Lemonicks https://www.lemonicks.com Travel blog of an Indian couple who bring travel stories from across the globe. Wed, 14 Feb 2018 03:42:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.5 Corinthia Hotel Budapest https://www.lemonicks.com/europe/hungary/corinthia-hotel-budapest-review/ https://www.lemonicks.com/europe/hungary/corinthia-hotel-budapest-review/#comments Sun, 11 Feb 2018 04:07:26 +0000 https://www.lemonicks.com/?p=21263

We must have passed this majestic building many times in the last few days in Budapest, without realizing that this is where we would be staying soon. Hotel Corinthia, Budapest or ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ was an impressive building and one which we thought was perhaps originally a palace of some Duke or another.

Corinthia Hotels originally took birth in Malta in the 1960s and slowly but surely expanded to various major cities of Europe and a few in North Africa too. The name Corinthia has since been an epitome of luxury and comfort.

The Hotel

Over 12 decades Read the rest

The post Corinthia Hotel Budapest appeared first on Lemonicks.

]]>

We must have passed this majestic building many times in the last few days in Budapest, without realizing that this is where we would be staying soon. Hotel Corinthia, Budapest or ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ was an impressive building and one which we thought was perhaps originally a palace of some Duke or another.

Corinthia Hotels originally took birth in Malta in the 1960s and slowly but surely expanded to various major cities of Europe and a few in North Africa too. The name Corinthia has since been an epitome of luxury and comfort.

The Hotel

Over 12 decades back Grand Hotel Royal opened its doors to the royalty and aristocracies of Hungary in particular and Europe in general. Even in those days there were over 300 rooms with over 100 of them with private bath. No doubt that private bath was a luxury in that era.
When the owner of Corinthia group set his eyes on Grand Hotel Royal, it was in a dilapidated state. But he could envision resurgence of the aristocratic clientele and so was born Corinthia Budapest.
The beautiful luminaire welcomed us on our entry. The multiple modern light cylinders in a gorgeous design that we had not seen before. The decoration had nothing of the past, except for a couple of corridors had pictures spanning 120 years of history.

The Room

Hotel Corinthia Budapest, has 439 rooms including 31 suites and 26 Royal residences. We checked into one of the Royal Suites, overlooking the main road, Erzsébet krt.

Budapest corinthia hotel room @lemonicks.com

Budapest corinthia hotel room @lemonicks.com

The two-roomed suite was well appointed. The basic design was in neutral and it looked very modern in its outlook. Both the living room and the bedroom had huge LED TVs. This worked well for us as many times my taste differed from that of Nisha. 🙂

The rooms were well decorated with beautiful coffee table books and shiny artifacts. Each suite had one full fledged bathroom and one WC. Again they had taken care of the contention between the room guests!

The Nespresso coffee machines and tea making facilities were of superior quality.

The highlight was the turndown service where, everyday there were chocolates of different flavors from Corinthia brand and they were no doubt super delicious.

The high quality bath products made us feel very good. One unique thing was a set of hair styling mouse and spray. Something we have not seen even in many of the luxury hotels.

Just when we thought we had seen the last word in luxury, we were taken on a tour of the Presidential Suite, which was all of 240 Sq Meters! There were rooms after rooms, with fully equipped private office, kitchen and bedrooms for the family members and a huge dining table.

Dining

The Brasserie and Atrium with its high vaulted ceiling serve traditional Hungarian and European dishes. The high ceiling gives the feeling of eating on the street while it actually protected you from the elements. There were a lot of vegetarian dishes too. Maybe they had prepared since we had informed them upfront. Bulgur with stuffed pepper and potatoes was something I really liked. The desserts menu was completely delectable with Lemony white chocolate, macrons and minted melon. The Brasseries also doubles up as the breakfast room. Every day there was a dish of the day and we did not have to repeat any dish for breakfast on every day of our stay there.

At Brasserie, Krisztina said, they change their short menu every month and the menu ideas are decided a year in advance. It is fine tuned based on availability of ingredients. If required they source the ingredients from other European countries too , subject to cost and logistic factors.

She was a information treasure about the restaurant. Our award for the best employee surely goes to Krisztina 🙂

When we first heard of the Rickshaw restaurant, we thought it would be Indian. Later in the evening when we actually went there to have our dinner we found it was a Chinese restaurant and one of the best Chinese in Budapest too. There were some vegetarian dishes too. The variety of dishes can be discerned by the size of the menu, a full 14 pages of it. 🙂

Corinthia Hotel Budapest review

Like in Corinthia Prague, the Hotel Corinthia, Budapest also provided us access to the executive lounge located in the first floor overlooking the main street. When we were not roaming around the street of Budapest, one could find us here with a bottle of beer or coffee and some snacks. We could also catch with our work here using the comfortable chairs and tables and good quality WiFi.

Wellness

Budapest is the wellness capital of Europe. It is only fitting that luxury wellness services being offered to the discerning clients. Right from 12 decades back, the pool consisted of steam baths using the healing water as was being used in all the thermal spas. This aspect has been carried forward after the renovation.

In addition there are several massage treatment starting with foot massage, back, neck, shoulder to full body treatment. Corinthia did not let us down at all. We were in a couple room and the masseuses were very well trained and ensured that our individual requests were also catered to. If you want to gift a spa treatment to your loved ones, you could buy the Royal Spa Gift Certificate.

We both selected our favorite aromatic massage. Once the treatment was over we were so relaxed that we had a simple dinner and retired to bed. We still have not figured if massage before dinner is the right time!

Banquets, Meetings and Events

Even during the days of aristocracy, the erstwhile Grand Hotel Royal was the talk of the town, with the Royal Ballroom being the venue for a Ball, Concerts or even movies. In fact Lumiere Brothers screened their Cinematographie first time in Hungary here in 1896. Movies slowly became popular and by 1916 this was converted to a 1000-seats cinema and named it Royal Apollo.

When here, we ended up imagining how a masquerade ball in the contemporary era would look like in this hall!
While the grand ballroom is in the main building, the state-of-the-art Valletta Exhibition Centre, is across the street joined by bridge that may be either used as a whole un-partitioned 740 SqMtrs or divided into 12 separate smaller halls.
Valetta Conference Halls 1 and 2 is similarly equipped and is located on either side of the Royal Ballroom. Add to that a couple of Board Rooms, you have upwards of a whopping 2500 SqMetres of events’ space.

Location

The hotel Corinthia, Budapest is located in one of the busiest streets with access to public transport. The Circular tram number 4 and 6 is right in front and using that one could have access to most of historic and heritage sites.

It is also a walking distance from the House of Terror, Jewish District, Heroes Square and also famous Ruins Bars, which is a unique phenomenon in Budapest. No doubt we had chosen a perfect hotel to stay in.

Disclaimer: We stayed at the Hotel Corinthia, Budapest at their invitation but the opinions, as always, are own.

The post Corinthia Hotel Budapest appeared first on Lemonicks.

]]>
https://www.lemonicks.com/europe/hungary/corinthia-hotel-budapest-review/feed/ 16
Glamping Experience at Big Berry https://www.lemonicks.com/europe/slovenia/glamping-experience-big-berry/ https://www.lemonicks.com/europe/slovenia/glamping-experience-big-berry/#comments Sun, 28 Jan 2018 09:50:50 +0000 https://www.lemonicks.com/?p=21184 After finishing a particularly enjoyable week in Zagreb and nearby areas, we are at Zagreb Glavni kolodvor, the main station of Zagreb, Croatia and we are frantically trying to locate our ride to cross the border to Slovenia and reach the village of Primostek for our first glamping experience at Big Berry. Soon in the distance we see the distinctly recognizable smiling logo of Big Berry on a car.

glamping experience Big Berry Primostek Bela Krajina Slovenia
Big Berry Mobile homes


After exchanging pleasantries with Richard one of the interns at Big Berry, we get in to the car. We are bit apprehensive as this was going to … Read the rest

The post Glamping Experience at Big Berry appeared first on Lemonicks.

