Author Topic: Nescafe Italy/London Honeymoon  (Read 4913 times)

Offline nescafe

  • Dansdeals Platinum Elite
  • ****
  • Join Date: Jun 2016
  • Posts: 493
  • Total likes: 18
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 2
    • View Profile
  • Location: Brooklyn
Nescafe Italy/London Honeymoon
« on: August 15, 2016, 11:01:25 PM »
I wanted to start my report by thanking all DDF’ers for helping me plan this trip. I couldn’t have done it without you! 

This was our first trip and therefore the first report that I am writing, so pardon my lack of experience in writing a TR!

Ever since we got married almost a year ago we had wanted to go to Italy, but we weren’t sure how to go about doing it. That was until I bumped into DDF which gave me all the information I needed and a big push to start planning our trip. After reading through various threads on Italy, I was ready to go ahead and book tickets.
While searching for tickets, I saw that the best prices would be with BA to Milan since tickets to Venice were $500 more per ticket. I figured we would take the train from Milan to Venice, where we planned to start out trip. Since we were flying through LHR we decided to stay in London for a few days at the end of our trip. I therefore booked tickets JFK-LHR-LIN and LHR-JFK for $828.79 pp (using AARP-Cardofferu). I then booked tickets with Ryanair Business Plus from CIA-STN for $85 pp.

About a week after booking, I noticed that the price from JFK-VCE (via LHR) dropped to about $900 pp. which made me call up BA and ask if there was a possibility to change our reservation. To make a long story short: after 12 hours of continuous calling, and finally speaking to a supervisor, my reservation was switched to JFK-LGW-VCE for the price difference of $57 pp and a $25 processing fee. This was much cheaper and more convenient than taking the train from Milan to Venice.   (Of the 100 times I called, one of the agents felt bad for me and credited me 3,500 Avios to my account. So I got that too)


Ill skip the planning and write about the trip as you can read through the same hundreds of pages and get the same information I got 

The trip:
Our flight (JFK-LGW) was scheduled for Wednesday night at 9:55PM but was delayed by almost an hour. Our connection time in LGW was about 1:30 which was just enough time for me to daven (it was Rosh Chodesh and that took longer) and head to our gate.
We arrived in VCE after 3PM exhausted after not sleeping a whole night on the flight. In the arrival terminal, after stopping at an ATM for Euro (not foreign exchange fees for CPC) we headed to the information desk to buy tickets for the Alilaguna Boat which was €15 pp for a 1 way ticket. The agent at the desk was not well informed on which stop to get off by until we showed him on the map where we have to go. You can get this information by checking the hotel website.  We also bought a map for €3 which was unnecessary as the hotel provided maps for free.
We took a 10 minute walk through the white underpass/tunnel and followed the signs to the vaparetto/water taxi and boarded the Boat. We took the orange line (there are also red and blue lines) to the Guglie stop (as per our hotels website) (Pronounced Goo-Lee). The ride was about 45 minutes and the walk from the stop to the hotel was about 5 minutes with luggage. We arrived at our hotel 5:30.
We stayed at the Carnival Palace Hotel as it is the nicest hotel in the Jewish Ghetto area and we planned to eat there Shabbos. After settling into our hotel room, (and changing into comfortable sneakers) we headed out to explore the Ghetto neighborhood. We first stopped into Gam Gam to make a reservation for supper. We then strolled around and found the Chabad Shul, said hi to Rami and got all davening times. We then headed back to Gam Gam for supper. We ordered an entrée of Humus and meat (€9), Tagliatelle with meat sauce (like sloppy joes) (€9.5) and Shwarma (€15). Water is not for free. It has to be purchased with every meal unless you’re a cheapskake and bring your own (not sure if its ‘legal’) water costed €3. (pictures of food to follow). I liked the food, but my wife didn’t love it since she doesn’t like Isreali spices (zatar ect) that are used there.
After supper, I went to daven Mincha & Maariv in the Chabad Shul. (9:30ish)
After mincha/maariv, we took a vaparetto down the Grand Canal. Since it was so late at night, we had to buy vaparetto tickets at St. Lucia train station, which was about a 10-15 minute walk away from our hotel. The English option on our ACTV (24 hour ticket machines) didn’t work of course, so we stood there for a few minutes trying to figure out what to do. Some kind lady finally helped us (she spoke Spanish) buy a 1 day pass (€20 pp), as we planned to use it the whole next day. We found out afterwards that we could’ve bought a student 3 day pass, which is only available at the airport, to save money (€35 pp)
We got back to our hotel room at about 12:00 really tired as we still didn’t sleep since Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. (it was Thursday night).
Friday: Murano, Burano.......... to be continued

