Alive in Chicago

Friday Night Update – May 2

We arrived in Chicago at our hotel around 9:00PM CT…4:00AM by our clocks.

The bad news is LOT Polish left one of our passengers in the lurch in Krakow. No matter what confirmation codes, ticket numbers--or ironically e-mails that LOT themselves sent to us while we were arguing his case specifically notifying the said passenger that the plane was late?!—they would not let him board. So, sadly Erik of The Odd Couple was left behind. Whatever problem there was was immediately fixed by the time we all landed in Warsaw to catch or Chicago flight—nice new Boeing Dreamliner 787 BTW. But obviously not soon enough for him to fly with us…he arrives tomorrow (Saturday at 3:00PM). Shame on LOT Polish…

We have some adding to tonight before we reassemble all the teams (-1) tomorrow morning at 8:00AM (not as bad as you think as everyone will be up due to jetlag) for a final day scavenger hunt here in the great city of Chicago. It is definitely cooler here and there is a chance for light drizzle too. Following that, we will have our crowning event followed by our Winners Gala dinner.

So, reporting from Chicago, more tomorrow…
 

Heading to Chicago!

Friday, 2 May...noonish CET

EVERYONE arrived safe and sound at our 11:00AM rally leg check in here in Krakow, Poland.

We are now all bound for Chicago and should be arriving around dinner time from Warsaw.

We will have more to write about this last five day Euro leg after peer reviews, terminal conversations and photo are swapped. By the looks of it everyone is smiling...but obviously exhausted as their 23-day lap around the world (almost) comes to an end. We have one more fun day planned for them in the Windy City. Road officials are obviously relieved that everyone is safe and accounted for--as is our insurance company we are sure!

So, maybe a few reports through out the day as we make our journey to Chicago, maybe not.

Thank you all for your contributions...it really helps!

And it is not too late...to remember that The Global Scavenger Hunt has always been about more than traveling around the world competing for The World's Greatest Travelers crown in the world travel championship... it is about helping others help themselves through the GreatEscape Foundation. This year, to celebrate our event's 10th anniversary, our goal is to fund 10 schools in places that really need them. Co-ed elementary schools at that. So, if you have it in your heart to not eat a lunch out this week and make a small one-time $25 online donation during the course of the 2014 event, we know a lot of kids needing an education that would thank you. Thank you all, because we all know that every little bit helps out a lot. (FYI: All individual donation names will be put in a hat and on May 3rd we will select a winner for a special fun prize—it will be worth much more than your $25+ donation!). Thank you!
 

Krakow Bound...the homestrech at last!

Thursday May 1 – Day 21

Hello All -

We have regained consciousness after an amazing adventure over the last few days with our travelers here and there spread out across Central Europe…and us nestled sweetly in among the vineyards of the Wachau Valley with good friends.

First off, the teams…saw a team last night here in Vienna. Heard many teams were already in Krakow and some were arriving this morning. Check in time is tomorrow morning (Friday) at 11AM. Until then, we have a news blackout so no team gains any competitive advantage knowing where another is or what they are doing. That said…see YOU ALL tomorrow at 11AM hotel lobby in Krakow.

Today is May Day…international labor day…and everything is on a different schedule. Stores/retail are all closed, family-owned businesses are closed, but most museums and restaurants are open if on limited hours. Hopefully trains, and in our case, flights run as scheduled.

Other news…the LA Kings won a historic game seven last night beating the Sharks 5-1 and making an 0-3 comeback to win the series 4-3. Stunning and I would expect nothing less from that gritty former Stanley Cup champion…now the Ducks. In other great sports news the Laker coach resigned—a year too late in my mind as he was never a right fit for the legendary Lakers and their post game. And in other good news, the NBA banned for life that Clipper-owning pig. We all knew it in LA, now the rest of the world knows it too. Shame on you.

Okay, how to describe the hospitality of good friends. You can’t, you just thank your lucky stars for being in their orbit and know in your heart they know how appreciative you are to know them and share in their gracious generosity. We had a fabulous time visiting Silvia, Thomas, Clementine, Muki & Josephine at their home outside Krems, Austria. Lucca was so happy to see his friends…and play outside among the vines, laughing and not having to talk to us adults for a couple days. He was in tree forts, zip trekking, swinging like Tarzan, and learning the art of wine making and being the boy we know him to be. Pamela and I just relaxed in Thomas and Silvia’s company sharing in their own vineyards products (white wine and schnapps), while catching up, dinning gloriously and enjoying the simply spectacular views of the Wachua Valley—a UNESCO world heritage site along the Danube known for not only the wine but its natural beauty. Pamela was ready to stay forever…as I think Lucca was when he found out they played hockey there too. The weather was just breathtaking as well.

Thomas showing off his "The Man Who Returned Home" lable apircot schanpps
batch...minus a bottle or two.

Happy kids...

The vineyard house...

In Krems...

Kids on a ferry across Danube...no engines (current and cable driven) and on your schedule!

The Million Euro View of Wachua Valley and Danube...Thanks guys, see you soon!

Okay, we are off to Krakow…so more tomorrow.


Last Chance….Finally, remember that The Global Scavenger Hunt has always been about more than traveling around the world competing for The World's Greatest Travelers crown in the world travel championship... it is about helping others help themselves through the GreatEscape Foundation. This year, to celebrate our event's 10th anniversary, our goal is to fund 10 schools in places that really need them. Co-ed elementary schools at that. So, if you have it in your heart to not eat a lunch out this week and make a small one-time $25 online donation during the course of the 2014 event, we know a lot of kids needing an education that would thank you. Thank you all, because we all know that every little bit helps out a lot. (FYI: All individual donation names will be put in a hat and on May 3rd we will select a winner for a special fun prize—it will be worth much more than your $25+ donation!). Thank you!

