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The Travel Well – Fat Tuesday

(As always, comments are appreciated. Partners on this venture are always welcomed. So, contact me with whatever.)

So, we all know what generally happens on Fat Tuesday. Or maybe do not want to know. However, let us not forget other holidays celebrated today. Either way, it still sums up to a day of indulgence and excess.




So, the quick on today.


  • “Mardi Gras” is French for Fat Tuesday.
  • Fat Tuesday is also known as Shrove Tuesday, a term that has its roots in the word “shrive,” meaning “to absolve someone of their sins.”
  • In many places, today is also Paczki Day, celebrated today in many places in the Midwest, especially in Chicago.


All these celebrations have similar roots.

No discussion of Easter is complete without a mention of its much-anticipated precursor — Fat Tuesday, also known as Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras. It’s the last chance to party hearty before Ash Wednesday when Lent begins.

In the old days, meat and meat byproducts, like butter and eggs, couldn’t be eaten during Lent. So ingenious cooks used up all their dairy and eggs during Fat Week, from Shrove Thursday to Shrove Tuesday, by making crepe-like pancakes, called nalysnyky in Ukraine (similar to Polish naleśniki), and doughnuts called spurgos in Lithuania, krofne in Serbia, and pączki˘ (POHN/CH-kee) in Poland, according to



A Paczki is a traditional Polish pastry that resembles pretty much a donut. Pączki are deep-fried pieces of dough shaped into flattened spheres and filled with confiture or other sweet filling.


In North America, particularly the large Polish community of Chicago, Detroit, and other large cities across the Midwest, Paczki Day is celebrated annually by immigrants and locals alike. The date of this observance merges with that of pre-Lenten traditions of other immigrants (e.g., Pancake Day,Mardi Gras) on Fat Tuesday. With its sizable Polish population, Chicago celebrates the festival on both Fat Thursday and Fat Tuesday; pączki are also often eaten on Casimir Pulaski Day. In Buffalo, Toledo, Cleveland, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Milwaukee, South Bend, and Windsor, Pączki Day is celebrated on Fat Tuesday.



Today is also Pancake Day in England.

What’s this, you ask?

According to The Telegraph, Britons have celebrated Pancake Day for centuries. Known also as Shrove Tuesday, its exact date, rather confusingly, changes every year, because it is determined by when Easter falls. But it is always the day preceding Ash Wednesday (the first day of Lent), and always falls in February or March.

The word shrove is a form of the English word shrive, which means to obtain absolution for one’s sins by way of confession and penance. Shrove Tuesday gets its name from the custom for Christians to be “shriven” before the start of Lent.

Why do we celebrate Pancake Day?

Traditionally, pancakes were eaten on this day to use up rich, indulgent foods like eggs and milk before the 40-day fasting season of Lent began. But although it is enshrined in Christian tradition, it is believed that Pancake Day might originate in a pagan holiday, when eating warm, round pancakes – symbolizing the sun – was a way of celebrating the arrival of spring.




The Travel Well – Friday Fun Bits (February 5, 2016)

(As always, comments are appreciated. Partners on this venture are always welcomed. So, contact me with whatever.)super-bowl-xlix-cartoon-heller

With this week with the Super Bowl this Sunday featuring the Denver Broncos vs the Carolina Panthers, playing at Levi Stadium in Santa Clara, CA,, here are some random travel bits.

Published in Travel Pulse, with statistics from VividSeats,

According to data collected by online ticket resale marketplace Vivid Seats, the average distance traveled to this weekend’s Big Game is 1,319 miles. To put the average trip distance into perspective, 1,300 miles is the equivalent to traveling from New Orleans to New York.

While a majority of ticketholders (68 percent) lives within 2,000 miles of Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, Vivid Seats found that at least two tickets were purchased more than 2,600 miles away in Mt. Sinai, New York. Meanwhile, the closest fans secured a pair of tickets just 4.5 miles from the stadium in Mountain View, California.

For more information, check out:


Some numbers published by Travel + Leisure Magazine about the Super Bowl.

12 is number of flight routes added to and from the Bay Area from Denver during Super Bowl Weekend. JetBlue, United, and Southwest added additional flights specifically for the game.

12 is number of flight routes added to and from the Bay Area from Charlotte during Super Bowl Weekend. American Airlines, JetBlue, and United decided to add routes specifically for the event.