Offline mgoldhammer18

  • Dansdeals Platinum Elite + Lifetime Silver Elite
  • *****
  • Join Date: Jan 2016
  • Posts: 622
  • Total likes: 9
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 3
    • View Profile
  • Location: Queens, NY
  • Programs: American Airlines, Citi thank you, British Avios, Hilton, SPG, AMEX Platinum, Jetblue
Re: Nescafe Italy/London Honeymoon
« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2016, 10:37:00 AM »
Nice start.  Looking forward to the rest

Offline nescafe

  • Dansdeals Platinum Elite
  • ****
  • Join Date: Jun 2016
  • Posts: 493
  • Total likes: 18
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 2
    • View Profile
  • Location: Brooklyn
Re: Nescafe Italy/London Honeymoon
« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2016, 10:58:40 PM »
Friday:

Our hotel gave us (with our request at front desk) a percolator for hot water so we can make coffee. We brought a bottle of milk from NY as we didn’t know if we would be able to get kosher milk in VCE. BTW, there was no fridge in our room only a mini bar but it was a large mini bar so we were able to fit other perishables (milk, cold cuts) in it (Our hotel in Pisa and Rome had the same thing). One problem however, the mini bar (in Venice only) made a noise every time you closed it so we couldn’t use it on Shabbos. 

After drinking a coffee, I headed to the Ghetto and I davened shachris at Chabad (9:00). After shachris, I went back to the hotel, had some leftover sandwiches from our flight, and headed out to take the 4.2 vaparetto to Murano (as instructed by our hotel receptionist). We arrived at Murano at about 11:30. We wanted to be there before 12 as we heard that the Glass Factories took a long lunch break from 12-2 (which turned out not to be accurate. Lunch was from 1:00-2:00)

After wandering around, we ended up in a factory behind a nice big shop which told us that it costed €5 pp to watch the glass blowing. Since we weren’t well informed that all others were free, we paid €10 to see it and got a 10% discount on anything we wanted to buy in the shop.  (the shop was an expensive one so we didn’t buy there) The glass blowing was fascinating!

After looking around at all the glass pieces, we started roaming the streets of Murano to find souvenirs. At about 2:00 we took the #12 Vaparetto to Burano.

Burano was a really beautiful Island! We got some fabulous pictures. We even managed to get ‘lost’ on the tiny island ;) After about an hour, we made our way back to the Vaparetto stop to head back to our hotel to prepare for Shabbos.

We are not sure what we did wrong, but the trip back to our hotel took over 2 hours!!!!! (Good thing we left early
enough) Eventually we made it back to the ghetto area and we were lucky to find that Gam Gam Goodies was still open at 5:30 (their hours 8AM-6PM erev Shabbos). We bought some pizza and coffee (€9 for small pizza and €4 for coffee). We also stopped in the bakery (Open Friday until 7) for some Shabbos goodies. Goodies in hand, we got back to our hotel starving and hot as there was a heat wave (of course that happens when we’re there!!!) On our way up, we stopped at the receptionist desk to pick up our key to our room for Shabbos.

After eating, we decided to hurry and make an early Shabbos so we can daven in the Italian shul to hear the Italian Nussach (7:30).
We arrived 15 minutes late to the shul to find a huge crowd gathered in the square outside the shul due to some technical issues that they had inside. We were advised to take along our passports but we weren’t asked to show ID. They only started davening close to 8:00. Davening was a really beautiful experience. The davening was very different than anything we were used to, which enhanced our experience.
After Davening, we took a short walk before heading to the Art Gallery which we had reserved for the Shabbos meals prior to our trip. As we walked in, we were warmly greeted by Rami who showed us to our table which was beautifully set up with Challah, wine, and a nice array of dips. Waiters were very friendly and served the meal each at their own pace. The fish was served in tomato sauce- it was pretty good. Chicken soup was watered down. Main course was chicken with a variety of side dishes. All dishes were served in generous portions and waiters were more than glad to bring doubles when asked. After the meal was over, we took a short walk (was after 12:00) and headed back to the hotel for some rest.

