Author Topic: From the Parthenon to the Eiffel Tower to the Canals, a week across Europe  (Read 3060 times)

Offline davidrotts63

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Planning and booking

After a week of all talk no action about our upcoming trip, we just jumped into it.
It was Sunday 02/24/19 and we had nothing booked, rather the basic idea of the trip. Just before 3pm I booked a 6:40pm $58 Elal flight to ATH on a wet leased 738 from Air Explore. With nothing but our first flight booked we were off to the airport. We brought along minimal food, so any time I don't mention the food assume we were starving, or ate that.

Although not much was planned, and or booked before, I will include all of our bookings here, as well as in the TR as we booked.

Flights

TLV-ATH LY Y 737-800 $58
ATH-CDG- A3 Y A320 $153.07/10,204 PTS
ORY-VCE U2 (EasyJet) $185 (our delay in booking it cost us $60 or so)
VCE-FCO Italo high speed train “Salotto” €75
FCO-TLV D8 (Norwegian) $128.30/8,553 UR

Accomodations
ATH Wyndham Grand Athens €128
CDG Park Hyatt 30k Hyatt
VCE Hilton Molino Stucky 31k HH
FCO Aleph Hotel Rome 72k HH



« Last Edit: March 03, 2019, 02:03:31 PM by davidrotts63 »
(Quit) pulling out the flowers, and watering the weeds. -Peter Lynch

Offline mmgfarb

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You're welcome.
"JS [is] a fetid cesspool of unvarnished linguistic manure, with lots of useless drivel and post-padding." -Moishebatchy

Offline davidrotts63

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Sunday 02/24
TLV-ATH
We arrived in TLV with enough time to sit down in the Dan lounge and start some more planning, at this point we were going to Athens, the next step was unknown. After checking in to the lounge I saw that LY gave us another half hour of planning by delaying our flight.  It was then that we booked the Wyndham Grand Athens for a mere €128, outstanding for a 5 star hotel. And before grabbing a drink at
SCHMOOZY BAR
we managed to book our next flight, and another hotel as well- A3 to CDG selling for $153, or as we booked 10,204 UR. For the hotel we couldn’t not stay at the Park Hyatt in Paris, which I booked for 30k Hyatt, a lot, yet comforting considering the cash rate of roughly €1,000.

We boarded the noisy Air Explore wet leased 737-800 and took off on time based on the now scheduled 7:10 departure. Although I managed to nab an exit row which had nice legroom, from what it seemed to me the rest of the seats were roomy as well. With that, and the well kept, seemingly new cabin it was a great short flight to ATH.

Upon arrival we used the sophisticated metro system for a €6, but hour plus lift to the hotel. The hotel was quite nice, additionally we were given a bottle of (non kosher) wine as a welcome gift, and the hotel includes a 15 minute Spa treatment for all guests as well. Thanks to my Diamond Status (shoutout to @doctorofcredit ) we were given a Junior Suite overlooking the the Acropolis peak, as well as free breakfast. After a quick look around of the hotel and viewing the Acropolis from the room and rooftop bar we retired to bed.







Here is a shot through the Binoculars on the roof of the hotel.


Before hitting the sack we managed to book ORY-VCE on Easyjet for roughly $185, and FCO-TLV on Norwegian for $128 via CSR.
(Quit) pulling out the flowers, and watering the weeds. -Peter Lynch

Offline davidrotts63

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Monday 02/25
ATH-CDG

After an early morning rise for this amazing view of the early sun beaming down on The Parthenon, we went to take full advantage of our free breakfast, by emptying out their banana stash.

Here is the full view from the hotel rooftop restaurant, the peak dead ahead is Mount Lycabettus.


After talking to some hotel employees about the attractions nearby we were off, first stop was the Acropolis, of course. As means of transportation we took the €1.35 Subway



From this standpoint the view was stunning.


After descending the mountain we took a one stop metro to the Greek Parliament, where we got to see what seemed to be an off brand changing of the guards guarding “an unknown soldier”.





We then proceeded to walk down Ermou St. which is the main shopping area in Athens, it was a great experience taking it in by foot. Eventually we made our way to the Gostijo Kosher restaurant at Chabad which was not opening until four, but the pricing did look solid. We bought some food at the little grocery located there as well.


περιήγηση στις αθήνες is over.

Right back to the Metro for a trip to the airport, unfortunately the final line to the airport runs on the half hour only, so that ruined 20 precious minutes from our schedule.
We had just a few moments to stop by the 2 lounges in Hall B, first the Skyserv Melina Merkouri Lounge which was solid but quite full. Next to the Goldair Handling Lounge which was great for some preflight beverages, the large selection of cheap alcohol made me feel right at home.

After a really slow and painful boarding process and being forced to check our bags we boarded last straight to the exit row seats. Despite not being able to move the seats on the A3 A320-200 the legroom was manageable, off to CDG!
The 3 hour flight had us cross the beautiful alps, something I seem to never stop appreciating, while the majority of the FAs were of the nicest I’ve ever encountered, there was one particular rude FA that was a PITA the whole flight.

