Author Topic: Yehoshua's Spain, Gibraltar, Paris & London TR  (Read 26569 times)

Offline Yehoshua

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Re: Yehoshua's Spain, Gibraltar, Paris & London TR
« Reply #20 on: July 16, 2015, 09:48:50 PM »
Yehoshua, who wouldve thought you would be a bigger foodie than Dan..... Loved the TR. Absolutely loved it. DDMS material IMO
Oh, you have no idea how much of a foodie I am.

Offline Yehoshua

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Re: Yehoshua's Spain, Gibraltar, Paris & London TR
« Reply #21 on: July 16, 2015, 10:20:49 PM »
Thursday, July 8, 2015 train to London and the WB Studio Tour
Our train to London was scheduled for 10:10am from Gare du Nord. After checking out of the hotel and paying the city tax (I thought free nights were supped to be totally free!) we took the metro to the station. Finding the Eurostar trains was a bit confusing, but once we found them it was pretty straightforward: French customs, UK customs, board the train.
 
After my harrowing experience on the train ride between Venice and Rome last summer, I was quite apprehensive about this trip. Thank God everything worked out just fine and I didn’t feel the slightest bit nauseous.  We got to London on time and popped over to Kings Cross station (across the street) so DW could take a picture at Platform 9¾ of Harry Potter fame.


Platform 9 3/4 in Kings Cross
 
Then we had to try to get to our hotel, the Park Tower Knightsbridge.  Normally this would have been a straight shot on the Piccadilly line, but due to a transit strike all tube and train services were suspended for Thursday.  This meant massive gridlock and traffic on the streets. After 5 attempts at ordering an Uber (and Uber cancelling all of them after they were ordered), we just decided to take a taxi for £20 instead of a bus. If a taxi going the fastest route took 40 minutes a bus would have taken 2 hours!
 
Let me take a moment to talk about the hotel. When I told the cabbie the name of the hotel he immediately said he knew it as a Sheraton. I thought this was weird, as it’s been a Luxury Collection hotel for a while now, but thought nothing more of it.  When we arrived, I had to wait a good 10 minutes for someone to help me (there was not Gold and Platinum line). Once we got helped, I was told our room was not ready. Since we had told the hotel we’d be there by 1:00pm the day before I thought that meant a room would be ready, but no, nothing was available. We left our stuff with the concierge and walked 5 minutes to a Sainsbury’s to buy some DD sandwiches for Dinner and lunch the next day. On the way there we stopped in Hyde Park (across the street from the hotel) to eat the sandwiches we’d brought from Paris for lunch.  We got back to the hotel at 2:00 and the room still wasn’t ready. Since we had cheese and chocolate with us, I’d asked the concierge to refrigerate them (along with the DD sandwiches for lunch the next day) and please bring everything to our room once it was ready. I’d also asked for the minibar to be emptied to make room for our things.  We then walked to Victoria Coach Station to catch our bus to Leavesden Studios and the WB Harry Potter Studio Tour.








Park Tower Knightsbridge, A Sheraton Luxury Collection Hotel

Let’s skip the tour for a minutes and fast forward 7 hours later. We got back to the hotel at 10:15pm from the tour. I again waited 10 minutes to get the key to our room and asked if the bags had been brought up. While the lady helping us didn’t know, she said to go up and if the bags weren't up yet she’d send them up. Sure enough the bags were not in our room, but 2 minutes after we got there they were delivered: along with our bag of refrigerated things that was very warm to the touch.  I immediately asked the hotel what happened, as the things didn’t appear to have been refrigerated as I’d asked.  Apparently what had happened was the room was ready at 3:15pm, when a bellboy brought our bags up to the room. Seeing that we weren’t there, he brought them all back down never put the refrigerator bag back in the fridge. It sat out for 7 hours! While the chocolate and cheese were fine (it’s hard cheese), I was not about to eat the bagel, cream cheese and lox as well as mayo on the other sandwiches after being out for 7 hours. It took some convincing, but the hotel eventually did go out and replace everything on my receipt from Sainsbury’s earlier that day, including the food that didn’t go bad! I certainly give them props for that! It might have been 11:50pm by the time they delivered the food, and I might have already been in bed trying to go to sleep, but in the end of the day the fixed the problem.
 