]]>
After finishing a particularly enjoyable week in Zagreb and nearby areas, we are at Zagreb Glavni kolodvor, the main station of Zagreb, Croatia and we are frantically trying to locate our ride to cross the border to Slovenia and reach the village of Primostek for our first glamping experience at Big Berry. Soon in the distance we see the distinctly recognizable smiling logo of Big Berry on a car.

glamping experience Big Berry Primostek Bela Krajina Slovenia
Big Berry Mobile homes


After exchanging pleasantries with Richard one of the interns at Big Berry, we get in to the car. We are bit apprehensive as this was going to be our first border crossing by road of our #NiVaEuro trip.

Border crossing between Croatia and Slovenia

The border crossing involves crossing from the Non-Schengen Hrvatska (Croatia) to Slovenia, a Schengen country. I feel my pocket gently for the sheet of paper that has all the details of our travels in Schengen and Non-Schengen countries. A proof that we have still not used up our quota of 90 days in the Schengen region. We mentally remind ourselves that we must ask the officer to stamp our passport. This was basically the result of all the horror stories by road-trippers not ensuring an exit/entry stamp and finding themselves in the proverbial soup, juha in this case (Slovenian for Soup) Ha Ha Ha.

Glamping experience at Big Berry Primostek Bela Krajina Slovenia
Border Control

The ride through the greenery is very refreshing and Richard says “wait till you reach Slovenia”. After a ride of an hour or so we arrive at the border. Each lane has two kiosks one for each of these countries. First, the Croatian officer collects all our three passports and returns Richard’s passport without stamping almost immediately. After what we thought was over 10 minutes we got our passports duly stamped and something similar happens in the Slovenian Kiosk too. Richard maintains that the whole process took just 5 minutes and we thought we were there for half-an-hour! Have you heard of theory relativity? This must be it.

Location

Soon we have a spectacular view of Big Berry in the middle of living emerald. Such was the greenery! The boom barrier at the Big Berry resort rises as if by magic. I would like to think it was because of Nisha and me but of course it was Richards who sent an SMS to a particular number and the barrier opened. What a technology!

Glamping experience at Big Berry Primostek Bela Krajina Slovenia
Big Berry Mobile Homes

Maria Stoyanova meets us at the driveway and bundles our stuff and us into a golf cart to take us to our cottage. We leave the gravel road and take a U-turn to the entrance of cottage and we notice a beautiful green river just a few meters from where we were standing. Wow! We can’t believe it! Just 90 minutes from the bustle of Zagreb, we are in one of the most beautiful locations in Slovenia and looking at Croatia on the opposite bank called Kupalište Jurovo (Jurovo beach), which was also equally beautiful.

 

This is the Kolpa River that demarcates the border between Slovenia and Croatia. This strip of about a kilometer river bank is owned by Big Berry! Kolpa River banks are a great way to spend time on both sides of the river. At this point, the river appeared to be less than 50 meters wide.

Maria leaves us to ourselves with a message that we should reach the dining area at 5PM for a surprise. We enter, what will be our home for next few days!

Cottage

Even before we climb the couple of steps to the main door we are arrested by a unique sight. There is a temperature controlled Jacuzzi in the covered porch and folks at Big Berry had already switched it on so that we could jump into it right away if we felt like it. 🙂

Glamping experience at Big Berry Primostek Bela Krajina Slovenia
out door Jacuzzi with a view!

With our heightened expectations we open the main door. There is a compact lounge with an L-shaped sofa but what is more interesting is a huge bright painting on the wall opposite the door. Oh! Wait a minute…! It is a picture window with a spectacular imagery of the fields of a Slovenian village.

Glamping experience at Big Berry Primostek Bela Krajina Slovenia
Picture Window in the living room of each cottage

Glamping experience at Big Berry Primostek Bela Krajina Slovenia

Glamping experience at Big Berry Primostek Bela Krajina Slovenia
Kitchenette
Glamping experience at Big Berry Primostek Bela Krajina Slovenia
Welcome Goodies!

Surprises are coming in fast and thick now. A welcome wicker basket containing the finest organic produce from Bela Krajina region, is waiting for us on the table including a bottle of beer, Berryshka Blueberry liqueur, Zlati ghee, honey and other goodies. Slurrrp…

Each of these cottages are well furnished. From 100 cm LED TVs to integrated air conditioning and heating, are well thought through facilities. Our cottage could accommodate 4 people, with all amenities including running cold and hot water for shower with organic toiletries :). In the main bed room there is a cozy bedroom and in another corner of the cottage is a bunk bed for two. As we are glamping, these were luxuriously overboard. We always like to have extra beds to spread our stuff during packing and unpacking and this was going to be quite useful to us. After testing the mattress for comfort, I am in half mind to take a short nap when Nisha ‘Ahem’ed me and I get the message.

Glamping experience at Big Berry Primostek Bela Krajina Slovenia
Floor map of 4 bed cottage

Glamping experience at Big Berry Primostek Bela Krajina Slovenia

Glamping experience at Big Berry Primostek Bela Krajina Slovenia
6 Bed Cottage at Big Berry

In short, this cottage has everything a family needs on a vacation. These cottages or houses are also called mobile homes. Not because they have wheels but I guess the whole cottage can be dis-assembled and moved and re-assembled as required.

Dining

Later in the afternoon we meet some of the finest human beings. The staff and the interns are actually having fun while managing and running this distinctive place. We also meet Katja Cernjak, another beautiful person and a great chef, one of the Slovenian Masterchef finalists. The surprise – She is going to cook for us all! News had already percolated about our likes and she is game!

Glamping experience at Big Berry Primostek Bela Krajina Slovenia
Veggie stuff, pumpkin and potato mash with cooked buckwheat
Glamping experience at Big Berry Primostek Bela Krajina Slovenia
A rich dessert made of Strawberry, yogurt, honey and nuts

This was the surprise element at 5PM. A selection of finest dishes curated by the Masterchef herself. Every ingredient passes her careful scrutiny and in no time she springs 4 hands is weaving magic at the cooking station. We try to help her with nicks and bits of work. I know my limitations and curl up in a corner with a glass of Metliška črnina, a type of local red wine. Apart from the curated menu, she produces a couple of vegetarian dishes for yours truly, too.

Glamping experience at Big Berry Primostek Bela Krajina Slovenia
Dusan the Ghee-Man

Glamping experience at Big Berry Primostek Bela Krajina Slovenia
yummmmmmyyyy, heavenly, Monica seems to say while polishing off Chcoloate Ghee.

Anja Rečnik the very knowledgeable, tells us about benefits of certain ingredients that had gone in especially about the ghee. Yes my Indian friends, Ghee! We also meet the ghee-man, Dušan M. Z. Badovinac, runs the company Zlati Ghee, in Bela Krajina that produces many different types of natural and flavored ghee. He also explains how the name Christ (the anointed one) may have come from Ghrita, the Sanskrit word for ghee. Whatever may be the truth, we found him very likable & interesting and he was a storehouse of information. Another surprise!

 

Glamping experience at Big Berry Primostek Bela Krajina Slovenia
Dusan, the Ghee-man with his produce, explaining what is what, while we all look on.

