Author Topic: Yehoshua's Italy & Switzerland TR  (Read 14795 times)

Offline Yehoshua

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Yehoshua's Italy & Switzerland TR
« on: July 16, 2014, 10:49:19 PM »
Getting to Europe- Wednesday, July 2, 2014
We booked this trip in January 2014 using UA miles, before the devaluation.  We used 80,000 per person for our outbound flights in J and our return in X.  Our routing was as follows:

LAX-FRA in LH J
FRA-VCE in LH J, although this being an inter-European flight that didn't count for much


Dinner, first course


Dinner, second course


Breakfast
We had a 2 hour stop in FRA which we used to go to the Business lounge (near gate A26) and shower.  When we arrived at the lounge (which was directly above our gate to VCE!) the showers were all taken. After filling out the request form for a shower, the attendant gave me a small hockey-puck like disk that would alert me when the shower was ready. When it was time for my shower, the disk started vibrating and beeping. Really cool!
 
The kosher food in the lounge was non-existent, but we had brought plenty of food with us including sushi for lunch. (I was very surprised that when we went through security in FRA they didn't confiscate our food, as it contained raw fish, but I wasn't complaining.)
 
We arrived in Venice and took a pre-booked Alilaguna boat to San Marco and walked to the Westin. We took the red line as it was summer and it had the fewest stops. A note about Alilaguna: these boats go really slow. I don't know why they go so slow, they seem capable of going much faster. While they did arrive on schedule, we were getting passed left and right which made the trip seem so much longer.
 
About our Venice Hotel
Based on the recommendations of many on DDF we stayed at the Westin Regina Europa using 10,000 points + $180/night.  The hotel is only a 5 minute walk from the Alilaguna stop although it can be a bit confusing. If you follow the signs to the Westin you will end up going a little bit out of your way, but it's not too bad. You'll quickly realize that you can make a left right after the bridge (coming from San Marco's square) and walk towards Hotel Lisbona to get there a bit quicker. This hotel was fantastic. It was completely sold out, so the best they could do was upgrade me one level to a bigger room which was not facing the canal. It was a great room nonetheless, and they even left us a fruit platter for my birthday!




Our room
 
Getting to Gam Gam
After unpacking and getting settled, we made our first of many walks to the ghetto/Gam Gam for dinner. I was a bit nervous the first time that I'd get lost, but that didn't really happen. There are yellow signs pointing the way at every "intersection." We followed the "Per Rialto" signs to the Rialto bridge and the "Per Ferrovia / P. Roma" signs the rest  of the way. Of course it helped that I also had Google maps leading the way, but I didn't really use it until we were just about there. Additionally, because the buildings are so close together the GPS didn't always pick up where we were. When we arrived for dinner the restaurant was pretty quiet, so we got seated immediately and had an amazing dinner.


Deep fried artichoke


Lasagna


Homemade egg noodles with mushrooms

The Ghetto and the Italian Shul
After dinner we decided to walk around the dinner in search of a Mincha minyan. Chabad was devening at 8:45p and it was only 7:15p, so we weren't sure what to do. We walked around the ghetto courtyard for a while trying to decide. While we were deciding, a group of guys came over and asked if I needed to daven Mincha! We went to the Italian shul to daven (and get some pictures). Wow, what a beautiful shul! They daven Eidut Hamizrach, but that didn't make a huge difference for Mincha.


Inside of the summer shul, the chazan stands in the back


Front of the shul, sorry it's kinda blurry
There are really two shuls they use: the winter shul which is smaller and heated and the summer shul which is larger and not heated.  We almost went to daven in the winter shul, but they decided against it because all the sidurim were in the summer shul already. I got the davening times for shabbos at the Italian shul, and we walked back to the Westin.

More to come...
« Last Edit: July 16, 2014, 11:26:15 PM by Yehoshua »

Offline SOS

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Re: Yehoshua's Italy & Switzerland TR
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2014, 11:24:34 PM »
Nice report so far

Offline Yehoshua

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Re: Yehoshua's Italy & Switzerland TR
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2014, 11:27:09 PM »

Offline Dan

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Re: Yehoshua's Italy & Switzerland TR
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2014, 11:28:21 PM »
Save your time, I don't answer PM. Post it in the forum and a dedicated DDF'er will get back to you as soon as possible.

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Re: Yehoshua's Italy & Switzerland TR
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2014, 11:30:43 PM »
Nice pics too.

Offline MC

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Re: Yehoshua's Italy & Switzerland TR
« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2014, 11:31:16 PM »
Awesome so far, can't wait for the rest.

