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Old 20th July 2017, 22:20   #451
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need advice

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I seem to recall I ordered it on line in advance and picked them up at the airport
The pre-ordering bit was what I gathered from the tfl site. whyohwhyohwhy can't people just walk into a shop and buy one? That's how I got mine, but that would be quite a few years ago now.

(an aside: resident senior citizens can travel London for free, but not visitors. /rant)

The buses are good value. The most you can pay for a bus ride is a very small amount compared to the tube. It may or may not be quicker. It may take substantially longer! You have to get to know your bus routes, which is beyond the scope of few-days visit. Each bus stop has a code. Some have displays indicating the times when the next buses are due, some don't. You can get apps that interact with the tfl system and find out if you need to run for the bus before you even leave the house!

I have never done this, but I think there are even river boats that accept Oyster!

(Oh.... tfl = Transport For London, the people that run [almost?] all London's public transport)

PS... staying in Soho; only two days; methinks walking will be enough!

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Old 21st July 2017, 00:24   #452
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need advice

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Originally Posted by Thad E Ginathom View Post

The buses are good value. The most you can pay for a bus ride is a very small amount compared to the tube. It may or may not be quicker. It may take substantially longer! You have to get to know your bus routes, which is beyond the scope of few-days visit. Each bus stop has a code. Some have displays indicating the times when the next buses are due, some don't. You can get apps that interact with the tfl system and find out if you need to run for the bus before you even leave the house!

I have never done this, but I think there are even river boats that accept Oyster!

(Oh.... tfl = Transport For London, the people that run [almost?] all London's public transport)

PS... staying in Soho; only two days; methinks walking will be enough!
If you use an app such as Citymapp you really donít need the know the bus route. We certainly donít. You just punch in your destination and it will come up with the bus route, times, where you need to change etc. Itís very convenient.

I never look on a route map anywhere these days. Just make sure I have the right apps on my phone wherever I go and you can hitch a ride in Stockholm, Amsterdam or London alike. If you have google you are basically good to go, because it does a pretty decent job as well. Again no need to know the routes.

I believe you are right with respect to the river boats. We went to Greenwich one day, by river boat. Booked in advance, had printed our reservations. Still had to stand in line to get my paper reservation changed into actual tickets. Talk about bureaucracy!

Enjoy Soho. Very nice and very doable on foot!

Jeroen
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Old 21st July 2017, 22:01   #453
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If you use an app such as Citymapp you really donít need the know the bus route. We certainly donít. You just punch in your destination and it will come up with the bus route, times, where you need to change etc. Itís very convenient.
Amazing. Lived in London for thirty years, and now I need advice on how to get around there!

True: I feel like a stranger there now and will certainly explore such apps next time I go, which should be July '18. Thanks.
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Old 21st July 2017, 23:03   #454
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The best part about using the Tube in London is this: Most lines don't operate, and those that operate offer partial services with free buses between other destinations. As a result, you'd get more 'bang on the buck' should you choose to travel on weekends. TfL alone is a great source of knowledge for your adventure in London.
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Old 22nd July 2017, 00:21   #455
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The best part about using the Tube in London is this: Most lines don't operate ... ... ... on weekends.
Ahh, the dreaded engineering work.

I would say that most of the tube works most of the time, seven days a week. But I've spent just a couple of weeks there in the past seven or eight years: is it going through one of those bad times that break out every few years?

It used to madden me that they will close stuff down at weekends. I wouldn't have minded if they stopped me getting to work sometimes, but messing up my personal life was too bad.
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Old 22nd July 2017, 01:08   #456
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Living in London for a year, I have found Google Maps is the simplest way to go around, be it trains or buses or both. Have found it accurate more than 90% of the time.
Also, using oyster card is very convenient. Just create a login Id for your oyster card online and you get alerts on any closures or route changes, especially for weekends. Top ups are super easy at automated kiosks at stations.
I am currently in India for sorting out my visa stuff, will return next week.

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Old 22nd July 2017, 01:22   #457
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Ahh, the dreaded engineering work.

It used to madden me that they will close stuff down at weekends. I wouldn't have minded if they stopped me getting to work sometimes, but messing up my personal life was too bad.
Nowadays, for every closed train route, there is a Rail Replacement bus service made available from same station, free of charge ☺️
So one is not exactly stopped from traveling.
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Old 22nd July 2017, 02:56   #458
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need advice

Well, they did that in my day too.
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Old 22nd July 2017, 05:57   #459
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Its still the same, and I see as the weekends worst to travel in London. Alternatively, suggest a National Rail ticket to savour the sights and sounds of this beautiful country.
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Old 22nd July 2017, 18:21   #460
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need advice

Indeed. I have friends in Cornwall and family in the Lake District. Both are wonderful places to visit, and the train journeys are really enjoyable too. But our current enquirer is spending a mere two days.

