Monthly Archives: June 2016

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You want to travel to Germany?

Category : Travel

limosIt really doesn’t matter if you are on a budget or not – Travel to Germany! Germany (Bavaria) is an awesome place to visit. Don’t worry if you can’t fly first class and you’re worried about affordability! You can go! Maybe you do have the money tucked away and plan on spending as much as it takes to make it the perfect trip – this site is for you too. Rich or poor, planned or spur of the moment, start your travel plans here and then go out and get all the information you need to plan your perfect visit. I think we are all in agreement that flying is the only way to travel to Germany (from the U.S. that is).

But how do you go about getting all the information you need to plan your trip?Research, research, research! I don’t care if you are hiring a travel agent or not – you still need to research!

My favorite place to start is online.There are lots of places on the web where you can find cheap flights. There is a wealth of knowledge out here on the internet just waiting for you to find – mostly for free. I have always been able to find some of the best deals there. Of course, you also have Travelocity , Expedia , Hotwire, Priceline , etc. But don’t forget about websites like Wikipedia, Wiki travel, and tripadvisor. Just type “travel to Germany” or something similar into Google or Yahoo search engines and see what you find. Whatever comes up, is a good place to start.

Travel forums – my favorite is tripadvisor, give users a chance to not only talk about their travel excursions, but also rate their experiences at different places. This is especially useful when trying to figure out where to stay at hotels or bed and breakfasts. On my last trip to Bavaria, I relied almost exclusively on tripadvisor for ratings on my lodging choices.

Guide Books – yes I love them and do recommend them. Rick Steves, Frommer’s, Foder’s, Etc. are great references for your travel to Germany. You don’t have to buy them, either. Rent them at the library if you wish. In fact, many library systems have online searches and holds to get a hold of the books you wish to borrow. If you buy them, you can sell them back on places like Amazon.com or Ebay. If you are the kind of person that likes to write in them for reference, just plan on keeping them for your next trip.

Now What?

When you have done some research and have a better idea of what it takes to travel to Germany, then you can start making a plan. By this point you will have an idea of what you may like to see and the types of things that interest you most. You will also have a little bit more idea of your budget. You don’t have to hire a travel agent! Just do research and book online using an online travel agent. For example, I heard from my trained travel agent friend Elizabeth that air fares are usually lowest on Tuesdays. (Why, I am not sure, I think it has something to do with scheduling patterns the airlines use.) Search on places like onetravel.com or cheapair.com. Compare prices – one online site may be hundreds cheaper than another!

Keep in mind – when you search for air prices on the internet, the final price is different than the first price you see quoted to you. What you want to look for is the final price. Don’t be afraid to pretend you are booking the ticket right up until they ask for payment. This is sometimes the only way to see the full price that includes the fees and taxes.

Chances are you will have two or three legs on your flight to Germany. If you live near a major airport like O’Hare in Chicago or JFK in New York, you might get a direct flight. Otherwise, you may have to fly from a regional airport to a larger one which will connect you to Europe.

Your trip might look something like this: fly from your regional airport to a major hub (like Chicago) then fly from Chicago to Amsterdam and then travel to Germany from Amsterdam to Munich. But the combinations are endless. Maybe it makes more sense for you to drive to a major hub and then get a direct flight or a flight from the hub to a connecting European hub and then to Munich.

You guessed it – it takes research. Price every possibility before buying the tickets. If price isn’t so much a concern, plan routes that offer more convenience. Map out possible scenarios and then research them via price or convenience on the internet, in your books, etc.

I think when you travel to Germany, Munich is the best way to get to Bavaria. It seems to be the cheapest usually and I have never had any baggage issues, the car rental area is easy to get to and it is easy to find your way around.

Here’s an example: On our last travel to Germany, we drove to O’Hare. We booked a park n fly hotel (a hotel that will let you park your car for free while you fly if you spend a night in their hotel). We parked our car in the hotel lot and took their free shuttle to the airport. Flying from O’Hare to Amsterdam and then to Munich was our most economical approach, so that is what we did. At the Munich airport we rented a car (that I pre booked online to get the best deal –Europcar ) and drove from Munich throughout Bavaria. (Train travel is also an option at this point)We then went through Austria, Northern Italy, and Switzerland. We left the Geneva airport and flew back to Amsterdam to hop on a flight to Chicago. From there we took the free shuttle back to the hotel, spent the night and drove home. All the parking for a week and a half as well as a one night’s lodging cost us $89.00 plus tax – I don’t think you can beat that!

What’s my Point?

Research all possibilities. You don’t have to fly back out of the airport you landed in. Check all connecting possibilities. On our trip, for example, we could have flown from O’Hare to Geneva, Milan, or Salzburg to get to Munich. Just find the combination that is either cheapest or the most convenient – whatever you are looking for. The answers are all there for your travel to Germany, and booking online is a snap.

