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Everything posted by rhiannon84

  1. Hi Dickinson, lots of good advice already but one thing to remember - all Tube lines are different colours. It may be easier to remember 'light blue' than 'Victoria' for example, especially when you're looking for/following signage through a station.
  2. Can I also suggest looking at some of the 'Live From' threads for Mediterranean cruises? It'll give you a good sense of which ports are busy/tender-only, as well as how people experienced the port times and lack of days at sea. You might also be surprised how few people say they did evening entertainment, and instead went to the buffet followed by an early night!
  3. I suggest using the Michelin guide https://www.viamichelin.com/ just type in La Rochelle (Nouvelle Aquitaine) and click around/set your price parameters. I expect you don’t want Michelin starred restaurants - Bib Rouge is the level down (good quality better value) but anything included in the guide will be decent, and will have more recent reviews
  4. I have never had a card ‘skimmed’ in the UK, or elsewhere in Europe. It appears to be an issue that happens a lot in the USA? I think it’s a banking/security issue related to the USA’s system, so you can be more confident about using a bank card abroad. Also, I think credit card fraud/debt and the impact on credit rating/ID is more consequential in the USA? Europe social security & ID cards/systems means that a single card being compromised is less likely to compromise everything else in your life - even when they’re more secure. Don't worry about it, enjoy being able to ‘tap and go!’ (P.s. you will always do the tapping, no one else touches your card)
  5. If it wasn’t off season I would suggest hopping on a ferry (40minutes) to Aegina. Having a look at google maps there’s a yacht marina by the Maritime Museum, or at Flisvos (10mins taxi). Marinas/yacht clubs tend to have good restaurants!
  6. Yes, book the national Express flexible fare, for the 11.50am and ideally bring it forward to 10am. If you do it the other way round (seat on the 10am) and you're delayed and the 11.50am is full....then you're waiting even longer! The weight limit is so you don't give the bus driver a hernia - if any of your bags are particularly heavy just let them know before they try and pick it up!
  7. It's a lovely part of the world so enjoy wandering about. It if gets really horribly busy, you could leave the 5 villages a bit earlier and go to Portovenere, which is also lovely but a bigger town and less overcrowded (with better travel links back to La Spezia)
  8. I had no problem buying on the day (other than needing to run to a cashpoint) but that was October so off season. However they don't run in poor weather... Compromise and buy 1-2 days before when the forecast is accurate?
  9. https://www.navigazionegolfodeipoeti.it/en Ferry service. They prefer cash ( mandatory if buying a ticket onboard/smaller village) https://www.parconazionale5terre.it/Ecinque-terre-card.php The official national park site. Use google translate if not all pages are in English https://www.cinqueterre.eu.com/en/footpaths-cinqueterre Has lots of uptodate information in English. States Manarola-Riomaggiore is still closed (as does the official site)
  10. 1. Yes, easily. Each village is 2-5 mins train apart, you could fit in at least 2. I really liked Riomaggiore - the first one you get to will be the quietest, so inevitably your favourite! 2. Yes, but ferry gives you better views. Consider train out/ferry back (drops you closer to ship) 3. Check the official website, I’ll find the link. Be aware there’s rules on footwear and it could be very very hot 4. Buy your ticket at a machine at the station, it’s in English and there’s visitor guides to help. It’s all really easy, just check how many ships are in port with you as it will be busy! Also when is your all-aboard? Given it’s summer, walking could be preferable in the morning instead of after lunch, and it gets much busier in the afternoon with tours. train station is a straightforward 25 mins walk from the dock entrance (it’s a working port, so mandatory shuttle straight off the ship for a few minutes). There’s clear signage and kiosks to buy the Cinque Terre pass (train + walking permit) at the station. Each town is 2-5 minutes apart, so you could easily do 2 before lunchtime. Consider taking the train to the furthest village, Monterosso, then work backwards to Vernazza and Manarola. Or train to Riomaggiore, Corniglia, then back to Manarola and finally ferry back to La Spezia
  11. It depends on the time of day. From memory, morning Nativity and afternoon Passion, but I can’t find the source of the info! The steps are very narrow and tight (with no handrail) on the way down, so you need a good head for heights
  12. Yup! Sorry it wasn’t clear. Coffee in the restaurant is good
  13. It's just Nescafe instant sachets in Britannia, so I order coffee via the breakfast room service card (free) as my 'alarm clock', with the plan of eating breakfast in the restaurant or off ship afterwards. You can get a coffee/juice for free with any room service food delivery.
