A Travellerspoint blog

May 2013

The beginning of the 2 day journey

sunny

Saturday 25th May 2013

Hi everyone, the time has finally come and I'm currently on route to sydney. Today went really quickly and spent most of the time stressed and excited but here I am and I couldn't be happier. The goodbyes were pretty hard, I have never spent three weeks away from Jackson so it was difficult to say the least seeing him walk out the door this morning, but I'm going to try not think about it too much as I get teary every time I do, I will FaceTime him as much as I can so im hoping that will help. I was lucky enough to have Luke drop me off and stay with me until my flight, passed the time with a local beer and pizza, it was perfect and I don't think he realizes how much I am going to miss him , he has the impression that I will be having way too much fun to think about him but I can guarantee I will have loads of fun and miss him just as much. I hope I don't get too home sick lol. 

So I am flying to Sydney with Qantas on a Boeing 737-800. The plane seems fairly dated but has loads of leg room and the plane itself is probably only 20% full so I have the entire row which is awesome, hoping I have this kinda luck on the next leg. I'm sitting in seat 5F and am right up the front which is also another bonus, first off the plane after first class which there is no one in. I haven't flown Qantas since I went to Bali in 2005 and after so many years of budget flying I was excited to have a flight that has in-house entertainment and food. That excitement was short-lived once the food arrived. They served it pretty much as soon as we took off, had a choice of chicken curry or beef stir fry. I went with the beef stir fry. Was totally gross lol it was stewed roast beef in this gravy source that reminded me of cat food, pasta and bok Choy, worst beef stir fry ever, but I managed to eat it all and it came with cheese and biscuits plus bread and chocolate so that was ok. The service has been great though and overall considering I don't enjoy flying I'm actually having a really enjoyable time relaxing, eating and reading. In flight entertainment is the movie the "guilt trip", is not terribly good so far but it is passing the time. Anyway going to get back to it. Will touch base when I get to Sydney :D can't believe the holiday has finally begun. 

Love cara 6:30pm. Xoxo 

Posted by Caralouise 03:15 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Planning - all the ins and outs!

sunny 28 °C

Hi all, so it's now just over a week until I leave, hahaha I'm not counting down the days or anything (10 to be exact) and i thought I would take the time and outline exactly what I have booked and all the research and planning that has gone into the trip.

Firstly I will list our hotels, now they are not the flashiest of all places but basically we just wanted somewhere clean, comfortable and close to public transport, in all honesty we won't be spending a lot of time within the hotel and just needed a bed to lie our weary heads on at the end of a long day. My only requirement was that they offered free wifi so I had the opportunity to keep in contact back home.

London: the Imperial Hotel in Russell Square.

Paris: the Kyriad Bercy Hotel on Rue Baron Le Roy.

Berlin: the Citadines Ber Kurfurstendamn on Oliver Platz.

Prague: the Hotel Carlton on Taboritska.

Rome: the Kennedy Hotel on Via Filippo Turati.

All hotel rooms also have Included breakfast which I thought was good, saves us purchasing a meal each day. We pre booked the accommodation with the travel agent as well, we thought that was the best option for us, maybe not the cheapest but at least if anything goes wrong it's on their heads not ours and we have someone to contact if anything does goes wrong. All accommodation is for two people and for the entire three week stay for the two of us cost us just under $3000 aud.

Now it terms of travel we plan on taking public transport such as the metro, tube and bus as often as we can and all train tickets for travel between each city has been paid for and booked in advance. I used www.eurorail.com.au where I could book all the tickets in one place. I know it would have probably been cheaper to book each ticket independently through each company but I found this super easy and the tickets arrived in hard copy only 3 days after I booked them.

London - Paris (eurostar)

Paris - Berlin (first class over night sleeper on the nightline)

Berlin - Prague

All three tickets for the two of us including the first class sleeper cost us just over $600 in total.

Now a list of things I have pre booked in advance, I tried to do this where I could to save us time.

  • Tickets to "rock of ages" at the Garrick Theatre - booked through www.londontickets.com
  • Booked our afternoon tea in London straight from the hotel website. (29 pounds)
  • Eiffel tour dinner booking booked through their website (70E per person) 3 course meal plus a bottle of wine (I know expensive but mostly for the experience as we are not climbing the tour).
  • our concentration camp tour in Berlin- booked through insider tours and cost 15E each.
  • Vatican museum tickets booked through the vatican city website and cost 19E each.
  • coliseum tour booked through italy tickets website and cost 22 E (I think) each.
  • we also booked our flight from Prague to Rome through west wings airlines and cost $120 aud each.

While we are in London we are going to take advantage of their 241 offers on their major tourist sites by purchasing a 7 day travel ticket. Although we are only their for 4 days it still saves us money and is a lot easier if we obtain the 7 day ticket. In Paris we plan on obtaining the 4 day Paris museum pass as we are seeing a lot of the sites included and also has the bonus of skipping most of those nasty entrance lines.