Afraid to book online?

It’s Ok. Personally, I do everything online and have never had a problem. But, if you are not comfortable with it, I understand. Still do your research online. Then, when you are ready to book – call. Call the airline, Melbourne taxi silver service , hotel, etc. Don’t be afraid to tell them the price you saw online if what they are quoting you is different.

Another option is PayPal or something similar. PaPal is like a bank with no bank branch locations. You set up an account with them and can make payments through their site. Also, you can log into your account and get all the information you would get with another bank online. Many websites allow you to “pay with PayPal”. When you do, the website you are ordering with never sees your personal banking information, but still has the convenience of an online purchase. Therefore, Paypal is like an intermediary between you and the seller.

You can do it!

Even if you are in a rush, on a budget, or care about convenience, do your research and you will be greatly rewarded. By finding out all you can about your travel to Germany ahead of time, you will forgo frustration and difficult situations when you get there. Enjoy your trip by planning ahead and avail taxi Melbourne airport services in a hassle-free manner!


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Where is Bavaria?

Category : Travel

Most people who travel to Germany visit Bavaria, the largest state of the nation. But Where is Bavaria? As mentioned, Bavaria is in Germany, the southeast part – to be exact. Germany itself is in the middle of Europe and borders with the Netherlands and Belgium to the west, France and Switzerland to the southwest and south, Austria to the souteast, and the Czech Republic and Poland to the east. The North Sea, Baltic Sea and Denmark can be found to the north.

So, again, Where is Bavaria? Bavaria is in the southeast of Germany. It borders with the Czech Republic and Austria. Other German states that meet up with Bavaria are Baden-Wurttemberg, Hessen, Thuringen and Saxony to the north east.

Part Two – Where in Bavaria? The northern part of Bavaria can feel much different than the alpine regions found in the south. Here you will find the Danube and Inn rivers, the Bavarian Forest, beautiful churches, the home to Wagner’s “Bayreuth”, and some of the finest craftsman in the world.

The northern Bavarian cities include Wurzburg (the beginning of theRomantic Road) Bamburg, Bayreuth, Nurmburg, Ingolstadt, Augsburg and Passau – among many others.

Southern Bavaria

This beautiful part of Germany is the most visited and arguably the most beautiful part of the country. Not only can you find the Alps and King Ludwig II of Bavaria’s fairy tale castle Neuschwanstein, but also Bavaria’s capital of Munich and Berchtesgaden.

Bavaria’s Oktoberfest and beer gardens are not hard to find in this southernmost part of Germany either. Munich’s annual 16 day tribute tobeer brings travelers from throughout the world. In this southern region you will also find Garmisch – partenkirchen near the zugspitze, Kempten, Rosenheim, Bad Tolz, Mittenwald and Fussen.


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Welcome to the Brothel: Where Not to Sleep in New Orleans

Category : Travel

At the desk of the funky, pastel-painted New Orleans hostel, a guy acting drunker than he was greeted us in a fake British accent. “Welcome to the brothel!” he said.

Fumbling dramatically, he checked us in, referring to various liquors as his best friend. “There’s candy if you need it,” he said, pointing out a basket of condoms. He grabbed sheets, warned us that the middle shower had been broken the night before by the people having sex in it, and said he’d show us to our beds.

The place was filthy and people of all ages and sexes (more than the usual two genders were represented) were strewn across the room. I checked out the bathroom—not for the faint of heart—and rejoined my friend, who sat on her top bunk, which was approximately a foot and a half above my bottom bunk. The girl on the next bed was removing body piercings and dropping handfuls of them on the floor.

We decided to take in only what we absolutely needed (so as not to risk contamination to the carload), first putting the items into plastic bags. After we delivered our hermetically sealed bags to our bunks, we returned to the office for a bus schedule—Bourbon Street awaited. But first, the desk clerk insisted on giving us a tour of the house, taking us by the arms and parading us around so that the many people who seemed to live there full-time could have a look.

We discussed our options and came up empty handed—so, after a night on Bourbon Street, a missed bus stop, and losing a chunk of my toe in attempt to jump over a puddle and onto a curb, we decided to quietly sneak back into the hostel, grab our stuff, and think of the money we’d paid the hostel as payment for a parking spot.

Bourbon Street had robbed us of commonsense—the hostel was too filthy to sleep in, but we thought we could brave quick showers. Dodging a cockroach in the hallway, we made our way to the bathroom, selected the two working stalls and tried to ignore the razors and toothbrushes that had been left in them. I feared for my toe—this was not the place to bring an open wound.

