Peter Pan and Greyhound Review

IIMG_6792 went to New York for the weekend. Which meant spending a total of 9 hours on a bus, leaving from South Station in Boston, headed for Port Authority in New York. On the way there I went with a Peter Pan bus and on the way back I went with Greyhound. Peter Pan and Greyhound are interchangeable, because the same company owns them, so you never know which bus you will take. However, there are a couple of differences. I personally prefer the Greyhound buses and here’s why:

 

The Peter Pan bus was slightly older and grimier. It wasn’t too bad, but there did seem to be a lot of gum stuck everywhere. However, the WIFI worked just fine, so I shouldn’t really complain, because WIFI is very important on such long trips. We didn’t stop at all on our way down, except for a short stop in Hartford to switch drivers. So we didn’t get a break to get up and stretch, but I didn’t mind, at least we didn’t waste any time. We got to New York with only the slightest delay, caused by traffic right outside of the city. In general Peter Pan is cheap and efficient, the quality is ok. It’s not the best, but not the worst.

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Greyhound was better. Their buses seem a little bigger, so their seats are wider and more comfortable. The driver was very nice and helpful. At the beginning of the journey he gave us information about the length of the trip, the WIFI and other info we might need. Half way through the drive, we stopped for about 15 minutes at a rest stop where we could go to Burger King or McDonald’s. After that we continued on the trip to Boston. There were a couple of bad things about this particular journey. First, the bus eventually started smelling like pee. This was masked by the smell of burgers after our stop, but the smell came back, even stronger. Second, the individual lights above the seats didn’t work. So when it got dark in the evening, there was not much I could do for the rest of the trip.

 

Overall I like traveling with Peter Pan/Greyhound. They are cheap and they get you wherever you need. The quality may not be great, but it is what you would expect for the price.

 

Next read my article about what to do on a long trip!

Emirates – worth the hype?

For the past year or so, I’ve been hearing a lot of praise for Emirates. I’ve flown with quite a few airlines already, but I kept hearing how Emirates is off the charts wonderful. Finally last week, I got my chance to check it out and see how the airline compares to its competition. So what did I think?

My Emirates plane!

Pre-flight

To be honest, I can’t judge their booking process, as I haven’t gone through it myself. But from the point of receiving my tickets onward, I was happy with the pre-flight process. A day before each departure (from Prague and then from Dubai on my way back), I received a text message, reminding me of my upcoming departure. What was great about this text was that it included a link to online check-in, so I could complete that fairly quickly. At the airport, it was pretty standard – bag drop, quick coffee, security. The one thing I have to say is that on the way back, my check-in, passport and security checks were completed in a total of 15 minutes. That was a first for me, so I was fairly impressed and at a loss for what to do in two and a half hours I had until boarding.

Flight

On my way there, I sat in the very last row of the plane. I don’t really sleep on planes, so I’m not bothered by travelers or flight attendants frequently walking by my seat. I was flying in a Boeing, but I was immediately impressed with their in flight entertainment, which you can start watching as soon as you sit down. Boarding was a quick process and I even got lucky – the seat next to me was empty – probably the only empty seat on the plane. And on medium to long haul flights, this is something I always hope for. I held my breath and was so happy when they closed the cabin door and it was certain that I won’t be fighting for my spot on the armrest. The flight was almost entirely a smooth ride, with no major turbulence or other disruptions.

In-flight entertainment

Even before takeoff, we got hot towels to freshen up and headsets were already on our seats. As soon as the safety video was over, I started looking through my movie choices. The selection was impressive and included several movies that I have been planning to see. Which means that precisely at that point I decided that I’d use the six or so hours to catch up on movies and tv, rather than sleep. (I was grateful for the same selection on the way back, because even then I didn’t watch everything I wanted to).

The in flight entertainment was so great that I didn’t even feel the need to test the in flight WiFi or turn on my phone, which were also within the realm of possibility on these flights. 

Emirates food

Cabin service was amazing. When mealtime came, I was worried that, as often happens in the back of the plane, I wouldn’t be able to choose my meal. And guess what? They still had chicken when they reached the last row of the plane, which almost never happens. And it was not just edible, it was good. I also fell in love with their adorable mini snacks that were a part of the meal. But my favorite part? When they collected my tray ahead of time, so I didn’t have to wait for the cart to reach my row.

 

Emirates luggage tag.

Does it stack up?

Both of my flights, Prague to Dubai and the return journey a few days later, were great and comfortable experiences and we landed before I could get bored.