I have notified my bank, copied my passport and insurance papers, printed all our confirmations, had extra passport photos taken and all my money has been exchanged and organized by the MasterCard cash passport travel card which I ordered via their website. Their exchange rates were good and you don't get any fees with redrawing or topping up your card. I am taking in equivalent of about $3300 aud for the three weeks.

So that's what I have done and that isn't even the itinerary lol but I didn't want to share all that cos that would ruin the surprise somewhat :) I have trolled the trip advisor forums for months obtaining lots of great information and tips (would suggest any traveller to check out their forums if you are in the planning stages, it is a godsend) and the occasional rookie question.

10 days and counting!!! Bring it all on already !!!

Posted by Caralouise 04:17 Archived in Australia Tagged home packing europe planning Comments (0)

2.5 weeks and counting!

Planning stages

rain 28 °C

In less than three weeks I will be boarding my plane and commencing the long journey to Europe on Saturday 25th of May 2013. Words can't even express how excited I am about this trip, not only am I looking forward to the break but this trip is something I have dreamed about since I was a kid and has been many months in the making so to think I will finally be over there in three weeks is mind-blowing!

I thought I would document as much as I can along the way, I'm not much of a writer but will do my very best so you can all come along for the ride with me and if anyone is or wants to plan a trip of their own I will post all the information I used along the way. Now if you don't know me or don't know me very well when it comes to travel I am a complete over organizer (if only I could implement this defect into my every day life), I always have it in the back of my mind that I may never return so I need to make the most of my time there and have no regrets when I return home. I know that this kind of travel that includes itineraries and pre bookings is not everyone's cup of tea but when your in my position of overseas holidays being far and in-between and being a mum the next holiday probably won't be until Jackson is a bit older and can appreciate and remember it and of course will be child friendly. This holiday however is my last hoora in a way, free from mummy duties and an opportunity to live out a dream and I was so lucky enough to have my best friend jenni-rose with me by my side experiencing this trip of a lifetime.

I'm sorry these blogs may be a bit long, I tend to ramble a lot, surprise surprise but will try and be as concise as possible lol, we will see how that goes lol.

Okay, here is a brief overview of what is planned and what I have already pre booked, I will try and include prices where I can for anyone who is interested in the logistics of everything. We are staying in hotels the whole time a d I have tried to prebook and pay for as many things as I can to save time and money while we are over there, I didn't want the hassle of not getting the days we want or wasting time in ticketing lines.

Flying from cairns to Sydney on Saturday and staying the night in Sydney with my sister and then fly to bangkok the next morning. I then have a 6 hour lay over there and then off to london arriving at 6:30am London time on monday the 27th may. My flights are a combination of Qantas airlines and british airlines and the times are pretty shit but I got the flight cheap. It cost me $1700 for cairns to London and then Rome to cairns so I thought that was pretty good. I booked through a travel agent through flight centre but I had previously did the research and found the flight and they beat the price, so I suggest anyone who is planning a flight to do the same. 

Day one - London - Westminster abbey, buckingham palace, london eye
Day two - London - British museum, British library, mudame tussaud's, Oxford street shopping
Day three - London - tower of London, ST Pauls cathedral, afternoon tea at the athenaeum hotel (booked) and then rock of ages at the Garrick theatre (booked).
Day four- London -  cabinet of war rooms, national history museum, eurostar train to Paris (booked)
Day five - Paris - river seine cruise, eiffle tower, Rodin museum, eiffle tower booking at the restaurant (booked).
Day six - Paris -  museum, luxenburg gardens, pantheon, moulin rouge (booking)
Day seven - Paris - notre dam tower, saint chapelle, musse d'orsay
Day eight - Paris - day trip to Versailles then overnight train to Berlin (booked)
Day nine - Berlin - Berlin walking tour, free arvo
Day ten - Berlin - day trip to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp
Day eleven -Berlin - Berlin wall, memorial to the murdered Jews, Berliner dome
Day twelve. - Berlin - museum then train to Prague (booked)
Day thirteen - Prague - old town square, Jewish quarter, Charles bridge
Day fourteen - Prague - Prague castle, lesser town, flight to Rome (booked)
Day fifteen - Rome - pantheon, Trevi fountain, tour of colosseum (booked)
Day sixteen - Rome- Spanish steps, Vatican city ( tour booked)
Day seventeen - Rome- day trip to Venice
Day eighteen  - Rome -  ST peters basilica - fly home. 

We will get the travel card for travel while in London and the Paris museum card so we can skip the lines there. 

In terms of cash I am taking over the MasterCard cash passport for euros and pounds through the post office, taking over cash for crowns as we won't be there that long and won't need much and have a credit card for backup.

So that's it, everything is booked and ready to go, have a few things to get packing wise but other than that it's now just counting down the days! 

WOOHOO!!!

Posted by Caralouise 01:57 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

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