Shabbos day:

I woke up and made my way to Chabad for davening (10:00). Arriving there, I found a table set with cake, cookies and hot coffee. The place was so full that I didn’t even have a chair to sit on. Davening was similar to what I was used to at home. Rami gave a speech before Mussaf in honor of Gimmel Tammuz, Yuhr Tzeit of previous Lubavitcher Rebbe ZT”L. After Mussaf, my wife and I decided to skip the Kiddush in the square and headed straight to the Gallery for the Shabbos meal. Just as the previous night, the tables were nicely set and the meal was very enjoyable. The food was very traditional. Salmon fish, dips, eggs, chulent, cold cuts, and kugel. After thinking that we ate enough for one meal, plates of cake a fruit were brought in for dessert!

It was a great experience to meet people from so many different backgrounds and countries. We got to chat with many people about random discussions.

Everyone in the gallery felt like one big family!

Overall, I felt that the price paid (€75 pp)was well worth what was given. (Although my wife didn’t love the food as she doesn’t like the zatar spice (as mentioned before ;) ) which was used in most of the dishes (the peanut gallery is adding “including the chulent!!! LOL!)

After the meal, ‘paper’ map in hand, (no google maps….. ) we started our tour around Venice. Our ultimate goal was to reach the Rialto Bridge, which we wanted to visit. We wanted to visit this on Shabbos as the bridge is under construction and we knew we wouldn’t need pictures. We explored Venice for almost 3 hours (in the heat wave) and then made our way back to our hotel for a Shabbos afternoon nap.
After our nap, it was just about time for Mincha. After Mincha, we yet again made our way to the Gallery for ANOTHER meal.  Surprisingly enough, the tables were set as if we hadn’t eaten in a few days!!! We spent some time chatting over food and made our way back to Chabad for Maariv. After Maariv, Everyone congregated in the square outside the shul for Havdalah. As soon as Rami finished Havdalah, all the men started singing and dancing. The scene was very memorable and moving to see all different types of Yidden all in one big circle!
Gam Gam Goodies was closed on Motzei Shabbos but Ghimmel Garden was open. After getting back to our hotel, the late hour made us decide not to go back there for Melaveh Malka. Instead we had some rolls that we bought in the local bakery before Shabbos. (FYI, for some reason the bakery was open on Shabbos too….. not sure what that means)
Coming soon….. Jewish Ghetto tour, San Marco Square, and Pisa.

Offline 3yummyboys

  • Dansdeals Lifetime Platinum Elite
  • *******
  • Join Date: Apr 2013
  • Posts: 1736
  • Total likes: 24
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 0
    • View Profile
Re: Nescafe Italy/London Honeymoon
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2016, 07:45:15 AM »
Nice! Looking forward to seeing pics!

Offline ar

  • Dansdeals Platinum Elite
  • ****
  • Join Date: May 2014
  • Posts: 403
  • Total likes: 9
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 3
    • View Profile
Re: Nescafe Italy/London Honeymoon
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2016, 12:01:57 PM »
Great report! Waiting for the rest

Offline shmueli2007

  • Dansdeals Gold Elite
  • ***
  • Join Date: Nov 2012
  • Posts: 244
  • Total likes: 14
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 4
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
  • Location: Virginia
Re: Nescafe Italy/London Honeymoon
« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2016, 04:14:45 PM »
It is common that many out of town shops to be kosher and open and shabbat.
Sammyboy - All Trump All the time.

Offline nescafe

  • Dansdeals Platinum Elite
  • ****
  • Join Date: Jun 2016
  • Posts: 493
  • Total likes: 18
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 2
    • View Profile
  • Location: Brooklyn
Re: Nescafe Italy/London Honeymoon
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2016, 07:30:39 PM »
Sunday:

After Shachris at Chabad, we started our day with the Jewish Ghetto Tour. We took the first tour at 10:30. The tour guide herself was not that amazing (to say the least) but we had to do the tour as this was the only way to gain access to the all shuls in the ghetto. The tour costed €10/€8 with student ID. The Shuls were magnificent!!!!!!! We were told that as of 3 weeks before, photography was allowed in all the shuls so I got to take some beautiful pictures. (hope to post some as soon as I figure out how to!)

