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  • Re: A Thread for Travel: Trips/Advice/Ideas

    Just because I don't think I've seen it thrown out there, what about Aruba?

    I've been to the Bahamas (Nassau, twice) and Bermuda. Really, really enjoyed Bermuda; The Bahamas were nice, but certainly not spectacular.

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    • Re: A Thread for Travel: Trips/Advice/Ideas

      Originally posted by Shirtless Guy View Post
      I enjoyed staying at Rui Palace in Cabo San Lucas but I doubt I will ever do an all-inclusive again. The food was good until we stopped at a beach front restaurant and had their tacos and everything at the all-inclusive tasted like school lunch after that. In my eyes, it seemed like we spent alot of money and didn't get out what we paid. It certainly is the easier way to go but at the same time, bang for buck was questionable.

      This. Completely true.

      You miss out on the local dives, holes-in-the-wall and even local fancy places. Often the dives and holes are where the best food is. Ask the locals where they eat and it's often these places.

      The restaurant where we stayed (all inc.) was good, not great. I had one memorable meal - Ahi Tuna medium rare with a passion-fruit butter and mashed yams. The rest was good, but forgettable. How I wish I could have checked out more of the local flavor like we have on our other trips.

      We still talk about restaurants we went to on the aforementioned Grand Cayman, all up and down the Keys, Bahamas, etc, etc, etc...

      In addition, many of the places have unique views, setups or ambiance. Wouldn't want to miss that either.
      Last edited by Gurtholfin; 09-10-2013, 01:31 PM.

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      • Re: A Thread for Travel: Trips/Advice/Ideas

        Wow, this is great information. Thanks everyone. Do you recommend the Baked Ziti or the Chicken Parmesean at this upscale Fargo Olive Garden?

        I am glad that we don't have to book this for many more months, I think we'll have enough information to figure out exactly what we want by then. We were pretty set on all-inclusive, but maybe that isn't the best way to go...

        Right now, I am leaning towards doing a combination St. Thomas-St. John trip, since they're a short ferry away from each other. I think I'd want to fly into St. Thomas, and go straight to St. John, and spend a few days doing nothing but relaxing in seclusion, and exploring the island. Then toward the end of the trip spend a couple days in St. Thomas. Hell, they're close enough we could stay on St. John and just ferry over to St. Thomas, or even Tortola for a day each. I just really enjoy going to new places to eat, and trying new food, and now I'm worried I'm going to miss out on one of the things I am really looking forward to. Need to discuss more with the fiance! (at least this is much more fun than discussing guest lists and how we're going to tell our parents that they need to cut some of their friends from it )

        Also, my mom, who has traveled the Caribbean quite a bit, although, they always do either Jamaica or a cruise, highly recommended St. Martin/Maarten. So I think I might look into that some more. She also mentioned that the VI are much more expensive, though that is not something I have found by looking online, as all of the places look expensive. One other place I've come across is Saba Island, it looks pretty nice, and reasonably priced. http://www.queensaba.com/ourresort

        edit: it looks like Saba has no decent beaches, and we do want to have some beach time, but maybe we could do a St. Martin - Saba combination trip, so we can see the island.
        Last edited by bigblue_dl; 09-10-2013, 03:19 PM.
        Having a clear conscience just means you have a bad memory or you had a boring weekend.

        RIP - Kirby

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        • Re: A Thread for Travel: Trips/Advice/Ideas

          I am also anti all inclusive on the food front......did it once; food was not good.
          AKA Boguniecki 33 on the road, except at UMass Amherst, and Magness Arena, where I can't get enough of Mowers, Mowers, you s**k!

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          • Re: A Thread for Travel: Trips/Advice/Ideas

            There are a couple beaches on Virgin Gorda that are amazing.

