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Topics - Mech

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Registration is required. Through November 15.
https://secure.unitedmileageplus.com/reg/PTMIHG/index.html


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Up In The Air / Easyjet to start flying between Tel Aviv and Amsterdam
« on: October 22, 2015, 05:55:40 PM »
@ynetnews: https://t.co/AlUCTntaqq #Ynet https://t.co/CpWJKIWL8j
The first easyJet flight on the new route will take off on Monday, October 26. The company will offer free weekly flights between Israel and the Dutch capital on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.
EasyJet began selling tickets for the new service several months ago for 49.49 (about $56) from Tel Aviv and 46.49 from Amsterdam.

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Trip Reports / Mech's Rome & Venice Trip Report March 2015
« on: March 19, 2015, 08:44:22 PM »
This is my first trip report! Here it goes!
This trip report is more on the style of being detailed because I want to make it easier for anyone else planning an itinerary like this and get ideas from me. So for all you that don't like this style, rather like short and to the point, sorry.
Firstly, I want to thank everyone here on DDF that helped me plan this trip, especially D93, Emkay, Yehoshua and @Yehuda. Thanx a million!
This trip was planned about 2 weeks before we went. We went back to Israel for my brothers Bar Mitzvah (on Purim)  and had a return ticket (on Turkish) a week and a half after Purim which was part of my return ticket from a year ago. Just to make this a little more simple - I live in Yerushalayim but came back to the states in December to have a baby. So this was the return ticket that I was supposed to take back to America at the end of the Zman.
For the time after Purim till our return home, my wife and I weren't interested in staying in Israel. And to make things even harder, our apartment was being rented out so we couldn't stay there. So we decided to go to Europe, which I've never been to before and I've been dying to go to Italy. So even though my wife was just there last January, when we were engaged, she was more than happy to go back.
We booked a round trip ticket on Alitalia for $327 per person plus $29 for my baby, which I paid for by selling $850 worth of UA and AA vouchers I received from them this year. Our route was TLV-FCO-VCE-FCO-TLV.
Wednesday 3/11
We left TLV-FCO at 5:50 am for a 23 hr 50 minute stopover in Rome. We had a full schedule planned for the day. My great uncle drove us to Ben Gurion, as he always does. I've never taken a Monit or tender/ sherut ever!! Got a row with an empty middle seat and my baby slept the whole plane ride! As a matter of fact on every single one of our flights (7 actually), we got an empty middle seat, besides the 2 long haul to and from Israel, where we got a bassinet.
The food on the plane was really nothing. We arrived early at 8:15am.
Now originally I booked the Roma Sheraton Golf Parco de' Medici Hotel for 7,000 starpoints but switched a day before my trip to the Sheraton Roma Hotel & Conference Center on the day that this hotel switched from a category 3 to a 2, totaling 4,000 starpoints. So right there I saved 3,000!! This hotel has a shuttle that goes directly from the airport to the hotel for 7 per person (which I never got charged for!) that only goes 3 times a day. But b"h we made the 9:15am one. We had the entire 50 person coach bus to ourselves!!
We got to the hotel at 9:45am and being a SPG Gold member, got upgraded and was able to check in super early!! Also took the gift of 250 starpoints. The hotel and room is a regular American style hotel. The outside looks like a dump but inside is a very nice Sheraron style hotel. (Sorry no pics). We were very comfortable. We rested up a bit cause we barely slept that night.
At 11:30am we left the hotel to go to the city. The train station is about an 8 minute walk from the hotel and another 10 minute ride to the city. A one ride pass costs 1.50. The train system was pretty easy to use. We got off at the Colosseum. The Colosseum is directly outside of the Metro.
(no that lady is not posing for my picture )
I was carrying my baby in a baby carrier and was very happy I did that. It would have been a pain to go with a stroller for many reasons - foot traffic, the cobble stone streets, not that many stairs but enough periodically for it to be annoying with a stroller. The only down side of the carrier is the we had to hold the diaper bag, which ended up carrying everything else that we were holding or bought.... Additionally, we ended up listening to the DDF advice and not do the hop on hop off bus. We walked everything instead. Good choice! Also, we didn't do any tours the whole trip. My wife was just there last year and did the Jewish Rome Tour and I'm not such a history guy. I was just interested in sightseeing. My wife filled me in on some history here and there.
I bought tickets to the Colosseum before online at www.italy-tickets.com for 36 for both of us, including entrance to the Roman Forums and the Palatine. I'm so happy I did that because the line to buy tickets by the Colosseum was out the door. There would have been no way we would have done it if we would have had to wait in line. In the Colosseum we used the Rick Steves audio tour on my iPhone. Thanx Yehoshua for that!  We were there for about an hour and fifteen minutes. 
We saw this on a wall in the Colosseum!

Outside the Colosseum, there were a bunch of Bangledashians (Indian looking guy) selling selfie sticks. The first guy that came over to us took it out of my hands in the middle of us talking cause the police we looking for illegal street peddlers. It's was really funny watching them running around trying to hide from the police. We ended up buying one from a guy who wanted 15 for it and my wife got him down to 10. That probably was the best money we spent on the trip. We love it! We were there for an hour and a half then walked to the  Arch of Constantine, Arch of Titus, The Roman Forums and Piazza Venezia.
On the way I saw this old hunched lady with a cup in her hands obviously collecting. She was entirely covered and hunched so much you couldn't see her face. She looked so familiar! Then I remembered that I saw a clip on YouTube a while ago about a lady who is a young 20 something year old girl who dresses up as this old lady collecting money raking it in. Check this out. It's over 5 yrs old. http://youtu.be/T2T9e3zoI_0
We then headed to the Jewish ghetto for the highlight of the day: Ba Ghetto!!!

Mozarella Sticks (Balls). AMAZING!!!! 10/10

Fried Red Rice Ball. Interesting 6/10

Salmon Pasta. Pretty good. 8/10
We also got the Avi Pizza, which was white pizza, with no tomatoe sauce with lots of cheese and tomatoes. Really good. 9/10 (dunno where the picture went)
Our bill was less than 40.
After we recharged our phones we went to the Shul. We weren't allowed in because they said it was closed until Mincha which was still in 1 1/2 hrs. Nu Nu. After, we went to get some Gelato!! Yum yum. I was a little disappointed that it wasn't Cholov Yisroel but the Pareve was still very good!We then made our way (with a few shopping stops) to the Trevi Fountain. All the fountains were off and gates were surrounding the fountain for construction. Bummer. After that we finally found the Spanish Steps. It's a beautiful area with all the fancy stores. I found a really cool women's shoe store nearby.
We were very tired, so we headed back to the hotel via the train. We got back to the hotel at 8:15 and felt satisfied that we saw most of what we wanted to (besides the Vatican). We were so tired that we fell asleep in our clothes.
Thursday 3/12
Our flight the next morning was at 8:25am from FCO to VCE. We took the 7am shuttle from the hotel and besides one other person, the entire coach bus was empty again. In the airport, since we had a baby/ stroller, we got to cut the check in, security and boarding lines.  And literally everywhere we went, we got comments about our bambino! Seems like babies are rare in Italy
That's it for Rome! Up next is Venice!!

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Up In The Air / Passport Control App at MIA
« on: February 26, 2015, 02:08:45 PM »
Expedite your travel at Miami Airport! Download the new app Mobile Passport Control.
http://www.miami-airport.com/releases/2015-02-26-NEW_MOBILE_PASSPORT_APP_LAUNCHED_AT_MIA.asp




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