Offline Yehoshua

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Re: Yehoshua's Italy & Switzerland TR
« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2014, 11:39:07 PM »
Murano, Burano, and the other activities- Friday, July 4, 2014
The next morning we decided to visit the islands of Murano and Burano.  The Westin was nice enough to get us a free boat ride to a glass factory in Murano.  We were the first ones there that day, so we got a private demonstration on glass blowing. Afterwards we walked around their showrooms, but as everything was way out of our price range we didn't buy anything. Contrary to what many had mentioned, the sales person was not pushy at all. We just walked out of the store when we were done browsing and that was it. We walked around a little bit on Murano and bought some souvenirs for a fraction of the price the factory was selling them for.


Glass factory on Murano. This turned into...


...This


Glass factory

We bought tickets for the vaporetto to get to Burano at the Murano stop. Initially I was planning on just getting two single tickets each (one to get to Burano and one to get back to Venice), but I got confused and ended up buying a 12-hour pass instead.  This turned out to come in handy later.

Burano was also a gorgeous island just 30 minutes away from Murano. The houses are painted really bright and bold colors, and it was cool to get pictures of them.  However if you are short on time and/or money it is definitely something you can skip.  We just walked around for about 20 minutes and then caught the vaporetto back to Venice. We got on the #12 vaporetto and took it to itís only Venice stop (Fondamente Nove) on the north side of the city and walked to Gam Gam Goodies for lunch.




Colorful houses on Burano

Goodies was a bit crowded for lunch, but it still only took them 10 minutes to make our pizza once we placed our order. We ate at the Chabad storefront in the ghetto, as all the benches outside were taken. The pizza was amazing with one of the thinnest crusts I've ever had. It was more like a lafa-pizza than an "American" pizza.


Goodies Pizza

It was at this point that I asked one of the Chabad guy about Frulalŗ. He said that if you don't get any milk or yogurt in the drinks there's no problem.

My wife wanted to see the Academia Bridge, so we decided to walk there. On the way though we made two stops. First we stopped at Dr. Kiss Fish, a foot spa with special fish that eat the dead skin from your feed and exfoliate them. This was a unique experience even though we only did it for 10 minutes. The fish are sucking on your skin which kind of tingles a bit but not for long.  Your feet definitely feel different when itís over. The second stop was at the Frulalŗ kiosk. Their drinks were well worth the Ä5 price. They were cold, refreshing and hit the spot on a hot day.


Dr. Kiss Fish


Frulalŗ drinks

We continued walking to the Academia bridge. After a bit, we got tired so we decided to take advantage of our 12-hour pass on the vaporetto and took one there, and from the back to the hotel. It was erev shabbos so we had to get ready and go to shul.
 
Shabbos in Venice- July 5, 2014
It's important to mention at this point what our plans were for shabbos. My wife and I had a mini, extended Venice DO with @Yehuda and his wife who were in the middle of their 6.5 week honeymoon! @Yehuda and I decided to spend shabbos meals together even though they were staying an 8 minute walk away.

We all decided to take shabbos in early at 7:30 and daven in the Italian shul. We met @Yehuda and his wife, who'd just arrived that day, near our hotel and walked to shul. The Italian shul was nice and davening took an hour. They told us to bring our passports before shabbos which we did thanks to the eruv.

After davening we headed to Gam Gam for dinner. Rabbi Rami was there seating people (even though he hadn't davened yet himself), and the four of us sat outside on the canal. It was a bit cramped, but it was a nice dinner and we met a few other travelers who we'd bump into again in Rome a few days later. The only downsides were that it was cramped, really hot, there were no lights once it got dark, and there was no place to hang out jackets. Ok, so it sounds like it was awful, but honestly it was really fun despite all that.

Shabbos day we all decided to daven at the Italian shul again, despite the fact that there was a Bar Mitzvah going on. They daven at 9:30a and promised a 2.5 hour davening. Shortly after davening, my wife and I went to the community kiddush in the community center just down the block. @Yehuda and his wife were waiting in line for a place to eat at Gam Gam, so we brought them back some kiddush and ate just outside Gam Gam while we were figuring out what to do.  The problem was that @Yehuda had given up his reservation in the Gallery, but we wanted to eat with them. The thought of cramming into Gam Gam again without good air conditioning (or possibly getting seated outside!) was not pleasant especially since we had a spot reserved for us in the Gallery.  After a word with Rabbi Rami, @Yehuda and his wife were able to join us despite not having a reservation. It was really worth it, too. It was another really hot day and eating in the roomy, air conditioned Gallery really made a big difference.

