Remember Stefan from Rapid Travel Chai blog? The one, who travels fast (and smart), lingers only in memories? Well, we have been corresponding lately. Turns out, he has been reading my crazy blog, unbeknownst to me. And he is a fan! I knew, I should have named my site “Miles for men” or better yet “Miles for hot men”. I’ll explain in a minute.
Anyway, he is in my native country of Belarus as we speak. Which means a trip report will be born soon. Do you think I will let him be the first to write about the second least visited country after North Korea, which BTW he has also toured? I think not.
I will not be outdone, Stefan! Yes, it rhymes. Actually he is going to different cities, so its all good. And a friend of the family is driving him around tomorrow. The guy only drinks a few shots of vodka before getting in a car. So you are in good hands, Stefan! I didn’t realize, he was also interviewed by Million Mile Secrets blog. Fascinating guy and goes to where no man has gone before, sometimes quite literally: LINK
I got a real kick out of female readers’ comments (highlighted in purple) after his interview:
EMLY | February 26, 2012 at 12:57 am |
SO HOW MUCH?
How much for what, Emly? I really hope it wasn’t Daraius’ wife Emily. Thats one way to meet minimum spending requirements!
2009, Grodno, Belarus. My native country, formerly one of Soviet republics, located between Poland and Russia. The main reason for the trip was to let family meet my daughter for the first time, when she was 18 months old. Also my sister just had her second child, so I was eager to see my new nephew.
An interesting fact: my dad’s side of the family comes from nobility. Before the October Revolution, they owned a huge estate in the east part of Belarus, where the Czar of Russia had a summer home. Apparently, my great grandmother and her brother played with czar’s kids on occasion. A sad side note: my grandmother(dad’s mom) died only a week after we left. But she got to meet my daughter. We could not have afforded that trip without miles.
The three of us flew on award tickets, using US Airways dividend program. The miles were mostly collected through sign-up bonuses and some flying. It worked out nicely, because we were able to secure flights on Lufthansa from Orlando to Minsk with a short stopover in Germany. The revenue price was 1400 dollars each. We paid 50000 miles (now 60000) and around 240 dollars in taxes per person. When we landed and got inside the airport, an old lady sternly looked at me and said:”Dress that baby warmer”! Yep, I was home.
Grodno is an old city, founded in the 12th century. It has two castles and lots of historic buildings. Before World War II, 50 percent of population was Jewish, living in peace with Slavs. Almost all of them were killed by Nazis. Grodno is where Napoleon’s army made their crossing on the way to conquer Russia in 1812. That didn’t turn out too well for them.
Grodno is split in two parts by river Neman. I used to sit on those stones in the photo and write poetry( the real kind). I am getting a little nostalgic. We never had a lot of money, but it didn’t matter. It still doesn’t.
Miles and points.
1) Last call for Chase Southwest visa 50000 points sign-up bonus, that ends tomorrow. Honestly, it probably will be back, but you never know. Go to my “Best deals” page for more and please link from there to my Chase Aitran visa post as well.
2) Lufthansa Miles and More card 50000 miles offer is still alive and listed on my affiliate site. There have been rumors to the contrary, so just wanted to clarify. I don’t consider it a “hot” offer, but it may be for some. Once again look in my “Best deals” page.
3) Amex offers 50 dollar credit on hotels reservations through December 31st. You have to spend 250 dollars to qualify. LINK
4) Via View from the Wing, you can pick up free 1000 United miles after getting a no-obligation insurance quote from Allstate. LINK
5) Potential savings of 15 percent on some gift cards via Points, Miles and Martinis blog LINK
6) A good post by Mommy Points about Best Rate Guarantee and how it works in various hotel chains LINK
7) Just a quick thank you to Michael W from the Boarding Area for sending me my Octoberfest amenity kit. I won it after entering his blog prize drawing. Though no beer came with it. 🙁 The lesson? Always spare a couple of minutes to enter these type of sweepstakes.
Leana is the founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.