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            • Re: A Thread for Travel: Trips/Advice/Ideas

              Originally posted by Gurtholfin View Post
              Now obviously, if you're in Jamaica or the Riviera Maya (which we're looking at for our next extended family trip), an all-inclusive makes a lot of sense due to safety reasons.
              Gotta disagree with Jamaica. I spent two weeks driving all around the country and only felt unsafe once or twice (other than from the crazy drivers). I even drove through Kingston - during the day, mind you - but I stopped at a fast food restaurant there for lunch and was perfectly fine. Of course, there are places you don't want to go to (Trenchtown, anyone?) but there are lots of interesting places you likely won't get to if you stick to the all inclusives. For example, I had a great time at the Jerk Centre outside Port Antonio and a memorable Christmas dinner at a small inn in the Blue Mountains. As a bird watcher I got far off the beaten path, but you can still have a good time safely as long as you behave smartly and do a little research.
              Cornell '82

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              • Re: A Thread for Travel: Trips/Advice/Ideas

                We did all-inclusives on our honeymoon and were very happy with the choice, but we made sure to research the restaurants at the resorts where we were considering staying in order to be confident that we'd be happy eating all our meals there. I guess that's one advantage of going with a company like Sandals, is that with the size of their resorts you get multiple options at each one.
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                • Re: A Thread for Travel: Trips/Advice/Ideas

                  Originally posted by Greyeagle View Post
                  Paris from 12/25 - 12/29
                  London from 12/29 - 1/5
                  First time for me in each city for me (wife went 25+ years ago) - any suggestions beyond the obvious?
                  Hey, that's exciting, GE!

                  Sorry for the delay in replying, but we just got back from London and Paris. Plenty of great ideas so far. I'd add:

                  1) Both cities are huge. There's no way you could see everything in one trip. I got it into my head early on that we'd see what we were able to see, and anything we missed would just have to be another time.
                  2) Both cities are physically huge. It surprised me how long it could take to get from one side of "downtown" to the other. I had to adjust what I figured we could reasonably do.
                  3) In London, see if you can visit the Churchill War Rooms. You walk through the actual underground complex where they ran WWII. We thought it was really cool.
                  4) In Paris, it really does make a huge difference if you do the basic polite French stuff. "Bonjour, Madame," or "Bonjour, Monsieur" when you walk in to a store. "S'il vous plait" after you ask for something, even in English. Etc.
                  5) Also in Paris -- and this isn't exactly high cultural advice -- you can get fantastic take-away sandwiches at bakeries. When it says "BOULANGERIE" you figure there's croissants and baguettes; but they also have really good sandwiches -- tuna salad, cheese, ham and cheese. I think we did this for lunch every day.

                  Otherwise, just walk around and soak it in, baby!

                  Say, I wonder if I'll bump into you at the local "County Fair" this weekend . . .
                  Bugs Bunny - 96
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                  • Re: A Thread for Travel: Trips/Advice/Ideas

                    Originally posted by theprofromdover View Post
                    I'm visiting Camp Red Cloud in South Korea in October. Any must-see ideas?
                    1) The DMZ. I didn't expect to be so moved, but it's well, well worth the visit. We did the USO tour; you might have insider options.

                    2) The old palace (Gyeongbokgung). It should be extra-beautiful with the fall foliage.

                    3) The food. Any mom-and-pop place with grilled beef, or dumplings, or those crazy seafood pancakes. Really fantastic food.
                    Last edited by DaveStPaul; 09-11-2013, 10:39 PM.
                    Bugs Bunny - 96
                    Gas House Gorillas - 95

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                    • Re: A Thread for Travel: Trips/Advice/Ideas

                      Originally posted by DaveStPaul View Post
                      1) The DMZ. I didn't expect to be so moved, but it's well, well worth the visit. We did the USO tour; you might have insider options.

                      2) The old palace (Gyeongbokgung). It should be extra-beautiful with the fall foliage.

                      3) The food. Any mom-and-pop place with grilled beef, or dumplings, or those crazy seafood pancakes. Really fantastic food.
                      Thanks.
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                      • Re: A Thread for Travel: Trips/Advice/Ideas

                        Originally posted by DaveStPaul View Post
                        1) The DMZ. I didn't expect to be so moved, but it's well, well worth the visit. We did the USO tour; you might have insider options.

                        2) The old palace (Gyeongbokgung). It should be extra-beautiful with the fall foliage.

                        3) The food. Any mom-and-pop place with grilled beef, or dumplings, or those crazy seafood pancakes. Really fantastic food.
                        I agree with these. One caveat...the grilled beef restaurants aren't usually prepared to serve one person, so bring a friend.