The rest of the day was pretty relaxing.  My wife and I rested a bit in the hotel until it cooled off, then we walked around Piazza San Marco listening to the free concerts for a bit before heading to the Gallery for shalosh seudos. @Yehuda and his wife met us in the Gallery and we ate a bit before mincha. Since the Italian shul davened mincha earlier (we didn't know before when they'd be davening), we had to go to Chabad for mincha. If there's one thing I can highly recommend against it is going to Chabad for mincha/shalosh seudos. It was extremely packed, stuffy and hot. At least we were only staying for mincha. We all davened maariv with the Italian shul in the community center and walked back to our hotels together. It was a wonderful and memorable shabbos!

Offline Yehoshua

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Re: Yehoshua's Italy & Switzerland TR
« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2014, 11:57:42 PM »
Getting to Rome- Sunday, July 6, 2014
We decided to take the fast train to Rome. This was the first time I was ever on a train going over 170 mph, and my guess is it was my last. I got pretty motion sick in the stuffy cabin and ended up spending most of the time standing between cars under the one air vent for when it went on every so often.  After 3:45 painful hours, we arrived in Rome and walked 20 minutes to the Westin Excelsior. I felt better by the time we got to the hotel to check in.

Westin Excelsior Rome
This hotel was also amazing. I prefer to use cash and points on the hotel (10,000 points + $180/night), so I opted for the Westin over the St. Regis which didnít have the C+P option even though I booked before it went up to a Cat. 7. We got an upgraded room (again the hotel was sold out for a convention) that overlooked the US Embassy. While all the staff were nice, we felt the staff in Venice were a lot friendlier and went more out of their way for us.


Westin Excelsior entry
 

Large, spacious room


Bathroom

New Free Rome Walking Tour
At 5:30p that afternoon we took the New Free Rome Walking tour which met at the bottom of the Spanish Steps. We were skeptical as to how much we'd like it, but it ended up being a blast. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and funny. We met a group of frum girls on the tour, and we all just waited outside when the tour visited the 2 churches. It was not a big deal.

The tour lasted until 8:00p and ended at the now-under-construction Trevi fountain. While they did have a walkway over the fountain we decided to skip the super long line and just take pictures through the plexi-glass. Our tour guide suggested we just buy a postcard and tell everyone we took the picture.


Trevi fountain under construction

Dinner in the Ghetto
After the tour we walked to Ba Ghetto Milky for dinner. Right after we sat down it was mincha time at the Great Synagogue, so I went and davened. Again they asked for a passport, so I showed them the copy I brought along for just this purpose. This was my first time davening nusach Italki. It was really interesting and not too long.

By the time I got back to Ba Ghetto Milky for dinner it was around 9:00 and quite crowded. We did have to wait a bit to get served (despite the fact that my wife had been saving a table for us while I davened), but the food was well worth the wait.  After dinner we took a nice stroll back to the Westin to digest.




Homemade ravioli and fettuccine from Ba Ghetto Milky
 
Ghetto tour, Yotvata and the Vatican Museums- Monday, July 7, 2014
I started the day davening at the Oratorio di Castro shul at Cesare Balbo 33, only a 17 minute walk from the Westin. They daven nusach Eidut HaMizrach even though some websites said it was nusach Italki. After davening we met Micola in the Ghetto for our Jewish Roma Ghetto tour. Surprise, surprise, our second DO of the trip, this time with Emkay and his wife who were on our tour with the student pricing as well. We also were with a couple we'd met in Rome and a friend of my brother-in-law from Cherry Hill. It was an amazing tour and worth the money.


Inside the Great Synagogue

Emkay and his wife went to lunch with us at Yotvata after the tour. The food here is not on the same level as Ba Ghetto Milky, but it was still very good and a bit cheaper. We had to hurry up with lunch to get to the Vatican Museums at our reserved time.


Pizza variety plate from Yotvata. Lox on pizza was interesting...


Fettuccine from Yotvata

We finished lunch and started walking to the Vatican. It didn't take too long, but boy was it a good thing we had tickets.  The line for people who needed to buy them was huge, maybe 2 hours long, and the whole thing was in the sun!  We skipped that and went straight in.  All in all the museums were nice. I'm not such an art or ancient history person, so if I was by myself I might have skipped them. Iím really glad we didnít book a tour.