After the tour, we strolled around the museum and saw some stunning silver pieces and handmade torah mantels aging back a few hundred years. We were in a bit of a hurry since we still wanted to have enough time to spend in San Marco Square so we bought pizza and coffee from Gam Gam Goodies for brunch. We also bought milk from there as well since we didn’t know if Rome would have kosher milk. (Kosher Delight Grocery in Rome did have) We also made a stop in the bakery to buy some goodies for later since the bakery closes at 12 on Sunday. FYI, all shops (convenience stores) close early on Sunday for some reason.
With all our goodies, we headed back to the hotel to check-out, which was at 12. The guy at the front desk saw us walking in with our pizza in hand and told us we that we can take our time eating lunch before checking out. We checked out about 12:15 and gave the hotel to put our luggage in the holding area. We even asked them to keep some things in the refrigerator for us- which they did gladly. We had a very nice experience with the hotel in general. We would highly recommend this hotel to anyone wanting to stay in the Jewish Ghetto area over Shabbos.

After hotel checkout, we bought 1 day Vaparetto bus tickets from the local shop down the block as we were going to use the boat a few times throughout the day. We took the Vaparetto to San Marco Square where we headed to the Doges Palace. We were very eager to get in as we were told by one of the tourists that we met over Shabbos in the Gallery that there is a special Jewish exhibit in the palace in commemoration of 500 years of the Jewish Ghetto. We purchased tickets for €19/€12 with student ID. After walking around and taking some pictures, we followed signs to the Jewish exhibit. We passed many gorgeous paintings and furniture throughout the palace. With the help of a few curators, we finally found the exhibit only to learn that we needed a separate ticket for the exhibit!! Having no other choice, we trekked back down to the main entrance to buy the additional ticket required for entry (€2 pp). Additional ticket in hand, we trudged back upstairs in the heat (There was no AC in the palace!!!) and finally made it back to the exhibit. It was worth the hassle!!!!! On display there were some seforim as old as 500 years and some kesubos aging 200-300 years. I was fascinated by all those things as I have a strong interest in old Seforim. We spent the better part of an hour by this exhibit. (It didn’t hurt that the exhibit had AC LOL)  We then explored other parts of the palace and headed toward the exit, stopping in the yard for some nice pictures.

Upon leaving the Palace, we wandered around the Square window shopping and taking more pictures. At about 4:00, we headed to the Vaparetto station and made our way back to the Ghetto area. We stopped into our hotel to cool off and have a cold drink (which we ended up buying in the hotel bar for a hefty price because all shops were closed!!!) We then headed to Ghimmel Garden for dinner before we left Venice. When we arrived we were told that the restaurant doesn’t open until 7:00. Since we had a train to catch (no tickets bought yet), we made our way to Gam Gam for dinner. I ordered the Mussaka Gam Gam (€12). My wife, wanting to be on the safe side to avoid the zatar, figured the Shnitzel (€14) would be her best bet. Both dishes (even my wife agrees ;) ) were delicious!!!

After picking up our luggage from the hotel holding area, hopping onto a Vaparetto, we arrived at St. Lucia Train Station about 6:00. From my research prior to our trip, I knew that the last 2 trains out of Venice to Pisa were at 6:25PM and 7:25PM both were with about an hour connection time in Florence. We didn’t book in advance since we weren’t sure which train would work better for our schedule.  As we walked in, we immediately saw a kiosk that appeared to have been the place to purchase train tickets. We quickly made our way to the desk where the agent told us that the 6:25 was sold out (even 1st class) He said he would be able to put us on the 7:25 train (1st class was the only one available). Reluctantly, we agreed only to hear that he would be charging us commission on our tickets as he worked for a travel agency!!!! I thanked him for his time and he was kind enough to show us where to purchase tickets directly from the train company. We quickly made our way to one of the machines (it was already 6:15) and with the help of an agent who worked for the train company, we were able to purchase 1st class tickets on the 6:25 train. It seems that the last few seats are locked and can only be purchased directly from the company- even the travel agent didn’t have access!!!! For the train from Florence to Pisa, I was told that I can board any train in Florence using this ticket.

We ran to the main platform and stared at the screen until our platform # was displayed. We were told to keep our eyes focused on the screen as the platform only appears a few minutes before the departure time. Additionally we were informed that our train’s main destination was to Rome (Roma Termini) but it was making a stop in Florence. As soon as the platform appeared, we RAAAANNNNN to our train in fear that we would miss it!!!! We actually made the train, and made ourselves comfortable in our 1st class seats. (I would highly recommend buying 1st class tickets as a first option since it is a very big difference in comfort but not that much more expensive.)

