my Aviator,

in August 2016 I moved my home base from Berlin to Barcelona. The original plan was to stay longer than three months, but then I received a new job offer which forced me to move back to Germany. Since then I did not get back to Barcelona until this summer. I was excited to return to my happy place for two weeks of vacation. I really missed the city because it feels like a second home. Unfortunately, the new network of the Airbus does not include Barcelona with an overnight. In this blog post, I will not only share with you my highlights of my vacation and give you some great insider tips but also share my experiences during the cruel attack on Las Ramblas.

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Skyline of Barcelona from the air

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Happy place Barcelona and my insider tips

Barcelona is a great city to do sight seeing. Around every corner, you can discover something new. I recommend renting a scooter to do sight seeing but only when you feel comfortable driving in high traffic situations. Moto rent offers affordable prices. A scooter gives you so much freedom to go to different places in a minimum amount of time.

Since I did already a lot of sight seeing during my past stays, I did not do much this time.

What to do?

Bunkers el Carmel: A must visit if you want to enjoy one of the best views of Barcelona and the sea.  Turó del Carmel is a hill with a bunker on top. Best time is during sunset and sunrise. Take something to drink and don't think you will be alone ;-) The entrance is still free.

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Enjoying the view at Bunkers el Carmel

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Casa Batlló: Barcelona is the city of Gaudi. His architecture is world famous. One of the highlights is the Casa Batlló. I have walked by this townhouse many times before because it is centrally located on the Passeig de Gracia. If you like the outside of the building you should dare look inside. It is really impressive to discover the passion Gaudí has put into this building. I literally was overwhelmed by the beauty that I got glossy eyes. Each guest receives a smart phone as a tour guide and that way you can explore the building also in the virtual reality.

Insider tip: For most famous sights, you can buy tickets online. This way you can skip long lines at the entrance.

 

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Casa Battló on Passeig de Gracia

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Tour guide 2.0 = smart phone

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Boat trip: One of my highlights was a boat trip with Barcelona desde el Mar. I have seen Barcelona many times from the cockpit but to discover this amazing city from the sea was a unique experience. It gave me a whole new perspective of Barcelona. My little cruise lasted around 2 hours and I enjoyed a beautiful sunset from the sea.

Insider tip: Book the boat "Sa Nina" for yourself and take your friends with. Instagram: @barcelonadesdeelmar

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My first boat trip in Barcelona / Instagram: @barcelonadesdeelmar

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Sunset cruise in Barcelona / photo by Andrés

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Where to sleep?

During my three months in Barcelona, I lived in a shared apartment in the historic Gotico. It was a great experience to live right in the center of this vibrant city. For this vacation, I stayed at several hotels in different parts of town.

I had the chance to spend part of my vacationat the Hotel Arts Barcelona. Its unique building characterizes the skyline of Barcelona and was first opened during the Olympics in 1992. It belongs to the luxurious hotel chain Ritz Carlton. As a pilot, I have slept in many 5 stars hotels around the world but the Arts Hotel is exceptional. Not only the temporary design but also the great team make the difference.

 

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Pool area of the Hotel Arts Barcelona 

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My executive suite was located on the 26th and offered me over 70 square meters of space and a fantastic view of the city and the beach. At night I could even see the Tibidabo mountain laying in my bed. The hotel itself is located right on the beach and just one kilometer from Barceloneta.

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One bedroom suite in the Hotel Arts Barcelona

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Luxury bathroom of my suite

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Over the weekend I almost did not leave the hotel, so I could enjoy all their facilities. The day typically started with a tasty breakfast. I spent some relaxing hours in a cabana at the pool and became a big fan of the Club Lounge on the 35th floor. This lounge is a bar, restaurant, cafe and relaxing area at the same time. It is like a hotel inside the hotel. It is more private since only few hotel guests have access to it.

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Check out in the club lounge

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Tasty breakfast on the patio of the Arts Hotel

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Do not miss out on the Spa 43, which offers luxury facilities paired magnificent view of Barcelona. Convince yourself in a 360 degrees video from the terrace in 150 meters height. For the first time, it took my VIRB360 of Garmin on a journey.  This compact camera takes your photos and videos to whole new level. Besides a brilliant resolution of up to 5.7k/30fps, it shoots in 360 degrees. The viewer can decide himself where he wants to look at and you can even share videos in real time with the VIRB360. Check out my first 360 degrees photo from the cockpit on my facebook page. From now on you have the chance to fly with me in 360 degrees.

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https://www.facebook.com/pilotpatrick/videos/vb.373722572693345/1524204674311790/?type=2&theater

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Insider tip: Get a cocktail prepared by Diego at the Hotel Arts. I was lucky to taste some of his creations. He is the funniest and coolest bar tender.

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Best barkeeper in town / Diego Instagram @dondiegobcn 

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If you rather want to stay in Eixample I can recommend the Ohla Eixample hotel. It is a five-star hotel with a minimalistic design and a roof top pool. I stayed in a spacious junior suite. The location grants you close proximity to all kind of different attractions, bars, and restaurants.

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Junior suite of the Ohla Eixample hotel

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Roof top pool in Eixample

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Which season is best to visit Barcelona?

Barcelona is great all year around. If you want to enjoy hot weather at the beach then you need to visit during the summer months. But if you come to do sight seeing and to discover the city, then I recommend avoiding the high season. That way touristic places are less crowded and waiting times are less. Additionally, you do not have to walk through the city in extreme heat.

Insider tip: Visit Barcelona in the spring or late summer. My favorite month was October. Of course, the weather is not that stable, but the city is less crowded and you have the chance to go wave surfing. Additionally, the prices for a hotel room are less expansive compared to the summer.

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Magic fountain show

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Where to eat?

Barcelona offers diverse dining options. There is much more than tapas. Catalans eat late. Either be early or make a reservation. Here are my all time favorite places to go:

Väcka: Vegan restaurant and cafe. Try their vegan classic burger and have a raw treat. Gracia

Teresa’s Carles: Vegetarian food and juices (only indoor/more for dinner) El Raval

Flax and Kale: Healthy restaurant offering a diverse menu (all day) Make a reservation and request a table on their outdoor rooftop garden. Don't miss the brunch on the weekend. El Raval

Surf House: Restaurant right by the beach. The menu offers healthy food but also tasty burger for a cheat day. Try their waffles! Barceloneta

Vinitus: In my opinion one of the best tapas restaurant in Barcelona. After 8 pm it gets really busy. You can choose your fresh fish from the display at the bar. Eixample

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Weekend brunch at the Flax and Kale

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Vegetarian restaurant Barcelona / Teresa's Carles

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Petit Brot: completely raw café, daily menus, and juices (breakfast and lunch) El Raval

Casa Gispert: Dried fruits, nuts and so much more. Best dried mangos I ever had. El Born

BeBo cold pressed: Tasty healthy juices, raw snacks (more for to go) Eixample

Barraca: seafood and paella overlooking the beach of Barceloneta (lunch and dinner)

Cafè Jaime Beriestain: high-class food in a concept restaurant (more for dinner) Eixample

Nubafancy restaurant with live DJ, nice interior and outside seating (more for dinner

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Meet and Greet in Barcelona

After a Meet and Greet in Berlin, Munich and Los Angeles, I was excited to meet my Aviators in Barcelona. One day prior my scheduled event the cruel attack happened on Las Ramblas killing innocent victims. I was at the sight just a couple of hours earlier and when it happened I was safe at the beach. The whole city was shocked and frightened that day. In the evening everyone stayed at home and Barcelona turned into a ghost town. But already the next day people were on the street again to make clear that they are not afraid "No tinc por!" This was a great signal to the world and to the terroristic organization. I decided as well not to cancel the Meet and Greet, because this would have been the signal that we restrict our freedom.