My wife is a huge ancient history fan, and she absolutely loved the museums! We skipped all the  religious art and spent most of our time in the ancient Roman, Greek and Egyptian museums.  I wanted to spend more time in the Egypt museum (it was air conditioned), but it was small so we went through quickly. Also, when you come out of the Egypt museum you a quite a ways behind where you when it and need to repeat that part again.

When we go to the last (major) staircase leading to the Sistine Chapel I asked a guard where an alternate exit was so we didn't have to go through. I explained that I was Jewish and he seemed to have heard that one before, so he just let us go through the rope barrier at the bottom of the staircase and exit that way. We spent some time in St. Mark's square and mailed ourselves a postcard from the Vatican post office.

We walked back to the ghetto for another dinner at Ba Ghetto Milky, this time going much earlier to avoid the crowds. We stayed for mincha/maariv at the Great Synagogue and walked back to the hotel for an earlier night.


Our favorite caprese salad with buffalo mozzarella, Ba Ghetto Milky


This tuna schnitzel coated in sesame seeds was unbelievable


Salmon Gnocchi


Ba Ghetto Milky desserts

Offline Joe4007

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Re: Yehoshua's Italy & Switzerland TR
« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2014, 12:05:57 AM »
Awesome report! Keep it coming!

Offline Yehoshua

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Re: Yehoshua's Italy & Switzerland TR
« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2014, 12:17:46 AM »
Ancient Rome and Villa D'Este/Tivoli Gardens- Tuesday, July 8, 2014
At 9:45am we met our ancient Rome tour at the Colosseo Metro stop. While we enjoyed this tour as well, I felt that is was not as good as it could have been.  The guide was repeating himself a bit and we took an unnecessary 15 minute bathroom break.   As someone not super into ancient Roman history, I would probably have been fine with Rick Steves or some other audio guide.  The benefit of the tour was that we skipped the 1.5 hour line to get in. My wife once again enjoyed herself more than I did.

As we were leaving Rome that day, we headed back to the ghetto for one more lunch at Yotvata. We also ordered some food to go which we ate for dinner that night. We stopped by the kosher Gelato place after lunch which was really good. Too bad we hadnít gone the day before. Also, I stopped by the kosher store to buy some cheese you can't get in the US (especially for ~$15/lb) which is a steal compared to ~$30-$35/lb they'd charge here.


Yotvata salad

We walked back to the hotel, packed up, and walked the 1.5 blocks to Hertz to pick up our car. We rented an automatic Fiat 500, or a manual/automatic as they come in Europe, which fit our two carry on perfectly. After a short drive through the streets of Rome we were on our way to Tivoli.

It took some time finding out where to park for Villa D'Este, but we ended up parking at a parking garage at the top of the hill for only Ä1.50/hour (we stayed under an hour). The gardens themselves were really nice, only a 10 minute walk from the parking structure. There were tons of fountains and great panoramic views. We didn't stay very long and drove to our hotel in Pienza arriving just before dark.


View from Villa D'Este


Fountains at Villa D'Este

Hotel Corsignano- our hotel in Pienza
Pienza is a small, old town about 2:15 away from Tivoli or Rome. Some friends of ours had stayed in Pienza on a previous trip and highly recommend we stop by. I found this hotel on Trip Advisor and booked it with Booking.com for only Ä99. It was a really nice hotel, probably a 3.5 star if I had to rate it. It was clean, rustic (in a nice way) and included free parking, WiFi and breakfast. We ate dinner (we'd brought it from Rome) on their patio by the hot tubs as the sun set.


Hotel Corsignano. Our room was first from left on bottom




Simple, rustic room


Bathroom


Breakfast spread. Too bad it wasn't kosher

Towns in Tuscany: Pienza, Siena, San Gimignano, Pisa and Florence- Wednesday, July 9, 2014
Wednesday was our day to explore Tuscany. We started out walking around Pienza itself. The old, walled town is pretty small and only took us 20 minutes to explore.

Next we drove to Siena. Here we found the old Shul and took a tour for only Ä5.  It wasn't a huge tour but the guide was explaining the Jewish history of Siena and it was pretty interesting. We walked around Siena for an hour or so and had lunch before hitting the road again for San Gimignano.


Piazza del Campo, Siena


Shul in Siena

San Gimignano is a smaller town compared to Siena. The interesting thing about it is all the  towers they built. We walked around for a bit until we found another gorgeous panoramic view from the top of the city wall. After asking some friendly Israelis to take our picture, we were off again to Pisa.