Upon arrival to Florence, we learned that the connecting train to Pisa was delayed by 45 minutes. After about 1:30 waiting (standing in front of the main screen in fear of missing our connection), we finally boarded a train to Pisa. After boarding the train, I realized (not sure how) that I had to validate the tickets for this train so I quickly ran back to the machine to validate praying all along that we do not miss our train. Phew! We didn’t.
This train was a regional train with no 1st class nor designated seats. There were also no compartments for luggage so we sat with our luggage. After a tiring hour long train ride, we were glad to arrive to Pisa train station. As we pulled into the station, a fellow passenger, who appeared to have been staring at us all along, came over to us and started asking me questions about Palestine. Not looking for any trouble, I told him that I only spoke English (which is true) and didn’t understand what he was saying. This was our only anti-Semitic experience throughout our whole trip.  As soon as the doors open, we bolted off the train and made our way down the stairs from the platform, only to learn that we had to go up another flight of stairs to the exit. Exhausted from dragging our luggage all over the place, we were more than glad to see that our hotel was literally right across the street of the train station exit.

We checked in to the NH Pisa hotel at about 11PM. Right after checking in, we went to a local grocery to get cold water and beer. Then we made our way back to our hotel room for midnight snack/cold cut sandwiches (which we had brought from home) and called it a night.

Next Up……….Leaning Tower of Pisa, Rome

Offline nescafe

  • Dansdeals Platinum Elite
  • ****
  • Join Date: Jun 2016
  • Posts: 493
  • Total likes: 18
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 2
    • View Profile
  • Location: Brooklyn
Re: Nescafe Italy/London Honeymoon
« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2016, 10:59:33 PM »
NH Pisa:

Our hotel room was very nice and clean. Was worth the price (about $115) being that they had great service, and was well located. One hitch that we had in the room was that we couldn’t figure out how to close the bedside lamp. We tried all the light switches- there were about 20 (as the room was dark when we entered). But to no avail! The light was stubborn and refused to cooperate!!!! We continued to battle the lamp well into the AM hours. We even tried to unplug the lamp- for some reason the plug was screwed into the outlet!!!!! Finally, we came up with a grand plan “We will call the front desk and ask for help”!! However, the directory was in Italian and after many attempts (and probably waking up other hotel guests) we gave up and decided to just unscrew the bulb!!! At least that was not permanently connected to the lamp! Other than that, we were very satisfied.  :)


Monday:

Being that the earliest direct train to Rome was at 1:57PM, there is not much to do in Pisa besides taking pictures at the leaning tower, and we arrived in Pisa close to midnight the night before, we decided to take our time in the morning with davening and breakfast. For breakfast we had delicious tuna sandwiches (bought rolls in Venice the day before, small mayo and tuna cans brought from home) and some hot coffee (our room was equipped with a small percolator) substituting milk with coffee creamers that we took from the plane since we wouldn’t have where to refrigerate the big bottle of milk until later that evening.

At about 11:30, we checked out of the hotel leaving our luggage in hotel storage. We were told that there was a bus across the street from the hotel which will stop right near the leaning tower. (Think it costs €2) After checking google maps, we chose to take the scenic 20 minute walk instead.

Since we were afraid that tickets for the direct train to Rome will sell out, we made a quick stop at the train station across the street to purchase tickets for the 1:57 train so that we wouldn’t be pressured to get back to the train station early.

We then headed to the leaning tower which was WOW!!!!!!!  It was amazing to see the tower, which we had heard so much about, is so obviously slanted. We (and everyone else) took pictures while trying to hold the tower up and then trying to push it down! Many people looked quite silly in awkward positions.  :) (who are we to judge LOL) We spent about an hour taking pictures and buying souvenirs. We even found one shop that was selling mugs and shot glasses on a slant, which was just too cute not to buy!

We didn’t end up climbing the tower since by the time went online to book tickets (about 2 weeks before visiting Pisa) there were not slots available in our time-frame. (FYI, tickets can be booked up to 20 days prior to scheduled visit date)

We then headed back to the hotel to fetch our luggage and head to the train station. Thankfully our train was running on time and as soon as we arrived to the station, we boarded the first class cabin for our ride. Since we were satisfied with the 1st class seats to Florence, we bought 1st class tickets for this ride as well. But, the first class on this train was not nearly as nice or comfortable as the day before. We were still glad that we were sitting there as opposed to the main cabin.

The train ride lasted about 2.5 hours. It was a very scenic route!