Thanks to all my Aviators who came to see me. I was really happy to get to know over 20 people. We met for one hour at Placa Catalunya to have a chat, take photos and to show that we are not afraid. Together we can create a more peaceful world!

 

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Meet and Greet in Barcelona with my Aviators

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Fantastic weather, interesting sights, cultural events, the beach and of course friendly people make Barcelona a perfect vacation spot. You can choose from a great variety of restaurants and hotels. The prices for food are decent, but the hotel prices can be expensive during high season. My dream is still to live in my two favorite cities Berlin and Barcelona!

 

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Enjoying the beach of Barcelona

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In which city could you imagine to live as well? Please comment below and do not forget to subscribe to my newsletter with your email below.

Safe travels and happy landings!

your Pilot Patrick 

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my highlights and travel tips of Los Angeles

My highlights and travel tips of Los Angeles

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Hello my Aviator, the road trip through California was a lot of fun. I started off in San Francisco from where I took the Pacific coast highway southbound. My final destination was Los Angeles, where I spend over one week in May. I am excited to show you my highlights and give you travel tips for your next stay in Los Angeles. 

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View from the Griffith Observatory

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The City of Angeles

Los Angeles is immense. Four million people live in a city which is so spread out that you get the impression that it does not seem to be one city. In fact, every part of town is different and has its own vibe. There is so much to discover and my list of things I wanted to do was long. In total, I stayed eight nights in L.A. and this was definitely not enough. On some days I was just relaxing and living like a local. The weather at the end of May was ideal.

 

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Meet and Greet with my Aviators from L.A.

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Public transportation exists but is bad and unreliable. I used a rental car for my road trip and to get around in town. Parking can be really expensive. Especially in West Hollywood, where street parking is not allowed at night. So you are basically forced to pay a valet parking which costs around 40$ per night. UBER  is very popular in the States. It is a convenient and inexpensive way to get around.

My tip: Stay at least for a week, so the sight seeing does not become too stressful. May is a perfect month. Overnight in different parts of town. Do not drive during peak hours and avoid parking at night in West Hollywood. 

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The Spirit of Santa Monica at the Flying Museum of Stanta Monica airport

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What did I do?

Griffith Observatory: This Observatory is well-known from movies and gives spectacular views of Los Angeles. The parking situation is horrible and it is a long way up there. I did a really spontaneous meet and greet. Even though that place is so remote seven Aviators showed up. Thanks again for coming!

Hollywood sign: I drove up to the Lake Hollywood Park (3160 Canyon Lake Dr), from this place you have a good view of the sign. The light was nice during sunset.

Venice: My favorite part of town. Trendy places with cool shops, café, and restaurants. Do not miss to visit Abbot Kinney Blvd and the famous and crazy Venice Beach Broadwalk.

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Santa Monica Pier

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Santa Monica Pier: I only took a quick stroll over the famous pier with its amusement attractions. The place was really crowded. I personally did not like it.

Walk of Fame: A must do touristic attraction. You probably will be disappointed by the crappy area around the walk of fame but it is fun to walk on the famous stars.

Beverly Hills: I was cruising along the Rodeo Drive with its luxurious shops and ended up in Beverly Hills, where the rich and famous life. The streets are picture perfect with hundreds of tall palm trees.

My tip: Rent a bike and drive along the bike route from Venice to Santa Monica. Especially around sunset it really beautiful along the ocean. 

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Typical road in Beverly Hills

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My accommodations

It stayed at several places in Los Angeles. The costs for an accommodation are expensive in Los Angeles. One night I paid 300$ for a 3-star hotel and it was nothing special.

The first few nights I spend in Venice at a lovely Airbnb. I had my own small bungalow with a nice outside area at a great location. The experience staying at the Airbnb was more personal than a hotel and the hosts Brad and Julien were great.

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My Bungalow in Venice.

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L.A. is so vast that is why moved to West Hollywood for a couple of days to discover this part of town as well.

The last five days I spend in Venice again. That time I stayed at different Airbnb which is one its kind. The property consisted of two houses with an original airstream and a patio with a hot tub. The property was located right in the heart of Venice close to Abbot Kinney Blvd.

My tip: Book your accommodations well ahead of time. They sell out quite quickly and get really expensive. I killed a lot of time searching for a place to stay during my vacation. The app "Hoteltonight" can be handy for spontaneous bookings.

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Amazing Airbnb with an airstream

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Abbot Kinney Boulevard

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Six Flags Magic Moutain

I am a big fan of roller coasters. For me, they can not be thrilling enough. As a teenager, I heard about Six Flags Magic Mountain the first time. In total, they have over 15 different roller coasters. I was excited to visit this amusement park, even though I read a lot of negative reviews on the internet. In the end, most of the complaints of other visitors proofed right. It was a rather disappointing fun day.

A lot of rides were closed because of maintenance and due to a short shower in the morning- It was not allowed to bring your own food (I still did). The outlets only offered unhealthy meal options and a regular pizza was over 30$. I did not have the impression that the park was well maintained either. But their rides were a lot of fun. Especially the roller coaster "X“ was a thrill. I visited on a Monday and maximum waiting time for an attraction was  20 mins. That was great.

My tip: If you are working in the travel industry register at Plum benefits. This online booking platform overs great discount on entertainment, hotels, etc. This way I could save 50% on the entrance fee. During my time as exchange student, I have been to L.A. before. I can recommend the Universal Studios a lot. 

 

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Six Flags Magic Mountain

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Where to eat?

Food is not inexpensive in the supermarket and in restaurants. Especially if you want good quality and organic products. To find healthy meal options I use the App "Happy Cow". Here are some places I can recommend. (not all healthy)

My tip: Popular restaurants are really crowded during peak hours. Try to do a reservation, so you do not have to wait for a table!

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Tasty oysters at a restaurant in Venice

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Sunset vibes at Venice Beach

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Pier at Hermosa Beach during sunset

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Next time in L.A. I want to take a helicopter flight over the city, do a hike to the Hollywood sign and visit the Getty Center. I also would like to visit all the amazing beaches along the coast line to go surfing. Los Angeles is definitely a place where I could imagine to live for a longer period of time.

What is your favorite city in the United States and what can you recommend to do there? Please comment below!

Happy landings and safe travels!

Your Pilot Patrick

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my electronic travel buddies

My electronic travel buddies

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(Sponsored by product placement)

Hello my Aviator, I have been asked many times about my devices I am using for my daily updates on my social media. This weekend I visited the museum of engineering in Berlin to discover their aerospace exhibition and to present you my technical travel buddies. Besides sharing my experiences with the devices, I am giving away gift vouchers worth 20€ and 100€ for electronic devices! Find out below how to win.

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Elitebook

My newest travel companion is the HP EliteBook Folio G1 X2F49EA. I have been using this EliteBook now for two weeks and I am really convinced of the mobility and the performance. With a weight of only 1,07 kg and the size of 29,2 x 20,9 x 1,24 cm it is perfect for traveling. The touch screen makes this laptop even more innovative. Before the purchase, I checked review sites to retrieve more information about the HP Elitebook. This notebook is currently the best of its kind at the moment. The Elitebook was provided by the courtesy of notebooksbilliger.de. At the end of this article, you have the chance to win gift vouchers worth 100€ and 20€ of notebooksbooksbillger.de

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my newest travel buddy HP EliteBook

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Camera

In the beginning, I used my smart phone to take videos and photos. But I noticed quickly that the quality of my photos on my blog needs to be better. The smart phone is handy for quick snaps and to record content for my Instagram story, but the capability of a smart phone camera is limited.