Upon arrival we collected our bags and took the trains to the Park Hyatt for check in, unfortunately they weren’t super polite, and my mere Discoverist status didn’t help. Although they said they were giving us a city view room, once we went up it was just a terrace view. We immediately returned and the same agent told us she made a mistake when she said it was city view. When we asked if we can be changed, she lied to us that all city view rooms were sold out, moments later I checked, and of course, there were plenty available for booking. Despite this the hotel was quite nice, and a convenient location as well.



Terrace view ;(


Not wasting a moment, we were off on out Lime Scooters to the kosher Indian restaurant Darjeeling for some dinner.
Pictured is the traditional “Roti” with 2 weird sauces and one amazing spicy one.

The mains

Although it was now half past 11 PM that didn’t stop us from seeing Paris at night, first stop was the Arc de Triomphe
It is nearly impossible to portray it properly in a photo as all the surrounding infrastructure are part of the landmark, but here is the actual arch.

And of course the next stop, still on our Limes, was the Eiffel Tower. After seeing the tower with its lights on, and waiting it out for the copyrighted light show,  we rode along the Seine River where I managed to pick up some more nice shots.


And like that, just a few hours after landing in Paris, we visited the 2 bucket list items, and were done for the night. Out total expense for the Limes at this point IIRC was roughly €10, they are charged by each start up (1 EUR, 1 USD, 5 NIS etc…) plus per minute.
(Quit) pulling out the flowers, and watering the weeds. -Peter Lynch

Offline davidrotts63

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Tuesday 02/26
CDG-VCE
Upon waking up we were back on our Limes in no time, knowing that we had a checkout time of 2pm, although our flight out of ORY wasn’t until 6:30. First stop was right back to the Eiffel Tower for a lift up for some of the most awe filling views of Paris, such as this

The ride up and down took longer than expected and as we were rushing back planning to stop for food, and head back for a daytime view of Arc de Triomphe and make it back to the hotel for 2 pm checkout. But as we pulled out of the Eiffel Tower area we saw Ferraris to rent, starting at €89. (I was outvoted on this, and) We somehow ended up taking separate cars, and paying another €20 to go to a special place to floor it, it was now €109 PP, from just €89 total.

After finishing our games at 5 to 2, those Limes were maxed out (25 kmh ;)  ) for the 15 minute ride back to the hotel, where we checked out just a few minutes past two. Now we proceeded to a Charles Traiteur for some food for lunch, and of course some desserts for then, and for the road. It all looked amazing there and I’ll admit it was almost as good as well.


Now running late because of this trip we took a €23 Uber to ORY, for my first ULCC flight, on Easyjet. Unfortunately there was no lounge in hall 4 at ORY, but seating area with chargers all around. It was there that we booked out hotel for VCE, which we set on the Hilton Molino Stucky for 31k HH vs the cash rate of €132 a night, not crazy. As I was booking the hotel the plane was already boarding 5 minutes away, being last to board again we needed to have our bags checked. This time I didn’t get an exit row and the 320s seats didn’t budge either, luckily no one complained that my feet took up the aisle a whole flight.
tour de paris is over.
Upon arrival we took a nearly hour and half Alilaguna Blue line water shuttle almost all around the Venice Island to the hotel. At check in, thanks to my Diamond Status with Hilton, I was upgraded to a Tower Suite which was huge, and really nice. I was offered the €3,500 a night Presidential Suite for just €1.5k, but chose to keep my $1k room for free.


Public areas:


Approaching the hotel at night:

Upon arrival we booked our train tickets from Venice to Rome for the following day. For some reason the regular seat were €89 a seat, and €109 for “first class” on Italo but when searching 2 seats the prices drop drastically, coach to €79 a seat, while Salotto which is “first class” but in a cabin of just 4 seats each dropped to €75 each. Naturally we booked the cheapest, yet best seat.
(Quit) pulling out the flowers, and watering the weeds. -Peter Lynch

Offline davidrotts63

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Wednesday 02/27
VCE-FCO
One of my favorite parts of traveling is a view when waking up, and Venice did not disappoint!

After enjoying our free breakfast complimentary as a Diamond Member (grapes, apples, oranges, and fresh OJ) we took the hotel’s water shuttle to San Marco. It was just our luck! We arrived in middle of the “carnival” some sort of 2 week long holiday in Venice. It was a weekday, so we were told it’s not like the weekends, but wherever we went there were dozens of locals wearing masks and different costumes, and some tourists too!

Disclaimer: the following photo is filtered, still amazing.
This is on the way from the hotel to San Marco.

This is one of the typical costumes we saw all day.

We walked through the streets, alleys and over the canals of venice all morning slowly making our way to Gam Gam Goodies which is a Kosher bakery for some Pizza.
It was by now nearly time to check out, so we made our trek back to the shuttle and proceeded to check out. After checking out we stopped by the Executive Lounge for some drinks while they held our luggage. We also checked out parts of the humongous hotel that we haven't seen before, including the roof which we managed to access despite being locked :). There was some of the most amazing views from there.