Upon arrival to the Roma Termini Station at about 4:30, we collected our luggage and made our way to the exit. There were taxi’s outside waiting for customers, however, due to the fear of being ripped off, we decided to use Uber instead. (Yes! There is Uber in Rome). After a few minute wait for the Uber, (during which taxi drivers tried to convince us that the Uber would rip us off) the driver contacted me as he was circling for a few minutes and was unable to locate us. Finally we were sitting in our Uber and enjoyed a very pleasant ride as our friendly driver pointed out some landmarks on the way. Some 20 minutes later, we pulled up to a building which matched the address of our hotel.

While planning our trip, we were unsure which hotel to book for our stay in Rome. Many fellow DDF’ers stayed at one of the Sheraton hotels but we weren’t so sure about staying there since both Sheraton hotels are quite far from the main sites and attractions. Additionally, various TR’s mentioned that the public transportation in Rome was unreliable, and unsafe too, which led us to seek other hotel options. We were looking for a hotel that would be walking distance to the Ghetto area, and would also be safe to walk at night. After much research on TA, we settled on Hotel Navona, which seemed to have pretty good reviews, was within 10-15 minutes walking distance to most attractions, and was very decently priced.

Upon arrival to the above mentioned building, we entered the courtyard when DW said (in a calm voice that we all know means troube) “we are not staying in this place”!!!!!! I couldn’t agree more as the outside décor was ‘less than beautiful’ to say the least. I told DW to reserve judgement until we reached our room. (All the while I praying that Sheraton still has available rooms). We rang the bell by the main entrance where there was a sign “Hotel Navona- 2nd Floor”. After a short wait, a bellhop greeted us and helped us with our luggage. We read online that the building does not have an elevator but the hotel provides a bellhop. Fortunately, that turned out not to be accurate as they recently installed a small elevator, which was just enough for the bellhop and our luggage. We waited for the next shift……!!

After exiting the elevator and entering the 2nd floor, we calmed down somewhat seeing that the front desk and hallway were pretty ok looking. We checked in, and got a map of all the main attractions and headed to our room, holding our breath all the while. We were relieved to see that our room was by far much nicer than the courtyard!!!! By now DW agreed that we can stay here for our 3 night stay in Rome. PHEW! The room was actually pretty spacious; we even had a little porch.

After we settled into our room, we went for a stroll to explore the Ghetto area where the shul and all kosher restaurants are located (7-8 minute walk from our hotel.)

Since we hadn’t eaten lunch that day, we went straight to Ba’Ghetto Milky (we stuck to milchig since we didn’t want to run into problems with Glatt meats). We ordered Eggplant rolls filled with tuna and mozzarella cheese as an appetizer (€6.50), Spaghetti with cheese and cubes of salmon (€12.50) and Cheese and Smoked salmon (€12) as mains. Additionally, there is €1.50 pp sitting tax in all restaurants in Rome. Also, just like in Venice, you pay for your water ;).

All the dishes were delicious and we wiped our plates clean. (hopefully the pictures will be posted one day)

After dinner, we headed to the great synagogue for Mincha/Maariv. As informed on DDF, we took along ID, which had to be presented prior to entry. In addition, everyone was subject to a security check and had to pass a metal detector. They were very strict about shutting phones during services, as pictures weren’t allowed and the gabbai strongly enforced the rule. (It later turned out that during a tour, pictures were allowed).

After davening, we took another short walk along the river before heading back and turning in for the night.


Up Next Day #1 in Rome…………

Offline zow

  • Dansdeals Presidential Platinum Elite
  • ********
  • Join Date: Jun 2014
  • Posts: 2596
  • Total likes: 79
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 10
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
  • Location: BOS
Re: Nescafe Italy/London Honeymoon
« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2016, 01:16:20 PM »
Enjoying and following, and mazel tov on the honeymoon.
At first, I thought the trip was going to include some pilgrimage to the Nescafe or, better, Nespresso, factory, but now I realize that's just your handle (and you seem to enjoy coffee, so you're a good guy in my book!).
Kol hacavod.