Now back to the studio tour. Yes, there was tons of traffic leaving town, but we both had a great time on the studio tour! If you’re a Harry Potter fan this is a must visit if you’re in London, especially if you’ve never been to Universal Orlando and seen the HP sections of the parks there. When we got back to the hotel we needed to get to bed right away as to be ready for our 8:00am tour the next morning. Too bad that didn’t happen!


Our ride to Leavesden Studios











It really works! It's mechanical, not CGI!






















Harry Potter Studio Tour, Leavesden Studios

Friday, July 10, 2015 Stonehenge
We didn’t have many plans other than to go visit Stonehenge on Friday. We’d booked a tour (through Musement for 50% off like before) with Golden Tours for the Stonehenge morning tour. We’d have liked to combine it with Windsor and Oxford, but we didn’t have enough time given that it was erev Shabbos.  Our bus driver was great, and we had enough time to see the “pile of stones” (as he put it). Is it a must see? Not sure, but I really did want to see it, and I wasn’t disappointed.
 

Stonehenge


The original Kew Gardens

We got back to London and walked back to our hotel to check out by 4:00pm.  I tried getting compensation (not just replacements) for what happened the day before, but the manager felt that replacements were enough, so no bonus points for me. We checked out, left our bags with the concierge once again, and walked to Hyde Park again to walk around some more. We visited the Holocaust Memorial, but it’s not something that’s really elaborate.
 
Collecting our bags from the hotel, we headed down the block to take the tube (now open again) to DW’s friend for Shabbos in Kingston in SW London.
 
Shabbos, July 11, 2015 Shabbos in Kingston
Just as Shabbos in Gibraltar the week before, Shabbos in Kingston was really nice as well. It was nice for DW to see her friend after 7 years and spend Shabbos in the out of town community. It’s a really small one, with mainly older members and younger not-yet-frum people.
 
We took a nice walk around the area on Shabbos and spent motzei shabbos there as well. The community was all really friendly, and we got meet many people of all different levels of religiosity.
 
Sunday, July 12, 2015 London and flight to Madrid
After an 8:00am shachris in Kingston, we took at 9:10am train back to London for our Changing Guard tour with Matt of Fun London Tours at 10:10am in Piccadilly Circus.  No sooner had we left the station in Kingston did we realize that we’d forgotten our chocolate and cheese bag in the fridge. Urgh! I quickly texted our hosts and they said they’d be out all day except between 1:00-2:00pm. Ok, we’d go back after the tour. We dropped our suitcases at the Left Luggage facility in Waterloo Station (£10/day/bag), so we wouldn’t have to carry them around with us all day.
 
The tour itself was excellent. Matt is a great tour guide, and despite the London 10k for cancer research that was happening in Piccadilly Circus when we got there, we were able to find him and continue the tour as normal.




Changing Guard tour, old guard




Changing Guard tour, new (guest) guard: The Royal Air-force


Changing Guard tour, the switch

As soon as the tour was done, we headed back to Kingston (it’s about a 55 minute trip each way!) and picked up our stuff. I wasn’t going to leave all that stuff in Europe! The original plan was to make a 2:00pm free walking tour leaving from the Apple Store in Covent Gardens, but due to our little snafu, we missed the tour by 15 minutes and decided just to walk around ourselves.
 
We started with Trafalgar Square, detoured to Tesco for more food and British candy, followed by walking down the Embankment to 10 Downing Street. From there we walked to Parliament and Westminster Abby for outside pics before walking over Westminster Bridge to the South Bank. We got our pictures of Big Ben and the London Eye, and watched some street performers until it was time to pick up our bags and catch our train to London City Airport (LCY) for out flight to Madrid.
 
LCY is a tiny airport. We had checked in already online, so we just went straight to security, which had nearly no lines. The waiting area is basically like one large lounge, with free wifi but no free food. Thirty minutes before our departure they announced our gate and we all walked there, a 2-minute walk. At the gate though they needed to check all suitcase carry ons since it was a small plane (E190SR) and a full flight. Despite begging to keep my bag with me, it got checked though to baggage claim with a priority sticker.




Our ride back to MAD

We left on time and though we were supposed to arrive 25 minute early, we were put in a holding pattern for 30 minutes so we ended up arriving a bit late at 10:10pm. By the time the bags finally came out (a good 40 minutes after landing) we made our way outside to catch the free hotel shuttle for our quick overnight by the airport.
 