Just then we are asked about our preferences for our breakfast. We indicate the same in a specially designed form.
Yet another surprise. (So many surprises that surprises were not surprising anymore!) Next day early in the morning, we open the door to go to the riverside, we see, on the table, a crate full of stuff we had ordered for breakfast including the ubiquitous Pogača, eggs, milk, fruits, Ghee, yogurt etc What an innovative way of delivering, without disturbing the guests.

Glamping experience at Big Berry Primostek Bela Krajina Slovenia
Breakfast crate containing our DIY order

You make your breakfast when you want. No restriction, only freedom. We now know why Big Berry’s slogan is Luxury of Freedom! All products are locally sourced and completely organic. Wow. Talk of healthy living!

Activities

Once we are well fed, we take our positions in the lobby of the resort to catchup with some pending work. Later Ana Iskra ‘Spark’ and Maria discuss with us all the activities that could be done in Big Berry and the list was awesome.
The in-house activities includes BBQ, Canoeing, Swimming in the river, Beach Volley, outdoor fitness in the other end of the grounds, Yoga , walking or cycling in the neighborhood, lazing around on the sun-decks! And last but not the least Zen Shiatsu massage.

 

Glamping experience at Big Berry Primostek Bela Krajina Slovenia
River flow is gentle when it is not raining and is great for canoeing

 

Glamping experience at Big Berry Primostek Bela Krajina Slovenia
One could get a nice tan basking on the sundecks
Glamping experience at Big Berry Primostek Bela Krajina Slovenia
A foggy day with very low visibility after a rainy night.
Glamping experience at Big Berry Primostek Bela Krajina Slovenia
Fog over River Kolpa

It had been raining steadily whole of the previous night and that put paid to some of the activities we would have liked to do. The river turning green to brown because of muddy soil being flushed from the upper regions. It is September and the temperature is already turning down a few notches on the thermometer with winter just round the corner.
It is almost already time to leave Big Berry. On the morrow we leave for Ljubljana. There were good clear days and there were overcast and wet days in the last 5 days. In spite of the weather playing truant we had covered a lot of grounds.
We did a lot of walking around the neighborhood and Chante Brown cast her enchantment spell on us by performing Zen Shiatsu on us. The one hour specialized massage in the open that included consciously letting oneself go with the flow, was just amazing and refreshing. Later in the evening we saw her doing intricate moves with hula hoops.

 

Glamping experience at Big Berry Primostek Bela Krajina Slovenia
Chante performing Shiatsu on us. I am asleep before she could say Zen…hahaha
Glamping experience at Big Berry Primostek Bela Krajina Slovenia
Village just outside Big Berry

 

Rain could not stop us from doing a lot of visits to neighboring villages and meeting more awesome Bela Krajinians, if such a word exists. 🙂 We visited the museum, local guesthouses combined with restaurants, oil pressing factory for oil tasting session, local churches and attended a workshop and made Pogača and so on. We shall write about our tours and activities in another article.
All in all, our stay has been one of the most memorable and the best glamping experience so far. We thank the staff and the interns, who really seem to work 24X7 making guests feel at home.

Big Berry Info

  • There are 7 cottages and each of them can hold 2 to 6 guests, depending on the design format. There is also a 5 bunk bed for 10 guests in a dormitory style design.
  • All the houses face the river.
  • There is a parking lot for guest cars but guest’s car may be parked next to the cottage too.
  • Each guest will be provided three towels of various sizes.
  • Each cottage has a temperature controlled Jacuzzi facing the river.
  • The kitchen in each home is fully equipped including cooking facility, fridge, electric kettle, cooking utensils, cutlery, crockery etc.
Glamping experience at Big Berry Primostek Bela Krajina Slovenia
FTV (Fashion TV) glasses are one of the partners of BB
  • A DIY breakfast basket of your choice of organic products reaches your table every morning.
  • The sofa can double up to sleep one or two persons should you ever need it.
  • Big Berry can also provide personalized and customized experience (even for honeymooners), should you want it that way. We were told, in summers it was fully occupied with families with kids.
  • LED TVs and cable connection for those TV devotees.
  • Each cottage measures 34 SqMetres.
  • Ideal place for corporate offsite programs.
  • Special tote bags are really useful in carrying stuff in and out of the cottage.
  • Many activities to choose from.
  • Big Berry sources its requirements from local partners and thereby providing a symbiotic effort to grow together.

Like it? Pin it!

 

Glamping experience at Big Berry Primostek Bela Krajina Slovenia
Big Berry

Disclaimer: We stayed at the Big Berry, Slovenia at their invitation but the opinions, as always, are own.

If you want to travel places with us, I suggest you to join us on my Facebook travel page.
P.S.- This article belongs to www.lemonicks.com. Reproduction without explicit permission is prohibited. If you are viewing this on a website instead of your RSS feed reader, then that website is guilty of stealing my content. Kindly do me a favour. Please visit my site and help me taking action by letting me know against this theft. Thank you.

The post Glamping Experience at Big Berry appeared first on Lemonicks.

]]>
https://www.lemonicks.com/europe/slovenia/glamping-experience-big-berry/feed/ 40
Cathay Pacific Lounges and Premium Economy Class https://www.lemonicks.com/review/cathay-pacific-lounges-premium-economy-class/ https://www.lemonicks.com/review/cathay-pacific-lounges-premium-economy-class/#comments Sat, 20 Jan 2018 15:28:38 +0000 https://www.lemonicks.com/?p=21110 You may all remember the exemplary Cathay Pacific business class service we had on our way from Mumbai to Manila and back. Cathay’s philosophy of providing #Lifewelltravelled experience to their passengers could be discerned even in the smallest part of the airplane or the smallest activity of the staff. In this article we would like to talk about the Cathay Pacific lounges which we enjoyed a lot and premium economy class of travel on their long haul flights, a new service from Mumbai.

Cathay Pacific lounges and premium economy class
The Pier, Business Lounge of Cathay Pacific

Cathay Lounges at Hong Kong Airport:

As business class passengersRead the rest

The post Cathay Pacific Lounges and Premium Economy Class appeared first on Lemonicks.

]]>
You may all remember the exemplary Cathay Pacific business class service we had on our way from Mumbai to Manila and back. Cathay’s philosophy of providing #Lifewelltravelled experience to their passengers could be discerned even in the smallest part of the airplane or the smallest activity of the staff. In this article we would like to talk about the Cathay Pacific lounges which we enjoyed a lot and premium economy class of travel on their long haul flights, a new service from Mumbai.

Cathay Pacific lounges and premium economy class
The Pier, Business Lounge of Cathay Pacific

Cathay Lounges at Hong Kong Airport:

As business class passengers we had access to all the Cathay Pacific Business lounges of Hong Kong airport. There were several options while waiting for the flight. There are 2 first class lounges, The Wings First and The Pier First and as many as four business class lounges; The Wings, The Pier, The Bridge and The Cabin. There is also one at the arrival section aptly named The Arrival!
Cathay Pacific lounges and premium economy class

We had over 4 hours to kill after having landed from an overnight flight. We were received by one of the officials and were escorted by her to go to The Pier, Business near gate 65. I must say that became our base for the next 4 hours. This was not like any other business class lounge ever experienced by us. This was large and when I say large, I mean really laaarrge! Our hostess informed us that it was recently renovated and had many surprising elements and she left us to make those discoveries ourselves!

The Pier

We checked-in using our business class boarding pass. Cathay Pacific Marco Polo Gold and Silver card-holders are also eligible to use these facilities.