  14. I'd agree, buy the shoes when you get there (nice permanent memento!) AFTER you've had a day or two walking on European pavements to judge whether you can do heels or not. I'd suggest looking at Geox. They were my first thought for 'dressy' walkable sandals anyway, and after I checked, I found they're Italian too. And buy plasters and a blister gel/stick regardless (like https://www.compeed.co.uk/product/anti-blister-stick/)
  15. I stayed at Hotel Arc La Rambla last year, it was good value for a pre-cruise night in a hotel. We had a room at the back (view was of a concrete wall, but quiet), and overall it was quiet, clean with a modern bathroom. There's vending machines in the hallways if you need a snack, and lots of space downstairs (where they serve breakfast?) to sit and wait for a taxi. We went out to breakfast, so can't comment on that. They have an adjoining cafe/bar downstairs which was good for a simple lunch. Less than 5 mins walk to Drassanes station, and 15mins walk to the Blue cruise bus stop - we (inc. my 65 yr old mother) did it with 2x large suitcases no problem. It was safe walking at night out to dinner, and really conveniently placed for what we wanted to do.
  16. I don’t think anyone else has suggested this, but do go to the lunchtime dance lessons (I’m guessing they do them on a crossing too?) as it will familiarise you with the space, some of the other less confident dancers AND it’s led by the professional dancers/dance hosts so they’ll be a friendly face in the evening too.
  17. The main thing I'd say about combatting jetlag is get outside, early! The UK tends to be far more grey and overcast (even in summer) than the US, so you don't get that hit of daylight to help adjust without actively seeking out the sun.
  18. Markeb’s suggestions are really good, especially to consider a HoHo bus or river cruise as a relaxed way to get your bearings. If it’s not already installed on your phone, you need to download Google Maps from the Apple or Android store. Then when you click on your initial (e.g. R in a red circle for me) it brings up the Settings. Offline Maps is one of those, and you just zoom in/out of the area you want. Pick the whole of central London, it uses hardly any memory and will auto delete after a year or two anyway. London is also enormous and packed with stuff, so I’d suggest ‘saving’ any bars, restaurants, landmarks you like the look of, in a Saved List, now. And share it with your travel companions. Then you can wander about a bit, and have a rough idea of a decent place to eat/drink without needing to use data or having to make a decision on the spot. I did that in NYC which was a lifesaver for cognitive overload!! theres a good blog with instructions on both Saved Lists and Offline Maps here https://www.theunconventionalroute.com/google-maps-saved-places/
  19. I thought that was the few cabins reserved for guest entertainment? I'm sure I've seen a previous thread about those ones
  20. Yes Leonidas is great generic gift chocolate, but it’s Mary or Pierre Marcolini for the really good stuff you keep to yourself! I don’t know RCCL’s European policy, but most cruise lines which ban taking alcohol onboard on US/Caribbean cruises allow it in Europe. So do check if that’s the case for your cruise
  21. I can try and answer the waffle question - in general in Belgium, the best place to get one is from a metro station, small kiosk or waffle van! They’re the most authentic and most likely to be hot and freshly made. Bruges doesn’t have a metro system, but the same principle applies. I suggest the Liege version (hot, sticky with caramelised nuggets of sugar) over the Brussels version (light and flat, often stuffed with fruit or topped with cream). In Flemish that’s a Luiksewafel, in French its gaufre liegeois. You might have to do quite a bit of googling to find somewhere offering beer flights, other than Le Trappiste (which has lots on tap). Lots of Belgian beer is very strong (can be 10% abv plus) and made for drinking slowly. Also, the proper stuff is far more likely to be in bottles than on tap which complicates it further. (Thinking back, I don’t think I ever saw beer flights advertised in Brussels in the 7 years I lived there). Many of the Trappist beers come in multiple strengths (Chimay, Duvel) and have complementary cheese brands (Rochefort, Grimbergen), so consider popping into a supermarket on the way back to the ship to make a selection for a curated balcony tasting?!
  22. There's also iced water available in the gym. The tap water is drinkable, but nicer for having been left to settle in the bottle lid-off for a while, and then put in the fridge
  23. A universal power adapter should be fine. Something like this https://www.currys.co.uk/products/logik-lvisit20-worldwide-to-uk-travel-adapter-10200473.html Be careful if you choose to buy from Amazon - make sure it’s a legit supplier!
  24. Premier Inn is a good UK-only chain (you can only book direct) and has many hotels in and around central London. https://www.premierinn.com/gb/en/home.html County Hall is a good location for example, and is fairly close to your 1000 limit. I don’t know about non-walking tours, but regardless, the step-free Tube map might be your friend! https://content.tfl.gov.uk/step-free-tube-guide-map.pdf https://tfl.gov.uk/transport-accessibility/
  25. As Globaliser said, Pret will do you if you just want a sandwich, something very quick and simple. Otherwise lots of excellent pubs nearby - Two Chairmen and Red Lion are famous for their parliamentary histories (and gossip) The Phoenix near Victoria was always good for an express set lunch. Strutton Ground has a great food market and small independent cafes - there’s a great fish & chip shop but be prepared to queue if it’s a weekday lunchtime.
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