We decided to stay at the Tryp Madrid Alameda Aeropuerto Hotel due to its proximity to the airport, free shuttle, and cheap price (€43/night after using 2000 Meliã point I got for signing up for the program). The hotel itself was nice, not PHP nice, but more than adequate. They rate themselves a 4-star, but I’d rate them 3 or 3.5. We immediately got ready for bed and ready for our return flight the next day.








Tryp Madrid Alameda Aeropuerto Hotel

Offline zow

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Re: Yehoshua's Spain, Gibraltar, Paris & London TR
« Reply #22 on: July 16, 2015, 10:56:27 PM »
Really an outstanding trip report, Yehoshua, in all respects: the narrative, the photography, the organization.  Excited to read the culmination (trip home).  Thanks for all the effort and sharing. Yasherkoach.

Offline Yehoshua

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Re: Yehoshua's Spain, Gibraltar, Paris & London TR
« Reply #23 on: July 16, 2015, 11:20:34 PM »
Really an outstanding trip report, Yehoshua, in all respects: the narrative, the photography, the organization.  Excited to read the culmination (trip home).  Thanks for all the effort and sharing. Yasherkoach.
You're welcome. The end will hopefully be up soon.

Offline tageed-lee

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Re: Yehoshua's Spain, Gibraltar, Paris & London TR
« Reply #24 on: July 16, 2015, 11:27:18 PM »
Incredible TR! Thanks!

Offline Yehoshua

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Re: Yehoshua's Spain, Gibraltar, Paris & London TR
« Reply #25 on: July 16, 2015, 11:32:50 PM »
Incredible TR! Thanks!
You're welcome! I'm glad you enjoyed/found it useful.

Offline Yehoshua

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Re: Yehoshua's Spain, Gibraltar, Paris & London TR
« Reply #26 on: July 16, 2015, 11:37:49 PM »
Monday, July 13, 2015 flying home, Madrid-Amsterdam-LA
We got up at 5:30am to catch the 6am shuttle to the airport. We were downstairs 15 minutes early to check out. Good thing we were too, as the lady working was super slow and we almost missed the thrice-hourly shuttle.
 
We got the airport in 5 minutes, checked in with AirEuropa (they operated our flight to Amsterdam) and were through priority security in 10 minutes. I tried to go to a lounge to daven, but the lounge in T2 where we were leaving from was closed for renovations and I didn’t feel like walking 17 minutes to the next terminal. Instead I found a deserted and dark area near the gate and davened shachris there.
 
The flight to Amsterdam was uneventful. We landed a bit late (another holding pattern) and visited the KLM Crown Lounge near the F gates. It was a nice lounge, large and spacious, although no kosher food other than fruit.

Our flight to LA left on time and as well and was uneventful and long: a 10:15 daytime flight. Good thing we were quicker than the 11:00 scheduled time.  We landed back in LA, quickly cleared customs with our trusty Global Entry, and were in an Uber (free after credits) back home in no time.




KLM J, AMS-LAX on a 744 Combi, seats 1J and 1K


Lunch #1 first course. My first time having china on a plane


Lunch #2 before landing

Well that's it! Thanks for reading. I hope you either found this entertaining, informative or both.

Fin

Offline AJK

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Re: Yehoshua's Spain, Gibraltar, Paris & London TR
« Reply #27 on: July 17, 2015, 12:40:52 AM »
The cities we visited:
Madrid (1 day)
Barcelona (1 day)
Seville (½ day)
Gibraltar (2 days)
Paris (4 days)
London (4 days)

Oiy va voy.  This much travel in that short of time while actually trying to see stuff makes me want to cry for you  :'( especially the part of only having an hour in Versailles! :)

Thanks for cranking out a great TR, tho!

The only thing holding me back from spending Shabbos in GIB is the AFAIK lack of Kosher Shabbos takeout food, my wife would never agree to eat by some random guy.

That's truly unfortunate.

Oftentimes being able to meet and interact with the locals over shabbas, like for meals and such, are the highlights of international trips.

After an 8:00am shachris in Kingston, we took at 9:10am train back to London for our Changing Guard tour with Matt of Fun London Tours at 10:10am in Piccadilly Circus.  No sooner had we left the station in Kingston did we realize that we’d forgotten our chocolate and cheese bag in the fridge. Urgh! I quickly texted our hosts and they said they’d be out all day except between 1:00-2:00pm. Ok, we’d go back after the tour. We dropped our suitcases at the Left Luggage facility in Waterloo Station (£10/day/bag), so we wouldn’t have to carry them around with us all day.
 
