To Tampa, 22hrs door – door
I printed my plastic luggage tag for GPUG Summit 2016 with my 3D printer and was ready to travel. The flight itinerary involved a flight from Newcastle in United Kingdom -> to London -> Miami -> Tampa. In all it took twenty two hours from door to door.
First hop from Newcastle to London went well, with a quick and seamless journey between terminals at Heathrow. I did a few hours work on the laptop and then on arrival at the gate I looked out the window and found I was riding a double deck, A380 to Miami. All of a sudden the journey had become exciting! My first experience, flying out was on top deck, on return from Miami I would be on the bottom. I found the A380 a very pleasant aircraft to ride in, quieter and felt more open than a 747. BA have them fitted out with a good entertainment system. Although it offered a TV loaded with games, films, audio books, I didn't use it. A couple of times I have been transatlantic on planes with broken entertainment systems, so I had loaded up lots of audio and video podcasts to get through the journey on my iPhone. With the charging USB socket i was sorted. It was lovely to find no one next to me, providing some room to stretch and use the spare seat to put stuff on, making the journey unusually comfortable.
I avoided Charlotte and Atlanta airports as my transit airports, the timings were uncomfortably tight at those, so I went for the longer turn around at Miami. The experience at Miami airport was shocking compared to my experience at MCO in Orlando only the month before. I would say due to horrendous immigration lines, lack of crowd management, under staff and equipment resourcing for a busy set of flights landing at once. To cut a long story short, with lots of running, using crew lines through security, I made it at the last moment to the Tampa flight. The airline staff more or less bundled me on board, closed the door behind me and we were off- only to sit in a queue on the taxi way for fifty mins!
Landing at Tampa I was tired so I got a Taxi for $25 to the hotel. I was too tired and simply just wanted to get where I was going, so didn’t have the will to figure out the cheaper methods of transport at that late time of night.
Love at first sight Tampa
Even though I’d been awake by that point for 22 hours and was weary and knew I needed to get up in the morning, I needed to explore! I’m an investigative sort of person and thus couldn’t resist going for a walk to discover my home for the week and orientate myself. So within only moments of getting in my room I was back outside.
Tampa has a river walk that follows the river all around that part of town that hosts the convention centre. The walk passed the hotel and so I followed the walk right down to the convention centre. At least now, in the morning, I would know where I was going! I also spotted a Publix supermarket over the water, somewhere to get some supplies in the morning. I had already realised I’d forgotten a few small things in my hap-hazard packing for my trip. The river walk and public areas hanging off was so very pretty at night. Train tracks, bridges, fountains, riverside restaurants, full of romantic atmosphere, great architectural lighting of the bridges and the walkway itself. I experienced instant love for Tampa, so many others were out enjoying the evening air too, even at that late hour and I would be too if I lived in Tampa!
I walked for an hour and a half and got back to my room to catch some sleep - 24hrs without sleep is a long day.