Towers in San Gimignano


View from San Gimignano

Now the quickest way to get from San Gimignano to Pisa is on small, country roads. Until this point I'd had perfect service and data thanks to T-Mobile. However on one of these roads there was no data service and my GPS kinda stopped working. After a few wrong turns we found ourselves on a gravel road for about 10 minutes. This couldn't be the main road to Pisa. To make matters worse, our gas tank was almost empty and we were in the middle of nowhere!

Trying to act calm, I finally flagged down a car and asked directions (in Italian) and the sweet, old couple who stopped pointed out the way. As our car started running on fumes, we came to a little industrial park by a "main" roundabout. I asked a stranger walking to her car where the nearest gas station was and she pointed us in the right direction just down the road. Now gassed up and with data working again, we got on the main highway to Pisa.

The tower of Pisa was exactly what it looks like in the pictures. We parked in a lot for Ä1.50/hour about 1 block from the Tower. Visiting in the late afternoon (we were there around 6:30p) was great lighting for pictures. We got lots of pictures of us pushing over or holding up the tower. Per @Yehuda's suggestion, we also took pictures of other people pushing or holding up the tower but from the wrong angle so they looked ridiculous.  After just under an hour there we headed to Florence for the night.




Wrong angle pictures

Offline Yehoshua

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Offline Yaalili

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Re: Yehoshua's Italy & Switzerland TR
« Reply #11 on: July 17, 2014, 12:20:17 AM »
Great report so far. Italy has always been on my list :)

Offline MC

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Re: Yehoshua's Italy & Switzerland TR
« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2014, 12:22:04 AM »
I love the wrong angle picture idea! :D

Offline jaywhy

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Re: Yehoshua's Italy & Switzerland TR
« Reply #13 on: July 17, 2014, 12:24:59 AM »
Awesome TR!

Offline Yehoshua

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Re: Yehoshua's Italy & Switzerland TR
« Reply #14 on: July 17, 2014, 12:39:02 AM »
Hotel David- our hotel in Florence
As the #1 hotel in Florence on TA, I decided to book this hotel for the night. The main perk for me though was the free parking. We couldn't return the car early (it would have cost a lot more), so that alone saved us ~$50/day in parking fees. The hotel is located just on the other side of the Arno river from the city which was very nice. The hotel also had free breakfast, happy hour, and 10 minutes of free international calling per day! I'd describe it as a boutique hotel that was modern at the same time. Although none of the food was kosher, it was an excellent place to stay. While the hotel was Ä170/night, it was better than spending 25,000/night at the Westin + Ä30/night for parking.


Hotel David




The bedroom was quite spacious


The shower was so big it had one shower head at each end

Florence for the non-art lover- Thursday, July 10, 2014
As I've mentioned before, neither my wife nor I are art lovers or even likers, yet we still had a wonderful time in Florence. We started the day going on the synagogue tour. This synagogue is absolutely stunning. They have a small museum which we visited as well. Since the synagogues in Siena and Venice are connected to the one in Florence you can get a combo ticket to you visit all three or a discount if you bring your ticket from one to another one.


Shul in Florence. I'd have loved to get pictures of the inside but they make you leave all electronics in lockers before going through the x-ray/metal detectors

We'd heard that Ruth's Vegetarian was not reliable, so we brought food from home with us. Since we knew weíd be without restaurants from Tuesday night through Friday morning, we brought hot cereal packets, tortillas, tuna packets, and instant soups from home to eat while in Tuscany. It was easier than trying to buy food in Rome or Venice and a lot cheaper.

After the shul tour we walked to the famous leather market. We passed by the Academia Gallery, but didn't go in. The leather market was okay, but I didn't find it too special. I guess if you needed a belt it might be good, but we didn't see anything worth buying.

After a quick lunch we headed to Piazza della Signora to see the old Medici Palace next to the Uffizi Gallery. The palace was closed, but we were able to walk through the courtyard and see the outside.  We skipped the Uffizi and crossed the Ponte Vecchio on our way to Piazzale Michelangiolo. It might have been a steep climb and a few flights of stairs, but the view from the top was well worth it. We spent a few minutes up there chatting with this friendly Brazilian tourist who had walked up the stairs with us. Finally we headed back to our hotel for an early night ahead of our early flight to Zurich the next morning.


