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 In this blog post, I show you unpublished photos of my spontaneous vacation in the Caribbean and give you helpful tips when traveling to any place in the world.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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Waldorf Astoria hotel berlin pilotpatrick rimowa

My stay at the Waldorf Astoria

In my last blog post "My type rating", I gave you an insight view of my training at Lufthansa Aviation Training. The last three weeks in the simulator to acquire the certification to fly the A300 have been quite demanding. Therefore I did not have a lot of time to relax.

Next week I will have my final skill test flight in the simulator and this is why I have the weekend off. The Waldorf Astoria Berlin invited me to spend a weekend at their beautiful hotel in Berlin to relax a little bit from the busy weeks and to tank up some energy before my check flight. My job as a pilot requires me to stay at many different hotels around the world, but I have not stayed at a hotel in my hometown Berlin yet. I was really excited to spend a weekend at the Waldorf Astoria hotel since it really sticks out with its location and the architecture next to 20 other five star hotels in Berlin.

Read about my stay at the Waldorf Astoria and find out why I did not want to leave again. I hope my following hotel review helps you when choosing the right hotel for your next stay in Berlin or to find a place to escape the hectic city.

Location

In 2013 the Waldorf Astoria opened its doors for hotel guests. The hotel is situated in the famous building "Zoofenster" and is easy to recognize since it is a 32 stories-high skyscraper. Being one of the tallest buildings in Berlin it gives the hotel guests, including me a spectacular view over Berlin. It is located right in the center of West Berlin and one foot step away from tourist attractions, shopping locations and leisure activities.

Waldorf Astoria, Tower suites with panormaic windows on the upper levels

Watch my live Facebook video of my check in and the TOWER SUITE.

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=1307668549298738

Accommodation

The room was amazing. I was lucky to reside in a TOWER SUITE. The luxurious suite was at the 28th level and its panoramic windows gave me a fantastic view over Berlin. I could unwind in a spacious and very comfortable room. The design is elegant and modern at the same time. A separate sleeping room with a private balcony was located in the rear of the suite. Every room granted you a different view of the city. The TV system was ideal for my needs to stream music and videos from my mobile phone and laptop.

Warm welcome in the Tower suite 2801 through sweets and a friendly staff Private small kitchen with a Nespresso coffee machine and a dining table

Features of the tower suite

  • upper level (22-29) separate elevators for the tower suites
  • separate living area with a dining table and mini bar
  • fully equipped small kitchen with a private Nespresso coffee machine
  • two 40-inch TVs with Apple TV technology
  • luxurious marble bathroom with a bathtub and separate shower
  • complimentary Wifi and so much more...
Signature Waldorf Astoria bed with a private balcony overlooking West Berlin Bathroom with a bath tub and a huge shower

I used my suite also for my monthly online live talk on my Facebook account 'PilotPatrick'. Follow me on Facebook so you don't miss any future events. (Meet and greet coming soon.)

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=1308411159224477

Guerlain Spa

I enjoyed a short time-out from the vibrant Berlin outside in the Spa. The 1000 square meter spa features a cloud shaped pool, saunas and very cozy therapy rooms. I really liked the private bathroom with shower and changing facility.  The gym is fully equipped and big windows provide you with natural light during your workout. On Saturday I took a break from the gym since I did exhausting personal training with Timo on Friday.

Private bathroom for Guerlain Spa guests swim shorts by XARFIA

Premium swim shorts by XARIFA, which are entirely made in Italy. I am wearing the short length version in size medium. Use the code 'pilotpatric' to save 15% on your new swim shorts by XARIFA.

Cloud shaped pool at the Guerlain Spa Swim shorts by XARFIA

Features of the spa

  • therapy rooms
  • pool and hot tub
  • sauna and steam room
  • terrace
  • fitness room with daylight
  • complimentary water and fruits#

The spa area is free of charge for hotel guest. With a day pass, it is possible to you use the luxurious spa facilities as well. Mention PILOTPATRIC when booking a treatment and you will get a free glass of champagne.

Food

I am really conscious when it comes to my diet. In my blog post "I am a foodie pilot" I already wrote about my healthy eating habits. Nowadays I expect that hotels adopt to the healthy food trend or at least offer meal options in case you have a special diet. The selection of food of breakfast buffet was excellent. The vegetarian omelet and the smoked salmon were really tasty. For dinner, I went to the ROCA Restaurant on the ground floor. The atmosphere was relaxing. I suggest having a selection of their tasty salads as a starter.

Try the vegetarian omelette with salmon, Green organic tea and grapefruit juice

What do around?
Shopping

  • Kurfürstendamm a big street with hundreds of retail stores ranching up to luxurious boutiques
  • Bikini Berlin is a concept mall with interesting pop-up stores right around the hotel.
  • KADEWE (Department Store of the West) is the second biggest department store of Europe, visit the impressing food court on the upper level

Leisure activities

  • The huge park "Tiergarten" is right around the corner, at the Cafe am Neuen See you can rent small paddle boats to drive around on a small lake
  • Siegessäule (Victoria Column) at the big roundabout (Großer Stern) Some hundreds of steps take you up on top giving you an amazing view over Berlin.
  • The historic cinema "Zoopalast" is directly opposite of the hotel. Book a comfortable LOGE seat which grants you access to the lounge for a free drink before the movie
Sunset from my tower suite at the Waldorf Astoria hotel Berlin

Resume of my stay at the Waldorf Astoria Berlin

From check in and check out I felt welcome every minute of my stay. Besides an amazing suite and luxurious facilities, the friendly staff made it a memorable stay.