Draping towels in the windows and placing the sun shades in the windshield to hide us from view, then dousing my toe in peroxide, we prepared to sleep with one eye open outside a shady hostel in a shady neighborhood. Waking early, we brushed our teeth with bottled water we spit into the road, and told the desk clerk our plans had changed. He gave us back our money, just as three older women told him that they didn’t think the place was “right for them.” A cleaner hostel awaited us across town, and we were happy to have escaped unmolested.


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Welcome to South America

Category : Travel

This was it. We had finally touched down in Argentina, our first introduction to South America. I was thirteen, traveling with my parents and my two little brothers for a three-year term of missionary service. According to our tickets, we were to spend the night in Buenos Aires in a hotel (included in the ticket price) before catching our connecting flight to Bolivia. Jetlagged after a twelve-hour flight from Auckland, New Zealand, to Buenos Aires, we staggered onto the airport bus along with all the other people catching connecting flights. It had grown dark, as the flight had been delayed, and the lights of Buenos Aires revealed buildings, boulevards and sidewalk hoardings.

The bus pulled up outside the hotel and we all started looking around for our cabin baggage. The bus driver got out and spoke to the person at the door of the hotel. Unfortunately, there seemed to be a problem. A helpful Uruguayan businessman in the bus explained to those of us with only elementary Spanish what was going on: thanks to that delayed flight, the hotel didn’t have enough rooms free for all of us, but the hotel receptionist had helpfully given the driver the address of another hotel not that far away that would be happy to oblige.

We relaxed in our seats as the driver took his place again and drove confidently to the address the receptionist had given him, talking continuously down the CB radio to some unknown person. It seemed to take quite a while to get to this second hotel, but I wasn’t worried – I was too busy looking out the window as Buenos Aires rolled past.

It wasn’t until we passed a particular wall covered in hoardings advertising (I think) a particular brand of yoghurt for the third time that I realised something was not quite right. Soon, it became obvious that the hotel receptionist had given the driver the address of a non-existent hotel.

The bus roared back the way it came to the original hotel, where the red-haired driver gave the receptionist a ferocious earful of very angry Spanish punctuated by lively gesticulations. At this point, the helpful Uruguayan got to his feet and turned to address the rest of the passengers in the bus. “Welcome to South America,” he said. “We are ashamed of it. This is not our country, but we are still ashamed of it.”

By this stage – it must have been about ten o’clock at night, although jet lag meant that we were all fully awake – most of us in the bus were rather fed up. The hotel only had two suites free, but we were happy enough for the men to take one suite while the women took another (the Uruguayan continued to explain the situation to us). I ended up with my mother and my two brothers in a smallish room, passing what was left of the night dozing trying to understand a couple of comics in Spanish (an Asterix and a Lucky Luke) that my mother had managed to pick up at a late-night bookshop near the hotel.

They still have those comics, thirty-plus years on. Even now, a glance at the stamp on the inside front cover with the name on the bookshop reminds me of that first night, our welcome to South America.


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Vatican City Burlesque

Category : Travel

My mother is passionate about art history, and for her 75th birthday she took me along to visit Rome, tour the Vatican City, and view the masterful works of Michelangelo.

“I have been waiting a lifetime for this,” she said, as we trekked up the steep marble steps of the Sistine Chapel. We followed a massive throng of international tourists, worshippers, and other visitors as they poured through the grand entrance and into the ancient sanctuary.

But suddenly a stern and powerful official Vatican guard stepped in front of me, blocking my path with his broad-shouldered body.

“This is a place of worship, you cannot go in there dressed like that!” he scolded me in perfect English, pointing at my hiking shorts. “No one can enter unless their knees are covered,” he announced – waving me away with his hand.

I tried to appeal to him, explaining that we had traveled thousands of miles for this rare religious opportunity. I pointed out that I needed to help my elderly mother navigate the crowds and slippery marble steps. I emphasized that this was the pilgrimage of a lifetime for her.

But he wasn’t buying any of it. “You must cover your knees. Otherwise you cannot enter,” he repeated.

But then my creative mother intervened. She stared up at the guard through her bifocals, and her eyes sparkled with hope and enthusiasm.

“I have an idea; he can wear this!” she said, as she unzipped her black skirt, slid it down to her ankles, deftly stepped out of it, and then twirled it Las Vegas stripper style on the end of her finger.

“Hurry up, Son,” she insisted. “We’re keeping this nice uniformed man waiting. Just slip it on over your short pants. It’s long enough to cover your knees and I’ll just wear what I have on now.”

She was referring to her slinky black half-slip. The guard stared, almost as shocked as me, and scratched his head. But he could not object because even though I was cross-dressed, my knees were indeed covered. So were my mother’s – even if it was only by the seductive hemline of her lacy black satin underwear.