Saturday, September 17, 2011

Day One, On The Way To Navarra.

The airlines tell us to arrive two hours early for international flights, and I rarely any attention to that advice. Over the past 10 years of traveling as an adult, I've never had issues arriving an hour or so before my long distance flights. For some reason I felt a sense of urgency today though, despite having packed everything the night before, checked in online, and had my travel clothes laid out ahead of time.

Was my gut trying to tell me to listen to the advice, for once? Probably. I'm happy I did listen, because the security lines at Terminal 2 were about 35 minutes long this morning, another aspect of travel I'm not used to. Granted, my past travel has been in First and Business classes, I am very fortunate to typically avoid the long lines at the check-in and security areas. Already, after experiencing both long lines while checking my bag and going through security, I feel so fortunate to have avoided that in the past. Also I now understand the frustrations of many travelers and the frequent complaints. It all makes sense, and as this trip progresses and I continue to travel in Economy class, my understanding will only grow. A great sense of perspective, even a learning experience.

Does this have anything to do with wine? No, not really. The wine selection here at the San Diego Admiral's Club is nondescript and very "safe". Since it's only about 9:15am, having a glass of wine seems a bit sloppy and I have settled for a very good Bloody Mary. Settled might not be the best word, since this one is quite good and better than what I usually get at United Red Carpet Clubs.

Musing on the wine list here for a moment, I think Southern Wines and Spirits stocks this place, or at least, whomever distributes Kenwood does. While not a bad wine at all, a person like me has no reason to have a glass of wine. Perhaps that's not bad though because people like me (and maybe even you, reader) aren't the target here. Stocking the wines we want would be cost prohibitive, imagine a scenario where I order a Condrieu and that bottle is opened, then sits open, with 6 oz. emptied, for days. Cost prohibitive indeed, so once again I return to my Bloody Mary.

Time to schlep it to the gate and board, in Group 2, my flight to Dallas. I'll pick this up in a few hours.

On the ground in Dallas, roughly two hours until my flight to Madrid. I'm sitting at the D Gate Admiral's Club and it's swanky! But I can tell why American Airlines has to charge for booze here, this place must have cost a fortune to build and operate, so to recoup their investment they charge $6 for a Shiner Bock. It's not all gloom and doom though, free WiFi is awesome and at least the beer is cold.

I started to think about what I should expect in Navarra and in Pamplona specifically. At the top of the list is my expectation to learn about the wines of Navarra. What drove the vine choices? What are the goals of the producers in the region? Do they want to be known as a premium wine area or as a value-oriented region? I'd love to also learn about the relationship between food and wine there too, which is a greater influence?

Tomorrow I'll start getting answers to these questions and more that I'll think of on the long flight over. Now, I'm going to hydrate and get as much time on my feet as I can before the flight over the Atlantic. Bon Voyage!

Beau Carufel


  1. Love this! And jealous of your travels. I've never missed the 35 minute line waits... but trust me, they build character and tolerance. Happy traveling! I can't wait to hear about the wines and learn a bit about those regions from someone's first-hand perspective!

  2. I'm sure you will have a great time especially that crazy group your traveling with.

  3. Bloody Mary is my standard drink when I travel. Best one I had was in Terminal 5, Heathrow Airport. Yummylicious!