The tour itself was excellent. Matt is a great tour guide, and despite the London 10k for cancer research that was happening in Piccadilly Circus when we got there, we were able to find him and continue the tour as normal.

I found Matt to be excellent to. Probably the best way to see the changing of the guard.
2015: 116K bkd | 1.6M brnd | F: OZ,NH,AA,EK | J: UA,CA,TK,DL,TN,AF,VA | LIH,NRT,ROR,PEK,CNS,BOB,MEL,TLV & Pacific Hopper

Offline Hershelsdeals

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Re: Yehoshua's Spain, Gibraltar, Paris & London TR
« Reply #28 on: July 17, 2015, 12:46:50 AM »



That's truly unfortunate.

Oftentimes being able to meet and interact with the locals over shabbas, like for meals and such, are the highlights of international trips.


Agree, but my wife doesn't go for it.

Offline AJK

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Re: Yehoshua's Spain, Gibraltar, Paris & London TR
« Reply #29 on: July 17, 2015, 12:53:06 AM »
Sad state of affairs.
2015: 116K bkd | 1.6M brnd | F: OZ,NH,AA,EK | J: UA,CA,TK,DL,TN,AF,VA | LIH,NRT,ROR,PEK,CNS,BOB,MEL,TLV & Pacific Hopper

Offline Yehoshua

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Re: Yehoshua's Spain, Gibraltar, Paris & London TR
« Reply #30 on: July 17, 2015, 01:21:01 AM »
Oiy va voy.  This much travel in that short of time while actually trying to see stuff makes me want to cry for you  :'( especially the part of only having an hour in Versailles! :)

Thanks for cranking out a great TR, tho!

That's truly unfortunate.

Oftentimes being able to meet and interact with the locals over shabbas, like for meals and such, are the highlights of international trips.

I found Matt to be excellent to. Probably the best way to see the changing of the guard.
True, we went to quite a few place in a short amount of time. The reason I decided to go for it was due to a lack of things to do in those cities in Spain. We didn't feel rushed or like we missed out on things in any of the Spanish cities we visited. Have you been to any of them? While I'm sure people stay longer, we're not huge art museum people and there seemed to be lots of those which we skipped.

It really was unfortunate that we only had 1:15 in Versailles. We really wanted more like 2-3 hours or longer. That was partially my fault for booking a tour and partially unavoidable due to heavy traffic.

I also love spending shabbos with random people around the world, and like you, it's often one of the highlights of our trips.

I'm glad you enjoyed though.

Offline D93

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Re: Yehoshua's Spain, Gibraltar, Paris & London TR
« Reply #31 on: July 17, 2015, 02:39:47 AM »
Awesome stuff!! Really enjoyed reading it!!

Offline zow

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Re: Yehoshua's Spain, Gibraltar, Paris & London TR
« Reply #32 on: July 17, 2015, 07:21:54 AM »
I am being a little lazy, and promise (b'n) that I will search later, but can someone say more or point me to specifics about "Matt" in London? We will be there in 3 weeks. Thanks!

Offline morgs

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Re: Yehoshua's Spain, Gibraltar, Paris & London TR
« Reply #33 on: July 17, 2015, 08:38:26 AM »
WOW!! amazing tr and pics-really detailed-thanks for crankin it out so fast!!
I found Matt to be excellent to. Probably the best way to see the changing of the guard.
Thanks all!! ;) I should get a HT for this one already!! ;D
I am being a little lazy, and promise (b'n) that I will search later, but can someone say more or point me to specifics about "Matt" in London? We will be there in 3 weeks. Thanks!
http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=141.510

Offline @Yehuda

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Re: Yehoshua's Spain, Gibraltar, Paris & London TR
« Reply #34 on: July 17, 2015, 09:09:53 AM »
AWESOME! What a great read with great pics! Can't believe how fast you wrote it. Sheesh.

I can't believe you got your HP Tour pics out before me, now my duplicates will look silly on DDF. :P Hogwarts Express was NOT on display when we went. At least we saw the one in Orlando. Cool that you knew to go to King's Cross for 9 3/4 - besides for doing my trip research on DDF, I really should check out other sources. (Something I noticed also in your Spain/Paris coverage - you got to a bunch of cool places not discussed here.)