Good bye Waldorf Astoria It was a pleasure and I will miss the view

I hope my following hotel review helps you to choose the right hotel for your next stay in Berlin or to find a place to escape the hectic city. My tip: Book a room on one of the upper levels of the hotel. I just loved to sit at the window observing Berlin from the top.

Watch on my youtube channel pilotpatrick my Instagram story @pilotpatric of my stay at Waldorf Astoria Berlin.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ET2F33Mkqjk?rel=0&w=640&h=360]

Your Pilot Patrick

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hotelfit

Hotelfit - How do I stay fit?

In my recent blogpost “I am a Foodie Pilot” I talked about my special eating habits to stay healthy. Many of you also wondered about my fitness program when being busy traveling. In this blog post I want to convince you that it does not take much time to do an efficient workout. Together with my personal trainer Timo @theshapeofyourlife I show you my #hotelfit workout at Hotel Otto in Berlin.

Regular physical exercises are vital to loose weight, to gain muscles and to stay fit. But the major key to success is your diet. 70% counts your food and only 30% your sport activities! I can understand that this might sound shocking, but this is the truth. I only workout 2-3 times a week. It is usually a intense workout in my Crossfit box or a personal training with Timo when I am at home. I always give my body one day rest in between workouts.

Inflight having a healthy crew meal

When I am on duty my time is limited and sometimes there is no gym in the hotel. In this case I do a workout in my hotel room. You will be surprised about how many exercises you can do without big and heavy tools.

I can really recommend to get a suspension trainer. Ask Timo about the different models on the market. The equipment works great at home, outdoors and in hotel rooms. You can adjust the intensity and the complexity of the exercises. This tool requires a good tension of your whole body and fits easily in a suitcase. Additionally I use Thera-Bands for some exercises.

My example full body #hotelfit workout lasts approx. 30 mins. This workout actually saves time since you do not need to go somewhere, you do not need to wait on tools and nobody will stare at you. Turn on the music and enjoy your personal workout.

Let's get the workout started

Please watch the video for the execution of the exercises. Make all the exercises controlled and according to the motto: quality before quantity!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OUxAqzJx2yQ?rel=0]

The warm up consists of three rounds of:
15 x Jumping Jacks, 10 x Air squats and 5 x Burpees

To keep it simple: each exercises consists of 3 sets with 10 repetitions. Between each set you may rest for 1 minute.

Push Press

For your chest and triceps!

The best exercise ever and you can do it everywhere. Tense your body and make your stomach hard. 2 seconds down, chest touches the ground, 1 second up. Hands are a little bit more than shoulder width. Spread your finders for stability. I put my feet on a small stool which increases the intensity.

Push press: 3 sets of 10 repetitions 2 seconds down, chest touches the ground, 1 second up

Dips

For your triceps!

Take a stool, chair or low table to do this exercise. Place your hands in line with the shoulders. Make sure your elbows stay in line and to not move outwards during the movement. Your lower and upper arm should build a 90° angle when you are at the lowest position. 2 seconds down and 1 second up.

Dips! 3 sets of 10 repetitions. Timo takes care about my execution Elbows behind the shoulders, Upper and lower arm build a 90 degree angle

TRX pistol squats

For your legs!

Regular air squats, but only with one leg. The suspension trainer supports your stability and makes the exercise easier. Make sure you are in line with the robes and your knee, which flexes, does not move in or outward. Keep a straight upper and lower back. Do this exercise slow and controlled.

TRX pistols - Squats with one leg with a suspension trainer

TRX crunch

For your abs!

So much fun and your abs will burn. This exercise can be done in numerous variations. Your whole body need to be tensed. From a blank position you move your butt explosively up while your legs remain straight. Rest for a second at the highest position and than move slowly back the blank position.

Crunches with the TRX suspension trainer Legs and arms straight. Butt up! Hold at the highest position for one second!

Curls

For your biceps!

You may either use the TRX or the Thera-Bands. When you train with the TRX make sure your body is tensed and only your arms move. You can adjust the intensity by moving  forward and backward with your feet. Most important is that your elbows stay high and in line with your shoulders. When you use the Thera-Bands please take special care that your wrists are in line with your lower arm and do not move.

Bizeps curls with the TRX. Keep elbows high and arms in line with the shoulders! Alternative: Bizeps curls with the Thera-Band

Back

For your upper back!

This exercises is great when you have problems with your upper back. Since I sit a lot during work, I have to work on my back, so that my posture stays in shape. Your elbows stay attached to your body. You will feel it in your arms and upper back. Keep your back straight. With the Thera-Bands you can do many other great exercises as well.

Great exercise with the Thera-Band to strengthen the back Keep your posture straight and elbows attached to the body!

It is really important to do all movements in a proper way. Otherwise you may harm yourself in the longterm. Thats is why I really recommend to book a personal trainer who can help you with your deficiencies. I have been hitting the gym for over six years now and I am still not perfect in all executions.

I hope that I could convey the message, that it does not require a lot of time to do sport. If your schedule is tight and you do not have the time to go somewhere, take your home or hotel room as a gym instead. Your body weight is the best exercise tool you can have.

Personal trainer Timo:
Web: www.theshapeofyourlife.de
Instagram: @theshapeofyourlife

Hotel in Berlin: Hotel Otto Berlin

Meet my good friend and personal trainer Timo!

What is your favorite type of sport?

Your Pilot Patrick

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Making of Facebook live video:
https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=1236239716441622