The lounge was divided into several sections and it was up to us to select the ones where we felt comfortable. After the reception on the right are 20 number coded lockers for stowing large bags which would otherwise not be needed during the time in the lounge.

Cathay Pacific lounges and premium economy class
20 digital lockers, The Pier

On entering the main lounge area we entered the Food Hall with ample seating. There was an array of hot & cold snacks and of course a coffee cart on one side for the most need cuppa at that hour. We particularly liked the location of the Food Hall as it was most convenient for those travelers who did not have much time, to quickly grab some food, drinks and rest before moving on to their gates.

Cathay Pacific lounges and premium economy class
Jugful of tea for the tea aficionado 🙂

Cathay Pacific lounges and premium economy class

Cathay Pacific lounges and premium economy class
Coffee cart at the Pier

The Bar, Noodle bar and Teahouse

Next in line was the well-stocked bar with lounge chairs and bar stools. Again there was no dearth of sitting spaces. At that point we were told that The Pier can accommodate over 500 passengers at a time! The ambience was such that one could, after a light meal, relax here with a drink of choice.

Cathay Pacific lounges and premium economy class

Should you prefer Chinese cuisine instead of international cuisine you may head to the Noodles Bar. There is an assortment of dimsums, noodles and soups to cater to everyone’s palate.

Cathay Pacific lounges and premium economy class
Array of Chinese sauce at the Noodle Bar
Cathay Pacific lounges and premium economy class
Noodle Bar

As avid tea-drinkers our own favorite space was the tea room aptly called the Teahouse! This was the place for authentic tea drinking experience. The range of tea available here can put to shame all other tea rooms in the city. Green, black, white, herbal, spiced, blended, honey et al, think of it and you will find it. Not only the range, but the tea specialists who make the tea are experts too. If there is something called a tea-sommeliers then you will find them here!

Cathay Pacific lounges and premium economy class
The Teahouse at the Pier, Business lounge

Cathay Pacific lounges and premium economy class
The Teahouse at the Pier, Business lounge

Cathay Pacific lounges and premium economy class
The Teahouse at the Pier, Business Lounge

Relaxation, Showers and Workstations

With all these eating and drinking, can sleeping be far away? Not at all. The next section had the shower rooms and shhhhh…..the relaxation room. The 14 shower rooms are just awesome with Aesop’s bath toiletries & cosmetic supplementing the well-equipped showers. The relaxation room had many loungers with footrest for that well deserved rest between flights. In fact one could lie down flat and take more than those idiomatic forty winks. The ambiance was just for the purpose with dim lighting and silence.

Cathay Pacific lounges and premium economy class
The relaxation room at the Pier, Business lounge

After a snooze of half-an-hour we wanted to catch up on work and communications with our friends. So we grabbed our laptops and entered The Bureau, just the place. With several personal computers and cushy sofas with small desks this was an ideal place to spend productive hours. There were also individual, more private Solus work stations.

Cathay Pacific lounges and premium economy class
Solus , private work stations at the Pier and the Bridge

What we realized was that the lounge sections were designed from noisy to silence, the further you moved in. From our experience we could very easily say that, although this was a business lounge, it could have passed for a first class lounge too. Such was the facilities and luxury.

The Bridge

While we spent bulk of the time at The Pier, we also did an exploratory tour of the Cathay Business Lounge called the Bridge located near gate 35. Oh, wait a minute, was that a whiff of the aroma of an Indian dish? 🙂 There was a delectable array of international dishes at the Bistro and the Bakery food.
The bar area overlooking the airside of HK airport were manned by expert mixologists dishing out refreshing cocktails including Cathay’s Signature cocktail. The work space, the shower rooms, all looked super comfortable and luxurious and could put to shame some of the run-of-the-mill business lounges around the world.

Cathay Pacific lounges and premium economy class
The Bridge Business Lounge at Hong Kong Airport
Cathay Pacific lounges and premium economy class
The Bridge Business Lounge at Hong Kong Airport

We did not have the time to explore other lounges, The Cabin near gate 23 and the Wings near gate 1, but what we could discern was that the lounges were scattered around the departure gates strategically so that one was never too far from a Cathay Business Lounge from the their respective departure gates.

Cathay Pacific Business Lounge, Manila

On our return journey from Manila we were a bit too early for the flight and checked in to the comparatively new Cathay Business Lounge at Terminal 3 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. The design concepts were by Studioilse, same as Hong Kong Airport lounges. At 650SqM, it may not be as big as The Pier, but it was still overly spacious for the 135 passengers it could accommodate.

Cathay Pacific lounges and premium economy class
Cathay Pacific Business Lounge at Manila.

The luxurious looking cherry wood paneling and limestone floor gave an impression of being at the home of some celebrity and not at an airport lounge. 🙂 The natural light from the airside only accentuated the feeling.

Cathay Pacific lounges and premium economy class
Slide out power sockets at Manila Cathay Pacific Lounge

The pull out power-sockets in the side-tables were well-appointed but a bit small. But work area and powerful Wi-Fi were some of the highlights. Food and beverages did not disappoint us although we did not consume much as it was much too early in the morning.

Return of the Premium Economy Class

Recently Cathay Pacific has come out with yet another reason to fly to Hong Kong from Mumbai. Cathay Pacific brought back its Premium Economy Class in October, 2017, with its Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. This provides an enhanced comfort in conjunction with its wide body and high ceiling design.

Cathay Pacific lounges and premium economy class
Cathay Pacific Boeing 777. Photo Credit: Cathay Pacific

Comfort

There are 32 seats in 2-4-2 layout in this class and has great legroom. In long-haul flights one could stretch out and use the padded footrest & the calf support for a more comfortable journey. Yet another reason for smiles is the huge 35KG checked in baggage limit. 🙂 And did I say there is a priority while boarding??
The welcome kit includes socks, an eyeshade, earplugs, toothbrush and toothpaste. The elbow room is more than adequate and the meal table is large. One could work or have meals comfortably. Snacks, wines and beverages selections are always at hand throughout the journey! One could nurse a drink while reclining, which goes farther back than economy.

Cathay Pacific lounges and premium economy class
Big legroom with calf support and footrest in the Premium Economy Class. Photo Credit – Cathay Pacific
Cathay Pacific lounges and premium economy class
Large meal table in the Premium Economy Class. Photo Credit – Cathay Pacific

The pillows and blankets are of business class quality too.

Entertainment

The state of the art inflight entertainment system, StudioCX with its touch screen and noise-cancelling headphones provides a totally immersive experience. Even before travelling one could check-out the collection online.

Dining

It does seem like worth the money upgrading from economy to premium economy which does seem to provide many business class services to the passengers including welcome champagne!
There are wider meal choices, a great menu and meals are served in a proper porcelain dinnerware and stainless steel cutlery which we are waiting to experience. 🙂

Looks like Cathay Pacific have been redefining luxury travel in this part of the world and hope to fly Cathay Pacific again!

Pin it if you like it!

Cathay Pacific lounges and premium economy class

If you want to travel places with us, we suggest you to join us on our Facebook travel page.
P.S.- This article belongs to www.lemonicks.com. Reproduction without explicit permission is prohibited. If you are viewing this on a website instead of your RSS feed reader, then that website is guilty of stealing our content. Kindly do us a favour. Please visit our site and help us taking action by letting us know against this theft. Thank you.

The post Cathay Pacific Lounges and Premium Economy Class appeared first on Lemonicks.