That is why I bought a digital camera which is easy to handle because I am not a photographer.  After reading lots of reviews I chose the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 IV Camera. Of course, this camera has a lot of settings as well but is easier to handle than a reflex camera. The automatic function works great for me and the size is ideal for my travels. I can also flip the screen to take a selfie for you.

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Sony Cyper-shot digital camera with "Smatree" tripod

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Action camera

An action camera is must for everyone who wants to record action scenes. I primarily use this camera to take videos and photos in the cockpit. The big advantages over a regular camera are the numerous mountings and the wide angle. Compare the photo below! The left one is taken with the iPhone and the right one with a GoPro. Both from the same position. I switched to the Hero5 lately. One of the biggest benefits of the new model is that you do not need an extra water proof case and you can view your recordings on a build in touch screen on the back.

The silver aircraft is a Junkers Ju 52 also called "Tante Ju". My great grand father used to work for the company which built this aircraft. As an "avgeek" it is a dream to fly on board of one of the last models.

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Junker Ju 52 "Tante Ju"

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iPhone 7 versus GoPro 5

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Tripods

Tripods can be really handy especially if there is nobody around to take a photo of you. I am trying to travel light that is why I am only taking two small tripods which fit easily in my carry on luggage. The tripod "Magnesit Copter" of Cullmann is versatile in its usage. Besides using it as a tripod you can use it as a handheld to attach your device. The head is movable and the standardized bolt allows me to attach my digital camera or my action camera. I also use it for my Instagram live videos. This way it is easier to hold the camera and to guarantee a smoother stream while moving.

Additionally, I am taking a flexible tripod of "Smatree" on my journies. This one has an adjustable arm and a clam. This is really handy if there is no flat surface to put a regular tripod. I use it most of the times to install my GoPro 5 in the cockpit.

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Cullmann Magnesit copter tripod and handheld

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The secret behind jerk free videos

This secret is expensive. I bought an "Osmo Mobile" of DJI a while ago. This is a handheld device which turns your smartphone into a smart motion camera. This makes your video look professional and smooth. Watch the video below to discover the cinematic effect. Most of the time I use it for my live streams on my Facebook page. Even during the Xletix run, it produced a smooth video: That makes it more attractive for my Aviators to watch.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vBmWJ5sMwRM&feature=youtu.be

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Other technical must haves

You can have the best cameras, but with a low battery, they are worthless. That is why I always carry a power bar with me. I can recommend the power bar of Anker PowerCore + 13400 mAh. The size and weight fit easily even in a pocket of a jacket. It comes with two USB ports and charges an iPhone about three times.

Since all my devices are charged via a USB port I have an adapter for an outlet which can charge up to four devices simultaneously. This way you do not have to carry numerous adapter for each device.

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My technical travel buddies

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My editing tips

I am not a big fan of filters because, in my opinion, this changes the "reality" of a photo. This is why I do not use any of them. I want to keep it clean and do not express something which is not the real world. To edit my photos I am using "Snapseed". This mobile app is really easy to use and helps you to fine tune your photo. I use it to crop photos and adjust the brightness, saturation, contrast and so on. It really just takes minutes to edit one photo. My tip less is more!

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Anywhere now with my HP EliteBook from notebooksbilliger.de

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As I promised to you I am giving away some more gift vouchers of notebooksbilliger.de! You have the chance to win gift vouchers worth 2x 100€ and 5x 20€.

The first winners of the give away on Instagram are:

100€: @lifemightbealright @b2theritta

20€: @michaela_barber @p_wongsakon  @ameer_swead @lukus_poz @_dennis87_

All you need to do is:

  • like my Instagram/ Facebook post with my new EliteBook
  • subscribe with your email to the newsletter of my blog below
  • leave a comment below with the device you would use the gift voucher for

Good luck and happy landings!

Your Pilot Patrick

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roadtrip from san francisco to Los Angeles

My road trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles

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Last time in California was during my exchange year as a high school student in 2004. My parents visited me from Germany and we made a big road trip from Las Vegas via San Francisco to Los Angeles. With the age of sixteen, it was a great adventure. After finishing my flight school in Germany I always wanted to go back to do that road trip again. Now thirteen years later I finally managed to drive down from San Francisco to Los Angeles on Highway 1. Read about my exciting drive along on of the most beautiful routes in the US and learn from my recommendations.

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Pacific coastline of Malibu

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Planning of my road trip

Before booking my flight connections I wanted to make sure that I do not have to drive back and forth. So I booked a flight into San Francisco (read about my flight here) and a connection out of Los Angeles. I am using Sixt rental cars a lot in Germany so I got one in California as.

I can really recommend booking with them. Especially their premium convertibles are fantastic for a road trip. In case you spend some days in San Francisco you can pick it up at Fishermans wharf and start your road trip from there. I drove a BMW 6 series convertible of Sixt and the trunk fitted easily to big suitcases even with the top down.If you drive highway one I recommend to drive it southbound this way you have the ocean always to your right. UUnfortunatelyI received some bad news bevor starting my drive down to Los Angeles.

If you take highway one I recommend to drive it southbound this way you have the ocean always to your right. UnfortunatelyI received some bad news bevor starting my drive down to Los Angeles.

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BMW 6 Series rental car of Sixt

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Route

The idea was to drive along highway one all the way to Los Angeles. This is one of the most scenic roads in the United States. Unfortunately, I had to find out that a road closure around to Big Sur forced me to drive a big detour away from the coastline. Due to heavy rain at the beginning of the year, a bridge was flooded and destroyed. I heard about this before but I figured it will be fixed when arriving in May. I was really disappointed when I found out that the bridge is still blocked. The road between Monterey and Cambria is the most beautiful part.

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Road trip route from San Francisco to Los Angeles

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Fantastic views from Point Dume in Malibu

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Stops

Along the way, I did several stops for a break and to overnight. Best is to drive without pressure and to stop whenever you see a beautiful spot. In my opinion, I forced myself a little bit to get to LA fast. At the end, I only did two overnights along the route.

Day 1

Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz was my first stop after San Francisco. I had a healthy lunch at Cafe Gratitude. To find vegan and vegetarian restaurants and cafés near me I use the app called "Happy Cow". After a delicious meal, my happy mood was ruined by a parking ticket of 38 USD because I the meter was expired by five minutes. After a short walk on Santa Cruz pier, which gives you have a nice view of the shoreline I hit the road again.

Monterey

The city of Monterey is situated in a beautiful bay area. My plan was to overnight there, but since I booked my rooms spontaneously the rates were really high that night. That is why I already continued my drive in the evening. Make sure you stop at the Lover's point park. The best and cheapest food during my whole trip I had in Julia's Vegetarian Restaurant close to Monterey.

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Lovers point park in Monterey

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Carmel-by-the-Sea

This time I did not stop in Carmel-by-the-Sea, which is a small beach city. But I remember from my road trip thirteen years ago that is worth visiting. It is known for its fairytale cottages and village-like center. Do the seventeen-mile drive from Monterey Peninsula to Pebble Beach. It is a stunning stretch of roadway along the Pacific coastline.

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Delicious food at Julia's Vegetarian Restaurant

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Cambria

From Monterey, I had to take the US101 to drive further south due to the blockage of Highway 1. Online I found a really nice boutique hotel in Cambria called El Colibri. It was the hotel with the best quality price ratio during my entire vacation. My cozy room featured a hot tub and a fireplace.

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Hotel El Colibri in Cambria

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Seals at the beach close to Cambria

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Day 2

Next day it was a little bit chilly and cloudy. So I did an excursion to Hearst Castle. This private property situated on top of a hill. The property is spectacular and is a must see once the Neptune Pool is fully repaired again. Not far from Hearse Castle you can watch seals from a parking spot.