Offline nescafe

  • Dansdeals Platinum Elite
  • ****
  • Join Date: Jun 2016
  • Posts: 493
  • Total likes: 18
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 2
    • View Profile
  • Location: Brooklyn
Re: Nescafe Italy/London Honeymoon
« Reply #9 on: September 06, 2016, 10:36:04 PM »
Enjoying and following, and mazel tov on the honeymoon.
At first, I thought the trip was going to include some pilgrimage to the Nescafe or, better, Nespresso, factory, but now I realize that's just your handle (and you seem to enjoy coffee, so you're a good guy in my book!).
Kol hacavod.

thanks for the wishes and feedback!!

stay tuned for the "coffee incident"............... ;)

Offline zow

  • Dansdeals Presidential Platinum Elite
  • ********
  • Join Date: Jun 2014
  • Posts: 2596
  • Total likes: 79
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 10
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
  • Location: BOS
Re: Nescafe Italy/London Honeymoon
« Reply #10 on: September 19, 2016, 10:42:34 PM »
thanks for the wishes and feedback!!

stay tuned for the "coffee incident"............... ;)
Waiting....

Offline nescafe

  • Dansdeals Platinum Elite
  • ****
  • Join Date: Jun 2016
  • Posts: 493
  • Total likes: 18
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 2
    • View Profile
  • Location: Brooklyn
Re: Nescafe Italy/London Honeymoon
« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2016, 07:01:28 PM »

Offline nescafe

  • Dansdeals Platinum Elite
  • ****
  • Join Date: Jun 2016
  • Posts: 493
  • Total likes: 18
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 2
    • View Profile
  • Location: Brooklyn
Re: Nescafe Italy/London Honeymoon
« Reply #12 on: September 21, 2016, 07:05:42 PM »
Tuesday:

It was really exciting to wake up in Rome as we were scheduled to have a Jewish Ghetto Tour that day which was something that we had been looking forward to for a while. After Shachris and a quick breakfast, we made our way to the shul as that was the meeting place for our 10:00 tour.  Approaching the shul, we saw a group of people which turned out to be a tour from a different company, but they gladly directed us to our tour guide. We booked our tour in advance with Jewish Roma as they offered a student rate of 50€ pp. (as opposed to RFJ who wanted 250€). It was a real pleasure to deal with Janet from JR, who helped us all along in a very friendly manner. In addition, she sent us an email the day prior to the tour informing us who our tour guide would be and how we would be able to contact her if necessary.

Our guide was Sara Pavoncello (not related to Micaela Pavoncello who runs JR). She was absolutely fantastic!!!! She had a great way of presenting the rich history of Jewish Rome. She was more than glad to answer any questions and expand on any topic. Additionally, since she is a native of Rome, she was able to give us a real feel of the Jewish life in Rome.  Also, we got to meet her grandmother and her cousins (seems like everyone is related lol) who coincidently passed by every few minutes. She was even all excited to point out her fiancés uncle who we met along the way. 
During the tour, we visited the Jewish Museum (separate charge not included with the tour fee of 11€/5€ with student ID) which featured beautiful articles aging back a few hundred years. We were amazed to hear that many of the silver pieces (crowns etc.) are still in use today.
We also visited the shul and were allowed to take pictures (which is strictly prohibited during davening, as mentioned before). Sara made sure to give us enough time to appreciate the luxurious artwork in the shul and take as many pictures as we wanted. After visiting the shul, the tour was officially over and we paid for our tour (cash only). The tour lasted 3 ½ hours. Overall, we were overwhelmingly thrilled with the tour and would recommend all to use JR!!!!

Being that we had eaten only a small breakfast, we were famished so we headed to Yotvata for lunch. We ordered Bombolotti spigola e cicoria 11€ (which in plain English means Short pasta with sea bass and chicory), and Quattro Formaggi  9€ (which is a 4 cheese, no sauce pizza). For drinks, DW ordered a sprite 2.50€ and I decided that I can use some caffeine to help me get through the day. On the menu, there was an option of coffee or American coffee. I figured I’d try something Italian and get the coffee. I was shocked to see a coffee in a mug the size of a shot glass (and no milk in it)!!!!! After contemplating what to do, I asked the waiter what other options there were and he told me “oh, you want an American coffee”!!! I readily agreed and the waiter took back my shot glass of coffee. After a few minutes wait, he returned with what looked to be a ‘proper’ cup of coffee. I was astonished to see that I was served a black coffee with no milk on the side!!! I stopped the waiter yet again and asked if I can have some milk in a shot glass ;). The waiter, getting quite frustrated, eventually after a 10 minute wait, got me some milk to add to my coffee. By then I had figured out to order a cappuccino next time since apparently that is the equivalent of an American coffee!! Go figure!