]]>
https://www.lemonicks.com/review/cathay-pacific-lounges-premium-economy-class/feed/ 39
Charlie Chaplin in Switzerland ! https://www.lemonicks.com/europe/switzerland/charlie-chaplin-in-switzerland/ https://www.lemonicks.com/europe/switzerland/charlie-chaplin-in-switzerland/#comments Fri, 12 Jan 2018 20:12:10 +0000 https://www.lemonicks.com/?p=20869 It all started with my visit to Vevey, a pretty little town on Lake Geneva where Charlie Chaplin spent last 25 years of his life. It was the December chill. I had come here to celebrate Charlie Chaplin in Switzerland.

charlie chaplin statue in vevey switzerland ©lemonicks.com
Bronze statue of Charlie Chaplin in Vevey, Switzerland

Vevey wears the character of Charlie Chaplin

On the first glance itself, the town looked like it was wearing the personality of the evergreen legend.
To begin with, the hotel I was staying in, was named after the legend’s movie ‘Modern Times’. It acknowledged the Little Tramp with Chaplin … Read the rest

The post Charlie Chaplin in Switzerland ! appeared first on Lemonicks.

]]>
It all started with my visit to Vevey, a pretty little town on Lake Geneva where Charlie Chaplin spent last 25 years of his life. It was the December chill. I had come here to celebrate Charlie Chaplin in Switzerland.

charlie chaplin statue in vevey switzerland ©lemonicks.com
Bronze statue of Charlie Chaplin in Vevey, Switzerland

Vevey wears the character of Charlie Chaplin

On the first glance itself, the town looked like it was wearing the personality of the evergreen legend.
To begin with, the hotel I was staying in, was named after the legend’s movie ‘Modern Times’. It acknowledged the Little Tramp with Chaplin portraits in the bar, corridors and guestrooms. There were TV screens in the lounge area showing clips from his films.
Outside, a statue of him sat on a bench while a huge cutout of him adorned the outer wall.

charlie chaplin in switzerland @lemonicks.com
Corridor of Modern Times Hotel

Läderach Chocolate Shop

chocolate Läderach Chocolate Shop @lemonicks.com
Premium chocolate from Läderach Chocolate Shop

Several places in Vevey pay homage to Charlie Chaplin, particularly the Läderach chocolate shop. Around two decades ago, the chief chocolatier, Blaise Poyet, had approached the Chaplin family about making a confection in his honor. Hence came the Little Tramp’s oversized shoes in chocolate.
Mr Poyet was careful enough to inculcate three characteristics of Charlie in these chocolates.
First, Charlie was strong, So Poyet used dark chocolate. Second, he was very romantic, and for that caramel was used. And third, Charlie was original, so he used pine nuts, which is unusual.
In the town there were several high rise buildings with Charlie Chaplin’s murals. A cafe down the street bore his French pet name, Le Charlot, and a women’s shop had a window decorated with a bowler hat, cane, red rose.

Chaplin’s statue in Vevey

Charlie Chaplin, one of the most prominent stars of the early days of Hollywood, lived an interesting life both in his reel & real lives. Recognized as an icon of the silent film era, he is often associated with his popular character, the Little Tramp … the man with the toothbrush mustache, bowler hat, bamboo cane, funny walk and expressions.

I walked on the same promenade along the lake Genève, where Chaplin used to go for evening strolls with his wife Oona. And I wondered how it would feel to be Charlie Chaplin in Switzerland. Later in life, Oona pushed the wheelchair-bound Chaplin along the path. Now, a bronze statue of the tiny Little Tramp gazes over the lake, posing for tourist photos.

Charlie Chaplin’s House

After being barred from the United States over suspicions that he had communist sympathies, Charlie Chaplin chose Switzerland as his retirement home. He decided to settle in Vevey, along with his wife and children. Four of them were born in Switzerland. The family lived in Manoir du Ban, a 37-acre grounds with a mansion of the neoclassical style of 1840 in the small Swiss Riviera town about 55 miles northeast of Geneva. The snow-capped Alps of France and Switzerland that rose up beyond the far shore of the lake provided the mountainous backdrop. Perhaps he wanted a scenic peaceful surrounding. The house is a collection of his personal effects, rare family photographs, book collections and loads of video clippings.

I have seen his movies umpteen number of times but a home movie in which 70+ years old white-haired Chaplin plays with his children on the front lawn of his mansion showing his other side moved me. He remained a child among his own children. He lived here until his death in 1977.

Chaplin’s childhood, in London, was one of poverty and hardship. His father was absent and his mother Hannah had to fend herself to make the two ends meet. He was sent to a workhouse before the age of nine. When he was 14, his mother was sent to a mental asylum. Thus Chaplin began performing at an early age and became somewhat known to public. His work took him to America at the age of 19. He soon developed the Tramp persona and formed a large fan base. Chaplin loved to direct his own films.

Chaplin was scandal-prone, involved in several controversies of tax evasion and affairs with young women. In one such case, he had to marry a woman who claimed to carry his child.
Chaplin was married four times and had a total of 11 children. In contrast to many of his boisterous characters, Chaplin was a quiet man who kept to himself. He died at age 88 of natural causes on December 25, 1977 at his home in Vevey, Switzerland.

His living room
Personal photographs adorning the walls.
Charlie Chaplin in wax.

The house is now restored into a museum & was inaugurated on 16th April 2016 (his birthday). It is a part of the new complex known as Chaplin’s World. The complex includes the Manoir showcasing his personal life, a cinema museum or studio dedicated to his professional achievements, and a restaurant.

He wanted people to remember him. That’s why he did the films and he did it in such a perfectionist way,” Chaplin’s fifth son Eugene Chaplin told me during the media dinner that evening.
I, then, asked him, which of his father’s movies he would recommend to others. He was thoughtfully silent for a few moments.
Smilingly he said, “You have asked a very thought provoking and simple question. All of his movies are my favourites and I have seen them many times. But I would say, go for my father’s silent movies which he enjoyed making most. He never wanted to make talking movies as they would restrict his audience.
Although the children grew up speaking both French and English, Charlie himself stayed away from French and remained loyal to English.
Later, when I was about to leave, Eugene saw me again and called his photographer to click our pictures. My day was made. 😀

Nisha with Eugene Chaplin, son of Charlie Chaplin vevey @lemonicks.com
Yours Truly with Eugene Chaplin, son of Charlie Chaplin

The next day while taking the museum tour the guide told me, Chaplin had three fears in his life.

He would become mentally ill just like his mother.
He would lose all his money and become a poor again.
People would forget him.

Ice Sculpture at Jungfrau

I left for Interlaken from where we proceeded towards Jungfrau next morning. Coming to Jungfrau was for a reason. To participate and celebrate Charlie Chaplin in the form of an ice sculpture.

************

charlie chaplin ice sculpture jungfrau switzerland ©lemonicks.com
Charlie Chaplin’s son Eugene with the sculpture
charlie chaplin ice sculpture jungfrau switzerland ©lemonicks.com
Based on the movie ‘The Kid’, Charlie Chaplin’s ice sculpture at Ice Palace, Jungfrau.

Jungfrau Railways, in collaboration with the Chaplin’s World museum, unveiled an ice statue of Chaplin in the Ice Palace on the Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe, in his memory. The unveiling was part of a series of commemorations that marked the 40th death anniversary of the movie legend. The British sculptor John Doubleday, who chiefly uses bronze for his sculptures, worked meticulously on it for eight months. All these days, his work remained hidden behind a wall of ice at an altitude of 11,332 feet.