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Main building of the Hearst Castle

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Hearst Castle indoor pool / Outfit by Michalsky

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Santa Barbara

My second overnight I spend in Santa Barabara the "American Riviera". It is an easy going city and the atmosphere is quite relaxed. Hotel prices are over the top. I booked a room last minute via the app "hotel tonight" so I saved a little. The beach is with hundreds of palm trees is really beautiful. After a quick breakfast, I started off for my last part of my drive to Los Angeles.

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Beach of Santa Barbara

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Day 3

Malibu

Only 30 Minutes from Santa Monica (LA) lies the famous city of Malibu. You definitely need to know where to go otherwise you drive through and realize later that you have missed Malibu. The prices for food and drinks are insane. I had a healthy green smoothie and I paid 14€ for it. The best view you get from Point Dumes State Park.

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Point Dume State Beach

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Driving along the famous beach houses I found a spot where I could access the beach and have a stroll. While searching for Charly Sheen's house, I noticed that most houses look abandoned. But as I found out later people usually come here only for the weekend.

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Searching for Charlie Harper's house in Malibu ;)

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Taking a stroll along the famous houses in Malibu

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Resume

It was definitely the right decision to drive down to Los Angeles instead of flying. Of course, I was disappointed that I had to drive a big detour and I hope they will fix the road soon since hotels and other touristic attractions struggle. In My opinion, I rushed a little bit to get to Los Angeles. I suggest you spend three nights on the road and get a convertible to enjoy the beautiful landscape, even more, when driving.

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Where would you like to do a road trip?

Your Pilot Patrick

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my first time flying in first class

My first time flying in first class

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In May I spent over two weeks of vacation in California. On the way to San Fransisco, I flew in Lufthansa's First Class Cabin. I am now excited to share with you this amazing experience. My dream was to fly in First Class before I turn 30. I am so happy that I accomplished this goal. Read in this blog post how you can fly First Class without spending a fortune and how you can be the winner of my giveaway

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Timelessly elegant design and top-quality materials

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My last long range flight with Lufthansa was to Capetown in 2016. On this flight, I was seated in the first row of Business class. During the flight I was wondering how it would be to fly in First Class as traveling in Business class is already luxurious. At this point, I never imagined flying in First Class already one year later.

The first seven years of my aviation career I was working as a First Officer for a private jet company. I got to know the most exclusive flight service possible. That is why I was excited to see the differences between a private jet flight and a First Class flight as a passenger. You probably can imagine how excited I was to go on my flight to San Francisco.

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Lufthansa A340-600 MUC Terminal 2

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Lounge and connection

My trip started off luxurious with the limousine service of Blacklane. A comfortable Mercedes S-Class picked me up from home to take me to Berlin Tegel Airport. This service can be booked in more than 250 cities worldwide and is easy to pre-order via an application on your smartphone. In Berlin, I can recommend Blacklane's airport transfer in a business class car since it is faintly more expensive than a regular taxi. Their cars are clean and a friendly driver awaits you.

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Blacklane chauffeur service to Berlin Tegel airport

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My flight connection

04.05.17 TXL - MUC LH2037 13:00 - 14:05 Airbus A321 BUSINESS

04.05.17 MUC - SFO LH458 16:10 - 19:05 Airbus A340-600 FIRST

Lounge

During my short layover in Munich, I visited a First Class Lounge for the very first time. The lounge was located in the new Terminal 2 satellite building and is better than any private jet lounge I have been to. Besides a huge buffet, you could also choose from a la carte menu. While enjoying a refreshment you could watch the air traffic on the apron from cozy seating areas inside and from a terrasse outside. All kinds of facilities are provided for a demanding passenger. Compared to a Business Lounge it was much more exclusive and private. Unfortunately, I could only stay for 1,5 hours in the lounge. Try to get a connection which allows you to stay a minimum of 2 hours to enjoy the lounge the fully.

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Seat and airplane

My Seat was 1A on an A340-600. This is a window seat in the first row of First Class. I had so much space and storage. I really could not believe it. My seat not only offered direct aisle access but also four windows all for myself. Firstly I had to play around with all the buttons and check out the features of my own little living room above the sky.

The cabin consists only of eight First Class seats creating a really private and calm atmosphere. After dinner, the flight attendant did the turndown service to my seat. In the meantime, I took a small walk through the entire airplane wearing my pyjama. I had the impression that people were staring at me. I probably looked quite silly in this grandpa style outfit. The A340-600 used to be one of the longest aircraft and offers four different booking classes. Honestly, the economy class looked tighter than before. I wish I could have invited them to the free seats up front.

Returning to my seat I found a full flat 2-meter long bed with a mattress topper. A real 5-star bed in the sky.

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Seat 1A with Jil Sander Amenity Kit and Van Laack Pyjama

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My 2 meter flat bed in the sky

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Service and food

The service was exceptional and was tailored to one's wishes.  You can decide when you want to eat. There are no fixed service times. I enjoyed the full menu including the famous Lufthansa caviar service. If you get hungry during the flight you can always order something from the menu or get sweet and salty snacks from the small bar in front. The food was delicious and nicely decorated.

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Famous caviar service in First Class

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Three different starters on my huge dining table

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Worth it to fly First Class?

This depends solely on your personal needs. If you need the extra space and a more exclusive service then go ahead and fly First Class. A big plus over the Business Class is the larger bed, the privacy shield, and the much smaller cabin. In the end, you do arrive at the same time as everyone else and you have to wait until everyone has boarded to be ready for take off. The price for my route was about 3000€ one way. Definitely not for everyone's budget, but if you compare it to a private jet which costs 60,000€  the ticket is worth the price. I think if you want to allow oneself a flight in First Class then do it together with someone else at a special occasion.

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  • My ultra comfortable seat with a movable footrest

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How can you fly First Class?

You want to want to fly Economy on your next flight but do not want to spend a fortune to fly Business and First? Then register with the loyalty program of the airline or alliance you fly most of the time and start collecting miles. I usually fly with companies of the Star Alliance and I have been a Miles and More Member for ages. Since I have to travel a lot for my company and also on a private basis I reached a higher status which grants me extra benefits like the lounge access. If you are patient and start collecting miles in every possible way you end up having enough miles to book an award flight. With the Miles and More program you do not necessarily have to fly to earn miles. You can collect them by paying with your credit card or setting up a mobile. Check regularly their website for new ways to earn them and soon you will be flying First Class as well.

 

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Approaching San Francisco

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Amenities and my recommendations

The list of amenities is almost endless. Here are my favorite once

  • First Class lounge with restaurant
  • High baggage allowance
  • Priority boarding
  • Large choice of food and beverages
  • Amenity Kit, pyjama and slippers
  • Turndown Service
  • In-flight entertainment
  • Sound insulation
  • Privacy shield
  • Wifi (really poor connection on my flight)

My recommendations when flying First Class

  • Book a seat at the window
  • Try to fly A380 (LH: bigger lavatories and better cabin air)
  • Fly at least 10 hours
  • Use the First Class lounge (minimum 3 hours between flights)
  • Enjoy the full meal service including the Kaviar
  • Ask for the turndown service

 

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GIVEAWAY of my unused amenity kit (read below)

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It was truly a first class experience. Even though I did not sleep during the whole flight of 12 hours it did not last long enough to enjoy everything in detail. I love to fly as a passenger as well, but the real First Class remains up front in the cockpit. You get to your destination and you even get paid for it!