And finally left the hotel via the shuttle back to San Marco, where we walked again, to Gam Gam, a meat restaurant. Prices weren’t bad at all, but the food didn’t impress me much.

It was at the restaurant that we booked the hotel for Rome, I chose the Aleph Hotel Rome by Hilton Curio Collection for 72k HH, which was on the pricier side.
We then walked about 5 minutes to the train station, stopped by the Italo Club, complimentary of out premium seats, before taking the 6PM train for a 3 hours 45 minute ride to Rome. The ride was great, and we were offered more food and drinks more frequently than twice on the hour.


Just a 15 minute walk away from the Rome train station was our hotel, which we trekked to on foot. Upon checking in we were given a Junior Suite, along with 2 welcome drinks, which was then changed to a Deluxe room because the wifi in the first room didn’t work, then back to another Junior Suite.

(Quit) pulling out the flowers, and watering the weeds. -Peter Lynch

Offline davidrotts63

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Thursday 02/28
FCO
As soon as breakfast was up, and we had all the fresh OJ and fruits we can handle, iit was time to head direct to the Colosseum. We had bought Fast Track tickets for €18 just as we were getting ready to go, it was a roughly €10 taxi there, around the price all local taxi rides cost.


After touring the Colosseum and posing at the Arch of Titus we took a walk through the street of Rome to the Jewish Ghetto. After a short walk around we sat in Alice Pizza for some Italian Pizza. Most their pizza had interesting toppings, and plenty didn't even have cheese.

We headed back to hotel, used the spa facilities which were great, before leaving back to the Jewish Ghetto for Mincha/Maariv at the Great Synagogue, where they didn’t allow us to take pictures inside. ;)

Just down the block we went to Ba’Ghetto Milky for dinner. After reading @@yehuda's  TR and the way Mrs. @@yehuda loved the Tonnarelli with Pecorino Cheese, I ordered the “Milky” Package which includes that. Aside from the main it comes with an appetizer, first course, Salad and dessert. As the furthest thing from a cheese lover, I absolutely loved the food here.



Now that it was already dark we continued walking through the city on the way to the Vatican for the courtyard at night, on the way we passed many notable monuments, and churches, some which earned a stop and others that didn’t.


The walk back was down other roads mostly along the Tiber River  as we made sure to stop by the ”Spanish Steps” at the Trinità dei Monti Church. It was now near midnight, so we made a quick stop by the hotel for our luggage being held there, and made a short walk for the 12:30, €7 bus to the airport.
tour di roma is over.
Although our flight wasn’t until 7 AM since we chose not to pay for a hotel for the night we went to the airport as soon as our touring was up. The first flight out of FCO was a 3:40 AM flight to Kiev on PS, so we were in small company upon arrival to FCO. At security we were seemingly the first to pass, and because of our 7 AM departure time. Security refused to allow us through 6 hours prior to the flight, but after convincing them that we had a lounge membership at the 24 hour Plaza Premium Lounge they opened the security lane and we made it to the lounge. Seeing FCO at half past 1 in the AM was a hell of a sight, not a soul in sight, no one running, no one catching flights, and not even any employees at kiosks, it was mind blowing.

Arriving at the lounge it was 100% to ourselves, I found a large couch and after some drinks slept till early morning. When I woke up 3 hours later the lounge had filled up already and after a shower went to our gate and managed to be the absolutely last to board. The legroom on Norwegian Exit Rows is just ridiculous on the 738 allowing me to have a lovely sleep before a timely arrival in  TLV.












HUGE shoutout to @mmgfarb for helping pick the name and for making me who I am today.
will you release the funds from escrow now?
« Last Edit: March 03, 2019, 04:46:47 PM by davidrotts63 »
(Quit) pulling out the flowers, and watering the weeds. -Peter Lynch

Offline sam28

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thanks for sharing nice TR and picture's.

Offline mmgfarb

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Nice TR! But I must say I have no idea what you're talking about
"JS [is] a fetid cesspool of unvarnished linguistic manure, with lots of useless drivel and post-padding." -Moishebatchy

Offline Wizmanison

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Amazing TR and pictures!

Offline davidrotts63

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Nice TR! But I must say I have no idea what you're talking about
I take it all back. No credit to you.
thanks for sharing nice TR and picture's.
Amazing TR and pictures!
Thanks!
(Quit) pulling out the flowers, and watering the weeds. -Peter Lynch

Offline mmgfarb

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Boo
"JS [is] a fetid cesspool of unvarnished linguistic manure, with lots of useless drivel and post-padding." -Moishebatchy

Offline davidrotts63

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Boo you, get out of my thread!

Hope to post some more pictures when I have a chance.
(Quit) pulling out the flowers, and watering the weeds. -Peter Lynch

Offline mmgfarb

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Boo you, get out of my thread!

Hope to post some more pictures when I have a chance.
My pleasure, bye.
"JS [is] a fetid cesspool of unvarnished linguistic manure, with lots of useless drivel and post-padding." -Moishebatchy

Offline dovid1375

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Amazing tr shame i didn't join ;)