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marazul

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  1. Check this out: http://albania.al/about/
  2. A private excursion will take you, or not, where you want. They provide suggested itineraries, but will always delete or add sites that interest you. Put together your own small group. The price always ends up being the same or less than the ship's offerings.
  3. Those pictures are torture!😉 Bennybear- cidra and croquetas, two of my favorites in one picture..
  4. Hi Hank, My plans for next year are for my entertainment during the pandemic as well as wishful thinking. The hotel reservation is just that, it can be canceled. I did put a deposit down on a September cruise, but it is fully refundable. And that is as far as I will go. OTOH, there is a small chance that September is a reasonable choice. On a previous life I had involvement with clinical trial approvals and I still have contacts in that area. What I hear is that if any of the current major three trials prove their safety and efficacy by December or January, there is a chance that my travel plans will be possible by September. But, it is really "wishful thinking "because "COVID is not going away any time soon." If not, I will start daydreaming about 2022...
  5. Maybe there is a convention of wishful thinkers -- like me. 😁
  6. Perceives are the specialty in Galicia. They come from those cold waters. They are outrageously expensive elsewhere. Last year (it feels like a century ago) a restaurant in Madrid had a small plate for 40 euros! So, pleasure deferred... The wiggle bag is popular along the Med too. I saw it in Nice a few times.
  7. Top Day just provides "back office" services and payment processing for those agencies. They remain independent businesses. This is the quote from their website: "This website is a payment processing gateway for individual guests and a back-end management portal for online Travel Agencies."
  8. The Paradores network started about 90 years ago to develop tourism in the countryside. In the beginning they would remodel old monasteries and castles in the country and smaller towns. More recently, they are adding some spectacular modern buildings, especially near the beaches Cadiz, Mojacar). They still do not have paradores inside the major cities (Madrid, Barcelona, Sevilla). In some mid-size cities (Toledo, Cordoba, Cuenca) the Parador is just outside the town and it usually has great views of the town. Most are in the center of town (like Leon, Lerma, Cadiz, Ubeda). IMO, one of the the most spectacular ones is the old Convent of San Marcos in Leon dating from the 16th century and located on the pilgrim Road to Santiago. https://www.parador.es/en/paradores/parador-de-leon What is also interesting is that each Parador serves local specialties in their restaurants and otherwise promotes their region. The Pousadas in Portugal follow the same pattern and are loosely associated with the Paradores. I agree with Hank about independent travel and I would encourage others to explore the north of Spain which is one of the most beautiful and historical parts of the country (Santiago, Leon, Burgos, Salamanca, Zaragoza, etc.). The paradores website shows suggested routes and packages for many different areas of Spain and wine routes. (Or at least, it will once the pandemic is over.) https://www.parador.es/es/experiencias/rutas https://www.parador.es/es/experiencias/rutas?field_route_type_term_tid=169
  9. Reservations are open on their website. Check superior rooms on August 30 and 31 of next year. Those 2 nights they are sold out. I do have a confirmed reservation for a standard room including those dates.
  10. You are not going to believe this. My trip is one year from now. I tried to book a superior room at the Senato and they are sold out two nights out of the three I wanted. So I booked a standard room and will keep checking.
  11. Ooops! Late night senior moment. I was also looking at hotels near Piazza Navona and that's what I wrote. Yes, I know the Albergo is by the Pantheon. Thanks.
  12. Question on the Albergo del Senato. Do you need to book a junior suite to get the view of the Piazza Navona? Or are the regular double rooms also on the piazza? Also, has anyone stayed at the Palazzo Navona? Or the Eithch Borromini Palazzo Pamphilii? Thanks
  13. Does that mean you would like to walk to the pier? Not a great idea. The most convenient way to embark is to have a taxi deliver you to your pier (even if you are staying in Piraeus). There is a lot of walking and traffic to get to the piers. There are two cruise ship terminals , A and B. The ferries to Hydra are on the opposite side of the port from the cruise ship terminals. Look at the map. The hotels are marked with the $ signs. The cruise terminals are on the lower left hand corner (Piraeus Port) The ferry to Hydra is the top dotted lines (Egina-Piraeus line). The hotels are somewhere between the two and it is not a lovely area. Do a street view of the hotels in the map and you'll see. https://www.google.com/maps/search/Hotels/@37.9423077,23.638175,16z/data=!4m8!2m7!3m6!1sHotels!2sPireas,+Greece!3s0x14a1bbebb7ac3147:0xd820da95ff30fdf7!4m2!1d23.6469832!2d37.9429857?hl=en Stay in central Athens. Piraeus is part of the city even if it is nominally a different town. Look at this satellite view with the taxi route from the excellent Athens Gate Hotel to the farthest Terminal B. As you can see, the towns run into each other. https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Athens+Gate+Hôtel,+Athens,+Greece/Piraeus+port,+Pireas+185+38,+Greece/@37.94467,23.6818856,9601m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m14!4m13!1m5!1m1!1s0x14a1bd16c3c139dd:0xcb1be6891f217887!2m2!1d23.731445!2d37.9687633!1m5!1m1!1s0x14a1bbd55712aa75:0xa93329c6eea40aab!2m2!1d23.624673!2d37.9351377!3e0?hl=en
  14. I agree with you, Hank. Paradores are awesome. We have been in ultra modern ones, like Cadiz; and medieval ones, like Santiago de Compostela; or in a mixture of centuries, like Alcala de Henares. They are wonderful and a great value. Right now they are having amazing sale prices to get tourists back. Look at www.parador.es
  15. I agree 100% with the advise of staying in Athens. You can enjoy the city and restaurants in the evening and morning. And a taxi ride from the Plaka to your dock is 15 minutes and about 10-12 euros.
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