First Class give away 

I am giving away my unused First Class amenity kit of Jil Sander with La Praire products, sleeping mask, socks, etc. Just subscribe with your email to my blog and leave a comment with your favorite airline below this article and you have the chance to win it!

Good luck and happy landings!

your Pilot Patrick

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my highlights and secret spots

My highlights and secret spots of San Francisco

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Hello my Aviator,

last Tuesday I returned from my vacation in California. I flew into San Francisco, where I spend five nights before I started my road trip down to Los Angeles. In this blog post, I want to share my highlights of San Francisco and give you some recommendations for a trip to this fantastic city.

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During my travels as a pilot as well as on my private travels I explore a city without any fixed plan. This way I discover beautiful spots without even searching for them. I do not use any kind of tourist guide. Instead, I follow the recommendations of local people or of concierges in the hotel. I am trying to live like a local in an unknown city. This might sound strange but that way I can explore the city from a totally different perspective and this relieves the pressure that I have to see everything. This is sightseeing 2.0.

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Balcony of my suite in the Hilton Union Square

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Where to stay and park?

For a short city trip, the location of my accommodation should be as central as possible. This way you do not loose time and you have the chance to refresh during the day My hotel was the Hilton Union Square. I really liked the location of it because in was in the middle of the city with a lot of shops and restaurants around. I was lucky to be upgraded to a suite on the 36th floor which gave me an awesome view over the city. The suite even featured a balcony. Every morning I enjoyed breakfast at the Poached restaurant which offered healthy meal options like smoothies, quinoa oatmeal, and fresh cut fruits. Do not miss to have a cocktail at the Cityscape Bar on the top level of the hotel granting you a panoramic view of San Francisco.

The parking situation in San Francisco is horrible. The minimum price I found for an overnight parking spot was 35$. In most hotels, it is even around 50$ a night. Best is to arrive without a car and use the taxi service of UBER instead.

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My suite in the Hilton Union Square

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What to do and what to see?

There is so much to discover in San Francisco. Since the city is built on numerous hills it is exciting to see the city from different angles and viewpoints.  You may find that I left out on some big touristic attractions. One example is Alcatraz because I do not support attractions with extremely high unreasonable admission prices.

Coit Tower

This 64-meter sightseeing tower gives you 360 degrees view of the city. Make sure you go when the weather is good. The way up to the base of the Coit tower takes you through a small park so leave you car behind you.

 

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Historic Cabel Cars

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Painted Ladies

Close to Alamo Square, you will find beautiful painted Victorian and Edwardian style houses. Well known from movies. Make sure to go up on top of the square and you will be rewarded with a great background behind the Painted Ladies.

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in front of the Painted Ladies with my BMW 6 series of Sixt

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Ferry Building Market Place

The historic ferry building is a famous landmark and worth seeing. Additionally, you can visit a farmers market Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.

Dolores Park

This is a beautiful park in the Castro district. A nice spot to relax from the hectic city and you can enjoy a beautiful view of San Francisco as well.

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Dolores Park in Castro district

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Golden Gate Bridge

The iconic suspension bridge is situated at the entrance of San Francisco Bay. It is really nice to drive with a convertible top down over the bridge. If you are more sportive I suggest renting a bike at Fisherman's Wharf. Either way to the north side of the Golden Gate Bridge is about a 1-hour drive. The most spectacular experience is to go on a flight on a propeller aircraft. I was really lucky that Trent, a former U.S. Air Force Captain invited me to go on a flight over San Francisco Bay area.

https://www.facebook.com/pilotpatrick/videos/vb.373722572693345/1414910038574588/?type=2&theater

Watch the long version of the flight on my Facebook page @PilotPatrick

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Piper Acher at San Carlos Airport

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Scenic flight in a Piper Acher with Trent

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Twin Peaks

At the top of the twin peaks, you can enjoy one of the most amazing views over the city. Great all and really romantic during sunset.

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View from the Twin Peaks at night

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Lombard Street worth waiting in line to drive down

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Where to eat?

I was really happy that I could choose from numerous healthy restaurants. I use the app called "Happy cow" to find restaurants and supermarkets around me. You know that I am quite picky when it comes to food. Here are some places I can recommend:

Gracias Madre: vegan and organic Mexican food restaurant in a not so nice neighborhood. Decent prices.

Greens Restaurant: vegetarian restaurant located in an old pier building close to the Marina district. Steve Jobs used to go there. Big windows give a nice view of the marina and Golden Gate Bridge. A little bit pricey.

Seed and Salt: Vegan café and bistro located in the Marina district. Healthy snacks and smoothies in a trendy neighborhood.

 

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Greens Restaurant

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Secret spots

During my stay in San Francisco, I discovered two amazing hidden spots. I want to share with you the location so you have the great experience. Please do not tell anyone else so it remains a secret location.

Hidden mini park: In the middle of the San Fransico at the east end of Vallejo St. you will find a place called Ina Coolbrith Park. You may encounter only a few people while enjoying an amazing skyline in a small oasis.

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Ina Coolbrith Park

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Golden Gate Swing: I made this name just up. At a small beach located on the north side of the Golden Gate Bridge, you will find a swing installed on a branch of a tree. While swinging out to the Pacific Ocean you can enjoy a view of the Golden Gate Bridge. To get there you need to park your car at the North Tower Golden Gate Parking from there you follow the signs to Kirby Cove. It takes about 30 mins to reach the beach by foot.

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Kirby Cove

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San Francisco is a remarkable a place and definitely worth visiting in California. I hope you find my tips helpful for your next trip to this unique city. You should plan to stay a minimum of four full days to explore the city. I would not choose hot summer months because then city seeing can be quite exhausting. I encountered amazing weather during the beginning of May.

What do you like about San Francisco?

Happy landings and sight seeing!

Your Pilot Patrick

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flying in airberlin business cass

Air Berlin Business Class review

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"As much as I love to fly myself I also enjoy the time as passenger, especially when traveling comfortably in an airplane."

My last long range flight in business class was with Lufthansa to Cape Town last January. That is why I was super excited to fly with Air Berlin in their business class for a spontaneous vacation in the Caribbean. Air Berlin offers non stop connections from Berlin and Düsseldorf to destinations in North America, Middle America and to Abu Dhabi.

The outbound connection was with a short layover in Düsseldorf. The flight AB7446 departed at 09:50 to Punta Cana (PUJ) and touched down in paradise already at 14:30. The return flight AB7315 was nonstop back to Berlin departing at 16:50. Read my review about the flight experience in Air Berlin's business class.

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Seat

The business class cabin is Air Berlin's premium product since they do not offer a first class. The business class cabin is located in the front section of their A330 long haul fleet. With only 19 seats the cabin is really intime and tranquil. That is a big plus compared to other major airlines, where the cabin is much bigger and noisier. All business class seats offer direct aisle access and convert to a fully flat bed. I am 1,86 m tall and I could fully stretch out. I could lay comfortable on the site and on my back, but I found the seat width a little bit too narrow.

My seat on the outward was 4K which was situated directly at the window providing extra privacy and extra shoulder width due to the curvature of the cabin. A seat at the aisle has the advantage that it is easier to get in and out. The 6 seats in the middle I recommend only to couples traveling together since the seats are quite close to each other.

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Unfortunately my inflight entertainment was not working properly on both flights. I found that the storage for personal belongings was not sufficient. But good news from the ITB this week. Air Berlin presented their new business class seat, which they have modified to be even more comfortable. The current configuration will stay the same.