My conclusion: you have to try it. It’s still an airline, but if you’re traveling far and want to feel at least a little pampered even in economy class, do it.

More details on my adventure in Dubai are coming soon, so make sure to check in later!


READ MORE: 

How we flew with Ryan Air

How to plan your trip (without going crazy)


Three Days in Munich

Last summer I went with my friend to Munich for the first time. Since I never traveled to Germany, I didn’t quite know what to expect, but I was excited. It was a fun experience filled with beautiful, fairytale-like castles, walking tours and even naps :)

 

We only went for three days, so we decided to take a night bus from Prague. This meant that we got to Munich at 4:30am, which would not have been an issue, except for the fact that the metro doesn’t open until 5am. So we ended up waiting for thirty minutes on a bench, trying not to freeze. I wish I could say that is where our difficulties with the metro ended, but no. Part of the line we had to take downtown was under construction, so we had to get off, take a bus, get on the metro and switch lines one more time before we actually managed to get to our hotel, the Regent Hotel.

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Of course by then it was only 5:45, so we couldn’t check in. After leaving our bags there, we went searching for food and, most importantly, coffee. Luckily our hotel was right next to the train station, making it slightly easier to find a good source of food. So after a quick breakfast, around 6:30am, we decided to go for a walk around the nearly abandoned city. The streets were completely empty. We didn’t really know where to go, so we walked around aimlessly, but we managed to hit the most important landmarks anyway. We walked through Marienplatz and even Englisher Garten, before the streets started to fill up.

 

Tip #1: Go for a walk early in the morning! The empty city looks completely different and it is amazing to see the city wake up.

 

By 10:30 we were starving! We weighed the options, and stopped at the nearest affordable place for food, then headed back to our hotel, where we could finally check in and took a “short” nap, which ended up being three hours long. The rest of the day we walked around some more and almost got run over by all the bike riders in the city.

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The next day we went on the full day Royal Castles Tour. First stop, Linderhof castle. This was King Ludwig II’s residence, built to resemble the Versailles Palace, but much smaller. We toured the interiors and walked around the gardens a little, before getting back on the bus and going to Oberammergau.

 

 

Oberammergau is a picturesque DSC_6486-wm little town, with beautifully painted houses and the most interesting history of the Passion Play. This was a very short stop, so we only walked around for a little bit and looked into a couple of the numerous souvenir shops on the main street. The town is full of very skilled wood carvers, so there are shops with all sorts of toys and clocks and other merchandise.

 

Last stop, Neuschwanstein castle, the most anticipated castle. The bus dropped us off in Hohenschwangau, a small town under the castle. We had four hours to do whatever we wanted. Obviously we wanted to go up to the castle. What we were not prepared for, was the climb up to it, especially in combination with the extreme heat of the day. After what seemed forever, in reality about 25 minutes, we got up to the castle and it was definitely worth the effort. It is just like a fairytale castle! So naturally we had to take lots and lots of pictures from all angles possible. King Ludwig II had huge plans for Neuschwantstein. Lots of towers and spires were on the original blueprint, but Ludwig died before the castle was completed. After his death the state finished building the castle as quickly as possible and opened it to the public, in hopes of getting some money back. For this reason it was never furnished.

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Tip #2: If you are going to walk up to Neuschwanstein, bring enough water for the hike up! You will definitely need it, especially in the summer.

 

DSC_6815-wmOur walk down was much easier and smoother, so by the time we got down the monstrous hill, we still had about an hour to kill. And what better way to kill time than to do an impromptu photo-shoot by the lake Alpsee. Which was, of course, very exhausting, so we both ended up falling asleep on the bus ride back to Munich.

 

The next day, which was our last, we took a walking tour of Munich. This was a lot of fun, because we got to see a lot more of the city than we did before. I definitely suggest you do this, because the tour guide will take you to places, like the unofficial Michael Jackson memorial, which you wouldn’t normally come across.

 

Our last stop, before we got on the bus back to Czech Republic, was the Nymphenburg Palace and the gardens. This was a little out of the way, but we had half a day before our bus, and the summer palace seemed like a great stop. We didn’t take the tour of the interior, but we walked around the gardens for a little bit, before heading to the bus stop.

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Munich is a small city, but definitely worth visiting. If you ever go, I definitely recommend taking the Royal Castles tour and the walking tour. Hope you have as much fun as I did! :)

How to plan your trip (without going crazy)

DSCN2952Originally I was going to write this post while planning my three week trip to the US in September, but because, as usual, life happened and I had to cancel last minute. But even though I didn’t go, I went through the entire process of trip planning, so I decided I would share with you how I do it.

