Round The World and other travels

A frequent flyer's collection of trip diaries

This is: Portugal - California 2004


OK, just hold everything right there! Portugal and California? How can anyone connect these two places in a sensible travel itinerary?

In truth, this is not really one trip, but two that seemed worth joining together because of what they had in common and their close proximity in time. Let me explain a bit more ...

  • In Spring 2004, I decided to take advantage of an I-class sale on BA's franchise partner GB Airways on routes out of Gatwick, to book a weekend in the city of Porto - a new destination for me. "I" is the booking class for deeply discounted Business Class fares and BA offers these sales from time to time. (This particular one was followed by a much wider I-class sale involving many BA main line routes.) I was looking forward to discovering a new European city and to doing it in style, in BA's Club Europe cabin.
  • Later in the Summer, finding myself with a lot of extra spare time on my hands, I decided to book a fly-drive trip to California. I wanted to re-visit some well-loved places and at the same time try to take in Death Valley for the first time. As I had left it too late to use BA Miles (i.e. no award availability in business class), I investigated some options for good value premium cabin fares and decided to go with an excellent Club World deal ex-Lisbon. I said in my RTW 2004 diary that I would really like to return to San Francisco much sooner than the previous seven-year gap; little did I know then that I would be planning my return just a few months later

So, despite not having been to Portugal since the 1980s (on a package deal ... ugh!), I found myself planning to visit the country no fewer than three times in the same month, and in the style and comfort to which one had now become accustomed

So that's how a southern European country and a west coast American state found themselves juxtaposed in my September 2004 travel plans. As to whether it's a sensible arrangement ... well, it makes sense to me and that's what counts   I guess it depends on your outlook. It certainly helps to be an adherent of the Frequent Flyer faith

Postscript added in October 2004 : I received some very worrying news concerning a family matter on arrival in Las Vegas, in the final week of the trip, as a result of which I decided to abandon the remaining part of the journey and return home immediately. The diary entries, flight logs, etc stop at this point.