Service

One of the best food and beverage service I have had on board of a plane so far. The meals where delicious, hot and well presented. The food and beverage menu was rich in variety. I really liked the fact that I could have an espresso to my dessert and snacks in between meals. Since the front cabin is small the service is individual like in a restaurant. There are no big trollies moving around for food and drinks. In my opinion there was a little bit too much meat on the menu. But in case you are vegetarian or vegan you can always request special meals prior the flight (also in economy)

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Entertainment

The inflight entertainment offers music, show, games, movies and much more. The selection of movies is not the biggest but it is well enough for a 10 hour flight. My movie recommendation: Suicide Squad and Miss Peregrine’s home for peculiar. The headset is comfortable to wear and reduces background noise quite well.

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Air Berlin exquisite

Air Berlin offers all passengers who book an economy ticket to bid on available business class seats. This online service is called airberlin equisite. The price is completely set by yourself. 12 hours prior to departure you will find out whether the bid was successful. I used this kind of auction and was lucky to fly in business class to Miami. The upgrade was around 500€ (one way)

My vacation already started when boarding the aircraft. For me it is luxury to stretch out and have a good sleep in a flat position on board. The high price was definitely worth it since I only stayed for six nights in Punta Cana. This is how I could reduce my jet lag!

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Where to book?
www.airberlin.com

Where to fly?
Non stop from Berlin and Düsseldorf:  Miami (Mia), Los Angeles (LAX), Abu Dhabi (AHU), New York (JFK), Punta Cana (PUJ), Havanna (HAV )  Cancun (CUN), Chicago (ORD) ...

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Amenities in business class

  • Welcome drink
  • Amenity Kit with cosmetics
  • Blanket and pillow
  • Food and drink menu
  • Inflight Enterainment
  • Priority boarding
  • Lounge access
  • higher baggage allowance

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Insider tips

  • Reserve a seat free of charge when booking your ticket
  • Exquisite: You can bit on available business class seats
  • XL Economy seats offer more space in economy class
  • Sign up for top bonus to collect miles for free flights

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Where is your next flight taking you to?

Your Pilot Patrick

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Playa de Barceloneta Barcelona

Living in Barcelona +healthy food and insider guide

I always wanted to live in a city at the beach with sunny weather. That is why I decided to move my home base from Berlin to Barcelona last summer. In the beginning, my plan was to stay longer than three months but then my pilot career changed everything. Read about my experience living in Barcelona and find insider sightseeing tips.

Luckily my former employee had an open base concept which allowed crews to live within Europe where ever they wanted to as long an airport was located in the vicinity. I have been to Barcelona many times during my journeys as a private jet pilot and I felt in love with this city right away. I was fascinated by the architecture, the people and the good vibes. Whenever I returned for a night stop I realized more and more that I could imagine living there. Last summer I fulfilled this. After a week on tour, I did not end in Berlin but in Barcelona with one suitcase. Hola Barcelona. It was a super strange feeling, but from the first minute, I already felt home.

sight seeing
View of Barcelona from mountain Tibidabo

I found a nice room in a big apartment on Idealista. It was completely furnished had an ensuite bathroom and the location was right in the heart of the old town called Barrio Gotic. The idea was to do a test phase of three months in this apartment since I have never lived in a shared flat before.

I lived in a really narrow (3 meters) street called Carrer Petritxol in a building which was over 700 years old.  Compared to the tight construction of the houses the apartment was really big. Thousands of people moved through this street because it was one of the most beautiful and historic streets in Gotic.  It was Picasso, who had his gallery on this street and it was Salvador Dali who had his coffee in a Granja café. It felt surreal to live at such a historic place.

famous and historic Carrer de Petritxol in Barcelona
Living in the Carrer de Petritxol

The culture of Barcelona is so rich and the people are really proud of Catalunya. I was fascinated by the number of cultural events and that all age classes carry on the tradition. La Merce was the biggest and most spectacular festival I could attend. It is held in honor of Mare de Deu de la Mercè, the Patron Saint of Barcelona. I watch the groups building their towers of human beings and watched parades of their famous oversized dolls. The festival ended with the correfoc (fire run), where people danced in fireworks. No joke. I was right with them.

cultural events in Barcelona
La Marce festival in Barcelona

My plan was to stay longer, but then my pilot career changed everything. I need to move back to Germany to start my job with the new employee and to do my type rating on the A300-600. I was sad on one hand, but on the other, I was happy about the big step in my career. Luckily I could spend the entire October in Barcelona without working. Personally, this was the most beautiful time. It was not too hot and not too crowded by tourists. This month I did things I always wanted to do. I went to have surf lessons two times a week and every second day I attended private Spanish lessons.

pilot patrick surfing in Barcelona
Surf lesson at the Playa Barceloneta in October

Insider tips

Barcelona is a great city to do sight seeing. Around every corner, you will discover something new. I recommend renting a scooter to do sight seeing but only when you feel comfortable driving in high traffic situations. Moto rent offers affordable prices. A scooter gives you so much freedom to go to different places in a minimum amount of time.

moto rent in Barcelona
Sight seeing with the scooter on top of Montjuic hill

Gaudi

Barcelona is the city of Gaudi. His architecture is world famous. Unfortunately, the entry prices to most landmarks are quite expensive and the queues long. In my opinion, it is already enough to gaze the impressive exterior. Take a walk through the famous Parc Güell and have a fantastic view over the city. I visited the interior of the Sagrada Familia. I bought tickets at a hotel reception so I did not have to wait in line. A visit to the tomb of Gaudi in the crypt is for free!

beautiful architecture of Gaudis house Battló
Casa Batlló of Gaudi in Barcelona

For outfit details please visit www.updressed.com/pilotpatric. I am constantly updating my page.

Barrio Gotic

Take a stroll through the oldest part of town without any particular destination. Walk through Carrer de Petrixol. Stop at a famous Granja Dulcinea for a coffee or even a hot chocolate with churros. To have a spectacular view over Barcelona ascend the bell tower of the Basílica de Santa Maria del Pi.

EL Born

My favorite part of town. Many restaurants, bars and boutiques in unique streets. Visit "El Born Centre de Cultura i Memòria" for free. It displays the old fundaments of the city and you can explore the history of Barcelona.

Turó del Carmel

A must visit if you want to have the best view over Barcelona and the sea. Turó del Carmel is a hill with a bunker on top located Best time is during sunset and sunrise.

enjoying the city of Barcelona
Viewpoint from the Bunker del Carmel

Other highlights:

Montjuïc Castle
Palau Nacional 
Montserrat mountain
Picasso Museum
Arco de Triunfo de Barcelona

Even three months were not sufficient to see everything of Barcelona. The city satisfies every interest. Culture, entertainment, and relaxation. I really loved to take a walk along the beach of Barceloneta during sunset. The atmosphere, the colors and the scenery are unique.

Don't do that 

  • visit the La Boqueria on La Rambla (too crowded and touristic)
  • be negligent with your valuables
  • go too early to dinner most restaurants are still closed
  • rely on taxis to get around in the city on the weekend

My healthy eating guide

As you know I am a foodie pilot and I am a big fan of healthy and tasty meals. Barcelona offers many diverse places and there is much more than tapas and paellas.

healthy clean raw food in El Born Barcelona
Raw lunch at the Blue project Café

Teresa's Carles: Vegetarian food and juices (only indoor/more for dinner) El Raval

Teresa's: Vegetarian café with healthy snacks and juices (breakfast, brunch, lunch) El Raval

Flax and Kale: Healthy restaurant offering a diverse menu (best for brunch and dinner) Make a reservation and request a table on their outdoor rooftop garden El Raval

Petit Brot: completely raw café, daily menus and juices (breakfast and lunch) El Raval

Casa Gispert: Dried fruits, nuts and so much more. Best dried mangos I ever had. El Born

BeBo cold pressed: Tasty healthy juices, raw snacks (more for to go) Eixample

Chaitea house food: trendy restaurant with healthy meal options Eixample

Barraca: seafood and paella overlooking the beach of Barceloneta (lunch and dinner)

Cafè Jaime Beriestain: high-class food in a concept restaurant (more for dinner) Eixample

Nubafancy restaurant with live DJ, nice interior and outside seating (more for dinner)

My resume living in Barcelona

After three months in Barcelona, I love the city even more. I really enjoyed the Mediterranean lifestyle. Everything was a little bit more relaxed and when it got too hot shops closed for a siesta. Sometimes I had the impression that it was too crowded (mainly because of tourists) Catalan or Spanish are not a requirement to live in Barcelona. Since they are proud of the Catalan language they rather speak English with you than in Spanish.