He along with Charlie Chaplin’s son Eugene unveiled the ice statue. The statue would further delight visitors to Jungfraujoch all year round. When I asked him about the difficulties faced in making this sculpture, he whispered in my ears, “I don’t think I’d make many ice sculptures. It’s way too cold to work on!” 🙂

On way to Jungfrau by train, I met with school children between ages 10 to 12. They were dressed as the comedian, complete with bowler hat, suit, moustaches, cane and his bow-legged gait. They had won some contests and were going to be part of this event. It was a great fun to interact with them in my broken French. 🙂

Kids as charlie chaplin jungfrau switzerland ©lemonicks.com
Children as Charlie Chaplin posing for me at Jungfrau
Kids as charlie chaplin jungfrau switzerland ©lemonicks.com
A little close up.
charlie chaplin in switzerland @lemonicks.com
How could I be left behind!

Getting there:

Fly direct to Zurich from Mumbai by Swiss International Air Lines and connect to Vevey, Interlaken and Jungfrau by Swiss Rail.

Stay:

Modern Times Hotel on the highway in Vevey is convenient for motorists. It is dedicated to the Charlie Chaplin theme. In Interlaken, I stayed in Grand Hotel Victoria – Jungfrau.

⇓⇓ Pin it if you like it. ⇓⇓


If you want to travel places with us, I suggest you to join us on my Facebook travel page.
P.S.- This article belongs to www.lemonicks.com. Reproduction without explicit permission is prohibited. If you are viewing this on a website instead of your RSS feed reader, then that website is guilty of stealing my content. Kindly do me a favour. Please visit my site and help me taking action by letting me know against this theft. Thank you.

The post Charlie Chaplin in Switzerland ! appeared first on Lemonicks.

]]>
https://www.lemonicks.com/europe/switzerland/charlie-chaplin-in-switzerland/feed/ 43
A complete Guide to Eurail Passes https://www.lemonicks.com/review/transport/complete-guide-to-eurail-pass-faq/ https://www.lemonicks.com/review/transport/complete-guide-to-eurail-pass-faq/#comments Sat, 06 Jan 2018 09:49:29 +0000 https://www.lemonicks.com/?p=20994 Whew! We have completed our 100+ days extended tour of the Europe, for which we gave a hashtag #NiVaEuro. There are so many stories and experiences we would like to share. One of them is travelling by European rail network which was an integral part of our plan. Eurail Pass certainly helped in making our international and Intra-national train journeys fast, fun, scenic and simple.

Complete guide to Eurail Passes, Europe
The high speed Pendolino EWD350 train by PKP Intercity Premium, Polish Railways

Having had a firsthand knowledge of using a Eurail Pass in a variety of situations, we would like to share all our … Read the rest

The post A complete Guide to Eurail Passes appeared first on Lemonicks.

]]>
Whew! We have completed our 100+ days extended tour of the Europe, for which we gave a hashtag #NiVaEuro. There are so many stories and experiences we would like to share. One of them is travelling by European rail network which was an integral part of our plan. Eurail Pass certainly helped in making our international and Intra-national train journeys fast, fun, scenic and simple.

Complete guide to Eurail Passes, Europe
The high speed Pendolino EWD350 train by PKP Intercity Premium, Polish Railways

Having had a firsthand knowledge of using a Eurail Pass in a variety of situations, we would like to share all our experiences, tips and tricks. It includes a guide to using Eurail Passes, types of Eurail Passes and many more things. In short, a Complete Guide to Eurail Pass.

Background

We were still at the final planning stage of our #NiVaEuro trip of the Europe and the time had come to find answers for one of the more important questions.

How were we going to travel within Europe?

Cities within Europe are well connected by Air, Road & Rail and at many places waterways too. Our plan was a loose one, meaning there were unchangeable dates for a few cities because of peak time accommodation rush and the dates in between were sketchy.  It meant that we could not make transportation plans well in advance except for the first few days. So air travel was taken out of equation except for unavoidable conditions.

Hiring a car was a great idea for a few days but ours was a longish program involving multiple countries. And add to that the hassles of buying insurance, high way tax stickers, finding parking place and so on. So we decided to keep this option on need basis.

We were left with Buses and Trains. Buses are less expensive but trains are more comfortable, especially during a night journey. Trains are also faster. After deliberating the pros and cons we decided to use trains most of the time, buses and flights when needed.

One major benefit of travelling by trains, which swung our decision in its favor, is that the main stations are often in the center of the city.

Complete guide to Eurail Passes, Europe
Places visited by us during our #NiVaEuro epic journey 2017

Complete guide to Eurail Passes, Europe

Complete guide to Eurail Passes, Europe
Ni & Va (NiVa) enjoying the scenery in Croatia
Complete guide to Eurail Passes, Europe
Picture perfect! European landscape from train

What is a Eurail Pass?  

First and the foremost is that Eurail does not own any train stock or run any railways. Eurail is an agent or a facilitator that has agreements with as many as 32 European Railways to sell Eurail passes to prospective travelers. A Eurail pass is a single ticket (pass) that allows unlimited train journeys on the date of travel. What it really means is, that you can hop-in and hop out of trains as many times as you want at no extra cost, except for the reservation charges, if applicable.

During our own travels, on almost every one of our travel day we had taken multiple trains to reach our destination and many times even included a day trip. More about it in Tips and Tricks below. 🙂

Eurail however, does not sell point to point train ticket. For which you have to contact the local train station.

Eurail Pass is issued only to Non-Europeans.

Complete guide to Eurail Pass Europe
Eurail Pass kit that includes a large Eurail Map

How many types of Eurail Passes are there?

Eurail passes are designed to suit all pockets, any age group and many types of travel plans.

The Select Eurail Pass is if the travel is between 2 to 4 countries sharing a border. There are multiple options available as to the number of travel days with a validity period of 2 months.  Further options are available whether you want to travel first or second class or if you are a youth (12 to 27 years), Adults (28 and over) or family with kids.

The Global Eurail Pass is for those wishing to travel 5 or more countries. Various options are available as to the number of traveling days and validity period. There are also options for continuous travel. For instance, you buy the 3 months continuous Eurail Pass means that you have the option to travel on each one of the day on unlimited trains.

For Global Eurail Pass, if one of the travelling group is an adult then the only option is to buy a First Class Eurail Pass. However if youths aged between 12 and 27 travel alone or in a group, have the option to buy second class pass too. Good news for families is that two kids below 12 may travel free with each adult.

For our #NiVaEuro trip we got the 15 travelling days with 2 months validity. So we had to choose our starting date wisely to make sure we could cover as much ground as possible. We tried to schedule our longer travels during this period, because beyond two months we had to either buy 1 month Eurail pass or travel point to point. We decided on point to point as that was working out cheaper since we were covering just a few cities and staying more days in each of them after the expiry of the Eurail Pass.

Country Specific train passes

In addition to Select and Global Eurail passes one could obtain country specific multiple day passes too. The prices and conditions vary and the details are provided at One Country Eurail Pass.

The travel options starts from 3 days in a month.

Complete guide to Eurail Passes, Europe
Single Country Eurail Passes with suggested minimum price

Some discounts are available if you decide to travel as a group under 1 ticket.

Please note that all Eurail Passes are paper tickets. Mobile tickets are not available as of now.

Should I buy Eurail Pass at all?  Is it worth it?

It is not mandatory to buy Eurail Pass to travel on European Train Network. If the travel is just point to point then single tickets may work out better. Many times we have taken a bus because either the train timings were not suitable or the bus was just too inexpensive.

Eurail Passes may not be the cheapest option but certainly is a convenient option and cheaper if you consider point to point individual first class tickets.

We personally found that during our trip, which involved long distances over 11 countries, Global Eurail Pass was certainly helpful, added to that some of the night journeys we took helped us save on the hotels too.