Whilst I am British, spent thirty years living in London, and my all-too-rare visits are centred around seeing people (I'm just lucky that they happen to be in those two locations) I am absolutely a tourist in my mother country now. Two weeks is barely enough for London, let alone the rest of UK.
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Old 27th August 2017, 09:09   #461
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need advice

Need some advice about traveling to Spain. My wife is going on a business visit to Madrid, Spain for two weeks. Air travel and accommodation is taken care. Travel is via Abu-Dhabi and Rome. Transit times are 2 hrs and 1.5 hrs at Abu-Dhabi and Rome respectively. How is the transit at these airports?

What are the options for making phone calls from these Airports and also from Madrid? It looks like Hotel has Wifi, but enabling Roaming on the Airtel post-paid is an option.

How is the local transport in Madrid? The office seem to be around 4kms from Hotel.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 27th August 2017, 10:09   #462
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need advice

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What are the options for making phone calls from these Airports and also from Madrid? It looks like Hotel has Wifi, but enabling Roaming on the Airtel post-paid is an option.

How is the local transport in Madrid? The office seem to be around 4kms from Hotel.

Thanks in advance!
Rome and Madrid airports have free wifi that you can use to make Whatsapp calls. Wifi at the Madrid airport is difficult to log into and needs repeated attempts.

Buses, taxis and local trains offer connectivity within Madrid city. The easy and economical way are the local buses if the stops are close to your pick up and drop off points. Taxis are the most convenient and easily available but obviously more expensive - a lot of Laura's / New Octavias / European Rapids.

Most hotels have free wifi so Whatsapp / Viber / Skype calls can be made and received easily.
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Old 28th August 2017, 10:10   #463
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need advice

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Originally Posted by bejoy View Post
Need some advice about traveling to Spain. My wife is going on a business visit to Madrid, Spain for two weeks. Air travel and accommodation is taken care. Travel is via Abu-Dhabi and Rome. Transit times are 2 hrs and 1.5 hrs at Abu-Dhabi and Rome respectively. How is the transit at these airports? Thanks in advance!
Reckon she is travelling via Etihad, whose hub is the capital of the UAE, Abu Dhabi. This airport has nothing to boast of unlike it's other bigger neighbour, Dubai !

Re: roaming option, I activated it once whilst in Dubai enroute to Wroclaw in Poland only to be called upon by an Airtel executive to state my bill has crossed INR 75k.

I've had an awful experience travelling with Etihad, and please do explore if you can do a last-minute change to Emirates.
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Old 28th August 2017, 11:42   #464
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need advice

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Originally Posted by bejoy View Post
Need some advice about traveling to Spain. My wife is going on a business visit to Madrid, Spain for two weeks. Air travel and accommodation is taken care. Travel is via Abu-Dhabi and Rome. Transit times are 2 hrs and 1.5 hrs at Abu-Dhabi and Rome respectively. How is the transit at these airports?
Whatsapp calls are not possible from Ab Dhabi airport. My experience with Etihad and at Abu Dhabi has been terrible. Please do try for alternative options.
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Old 31st August 2017, 11:11   #465
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need advice

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Originally Posted by bejoy View Post
Need some advice about traveling to Spain. My wife is going on a business visit to Madrid, Spain for two weeks. Air travel and accommodation is taken care. Travel is via Abu-Dhabi and Rome. Transit times are 2 hrs and 1.5 hrs at Abu-Dhabi and Rome respectively. How is the transit at these airports?

What are the options for making phone calls from these Airports and also from Madrid? It looks like Hotel has Wifi, but enabling Roaming on the Airtel post-paid is an option.

Thanks in advance!
Abu Dhabi is perhaps once of the most crowded airports I have ever seen. It is total chaos sometimes. Add to that Etihad is one of the most uncomfortable airlines I have ever travelled (even B777s). So, if possible, please explore either Emirates or Qatar airways, both of which are much better as per my experience. Wifi is available at all airports, so you can make Whatsapp or Viber calls

Fiumicino, which will most probably be your transit airport in Rome, is a relatively small airport, but it manages immigration/transit queues rather efficiently. I also think this will be the airport where the Immigration check will happen (first entry point in Schengen area). Rome to Madrid is almost like a domestic flight, but you will have another Immi check at Madrid as well.

Please don't bother with activating international roaming from any Indian operator. The first thing you should do once you land in any EU country is to walk to the nearest news agent and buy a prepaid Lyca (http://www.lycamobile.es/en/) or Lebara SIM. Recharge packs are dead cheap and they also have very very competitive international calling rates (as cheap as 1cent per minute). No ID proofs needed either to buy these.
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