Playa de Barceloneta Barcelona
The Beach of Barceloneta

Fantastic weather and a great variety of restaurants and cultural events are a big plus. Organic products and the lease for a nice apartment are quite expensive. To sum it up the quality of life is extremely high. Especially because a beautiful beach is only one-foot step away. My dream would be to live in Berlin and Barcelona!

What is your favorite city in Europe?

Your Pilot Patrick

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how to deal with jet lag

How to deal with jet lag + my travel essentials

I am back in cold and rainy Germany after six wonderful days of vacation in the Caribbean. The time difference between my hometown and the Dominican Republic was five hours. My return flight was during the night and landed early in the morning in Berlin Tegel. The the next night I was already working again. Many of you wondered how I deal with jet lag during my journeys. In this blog post, I want to share my experiences over the years and give you a list of travel essentials to fly more comfortable.

Thumbs up - next trip you will deal better with a jetlag

How to deal with jet lag

One of the best ways to mitigate the effects a tiring long flight is to fly a higher booking class. Most operators offer seats which fully convert into a flat bed to have a good rest arriving refreshed. Unfortunately, the ticket prices are not always easily affordable compared to the costs of international economy tickets. Over the last years, most major airlines introduced a premium economy class which gives more space and extra amenities for a decent surcharge.

Lie flat bed in Lufthansa Business Class, Seat 3A A340-600

Besides a comfortable seat, there are many other things you can do to mitigate the intensity of a jet lag. When booking your ticket reserve a seat right away so you will not end up squeezed up in the middle seat. The website seat guru helps to find good seats. Via the flight search function, the system will show the cabin layout of your aircraft. I generally can recommend booking a seat at the window, so you do not need to stand up for everyone, the traffic of the aisle does not bother you and you are in control of the window blind.

Stay hydrated during the flight. Since the cabin air is quite dry you should drink about 230 ml still water or juice. Try to refrain from drinking alcohol. Maybe a glass of wine during the meal helps to fall asleep easier.

It is really important that you move enough during the flight. Do exercises on the way to the lavatory or even in your seat which eliminate the risk of thrombosis as well. The inflight entertainment of most airlines show exercises you can do during the flight.

travel essential amenity kit long range flight
My travel essentials for a long range flight

My travel essentials:

  • Take hand disinfection gel. Airplanes are dirty, after using the lavatory I clean my hands with hand disinfection. You can buy them at convenience stores or online here.
  • Wear thick socks. So you can take off your shoes and your feet stay warm
  • Take your own small pillow. I think the innovative pillow of POCKINDO® could be an awesome travel gadget.
  • Use noise canceling headphones. This is a must for every frequent traveler. They make traveling a lot more comfortable. You feel like in your own little word without hearing the outside noise. I use the in ear Bose Noise Cancelling headphones.
  • Use ear plugs by OHROPAX are the best. Due to the waxy material, they adjust perfectly to your ear shape.
  • Take a sleeping mask which is comfortable to wear
  • Wear sweatpants during the flight. I have them in my hand luggage and I change after take off.
  • Take your toothbrush. It can feel so refreshing to brush the teeth prior approach.
  • Use a lavera lip balm to work against the dry air in the airplane.
  • A power bar in case you do not have a power outlet on your seat. I use an Anker product which is great.

What's in my suitcase?

What to do when the jet lag hits you?

Flying eastbound can be quite challenging since the flight usually takes place during the night and you land at your destination in the morning. Maybe you did not sleep a single bit and now the whole day lays in front of you. If your schedule permits I would go to bed now and sleep for a couple of hours. Set an alarm to wake up around lunch time. Have something to eat and motivate yourself to be active. A short body exercise can help to wake up.

pilot patrick running in a gym
Exercising helps to wake up mentally and physically

In general, if you get really tired during the day I can recommend taking a NASA power nap of 26 mins. A study of NASA in 1995 found about that a “26-minute nap improves performance by 34% and alertness by 54%.” A great tool that not only works at home but also on a journey. Set your timer to 26 minutes find a comfortable place, turn on non-disturb on your phone and close your eyes. Restricting the nap to 26 mins I feel more alert and energetic over the next few hours.  Try it out and let me know how you felt after a power nap. Napping longer might have the effect that you feel more tired afterward.

Jet lag - behavioral recommendations

  • Set your watch to the time of your destination, so you can mentally adjust to the new time
  • Participate in the daily life of your destination
  • Spend time outside at your destination
  • Try to get enough sleep during the first night of your arrival
  • Try to avoid exhausting activities the first two days
  • No alcohol or sleeping pills
  • Drink enough water (still water or juices 230 ml per flight hour)
  • Keep a light and healthy diet (this is not proven but it will not hurt)
  • During short trips remain in the time of departure so you do not have a double jetlag.
pilot patrick travel style
Outfit as passenger

Visit www.updressed.com/pilotpatric to find out details of my style and the brands I am wearing. 

The body adjust approximately 1,5 hours every day. This means it takes about six days to adjust to the new time when the spread between departure and destination is nine hours.

A lot of times travelers suffer from respiratory ailments: cold and fever like symptoms after a long flight. During my research for this blog post I visited the website "Zentrum der Gesundheit" (unfortunately only in german) and I found an interesting article about colds after flight journeys. A study of the Griffith`s Menzies Health Institute Queensland (MHIQ)  found out that taking elder (capsules or syrup) is a preventive measure to stay healthy after the flight! I have found myself being sick for a day or having fever like symptoms after a long flight. For my next long range trip, I will definitely test this out.

What was your longest non-stop flight you have been on so far?

Your Pilot Patrick

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vacation in the caribbean

Vacation in the Caribbean + My 10 travel tips

Hola my Aviators,

sunny greetings from the Punta Cana. In this blog post, I show you unpublished photos of my spontaneous vacation in the Caribbean and give you helpful tips when traveling to any place in the world.

You may wonder why I am already on vacation when I just completed my type rating on the Airbus A300-600 with a new company. Last Saturday I finished the initial training so I could apply for a new license at the authority. This takes approximately two weeks until I receive my new license. This is quite bothersome since I am not allowed to fly during this period. To bridge this time my operator granted me some days of vacation. Since the type rating was really intense and I got sick of the freezing weather in Germany I decided to use the time to escape winter.

pilotpatrick saona island caribbean sea starfish
Escaping winter in the Caribbean Sea

Last week I posted a photo on my Instagram on which I asked for an inspiration where I could travel to for sun and beach. I was so happy for all your travel tips. Two days prior my vacation started I finally booked a flight to the Dominican Republic. This was the really spontaneous decision because it was hard to find a location with a good flight connection and available accommodations when I started to search one week ago.

  • Travel tip: Read reviews and visit online hotel evaluation websites. This can help you to find the hotel that suits you best. I usually read the worst reviews first.

