Author Topic: Barry Lincoln's Summer 2016 Venice and Maldives Trip  (Read 12841 times)

Online tageed-lee

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Re: Barry Lincoln's Summer 2016 Venice and Maldives Trip
« Reply #15 on: August 10, 2016, 04:13:12 PM »
Pics!! Nice TR so far!! Looking forward to the rest!! Thanks for sharing!

Offline shulem92

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Re: Barry Lincoln's Summer 2016 Venice and Maldives Trip
« Reply #16 on: August 10, 2016, 04:13:24 PM »
I thought it was fun.  Tingly at first but very quick to get used to it.  My feet "felt" cleaner.  It was definitely something we would not have done at home... glad we tried it out...
Did it in Eilat...still had my dead skin/calluses when the fish finished. In my belief ur feet will feel cleaner anywhere after soaking them for a half hour. Lol

Offline Denverite

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Re: Barry Lincoln's Summer 2016 Venice and Maldives Trip
« Reply #17 on: August 10, 2016, 05:31:19 PM »
Awesome pics!  Thanks for re-posting and can't wait for the MLE segment!

Offline BarryLincoln

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Re: Barry Lincoln's Summer 2016 Venice and Maldives Trip
« Reply #18 on: August 10, 2016, 06:55:32 PM »
Part III

Heading back to our hotel, we confirmed 4pm late checkout the following day.  After another late start, we debated visiting the palace or Murano to check out the glassmaking factory and gallery.  We elected to visit Murano (although we had no intention of buying anything given what I read and heard about on DDF). 

The Westin concierge arranged for a complementary water taxi to pick us up and we were on our way to Murano.


Venice: Water taxi ride to Murano
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr


Venice: Water taxi ride to Murano
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr

At Murano, we were escorted by a really nice "guide" (aka "salesperson”) who took us through one of the many factory floors on the island.  As it was the middle of summer, only one or two of the factories were operational given the extreme heat emitted by the ovens.  At the factory we visited, the artisans were making various components for a chandelier.  Many of the workers have been there for 10+ years going through apprenticeships until finally becoming a glass blower.


Venice: Murano glass factory
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr


Venice: Murano glass factory
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr


Venice: Murano glass factory
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr

The tour of the gallery was uneventful, trying to show interest even though we had no intention of buying anything.  Unfortunately they didn't let us take picture in the gallery.  The salesperson did show us a set of 6 shot glasses… with a retail price of 450 euros.  That said, many of the pieces in the gallery were truly beautiful, between the colors, shapes and types of glassware… I personally found it fascinating.

Taking the water taxi back, we decided to grab some food at Gam Gam Goodies.  Once we got there, the combination of the heat and not having a place to sit made us rethink our decision.  So we elected to return to Ghimel Garden for the late lunch.  I enjoyed a mushroom pizza (9/10) and my wife ordered gnocchi which was delicious (10/10).

Back to the hotel we went to repack and get our cooler from the hotel freezer.  After the Alilaguna debacle a few days earlier, we decided to take a water taxi back to the airport.  Having some time to spare before our 8:30pm flight, we took advantage of some complementary drinks at the hotel bar before hopping into the taxi at 5pm.  A short 30 minute ride to the airport and 120 euros (for us and our ~5 bags) we were back at VCE and awaiting our Turkish Airlines flight to IST.  The Marco Polo lounge is pretty functional, although not much to write home about.  In advance of what was going to be 11 hours of flying and 3 hours of transit time, I did manage to take a quick shower in which felt good.


Venice: Marco Polo Lounge
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr

Now, the daytime weather for our entire stay in Venice was sunny, hot and humid.  Very few clouds and absolutely no rain.  While sitting in the lounge, the sky darkened and unleashed some of the strongest rains I had seen in a while.


Venice: Torrential rain at VCE
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr


Venice: Torrential rain at VCE
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr

We were a bit nervous that the rain would cause an outbound delay, everything remained on schedule.  We boarded our Turkish Airlines flight to IST and enjoyed our kosher meals provided by an Istanbul-based caterer with an OK hashgacha as well as the local rabbinate.


Turkish A321 Business Class
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr

Onboard, FAs provided some English reading materials, the local Istanbul newspaper.  I availed myself to the paper and read through what was clearly a pro-Erdogan newspaper.  Now, that should come as no surprise since Turkish Airlines is a state-owned enterprise.  From cover-to-cover, the paper squarely lay blame for the recent coup on the exiled Turkish cleric living in PA. 