Other points you may consider before deciding for or against, is at the Tips & Tricks and Benefits section below.

Everyone’s travel styles, likes and dislikes are different. That means each individual must do her/her calculations to see if it is worth it. Feel free to discuss should you have any query. Some people like to travel only by train.
While I waited at Sofia ticketing counter to book my night train ticket to Varna, I met a couple of Australians who wanted to go to Plovdiv. I told them to take the bus as we had just been to Plovdiv the previous day by bus which was frequent, fast, cheap and most comfortable. They wanted to go by train only.

Of late some of the train companies have started variable pricing policy based on supply and demand, just like airlines. That is another input to the hair-pulling arithmetic equation! <img src=" class="wp-smiley" style="height: 1em; max-height: 1em;" /> <img src=" class="wp-smiley" style="height: 1em; max-height: 1em;" />

Should I buy Eurail Pass in advance?

It is better to buy it in advance to save time. However certain Eurail passes may be bought at the station but may be more expensive. Global Eurail Pass must be bought in advance and preferably get it delivered at your home address. Eurail pass may be bought up to 11 months in advance, before your first travel day. It is also important to get it activated before travelling at the starting train station.  We got our Global Eurail Pass more than one month before the travel commencement.

Is Eurail Pass Valid in all European countries and all their networks?

Eurail passes are valid across 28 countries on over 30 rail companies. We found out early in our travels that reservation charges and sleeper are applicable in high speed and night trains for sleeper.

Complete guide to Eurail Passes, Europe
Moonshine during ferry crossing across the Baltic sea.

In addition, it is also valid on Buses run by Deutsche Bahn (DB). Yes, DB the German train company also runs buses on select routes. We actually took a night bus from Copenhagen to Berlin. It included a bonus of 40 minutes luxury ferry ride. 🙂 Where the bus and train too (I am not joking!) are carried by the ferry to the other side of Baltic Sea.

There are numerous ferry services where Eurail Pass is valid.

We installed an app called RailPlanner to help us with train schedules and information which actually helped us in identifying the trains in which these passes were valid. When in doubt we double checked with the conductor at the train or when we had time at the ticketing counter.

Can I use Eurail Pass for travelling to many countries by multiple trains in a day? 

The Select and Global Eurail Pass allows you to travel across multiple countries (as specified in the pass) and take multiple halts on a single travel day. You may also go out to another country and return to the originating country.  For example Bratislava is just one hour by train from Vienna. Once could do a day trip easily.

It looks like Eurail does not cover one of the countries I want to visit. What shall I do?

It is no big deal. If you so badly want to visit that country, all you need is to buy a direct ticket by train, bus or plane, to that country or city. Of course make sure you have the passports and visas for that country.  Please note that the United Kingdom is not part of Eurail but Ireland is, although it does not share a land border with rest of the Eurail countries.

Is Schengen Visa Valid in all of the Eurail Pass network countries?

Eurail pass covers a few Non-Schengen countries too. It is up to the traveler to ensure she/he has valid documents to enter Non-Schengen countries. Having said that, we found during our planning stage that some of them allowed entry if one had a valid multiple-entry Schengen visa. This was actually a blessing in disguise as it enabled us to travel over 100 days by travelling to Serbia, Croatia and Bulgaria and save our Schengen days. Other Non-Schengen countries covered by Eurail Pass are Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, Romania and Turkey.

The passport control happens on the train. If it is a Schengen to Schengen border crossing there may or may not be a cursory check. However for Schengen to non-Schengen there is a mandatory passport control and the officers actually board the train and checks the passport. It may take a few extended minutes to a few hours. We will write about our border crossing experiences separately. 🙂

Tips and tricks for using a Eurail Pass

  • Activating Eurail Pass: Before commencing your journey using a Eurail Pass, it needs to be activated by filling up the starting date and getting it stamped at the ticket counter. This is imperative and not doing it is tantamount to travelling ticketless!
  • How and Where to use: Before boarding or as soon as you board before the conductor comes to check the tickets, the travel date must be entered on the pass at the designated column and the train, bus or ferry details filled out in the attached travel diary. It is likely that for one travel date on the pass, there may be several entries of individual trains on the travel diary.
  • The conductor would then punch the date on the pass and the train details on the side. We found that many times the train conductors would not punch the date or would not punch at the right place. That is okay. Once in a while, you will come across a conductor who would want to see your passport too and he is well within his rights to do so. This is just to ensure the identification of the person carrying the pass. There was at least one conductor who had never seen a Eurail pass, or so it appeared to us. But there were no questions asked any way. Probably lack of knowledge of English was the reason. In general the conductors were very courteous and on many occasions they helped us with our luggage too.
  • Reservations and other charges (country specific): On some trains, generally the high speed trains, prior reservation is obligatory and the charges vary from Zero euros upwards. Yes, there was no reservation charges for our Krakow to Wroclaw night train. There are other trains in which reservation is optional. While one can jump into the train without reservation, it is possible the seat you are occupying belongs to someone who has reserved it.

Here is an experience. When we boarded the train from Prague to Brno we decided not to get a reservation and occupied two vacant seats but soon we were displaced by others having reservations. It was peak holiday season! The conductor helped us in procuring one seat for Nisha and I sat in the restaurant car for the rest of the journey. 🙂

Other charges that may be levied is the sleeper charges. This could be very nominal or very expensive depending on the country and the train. The most expensive for us was EUR72 each on a first class sleeper in Austria by OBB. It had its own perks of personalized service, wake up call, free snack, coffee / tea and breakfast too. While it was not cheap, it certainly was worth the experience with an attached private shower. <img src=" class="wp-smiley" style="height: 1em; max-height: 1em;" /> <img src=" class="wp-smiley" style="height: 1em; max-height: 1em;" /> We did this only for experience and I am sure air ticket might have been cheaper and faster.

  • App for travel planning: We downloaded the Railplanner app for planning our journey schedules. It is a very robust software and gives multiple connectivity options. One could give route suggestion and select only trains on which reservations are NOT mandatory to save money.

In addition we also used app by regional railways like DB, OBB, CD and PKP etc. to get a feel of the reservation charges upfront.

  • Point to point, short distances and bus connectivity: It is important to research well if you want to save on the travel days and money. For example, to go to Trier we decided to take the German one day pass for two at EUR52 which gives complete coverage in Germany for almost 24 hours. Many times to do a day trip, it is not worth using the Global Pass because either there are no good connections, there is no first class or takes too much time. In such situation we have taken buses which are generally quite inexpensive.

When we travelled from Prague to Brno, we realized later that we should not have used the pass and instead booked a second class journey which would have cost under 10Euros a ticket.

By the time we reached Austria our Global Eurail Pass had expired. We found that there were train companies which were not on RailPlanner app that provided cheaper services; for example from Salzburg to Vienna. The information available on the station was sketchy except for a couple of advertisements. The tickets had to be bought only on-board the train.