Even though it depends on what sort of a trip you’re planning – weekend getaway, road trip across a foreign country or a beach getaway, you have things to learn and plan, so here are my tips

  1. Flight (alternatively bus or train tickets, or car route). Basically, how are you getting to your destination (or the start point of your road trip) and back? It’s always good to start with this so that you have definite time information about the beginning and end of your trip. Personally, I check on websites that compare multiple airlines, so that I get an idea of the prices and can pick who I want to fly with. But I usually end up buying tickets with the airlines themselves, they are usually ever so slightly cheaper and the terms might be better. So it’s worth it to check out both the airline itself and other websites.
  1. Now that you know how and when you’re getting to your destination, it’s time to decide whether or not you will be in one destination for the entire trip or if you’ll be moving around. If you’re going to be moving around and spending time in different places, the next step is to check out transportation. Will you be renting a car? Taking a bus? Train? Look up arrangements, costs and travel times and possibilities. As was the case with my trip to the US, I looked at a few bus companies and AmTrak. I ended up picking a combination of buses that suited my route and budget the best. Map out your entire journey – if I plan on moving around, I like printing a map and drawing my routes in or looking them up on Google.
  1. Hotels! This is my favorite part. I love looking at places to stay and sleep. And since you have your individual trips planned out, you know where you will be staying. Look up possibilities and make sure to look at customer reviews on websites such as Trip Advisor. Also, don’t trust the amount of stars a hotel has. We’ve seen so many different three star hotels – ranging from nearly luxury suites to tiny moldy rooms.
  1. Now that you know the most important things, it’s time to see what you can do and see when you’re there! Obviously, if all you want to do is lie on a beach, your job is super easy. If you want to see as much as possible, look at things that are reachable by public transport or within a couple hours’ drive.
  1. And, most importantly, HAVE FUN!! Be flexible, don’t freak out when things don’t go exactly according to plan, they rarely do. But that’s what makes life interesting :)

My final tip is – you never know when you’ll have or won’t have access to the internet or a printer. Make sure you have the most important documents printed – plane/bus/train tickets, hotel reservations and possibly a list of places you want to go.

Is there anything you like to do when you plan a trip? Let me know below :) Fun travels!


READ MORE: 

How we flew with Ryan Air

Festival survival tips


Fall in Boston

Bos-AutumnBoston is one of the most beautiful places to visit in the fall. If you time it right. It lasts only about a week there, other than that it is mostly rainy and cold. But that one week is worth a visit, because everything is colorful and magical. That one week is usually mid October. There is a ton to do around Boston in the fall too, since most universities are back in session, there are also a lot of great deals you should take advantage of.

 

The Boston Common and the Public gardens completely change in the fall. Everything changes from vibrant green to gold and red. Just walking around the parks and even going to the esplanade is relaxing. It also makes a perfect spot to take pictures, or if you’re a filmmaker, like me, a perfect set for a short film.

 

IMG_0692The Emerald Necklace is perfect for a longer walk or a bike ride. It ends with the Arnold Arboretum, which belongs to Harvard University, located in Jamaica Plain. I have never actually been there myself, but I heard it is beautiful and definitely worth seeing in that one week of October.

 

Fall also means Halloween. Since Boston is a college city, you can always find parties on Halloween weekend. Or you can go see The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which has a special Halloween event, or they screen the regular version every Saturday night in AMC Boston Common. If you want a calmer Halloween, you can always go trick or treating in different neighborhoods, one of my favorite places to go is Beacon Hill. Lastly, you can also take a day trip to Salem, where they have special events all weekend.

 

Later in fall, around November 20th, they also convert the Frog Pond in the Common into an ice rink. This really depends on the weather though, sometimes they don’t put it up until December. But it is so much fun and its beautiful ice-skating outside. It does get quite crowded though, with families and other college students, but it’s worth a try.
If you are a college student, then there is one more perk for you: college nights at the Museum of Science and the Museum of Fine Arts. Free entrance to both amazing museums, which you should take advantage of! Museum of Science is a really fun place to go to, with a lot of interactive aspects to the science. For example, there is a whole section devoted to physics on a playground, where you can try out the swings, while learning how they work. Museum of Fine Arts, on the other hand, is just beautiful and enormous. You probably won’t get to walk through it all, so choose your favorite era or style of art and take your time there.

 

Hopefully you will find the time to visit Boston at least once and that the weather will be nice enough for all these activities.