Given what had occurred in the weeks and months before at IST, I was a little nervous but figured after an explosion and coup, the security must be airtight.  After deplaning at about midnight loc, we aimed ourselves towards the Turkish Airlines lounge which I had read a lot about.  It was one of the biggest, most impressive lounges I’ve ever been to.  Covering an area of about 60k square feet, there are multiple self-serve alcohol stations, beverage and food stations, in addition to the golf simulator, several PS4s throughout and expansive seating areas.  The place was hopping at 1am.  The pictures below don’t do it justice at all…


Istanbul: Turkish Airlines Flagship Lounge
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr


Istanbul: Turkish Airlines Flagship Lounge
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr


Istanbul: Turkish Airlines Flagship Lounge
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr


Istanbul: Turkish Airlines Flagship Lounge
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr


Istanbul: Turkish Airlines Flagship Lounge
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr


Istanbul: Turkish Airlines Flagship Lounge
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr


Istanbul: Turkish Airlines Flagship Lounge
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr


Istanbul: Turkish Airlines Flagship Lounge
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr


Istanbul: Turkish Airlines Flagship Lounge
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr

Stay tuned for the next installment...

Offline ar

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Re: Barry Lincoln's Summer 2016 Venice and Maldives Trip
« Reply #19 on: August 10, 2016, 10:00:54 PM »
Great report, really enjoying it.. keep it up!

Offline BarryLincoln

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Re: Barry Lincoln's Summer 2016 Venice and Maldives Trip
« Reply #20 on: August 10, 2016, 10:11:20 PM »
Great report, really enjoying it.. keep it up!

Thanks.  Hope to finish next segment soon... 

i now understand why some TRs can take forever to finish...

Offline @Yehuda

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Re: Barry Lincoln's Summer 2016 Venice and Maldives Trip
« Reply #21 on: August 10, 2016, 10:19:24 PM »
Yay pics! Great job, keep going!

Offline Luvtotravel

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Re: Barry Lincoln's Summer 2016 Venice and Maldives Trip
« Reply #22 on: August 10, 2016, 10:32:16 PM »
impressive lounge. never seen those lockers before.
Don't wait for the perfect moment; take the moment and make it perfect.

Offline Denverite

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Re: Barry Lincoln's Summer 2016 Venice and Maldives Trip
« Reply #23 on: August 10, 2016, 10:44:24 PM »
impressive lounge. never seen those lockers before.

+1. Always been hesitant to go through IST but that lounge looks amazing.

Offline BarryLincoln

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Re: Barry Lincoln's Summer 2016 Venice and Maldives Trip
« Reply #24 on: August 16, 2016, 06:11:28 PM »
Part IV

After an hour or so of exploring the impressive TK lounge, we were about ready for our 2am departure to MLE.  Truth be told, I was sorta anxious to finally depart IST given the instability of the prior month or so.  Walking through the terminal, you would never in a million years know what happened in the prior month or two.  The boarding process had already begun at the gate when we arrived.  We bypassed the main line and headed towards the J-priority line to quickly boarded the A333.  Without boring anyone with the details, the A333 business section has seats arranged in a 2-2-2 format.  We were seating in 4J and 4K in the second to last row.  The lie flat seats had a pretty large footwell that offered more than enough space for my feet.  Since we had been up for 15 hours or so, we were mostly interested in sleeping, despite the 13 or 14 inch IFE system that had a huge movie selection.


TK A333 Business Class
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr


TK A333 Business Class
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr


Leaving IST...
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr


Leaving IST...
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr

We fell asleep within 10 or 15 minutes of take-off and enjoyed some much needed rest.  We woke up a couple of hours before landing and were served breakfast (Star-K from kosher caterer in IST).  Wasn't much to write home about but was definitely filling.


Airshow - Approaching MLE...
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr

Landing at MLE is a unique experience that I imagine has been discussed before on DDF.  Ibrahim Nasir airport is tiny, has one runway and no taxiways.  Airplanes land, taxi to the end of the runway and make a U-turn to taxi down the same runway to get to the terminal.  As J passengers, we deplaned first down the mobile stairs into the terminal.  Before departing IST, we were provided with fast-track immigration cards that allowed us to use the special fast-track line.  Immigration took no more than 5 minutes, a couple of passport stamps later we were waiting for our luggage to emerge  from the primitive looking baggage carousel.  While waiting, it was hard not to notice the list of items that are prohibited from import into the country.  Those items include alcohol, pork and pork-related items, porn, materials contrary to Islam, etc.  Outside of my talis, tefillin, siddur and and random sefer I wasn't too worried.  But given others' experiences, I knew that even those items were harmless.  After about 15 or 20 minutes, our luggage finally emerged.  We gathered our bags and proceeded through customs to the arrival hall. 