    • To save a precious travel day, if your travel is within just one country for one day, then it is advisable to explore single country single day unlimited travel passes issued by the local / regional railways. For example, while in Germany we got a day pass (Quer-durchs-Land-Ticket) for 2 with the only condition that we stick together. 🙂 In fact as many as 5 adults could have travelled on that pass on payment of a marginal additional fee. For us it cost EUR 52, to travel as we pleased on any German regional train network and S-Bahn for one day that is from 9:00AM to 3:00AM. This helped us to take a day trip to as far as Trier from Frankfurt and back. A total of over 400KM by train.
    • Recording in Travel Diary: For each sector of your train journey a line of details must be recorded on the travel diary. Not doing this may attract admonition to fines depending on the mood of the conductor. 🙂 The travel diary has space for 25 journeys. If you run out of space you could use one tear-off from the Eurail Guide which comes with the pass and if you run out of that also, then you can download extra page from Eurail website and attach it to the ticket.
    • Classes of tickets: For sitting journey there are First and second class. Depending on the train and country, the first class could be cabins or open seating with wide seats.
Complete guide to Eurail Passes, Europe
1-2 arrangement in First Class. Hallmark of comfort and luxury in train travel
  • Night Trains: Many night trains have sleeper coaches. They could be 4 or 6 couchettes to a cabin or just 2 in a luxury cabin. What we did a few times was joined the 2nd class cabin seats to provide reclining position. Of course one could flip up the arm rest for more space too. This is possible only if it is not crowded.
  • 7 PM rule: This is the most attractive part of Eurail and we fully used this feature to the core. By properly using this rule one could travel for more than 24 hours on a single travel day!

Normally a travel day starts from midnight and ends at next midnight. However, if the travel commences after 7:00 PM on a day and the train is scheduled to reach final destination after 4:00 AM then you are allowed to mark the travel date as the next day and use up the whole of next day travelling too.

For example.  We took a train from Krakow on 5th at 10:00 PM which was to reach Wroclaw on 6th at 6:00 AM. We marked the travel date as 6th on the travel diary. On reaching Wroclaw we dumped our luggage at the locker and proceeded towards Jelena Gora and a couple of other places and explored till evening. If this rule had not been there then we would have had to mark both 5th and 6th on the travel diary and thereby losing a travel day.

  • The 7 PM rule is applicable only to Global Eurail Pass.
  • High Speed Trains: It is important to note that most High Speed trains charge reservation fees. On the plus side is that it saves quite some time.
  • Luggage: Luggage is not a problem as there is lot of storage space on the rack above the seats or designated space near the wagon door. If it is not there then we just keep it alongside our seats on aisle. There are luggage related rules but it is seldom followed or checked.

In most of the cities we visited, there were either coin operated luggage lockers or manned luggage store at the train station. We often used this facility after checking out of the hotel and before the night train. It gave us extra hours to explore the city. Once we even left our suitcases at the Sofia station for a couple of days while we went off to visit Varna ! The charges were nominal.

  • Bicycle: Bicycles are not covered by Eurail Pass and you must enquire for the trains and charges at the ticketing counter.
  • Pets: Similarly Pets are not covered. Small pets generally are allowed free of charge. However it is best to enquire at the station for the applicable charges and conditions.
  • Food and Drinks: You may bring food and beverages from outside and consume it in the train. Many stations have shops where one can stock up. Some trains will have a restaurant car too or a push cart selling food and beverages. They are more expensive than on street but not exorbitant. Bottom line is eating and drinking is ok on board European trains.
  • Although some public transports are included in Eurail Pass, it is not cost effective as you are supposed to make an entry in the Journey Diary and thereby use up a valuable travel day.

Other Benefitsof Eurail Pass

  • There are many first class lounges scattered in Europe and a holder of First Class Eurail Pass can use this facility on the date of travel. You can indulge in complimentary drinks and snacks. We had a late night train from Vienna to Zagreb and we could use the super luxury lounge while we waited. 🙂 It was as good as any Airport lounge. There was so much food that we had to forego our dinner.
  • Discounts on various sightseeing tours and entry ticket to museums and other attractions. Just ask if the discounts are available and flash your Eurail Pass to avail the discounts.
  • You don’t have to stand in line for tickets unless a reservation is necessary.
  • Eurail have created a few historic and scenic itineraries that you may follow.
  • Discounts on accommodation are available at select chain of hotels and hostels.
  • Some scenic trains such as Bernina Express and Glacier Express is covered by Eurail Pass. Only reservation amount need be paid.
  • Superfast ferries between Italy and Greece are covered including stopover at the beautiful island of Corfu.
  • Long distance ferry rides in Spain, Italy, Croatia, Greece, Switzerland and many other countries are fully covered or heavily discounted. If it is not fully covered you save your travel day too!
  • In some countries public transport is included S-Bahn in Germany.
  • Wi-Fi is available on some of the high speed trains.
  • Laptop and mobile charging points in first class and some of the second class coaches.
  • Longer the journey, better are the chances for striking a conversation with a fellow traveler and learn about the place.
  • Finally if you send the ticket and travel diary back to Eurail (postage is prepaid) then they will send a small gift in token of appreciation. Eurail uses this data for their research and analysis.
  • Complete guide to Eurail Passes, Europe
    A token gesture by Eurail on sending the completed Travel Diary

What happens when you lose your Eurail Pass?

If the Eurail Pass is stolen or misplaced then it is a dead loss and it cannot be replaced. We will have to buy a new pass. On buying a pass protection insurance, some amount may be redeemed depending on the balance number of days left.

Is Rail Pass different from Eurail Pass?

Rail pass is equivalent of Eurail pass for European citizens and permanent residents in Europe. Some of the rules of service are different so also the pricing.

How to order a Eurail Pass?

Eurail passes may be ordered on by visiting Eurail Passes or www.raileurope.co.in

Watch out for seasonal discounts from time to time.

Please note that once the order is confirmed it is almost impossible to change it. It is important to be sure of what type of Pass you want, the names and other particulars before ordering.  You can pay by credit card, debit card and PayPal. You may of course cancel it at a fee of 15% if the Eurail Pass is not validated.

Create Your Own Story!  

This is the tagline for Eurail Passes and our story is as follows.

We had a Global Eurail Pass valid for two months and included 15 travel days.

We performed 31 journeys on 15 travelling days.

Out of 100+ days our Global Eurail Pass was valid for 2 months in which we travelled to 21 cities in eight countries, namely, Poland, Germany, Czech Republic, Hungary, Bulgaria, Serbia, Slovakia and Croatia.

Our first journey was a DB bus journey from Copenhagen to Berlin (which included ferry crossing) then by train to Gdansk.

Last journey was a day trip to Varazdin from Zagreb.

Eurail Pass ran out when we reached Slovenia.  We still used trains for all of our journeys in Slovenia and Austria and finally to Munich. For Ljubljana to Lake Bled we use bus because it was much more convenient.

In this period we performed 6 night journeys saving 6 hotel nights.

In addition, we took three independent bus rides and one local train trip for day trips as they were much cheaper and saved 4 precious Eurail Pass travel days.

We travelled to 7 cities in two countries before Eurail Pass kicked in and 9 cities in 3 countries after its expiry. Germany was our base where we entered and exited many times.

Whenever we reached a destination in the morning, we normally took off for a day trip to another town or village to extract more juice from the Eurail Pass. Hum to aise hain Bhaiya! <img src=" class="wp-smiley" style="height: 1em; max-height: 1em;" /> <img src=" class="wp-smiley" style="height: 1em; max-height: 1em;" />

Conclusion

The essence of the matter is, if your plan includes an element of uncertainty, many days, long distances, multiple countries & cities, high speed & night journeys then Eurail Pass is for you. If you love train travel then other factors do not matter much anyway! #CreateYourOwnStory. We created ours!

Did you like the post? Pin it. 🙂

Complete guide to Eurail Passes, Europe

Disclaimer: Eurail had supported our travels with 15 days in 2 months Global Eurail Passes but the opinions, as always, are our own.

The post A complete Guide to Eurail Passes appeared first on Lemonicks.

]]>
https://www.lemonicks.com/review/transport/complete-guide-to-eurail-pass-faq/feed/ 47