Europe 2014 – The Flashies

Posted: November 4, 2014 in Travel
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No not inappropriate selfies – that is another blog with a paid subscription. As threatened previously these are awards in various categories for our recent trip to Europe. Like their namesake they are a complex enigma that may not always make sense. In the category of transport for example then BC in Emirates is without peer but Blind Freddy would know that. It also comes with a whopping price tag so looking more for that enjoyment factor or bang for buck or simple whimsy. Figure it out yourself. We were very fortunate to stay with friends in both Spain and Italy and these are excluded from the awards because they were easily the best accommodation/food packages but are not available to your average punter (Note clever Cup Tie In). The more advanced amongst you would recognise that a Flushie when given is the exact opposite and indicates a far from ideal experience even allowing for fact you may indeed be surrounded by a bunch of foreigners as well

Accomodation We used a mix of VRBO apartments and hotels organised by Railbookers. Apartments are great for stays beyond 2-3 days and also offer the benefit of laundary facilities. All accommodation was good really but lets not sit on a fence here.

Flashie – Hotel Internazionale Bologna. An unexpected oasis in the middle of downtime great unwashed Bologna. Walking distance to station, spacious, good bar, good breakfast
Flushie – Our “Hamlet” at Millau. Real mixed bag with the best view of any accommodation we had but simply poor service from owner, no wireless, had to drive to anything

Transport All plane travel was fine and as some was BC you would expect that. German Wings check in was a bit dodgy but the small planes were fine for the money. Being held up by late passengers at Dubai was a pain so just shoot the bastards. Train travel is like the little girl – when it is good it is very good, when it is bad it is horrid. If I ever say I am doing a self drive through Europe ever again just shoot me – do us both a favour

Flashie – Freciarossa train from Chambery to Milan. All ran on time, at seat service (first class), comfortable ride
Flushie- TGV high Speed Barcelona to NFI. We escaped relatively easily only having one major disruption to Perpignan. Suckers going on to Paris were in for a world of hurt with zero information or explanation really. Very shoddy treatment of tourists and shows worse side of French Arrogance
HM – The Bitch of Berlin really deserves her own category methinks but for now lets just not forget her
HM2 – The Paris Airport Shuttle organised through Viator was hopeless. Late, non communicative, and drove to unscheduled stops. Avoid at all costs

Food There were some standout feasts on this trip from the Jules Verne experience (for a price) to the amazing Gibas Seafood Restaurant adjacent to the Adriatic but am going to plug for a late comer – the revolving Al Dawaar lunch buffet (with endless wine!) in the Hyatt Regency Dubai. It was simply the best spread of its type I can recall and when you throw in all the wine you can drink for $90 each then it is also surprisingly good value

Flashie – Al Dawaar (yes suspense may have been lost on this announcement)
Flushie – none really. If you order the wrong food clip yaself around the ear

Alcohol Yes Please. Oh sorry, thought you were taking orders. It was all good of course and in Europe you do get generous portions of wine. The beer could be colder in most places but again good size. Coldest beer was probably in Dubai at the end

Flashie – all alcohol is good
Flushie – see above

Hot Drinks Sadly this category includes the beer served on ICE trains (ironic eh?) and in Centre Del Mon in Perpignan. We invariably found at least one good coffee in each town – and plenty of bad ones. Paris was a struggle as always. Italy was helped by local knowledge – its all in how you order. Barcelona was odd – a Cortado in morning at place was great, same order same place next day was crap. There was a very clear winner and loser though

Flashie – Coffee to Go in Aix-En-Provence
Flushie – and I think it had been. Some shit hole near the river in Millau. It gave Swill a bad name. Simply undrinkable and I did try trust me

Tours. The bane of any holiday for me but none were horrid enough to get a Flushie although the bus trip to Dresden threatened early on. The tour of The Catacombs was poorly organised too for a “skip the line” deal. There was a clear winner though as we always find on holidays – if you want to get a great overview of a city do a Segway

Flashie – Berlin City Segway Tours

Museums/Cathedrals/Dead People Usually my absolute favourite part of any city and there were so many contenders zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz, oops sorry dozed off while thinking about them

Flashie – La Sagrada Familia. Outside facade largely blocked by scaffolding but interior simply stunning
Flushie – Take your Pick especially if they charged me to get in
HM – Rodin Museum. Simple but effective and relaxing in great surroundings

Surprise Packet Montserrat . Had no idea we would go there but our friends in Spain detoured on way to Barcelona. Simply amazing place and vista

Comments
  1. Thanks for visiting Turquoise Compass. Have a fabulous turquoise day and remember you are never too young to dream a new dream.
    Jessica, Turquoise Compass

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