3,821 is the Number of hotel rooms in Santa Clara. The city’s hotels have been filling up for weeks and most are completely sold out. Travelers still looking to score a room will have better luck searching in San Jose or closer to San Francisco.

For more numbers, check out:


Roman Harper of the Carolina Panthers is renting his place in Charlotte, NC, via AirBnb while he is playing in the Super Bowl.




The Travel Well- Groundhog Day

(As always, comments are appreciated. Partners on this venture are always welcomed. So, contact me with whatever.)

In this weekly dispatch, as the title says, it is about Groundhog Day and some of the randomness about this holiday.




By the time many of you read this, The Prognosticator of Prognosticators, Punxsutawney Phil, will have made his appear at sunrise on February 2 at Gobbler’s Knob in the Pennsylvania Wilds to make his annual prediction on the 130th anniversary of Groundhog Day.

I am guessing the Phil’s prediction about winter will be similar to the winning team between the Harlem Globetrotters and Washington Generals. Actually, for more information on his predictive accuracy, check out this article:


The story of Groundhog Day started like this (according to

What does a sleepy, furry marmot have to do with seasonal change? According to fans of Punxsutawney Phil, everything!

The story begins with Candlemas, an early Christian holiday where candles were blessed and distributed. Celebrators of the holiday eventually declared clear skies on Candlemas meant a longer winter. The Roman legions, during the conquest of the northern country, brought this tradition to the Germans, who concluded that if the sun made an appearance on Candlemas Day, a hedgehog would cast a shadow, thus predicting six more weeks of bad weather or “Second Winter.” German immigrants brought the tradition to Pennsylvania, but how did Punxsutawney Phil emerge?

In 1886, a spirited group of groundhog hunters from Punxsutawney dubbed themselves “The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club.” One member was an editor of Punxsutawney’s newspaper. Using his ink, he proclaimed Punxsutawney Phil, the local groundhog, to be the one and only weather prognosticating groundhog. He issued this proclamation on Candlemas, and yes, Groundhog Day. Phil’s fame spread, and newspapers from around the globe began to report his Gobbler’s Knob prediction. Today you will find 20,000+ in attendance and millions watching on television or via the web.

US News & Report put out its travel recommendations if you are considering traveling to Punxsutawney. For more info, check out this article.


Not-So-Random Facts about Groundhog Day

  1. Students at Punxsutawney Area High School — home of the “Chucks” — have no school on Groundhog Day, because the school buses are used to transport thousands of people to and from Gobbler’s Knob.
  2. When he’s not at Gobbler’s Knob, Punxsutawney Phil and 3 other groundhogs — including his wife, Phyllis — live in a heated area of the children’s portion of the Punxsutawney Memorial Library.
  3. None of the scenes from the 1993 film Groundhog Day, starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell, were filmed in Punxsutawney, PA. Most of the film was shot in Woodstock, IL, which is close to Chicago, the home base of director Harold Ramis.


Not-So-Random Quotes about Groundhog Day


  1. “The groundhog is like most other prophets; it delivers its prediction and then disappears.” –William Vaughn, American columnist and author
  2. Phil: What would you do if you were stuck in one place and every day was exactly the same, and nothing that you did mattered?
    Ralph: That about sums it up for me. – Groundhog Day, (1993)


The Travel Well – Delayed Flight and Airport Activities

(As always, comments are appreciated. Partners on this venture are always welcomed. So, contact me with whatever.)

In today’s posting, a range of things to think about as it relates to airport delays but ranging with possible activities. Some airports have the most unusual activities such as offering the opportunity to get married to hunting.



'The arrival of Flight 208 will be delayed. They've run into some beautiful weather and they're taking in the sights.' 


With the snow slamming in the Eastern United States, clearly many people had to find ways to pass the time. Definitely, many people made the best of the snow.

In many places, there are pictures of people sledding down hills with children.

In New York – “Netflix and Chill” was a headline floating around.

Thousands of flights were cancelled over the past weekend. Transit services in a bunch of cities were also suspended last weekend.

With that, I thought is may be useful to show what to do if your flight is delayed. What activities can keep you busy? Restaurants or some suggestions to pass the time can you do besides sitting at the bar or sitting on the phone (not a bad thing by any means)?