With our doggy bag in hand, we made our way back to the hotel to get some rest before the Free Walking Tour that we had booked for that afternoon.

At about 4:30 we made our way to the Spanish Steps where we were to meet our guide for the Free Walking Tour. We easily located our guide and we handed her our tickets which were mandatory to join the tour (email confirmation is not enough, you need a hard copy). The tour started at 5:00PM with a short lecture of the Spanish Steps history. Since the Spanish steps were under construction at the time, we didn’t spend much time before continuing with the tour. To make a long story short, throughout our two hour tour, we visited the Pantheon, a nice big mall (of the 3 biggest in Italy) 2 churches (where we waited outside), and ended our tour at the Trevi Fountain.
Overall, this tour was a waste of time for us as most of it was based on the history of the churches, which was not to our interest. Additionally, we felt that we would’ve been able to visit the Pantheon and Trevi Fountain (which were the only two landmarks we were interested in) on our own pace without spending a whole afternoon on it.

Leaving the Trevi Fountain, we headed in the direction of Piazza Navona to get some pictures at the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (aka Fiumi Fountain or Fountain of the Four Rivers). Along the way, we passed many stands on the street with locals trying to sell all sorts of things. One stand sold leather items such as wallets and handbags etc. Being that it was our engagement anniversary, I figured that DW can use a new handbag and started negotiating prices. Informed that these sellers can be bargained down I tried my luck by threating to buy elsewhere. As that threat didn’t work, I stepped over to the next stand like 2 feet away, who was more than glad to sell a bag for the price that I wanted  :). Before paying, I asked the seller to prove that the bag was real leather by putting fire to the bag (if it is plastic, it will melt).

Handbag in hand, we arrived to the Pizza Navona, when I noticed that in order to make Mincha in the shul, I had to leave right now. Promising DW that we would be back for pictures, we left the square and made our way to shul for Mincha and Maariv.

After davening, we made our way (yet again) to Ba’Ghetto Milk for dinner. We waited for about 40-45 minutes for a table, which didn’t bother us since we were not very hungry. We ordered Sigari di formaggio e patate (fried cigars filled with cheese and potato) €4 and Spigola Griglia (some sort of Sea Bass) €21. The fish was presented as a whole before being taken back to skin and scale. Being that we only ordered one main, we decided to order the “World’s best Tiramisu” which was highly recommended on DDF by all. We were not disappointed!!! We would recommend anyone visiting Rome to stop in to Ba’Ghetto Milky for some.

Although we had just eaten dessert, I can never say no to Gelato!! So we stopped into the famous Gelato store a few minutes before closing, which was a hop, skip and a jump from Ba’Ghetto, for Gelato! Being that people wrote that the milchige Gelato was not Chalav Yisroel, we stuck to pareve Gelato. The only mistake I made was that I bought only 1 gelato since DW said “she will not be having any” which did not turn out to be the case…….  ;)
At this point it was about 12:00, so we made our way back to our hotel to get some rest for our early tour the next day.


Up Next Day #2 in Rome…………

Offline zow

  • Dansdeals Presidential Platinum Elite
  • ********
  • Join Date: Jun 2014
  • Posts: 2596
  • Total likes: 79
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 10
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
  • Location: BOS
Re: Nescafe Italy/London Honeymoon
« Reply #13 on: September 22, 2016, 02:15:33 PM »
Great installment.
It's particularly valuable that you told us what you liked and didn't like, rather than just reporting what you did.
LOL about the coffee.  I always feel so inferior when I have to order a Caffe Americano, though. Much cooler to order a cappuccino.

Offline nescafe

  • Dansdeals Platinum Elite
  • ****
  • Join Date: Jun 2016
  • Posts: 493
  • Total likes: 18
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 2
    • View Profile
  • Location: Brooklyn
Re: Nescafe Italy/London Honeymoon
« Reply #14 on: September 22, 2016, 11:05:53 PM »
Food in Venice (for all the foodies!!)


Thursday Night Dinner:

Hummus and Meat @ Gam Gam by Nescafe, on Flickr

Shwarma @ Gam Gam by Nescafe, on Flickr

Tagliatelle with meat sauce @ Gam Gam by Nescafe, on Flickr

Friday Lunch:

Pizza @ Gam Gam Goodies by Nescafe, on Flickr

Sunday Dinner:

Mussaka Gam Gam by Nescafe, on Flickr



More pictures to follow iyh!