Fake "David" near the Uffizi




Views from Piazza Michelangiolo. The shul has the green roof on the right (bottom)
 
Flight to Zurich- Friday, July 11, 2014
We flew from FLR to ZRH in X on Swiss. Zurich was our free stop so we stayed for the weekend.  We didn't fly J as it wasn't available and there's not much of a difference anyway for the 1-hour flight. We drove to the airport and returned the car. They have pretty clear signs from the airport directing you to rental car return and a shuttle that runs every few minutes between the return location and the terminal. The airport is tiny, so there's no need to arrive more than 1 hour before the flight. We got there 2 hours before and ended up just sitting around for an hour by the gate (there are no lounges in FLR).
 
Friday and Shabbos in Zurich- July 12, 2014
While we might have left Italy in the heat of summer, we arrived into a dreary, rainy, and chilly winter in Zurich.  We were staying with some friends of my brother-in-law in the Enge neighborhood, so we just took the train straight from the airport to Bahnhof Enge for CHF 6.60. It turned out that they lived a 1 minute walk from the station, so that was also very convenient.


Zurich HB (main train station)

After we had lunch at our hostís house we braved the rain and went walking near the lake and around the old town of Zurich. It stopped raining at one point, but we didn't take a boat ride on the lake as it looked kind of choppy.

Shabbos itself was rainy off and on with rain coming mainly when we were inside anyway.  We ate dinner with our hosts and lunch and shalosh seudos with two different families in community. It was a nice Shabbos despite the weather. The community seemed very friendly, and most people spoke English.

Lucerne and Mt. Pilatus, Sunday, July 13, 2014
On Sunday we took a 9.5 hour tour to Lucerne and Mt. Pilatus with Best of Switzerland tours. While many people on DDF are anti-tours, I found this tour to be really great and not schleppy. We took a bus from across the street from the main train station in Zurich to Lucerne. On the way to Lucerne we took the scenic route, passing through many small towns in 7 different cantons. It was really cool to see sites that you can't see from the highway or the train and have a running commentary the whole way.

We spent 1 hour in Lucerne walking around the town which was just enough time. We didn't feel rushed or like we had too much time. We were then driven to the cable cars in Kriens to ascend Mt. Pilatus. While it was cloudy in Lucerne, the weather at the top of Mt. Pilatus was a mix of super dense clouds and clear with sunshine. Every few minutes the clouds would shift and we'd get a clear view of the city and Lake below.


Famous bridge in Lucerne


Lucerne from the top of Mt. Pilatus. Now that's one house that's hard to get to!


View from top of Mt. Pilatus

We spent 2.5 hours on the top hiking on the different paths up the different peaks and just taking in the breathtaking scenery. We took the cog wheel train down to Alpnachstad and a boat back to Lucerne before boarding our bus back to Zurich via highway. The boat ride once again provided amazing views of the mountains around the lake and the small villages all around.  Despite the forecast, it didn't rain even once on the trip.




Cog wheel train down


View from boat back to Lucerne

We got back to Zurich and had dinner with our hosts before getting packed up for the return flights the next morning.
 
Flying home- Monday, July 14, 2014
For the flight home we were in economy. I know, it would have been better to be in J, but there was nothing available. Our routing was as follows:

ZRH-FRA on LH
FRA-YYC on AC
YYC-LAX on AC Rouge

While two stops are not ideal, especially with only 60 minutes to traverse FRA, it worked out in the end. When we landed in FRA they parked the plane a good 10 minute drive from the terminal, and we thought we'd for sure miss our flight. Lucky for us the Germans are very efficient. As we walked down the stairs to the tarmac there was a guy with a sign for our flight and a flight to Newark that were leaving soon. They drove all of us in a special bus right to our respective gates getting us there with plenty of time. It also helped that we only had carry on so we didn't have to worry about bags not making the connection.

The flight to Calgary was comfortable enough, but the food was practically unedible. Despite leaving an hour late due to ďa passenger deciding not to fly with them at the last minuteĒ we arrived 20 minutes early, impressive for an east to west flight.

We had four hours in Calgary which was a bit long especially since we didnít need to wait for US customs because of Global Entry.  Our flight to LA was delayed for about an hour because of a late incoming aircraft, yet we still arrived only 25 minutes late. I should also mention that this was the first time Iíd ever flown Air Canada Rouge, the Spirit of Canada in my opinion (as far as the hard product is concerned).  The seats are so close together that it made it nearly impossible to sit down comfortably (and Iím an average 5í 11Ē!).  To their benefit, their flight attendants were very friendly and more than willing to let people stand around in the back despite them needing to work there.

After three legs, 23 hours of travel, and 27 hours of no sleep we finally arrived home in one piece.
The trip flew by way too quickly, but we enjoyed every minute of it.