As we proceeded through customs, an official-looking officer motioned to us and pointed to the secondary inspection line.  Throngs of people are passing through and we were singled out for some odd reason.  I got mega nervous - not because of my talis etc, but because of our cooler and frozen pom meals.  I didn't want to have to begin explaining why we needed to bring in our own food and open up a mega can of worms.  That said, the officer was not the least bit interested in our cooler (which incidentally looks kinda like a square duffel bag).  He wanted to inspect our Samsonite hard suitcase.  I'm thinking to myself, what could we possibly have in our suitcase that could get us into trouble.  I was baffled.  They only scanned the suitcase and when it emerged from the xray scanner, they made me open it on the table for everyone to see.  They rifled through our suitcase and found..... a bottle of grape juice that I had packed in a ziploc surrounded by our clothes.  After several minutes inspecting the bottle, he let us through.  The only thing I can imagine is that when the bags were removed from the planes cargo hold, they were scanned and any bags requiring secondary inspection were tagged with a red sticker (subsequent review of our suitcase showed a red sticker).  As we were about to leave baggage claim, the officer saw the sticker and motioned for us to the secondary inspection station... 

With that said, we were immediately met by two Conrad reps as soon as we entered the arrival hall.  They led us to a quiet corner and introduced themselves.  They asked for our passports to expedite the seaplane transfer and took our luggage to the seaplane desk.  They emerged a few minutes later, returned our passports and said that our luggage was a bit overweight.  We'd have to pay an overweight fee of ~$50 - no big deal really.  They then escorted us to a waiting van that would take us to the Conrad lounge until our seaplane ride was ready.  We were joined in the van by a single guy that turned out to the the Conrad's in-house revenue manager returning from some time off in Male.  While I don't have pictures of the lounge, it's a great respite after such a long journey.  The staff all recognize that pretty much everyone has had a long trip and they try to accommodate everyone's needs, from drinks to food to a free massage!!  It felt like the lounge was at 70% capacity - a ton of Asians there with what looked like their extended families.  We were offered a 15 minute complementary massage that we took advantage of.  Felt great, especially after the long trip.  In addition, the spa staff on-hand said that if we were to book a spa appointment at the Retreat Spa or Overwater Spa now, they would include a facial at no extra charge.  Not a hard sell at all but still good to know.

An hour or so later, our names were called as the seaplane transfer was about ready.  We boarded the same shuttle for the five minute drive to the seaplane terminal where we were directed to a room that was showing a pre-flight safety video.  15 minutes or so later, we were finally escorted outside to the waiting seaplane...


TMA Seaplane
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr

It was our first time on a seaplane and the experience did not disappoint.  While the flight was incredible, it wasn't worth the $1100 we paid for it but alas...


TMA Seaplane
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr

Views from the Seaplane...


MLE Airport
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr


Male, Maldives (TMA Seaplane)
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr

After reading up a bit on Male, it is apparently one of the most densely populated places on the planet, with 150,000 people living in 6 square kilometers... crazy.


Seaplane Pic
by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr

More to come on our Conrad arrival, accommodations etc...


Offline @Yehuda

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Re: Barry Lincoln's Summer 2016 Venice and Maldives Trip
« Reply #25 on: August 16, 2016, 06:59:37 PM »
Nice installment! Thanks for the pics of TK J.

Offline Yehoshua

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Re: Barry Lincoln's Summer 2016 Venice and Maldives Trip
« Reply #26 on: August 16, 2016, 07:30:26 PM »
Nice write up so far. Glad you enjoyd DKF in Venice. Nice to see that some of the things I write in my TRs get used.  ;) Looking forward to the rest.

Offline ual902

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Re: Barry Lincoln's Summer 2016 Venice and Maldives Trip
« Reply #27 on: August 16, 2016, 08:11:22 PM »
WOW nice report, keep going, I always wondered what type of crowds travel to the resorts of MLE, besides the free loader crowd!

Offline Denverite

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Re: Barry Lincoln's Summer 2016 Venice and Maldives Trip
« Reply #28 on: August 16, 2016, 10:45:24 PM »
Awesome installment, with very useful info that actually I haven't seen on DDF before.  Can't wait for the rest!

Offline HBERG

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Re: Barry Lincoln's Summer 2016 Venice and Maldives Trip
« Reply #29 on: August 17, 2016, 08:25:04 AM »
WOW nice report, keep going, I always wondered what type of crowds travel to the resorts of MLE, besides the free loader crowd!
Mostly Asians Russians and Europeans too far for Americans