 

Dateline: Highway en route to Austria...technology!

Good morning all...or good evening, whatever.

Road officials are on their way to Austria...other teams on their way to Vienna and Slovakia today, and we heard Liechenstein too! (Good luck with that bridge too far...) One team is on a side heritage roots tour looking for long lost relatives. Good luck all...

Thank you again to all the folks at the Hilton Budapest Castle Hotel ...we wish every property was so warm and wonderful. You should be proud of your service. Thank you all.

Just a few photos to share from the autobahn.

Danube River at night


The NEW standard for gelato (in the world?) Gelarto Rosa...a MUST!


Sublimely delicious...I had two!

Leslie & Michele plotting and planning...


Heckarewee (Dan & Leslie) currying favors from Pamela...(she's tough!)

See you in Austria...



 

Travelers Found and Running Amok Through Central Europe

Dateline: Budapest, HUNGARY - Monday April 28 – Day 18

Time…what a mental construct.

Where to begin? We are ALL here in Budapest. I just sat and listened to stories of woe while sharing a few Pilsner Urquell’s and G ‘n T’s with the lost tribe of The Global Scavenger Hunt who just arrived from Dubai--24 hours late. They are all in good spirits and humor. Good travelers know random stuff happens and you complain, moan or groan and the uncontrollable random inevitability of it, or roll with the punches. They were all true champs.

So, greetings from the Hilton Budapest Castle Hotel situated in the center of the Royal Castle District, a UNESCO World Heritage Site—who’s entire staff I must say have just been exceptional while offering each and every team an amazing experience…although maybe a tad too much information—I am talking to you guys at the Concierge Desk ;)! Thank you all.

That said, we have to close the books on the Par 2 Dubai leg of the competition that ended Saturday night. Obviously as mentioned days ago, a few team members were suffering lingering effects of India, some were able to rally, some not, and the results I think reflected that fact. Dubai was a flurry of 28-hour activity; elevator surfing took place, snow skiing was involved, ice skating occurred, desert driving happened, a lot of mall hopping transpired, the interrogating of “guest” workers was widespread, and evading UAE’s morality police (at least in spirit) came to pass. Teams were busy visiting the travel and tourism Mecca we affectionately refer to as Dubailand

In fifth place, hanging on for dear life in the waves of Lawyers without Borders wake, were Matzah Burrito (Angel & Jordan) with 775 points;

In fourth place, were the team vying for 2014 rookie of the year honors, were Heckarewee (Leslie & Dan) who amassed 880 hard-earned points;

In third place, were the tried and true sophomore team Retired Traveling Chicks (Kim & Maria) compiling 1,040 points;

Earning just 30 points more, at 1,070 points for the Dubai leg, in second place, and somewhat of an upset, were Lawyers without Borders (Zoe & Rainey);

And the winners of the leg, amassing an amazing 1,390 points were Sister Act Two (Emily & Rainey Jr.) with their first ever leg victory!

Congrats all, and the 2014 travel world championship leader board looks like this…

Okay, that leg behind us, road officials had to make a call this morning and begin the leg on time with 80% of teams present and ready, or wait until 100% where at the starting gate. It was decided after examining the leader board and the competition results to date to begin on time and offer a set of progressive handicap Bonus points for the three teams bumped and left behind in Dubai. That said, teams were given their European (Par 6) scavenger hunt lists at 8:30am Monday morning.

There mission is to simply get from Budapest to Krakow, Poland—about 350 kilometers directly north—by Friday at 11am. Easy, right?  Wrong! There are only about 200 possible scavenges in between in Hungary, Austria, Germany, Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia…and even Liechtenstein too! Mercifully, I left Romania and Slovenia off this year’s task list…

So, that is all…get from Point A to Point B, via Points C, D, E, F, G…and don’t forget the big May Day holiday either. Frankly, we have no idea where everyone will be over the next 5 days until we see them at our 11AM Krakow rally leg check in. But we do know that everyone should have fun figuring out their strategies, designing their routes and executing their plans. It will be an interesting few days. Good luck to all…

Here are a few photos from today…


The Actual View From Where I Am Writing This Post...Suite!

|
Chain Bridge

Street Scenes...

Paprika...I love paprika.

The scene outside last night!

The Mighty Hungarian Eagle

One Tired Kid...

Kim & Maria (Retired Traveling Chicks) on the move too...?


Our Tribe on Arrival In Budapest -6...

BTW: If I haven't mentioned, the road officials travel experience is somewhat different than our traveling competitors...their experiences are so much more fun and exciting than our daily grinds. This is work for us...and don't forget it!

Hello to Anna from your fair city...last time you were here!

And FYI if you don't hear from us for a few days as our teams attempt to conquer Erope, we are off tomorrow on an exciting adventure of our own to visit one of my son's school former mates, and our friends Thomas, Silvia, Clementine, Muki & Josephine who moved home to Austria a few years ago. Should be a fun sleepover!

More later...


Finally, remember that The Global Scavenger Hunt has always been about more than traveling around the world competing for The World's Greatest Travelers crown in the world travel championship... it is about helping others help themselves through the GreatEscape Foundation. This year, to celebrate our event's 10th anniversary, our goal is to fund 10 schools in places that really need them. Co-ed elementary schools at that. So, if you have it in your heart to not eat a lunch out this week and make a small one-time $25 online donation during the course of the 2014 event, we know a lot of kids needing an education that would thank you. Thank you all, because we all know that every little bit helps out a lot. (FYI: All individual donation names will be put in a hat and on May 3rd we will select a winner for a special fun prize—it will be worth much more than your $25+ donation!). Thank you!