                        While I wasn't particularly moved by the DMZ, it was fascinating. Definitely recommended. And I get to say I was in North Korea!

                        But I was very moved by the Korean War Memorial in Seoul. It's actually a full museum, complete with tanks, APCs, and a B-52! They have a memorial wall with the name of every soldier lost (similar to the Vietnam memorial in DC). That is just stunning. The War Memorial in Incheon is also good, but not as good as the one in Seoul.

                        If you want to get out of Seoul, Kyeongju is a 3-4 hour train ride by KTX. Lot's of neat stuff to see there.
                        Cornell '82

                        "The first time I went to a Cornell game, I was in awe. I'm a big believer that sports fans should get out and see everything -- the Indy 500, the Super Bowl, the Kentucky Derby. I've seen all that, and there's nothing like Lynah Rink." - Carl McKee, father of Cornell Goalie, David McKee

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                        • Re: A Thread for Travel: Trips/Advice/Ideas

                          Originally posted by DaveStPaul View Post
                          3) In London, see if you can visit the Churchill War Rooms. You walk through the actual underground complex where they ran WWII. We thought it was really cool.
                          I haven't been there, but I've heard other people say that this was a cool place to visit as well.
                          Cornell University Men's Hockey
                          NCAA Champions: 1967, 1970
                          ECAC Champions: 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1973, 1980, 1986, 1996, 1997, 2003, 2005, 2010, 2024
                          Ivy League Champions: 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1977, 1978, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1996, 1997, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2012, 2014, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2024

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                          • Re: A Thread for Travel: Trips/Advice/Ideas

                            Originally posted by Hopkinja View Post
                            While I wasn't particularly moved by the DMZ, it was fascinating. Definitely recommended. And I get to say I was in North Korea!
                            But I was very moved by the Korean War Memorial in Seoul. It's actually a full museum, complete with tanks, APCs, and a B-52! They have a memorial wall with the name of every soldier lost (similar to the Vietnam memorial in DC). That is just stunning. The War Memorial in Incheon is also good, but not as good as the one in Seoul.
                            You're right, it's much more fascinating than moving. Like that train station -- a completed, modern train station, in the middle of the DMZ, just sitting there -- digital clocks are running, lights are on -- and it's not in use. It's waiting for a settlement.

                            What I was thinking of specifically was the prayer ribbons people have left on the fence for their relatives who got stuck on the other side. That really was moving, imagining family members who haven't seen each other in 50+ years.
                            Last edited by DaveStPaul; 09-16-2013, 11:06 AM.
                            Bugs Bunny - 96
                            Gas House Gorillas - 95

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                            • Re: A Thread for Travel: Trips/Advice/Ideas

                              Been to the Caymans- Was wonderfully relaxing and beach was beautiful. It is a bit hard to find anything but hanging around if you don't dive. The 'bus system' is awesome. THe vans beep at any person walking. If you want a ride you raise your hand and they stop. You just tell them where you are going. It costs a flat rate. We were on one end of the island. It wasn't terribly easy to do stuff on the other end without a lot of finagling. Food was decent but incredibly expensive. When we looked into it there were no all-inclusive deals. Breakfast for 3 with 2 light eaters- 45$ Cayman. Hotel buffet 15$ (thank God! we would have been impoverished feeding Lil) Restaurants were hard to get to. Bus service is great in the day but stops at dusk. The cost of a cab can be prohibitive. We weren't afraid to walk and on more than one night hoofed at least a mile each way. If you decide to stay there look into where is close to the hotel you are at. Ours was on the beach but farther away from Georgetown, We didn't have the cash to get into town to eat where the locals did and take a cab back.
                              My parents have gone to St John for 20+yrs. They scuba every day. The pics they bring back are amazing of the scenery which includes panaoramas from the top of 'mountains'. They have stayed some sort of place on the side of a steep hill that is tents on platforms with amenities. (they are not young anymore) and in a condo they rent. Food is expensive. They usually ship their staples media rate to the place they are staying.
                              The best tip we learned- No matter where you go- if cruise ships dock there find out when the people have to be back at the ship and make any sort of reservations/plans to do things after that. WHere we were folks had to be back to the ship by about 2 (you can check with the concierge, they usually know when the cut off is). The AM sessions of anything tend to be more crowded. We swam with dolphins in the Caymans and the session before ours was packed. All those people were hot to get back to the ship. Ours only had a few people in it. We figured out to beach it in the AM and do stuff after the boat was preparing to leave. I would imagine this would apply just about everywhere.