I flew with Air Berlin from Berlin Tegel Airport (TXL) to Düsseldorf (DUS). From Düsseldorf, I switched on the A330, which took me to Punta Cana (PJU).

pilot patrick air berlin business class punta cana
With Air Berlin in Business Class Seat 4K to Punta Cana
  • Travel tip: Compare ticket prices online. Always check the ticket prices on the website of the airline as well. I usually use google flight search a lot.

Luckily I could book seats in their Business Class. Even as a former Private Jet pilot I have to admit that their Business class product is great. Every seat has a direct aisle access and the seats at the window give a lot of privacy. The best thing is the seats convert to a fully flat bed so the vacation starts already on board ;-) The flight lasted about 10 hours. At 14:30 local time we touched down on PUJ on time. Outside air temperature 27 degrees and sunny. This is what I was longing for.

pilot patrick air berlin business class to punta cana
My business class set to PUJ
pilot patrick approaching pju dominican republic
Approaching paradise
  • Travel tip: Take your time and arrive at the airport early enough. This reduces your stress level. Reserve your favorite seat early enough. Sometimes you can use your bonus miles so it does not cost you anything. Try to travel lightly this makes your life easier ;-)

I could not believe it, but already 25 mins after we reached the gate I was outside the terminal in the taxi. The staff at the airport was super friendly and I experienced the first Caribbean vibes. It took a regular taxi to my hotel Paradisus by Melia, which I booked via my travel agency 'Thomas Cook' in Wiesbaden.

pilot patrick punta cana five star paradisus resort
First day in paradise relaxing in my private cabana
  • Travel tip: Compare hotel prices online and with travel agencies on site. In this case, I saved over 1.000,-€ because I got a last minute price via the travel agency Thomas Cook. As you can see the internet prices are not always cheaper.

After 15:00 hours of traveling, I finally arrived in paradise. The sandy white beach with hundreds of palm trees looked like from a postcard. I am usually not the guy who books an 'all inclusive' vacation but since I am staying only for 6 days I thought it would be a good idea. Additionally, the Dominican Republic is not really save at the moment, that is why the travel agencies recommend staying in the hotel and booking only guided tours. In my opinion, they sometimes exaggerate. If you know how to behave in a foreign country and know the "don'ts" you should be fine.

paradisus punta cana palm tress
My way to the hotel room at Paradisus resort
  • Travel tip: The website of the Federal Foreign office of Germany publishes current travel and security tips for all countries. Inform yourself prior booking your vacation.

The resort is huge and all rooms are located in separated two-storied villas with a private outside area. I have the impression to be living in a small town rather than a big hotel complex. Unfortunately, I was not satisfied with the first room, that is why I complained. I expect to have a clean room no matter if it is one or a five-star hotel. For the inconvenience, they upgraded me to a higher room category with my own jacuzzi on the balcony. Additionally, they granted me access to the exclusive beach and pool area. Besides that, I am allowed to use the a la carte Restaurant at the beach without any extra charge.

relaxing jacuzzi paradisus resort punta cana
My own jacuzzi on the balcony of my junior suite
  • Travel tip: If you are not satisfied with the hotel room or you are not happy with the series let the reception know. Especially in high-class hotels, they try their best to get everything right.

I have been to the Caribbean before but not to the Dominical Republic yet. Alle people I met so far are really friendly and in a good mood. Spanish is the official language here, but most of them speak proper english and some even german.

  • Travel tip: Always take local currency to the country you are flying to. This helps immensely when you want to get around and when tipping a service. I recommend taking two credit cards with you in case one gets lost or does not work.
altos de chavon tui excursion domican republic
View from Altos de Chavon to the river of Chavon

Excursion

After relaxing for a day at the beach I went on a full day excursion to Saona to experience the Caribbean Sea. As many people do not know at the northern shoreline (Punta Cana/Puerto Plata) of the island is the Atlantic ocean. First stop was in Altos de Chavon. A small Mediterranean replica village located on a cliff of the Chavon river. From there we walked down to the riverbed to jump on a steamboat to drive along a tropical landscape in the direction of the Caribbean sea. Movies like Rambo and Jurassic Park were shot at this location. Once we reached the river delta we jumped into a speedboat to cruise next to the East National Park. In the middle of the Sea is a natural pool with crystal clear cyan blue water. There were hundreds of starfish on the sandy ground of the sea.

pilot patrick vacation natural pool in caribbean sea
Into the blue - natural pool in the Caribbean Sea (close to Saona island)
  • Travel tip: Leave no valuables visible in your room. I do not trust the build in saves, that is why I put my electronics and money in my lockable suitcase when I leave the room.

Next stop was the island Saona. A small island with 300 inhabitants, which was discovered by Christopher Columbus it in May 1494 during his second voyage to the Americas. We had a BBQ at the beach. Locals sold Pina Colada in a pineapple and fresh coconuts. I found a nice private spot to enjoy this picture-perfect paradise.

pilot patrick excursion to paradise Soana island in caribbean sea
I am trying to get my next fresh coconut at Saona Island

In the afternoon we boarded the last boat of this day. A 35 m long catamaran, which took us with drinks and good music to the beach of Bayahibe. I laid down in a net in front of the boat and enjoyed the ride. This was truly a memorable day and I had a lot of fun.

TUI catamaran excursion soana island
2 hours on a 35 m long Catamaran in the Caribbean Sea
  • Travel tip: I see so many people taking photos with their cheap mobile phone camera. Rather take a decent charged digital camera, which takes high-quality photos for  your memories. Save the photos on an extra device.
pilot patrick relaxing in paradise saona island caribbean sea
Relaxing on Saona Island with a Pina Colada

I got back to the hotel in the evening to enjoy two nice dinners at two restaurants. The combination of sun, a lot of food and different drinks made me feel sick the next day. I took care of my diet and rested under a palm tree umbrella at the beach the whole day.

  • Travel tip: Take different medicine with you from home. Something for your throat, nose and for your stomach. I also recommend taking some bandages and disinfection spray.

Luckily I felt much better the next day so I could go on another fun activity. The airline Aerointer in Punta Cana invited me to go on a short helicopter flight over the shoreline. Thanks to pilot Bernie for giving me a different perspective of the island. I think I should get a helicopter license as well. It is so much fun taking off vertically with an aircraft. Watch the full video of my flight on Facebook 'PilotPatrick'

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=1330316197033973

 

pilot patrick helicopter aerointer punta cana
Fun flight over paradise in Punta Cana with Aerointer

Vacation in the Caribbean is ending

After six days I had to leave paradise again. I really enjoyed the perfect weather and the marvelous beaches. The Dominicans are a really friendly and they are brimful of life. I suppose this is because of their relaxed way of living and the good weather all year around. I only left the hotel twice, but both times I noticed that streets are dirty and people and animals live in between trash. That made me really sad to see since the hotel industry boosts the economy in this region.

pilot patrick rimowa suitcase paradise palm trees punta cana
Leaving paradise :( for outfit details visit www.updressed.com/pilotpatric

For outfit details you can always visit my updressed page I am constantly updating this profile. 

My return flight with Air Berlin was a direct connection from Punta Cana to Berlin. This was quite convenient since it was a night flight and the landing in Tegel airport was at 6:30 in the morning. The flight time was around 8:45 hours and the lie flat seat was fantastic to get some sleep. This what I call luxury on board! During the flight, I watched the movie Miss Peregrine's Home for peculiar children. In case you like fantasy, drama and action at the same time I can really recommend this movie. The touchdown in Berlin was during darkness and the weather was rainy and cold. I missed paradise already!

business class Airberlin Airbus A330 Seat 2A
Seat that converts to a fully flat bed

I hope you like my travel tips and hopefully, they will help you on your next journey!

Where is your next vacation taking you to?

Your Pilot Patrick

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