Your Rights as a Flyer

Coping With Flight Delays


Passing the Time


Unusual Airport Activities

Story from Across the Pond


Not-So-Random Facts about Traveling

The Bureau of Transportation Statistics ( provides probably the most comprehensive stats especially as it relates to those articles that talk about the best and worst airport and airlines. However, much of the data is reported by the airline carriers, with the number of carriers reporting changing every year, due to mainly to airline consolidation. For example, 20 carriers reported their arrival figures in 2008. The figure has decreased in almost every year with only 14 reporting in 2015. Overall on-time arrival was at 80.1% through November 2015 (December 2015 was not available at the time of publishing), which was better on-time numbers than 2013 (79.1%) and 2014 (76.3%).

The Travel Well – Friday Fun Bits (January 22, 2016)



(Comments are always appreciated.)

This week will be more of a blog of lists. Stay Warm, Everybody!


Traveler’s Checklist


Winter Storm Checklist


America’s Best Cities for Winter Travel by Travel & Leisure Magazine


Bucket list places by


Packing for Cold Weather Trips


Not-So-Random Quotes about the Cold


“Nothing burns like the cold.” “Nothing burns like the cold.”
-George R.R. Martin, Game of Thrones


“A lot of people like snow. I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water.”
-Carl Reiner


“It’s too cold outside for angels to fly.”
―Ed Sheeran








The Travel Well – Where are the Food Trucks?

(Comments are always appreciated. In this case, suggestions on food, t0o.)


In the United States, food trucks are showing up more and more in cities. A lot has changed since Dan Aykroyd’s Captain Tom Everett character and Robert Stack’s Chandler Young in 1988’s Caddyshack II deviously planned at a food truck to rig the final golf tournament (Think Mrs. Estherhaus!!). There are clearly a million reasons why and we love having them outside our favorite places, whether for lunch or late night treats. However, where are they? They can be everywhere or is certain spots, depending upon each particular city’s legislation.

Below is a list for some of the big cities. It is not exhaustive, but the fact there are these sites is incredibly helpful.

To find out, please check out the respective sites for these places:

  1. Atlanta, GA –
  2. Boston, MA –
  3. Charlotte, NC –
  4. Chicago, IL –
  5. Cincinnati, OH –
  6. Denver, CO –
  7. Kansas City, MO –
  8. Los Angeles, CA –
  9. Miami, FL –
  10. Nashville, TN –
  11. New York, NY –
  12. Phoenix, AZ –
  13. Portland, OR –
  14. San Francisco, CA –
  15. Seattle, WA –


Some general sites that have city-specific sites to find the food trucks, depending on where you live:




Not-So-Random Information about Food Trucks


When you apply for your mobile food truck permit, you might need General Liability Insurance. GL Insurance protects food truck operators from third-party lawsuits over illnesses, bodily injuries, copyright infringement on advertisements, and property damage. GL is a basic business insurance policy that protects you against some of the most common lawsuits, paying for the legal expenses that could otherwise bankrupt your business. General Liability Insurance premiums typically cost between $500 and $602 per year.

The Travel Well – Friday Fun Bits (January 15, 2016)

Comments are always appreciated


Listing from’s listing of the cheapest airports to fly in and out, from its 2015 Airport Affordability Report. For more information, please go to

Here are the top 10 cheapest airports in the country:

Rank Airport Average Airfare Ranking  Last Year
1 Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International, OH (CVG) $199 77
2 Atlanta International, GA (ATL) $231 73
3 Dallas Love Field, TX (DAL) $251 4
4 La Guardia, NY (LGA) $251 31
5 Chicago-O’Hare International, IL (ORD) $265 65
6 Philadelphia International, PA (PHL) $267 48
7 Long Beach (Daugherty Field), CA (LGB) $267 2
8 Cleveland-Hopkins International, OH (CLE) $278 66
9 Orlando International, FL (MCO) $281 29
10 Metropolitan Oakland International, CA (OAK) $282 12

And here the 10 most expensive ones:

Rank Airport Average Airfare Ranking  Last Year
92 Portland Intl Jetport, ME (PWM) $537 13
93 Pensacola Regional, FL (PNS) $540 53
94 McGhee Tyson, TN (TYS) $552 91
95 El Paso International, TX (ELP) $554 97
96 Anchorage International, AK (ANC) $576 93
97 James M. Cox Dayton International, OH (DAY) $587 40
98 Greenville-Spartanburg International, SC (GSP) $592 62
99 Northwest Arkansas Regional, AR (XNA) $615 92
100 Yeager, WV (CRW) $742 N/A
101 Honolulu International, HI (HNL) $794 101