                              The price of even the simplest of foods is horrendous. NO matter where you go look at the prices. Even with a UUTF mindset food will wipe out your budget. We packed snacks in out luggage. One of the best tips anyone gave us. What would cost a few bucks in a convenience store here will easily cost you 10$ there. Some places have 'warehouse stores'. We went to one in the Caymans and got some snacks for the room. Lil was having a growth spurt and we needed to do something!

                              Bring a Brita water bottle or a few. One of the other best things we did. They come with little filters. It is hot. You are thirsty. A bottle of water cost 4$. Soda was more. We would fill them with ice and water from the tap. Easily saved us 100$ by the end of the week.
                              Last edited by leswp1; 09-16-2013, 07:03 AM.

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                              • Re: A Thread for Travel: Trips/Advice/Ideas

                                Originally posted by leswp1 View Post
                                Been to the Caymans- Was wonderfully relaxing and beach was beautiful. It is a bit hard to find anything but hanging around if you don't dive. The 'bus system' is awesome. THe vans beep at any person walking. If you want a ride you raise your hand and they stop. You just tell them where you are going. It costs a flat rate. We were on one end of the island. It wasn't terribly easy to do stuff on the other end without a lot of finagling. Food was decent but incredibly expensive. When we looked into it there were no all-inclusive deals. Breakfast for 3 with 2 light eaters- 45$ Cayman. Hotel buffet 15$ (thank God! we would have been impoverished feeding Lil) Restaurants were hard to get to. Bus service is great in the day but stops at dusk. The cost of a cab can be prohibitive. We weren't afraid to walk and on more than one night hoofed at least a mile each way. If you decide to stay there look into where is close to the hotel you are at. Ours was on the beach but farther away from Georgetown, We didn't have the cash to get into town to eat where the locals did and take a cab back.
                                My parents have gone to St John for 20+yrs. They scuba every day. The pics they bring back are amazing of the scenery which includes panaoramas from the top of 'mountains'. They have stayed some sort of place on the side of a steep hill that is tents on platforms with amenities. (they are not young anymore) and in a condo they rent. Food is expensive. They usually ship their staples media rate to the place they are staying.
                                The best tip we learned- No matter where you go- if cruise ships dock there find out when the people have to be back at the ship and make any sort of reservations/plans to do things after that. WHere we were folks had to be back to the ship by about 2 (you can check with the concierge, they usually know when the cut off is). The AM sessions of anything tend to be more crowded. We swam with dolphins in the Caymans and the session before ours was packed. All those people were hot to get back to the ship. Ours only had a few people in it. We figured out to beach it in the AM and do stuff after the boat was preparing to leave. I would imagine this would apply just about everywhere.

                                The price of even the simplest of foods is horrendous. NO matter where you go look at the prices. Even with a UUTF mindset food will wipe out your budget. We packed snacks in out luggage. One of the best tips anyone gave us. What would cost a few bucks in a convenience store here will easily cost you 10$ there. Some places have 'warehouse stores'. We went to one in the Caymans and got some snacks for the room. Lil was having a growth spurt and we needed to do something!

                                Bring a Brita water bottle or a few. One of the other best things we did. They come with little filters. It is hot. You are thirsty. A bottle of water cost 4$. Soda was more. We would fill them with ice and water from the tap. Easily saved us 100$ by the end of the week.
                                Thanks for the tips.

                                We still haven't figured out the all-inclusive vs. not all-inclusive. There seem to be plenty of positives both ways.

                                One of the ideas we have with not going all-inclusive to go out and eat at places the locals eat. Those places can't be that expensive, right? Or am I completely off base there? I love trying new food from places I travel, and the best places to do that are in the local places, not the touristy restaurants.

                                Several of the resorts I have looked into advertise state-of-the-art water filtration and purification systems, I have to think that it would be safe to drink that without having to bring our own filter.
                                Having a clear conscience just means you have a bad memory or you had a boring weekend.

                                RIP - Kirby

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