I probably had a lot more to say as I was reading along the last few days, but I can't remember everything lol. All I know is that boy this made me miss Europe. Glad you had sweet flights, nice hotels and a great time!

Offline Mech

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Re: Yehoshua's Spain, Gibraltar, Paris & London TR
« Reply #35 on: July 17, 2015, 09:53:05 AM »
Wow! Amazing TR! So well written!! Such detail! Wow!!

Offline Yehoshua

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Re: Yehoshua's Spain, Gibraltar, Paris & London TR
« Reply #36 on: July 17, 2015, 09:59:39 AM »
Awesome stuff!! Really enjoyed reading it!!
Thanks! I'm glad it was at least entertaining.

WOW!! amazing tr and pics-really detailed-thanks for crankin it out so fast!!Thanks all!! ;) I should get a HT for this one already!! ;Dhttp://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=141.510
Thanks!! With 1700+ pics I just chose a handful I thought were good and not already posted 100x over on DDF.

AWESOME! What a great read with great pics! Can't believe how fast you wrote it. Sheesh.

I can't believe you got your HP Tour pics out before me, now my duplicates will look silly on DDF. :P Hogwarts Express was NOT on display when we went. At least we saw the one in Orlando. Cool that you knew to go to King's Cross for 9 3/4 - besides for doing my trip research on DDF, I really should check out other sources. (Something I noticed also in your Spain/Paris coverage - you got to a bunch of cool places not discussed here.)

I probably had a lot more to say as I was reading along the last few days, but I can't remember everything lol. All I know is that boy this made me miss Europe. Glad you had sweet flights, nice hotels and a great time!
Thanks! You know I write these things on the flight back, it's just that my flights back from Europe are longer than yours so I have more time.  :D

You're HP pictures won't be duplicates any more than my Spain pics were duplicates (although I did try to avoid posting exact duplicates). The Hogwarts Express is new as of March 2015, so that was cool. They even have an area across the room from the train with open train-car-insides where you can sit down and "experience" a ride while looking out of a "window" (aka a screen) similar to what they have in FL.

Of course I look elsewhere besides DDF when planning a trip! You should, too (which you are kind of with the HI revealed series). How many DDFers are interested in Opera halls? None that I know of (based on TRs). But now that I've written about them they'll be known here for those who don't do other research before a trip.

Thank you for all your help and your Spain TRs! They really helped a lot.

Offline Yehoshua

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Re: Yehoshua's Spain, Gibraltar, Paris & London TR
« Reply #37 on: July 17, 2015, 10:00:15 AM »
Wow! Amazing TR! So well written!! Such detail! Wow!!
Glad you enjoyed! That's what a 10:15 flight gives you time to do.

Offline @Yehuda

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Re: Yehoshua's Spain, Gibraltar, Paris & London TR
« Reply #38 on: July 17, 2015, 10:04:49 AM »
Thanks!! With 1700+ pics I just chose a handful I thought were good and not already posted 100x over on DDF.
1700 pics!!! OMG - I am so not a photographer lol. I don't think I came close to that on a 6 week trip let alone your 2 week trip!

Thanks! You know I write these things on the flight back, it's just that my flights back from Europe are longer than yours so I have more time.  :D

You're HP pictures won't be duplicates any more than my Spain pics were duplicates (although I did try to avoid posting exact duplicates). The Hogwarts Express is new as of March 2015, so that was cool. They even have an area across the room from the train with open train-car-insides where you can sit down and "experience" a ride while looking out of a "window" (aka a screen) similar to what they have in FL.

Of course I look elsewhere besides DDF when planning a trip! You should, too (which you are kind of with the HI revealed series). How many DDFers are interested in Opera halls? None that I know of (based on TRs). But now that I've written about them they'll be known here for those who don't do other research before a trip.

Thank you for all your help and your Spain TRs! They really helped a lot.
My pleasure. Good point about duplicate pics, but I don't really mind seeing the same pics so long after someone else writes a TR. Could be just me.
Cool to know about the train. Was about to say they have that in Orlando, and then saw you wrote that :)
HI Revealed has definitely shown me a few things I haven't read in TRs, so that should be nice. I would have loved to see that theater, though! :)

Offline moish

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Re: Yehoshua's Spain, Gibraltar, Paris & London TR
« Reply #39 on: July 17, 2015, 10:30:06 AM »
How many DDFers are interested in Opera halls? None that I know of (based on TRs).
some might be

http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=15891.msg378822#msg378822