Round The World and other travels

A frequent flyer's collection of trip diaries

This is: Shanghaied in Tuscany!


The Diamond Club mileage redemption fest continues! In an effort to extract maximum value from bmi's loyalty programme prior to its expected demise, I arranged this, my fourth First Class long-haul trip of 2009 to be paid for with frequent flyer miles. In doing so, I fulfilled a long-held ambition to visit the vibrant and burgeoning city of Shanghai in China.

If you followed my Far East trip in January 2009, you may remember that I set out for Hong Kong from Barcelona, in order to take advantage of favourable mileage redemption rates from certain parts of Europe. This trip could be thought of as an application of that same technique, this time in both directions. I decided to begin my brief oriental adventure from one of the most celebrated regions of Italy, giving me the opportunity to renew my acquaintance with it after a gap of 25 years. And after poring over the Swiss International Air Lines route map, I opted to end my westbound journey on a traditional Spanish holiday island,  allowing me a final couple of days' relaxation in the Autumn sun. Despite the destination being well known to probably millions of my fellow Britons, it would be my first time to set foot on Mallorca.

The trip essentials were put in place as far in advance as November 2008. A number of developments then occurred along the way, including a friend's welcome decision to join me in Shanghai, involuntary re-routing of the outbound long-haul journey as a result of schedule changes, and a period where I thought that I would have to postpone or drastically rearrange the trip, due to possible conflicts with work. In the event, that threat melted away and I was able to make my final preparations with unsuppressed anticipation, justifiably convinced that I was about to embark on another memorable extravaganza of seeing the world in style.