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2016 European Vacation

 
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Jun, 2016 07:45 am
@McGentrix,
Sure! (And she'll know that the Hohenzollerns aren't 'Prussians' Wink )
McGentrix
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Jun, 2016 08:05 am
@Walter Hinteler,
Well, Frederick the Great was king of Prussia for a bit. Anyways, it's all based around some anime show she watches called Hitalia (?).

Also, I don't recall ever visiting that particular castle previously. I do, however, have photographic evidence that I learned to dive while at Lake Konstanz...
Walter Hinteler
 
  2  
Reply Fri 3 Jun, 2016 09:05 am
@McGentrix,
Well, the dynasty is called 'Hohenzollern'.
And there are two branches - you probably remember the castle of the senior Swabian branch of the House of Hohenzollern in Sigmaringen.
(Hohenzollern castle, the one you will visit, is owned 2/3 by the Brandenburg Hohenzollerns ["Prussians"] and 1/3 by the Swabians.]
0 Replies
 
McGentrix
 
  1  
Reply Sat 2 Jul, 2016 07:38 pm
Stuck in Chicago an extra 3.5 hours. Thanks Obama.
0 Replies
 
InfraBlue
 
  1  
Reply Sat 2 Jul, 2016 08:12 pm
@McGentrix,
McGentrix wrote:

My daughter has a weird fixation on Prussia. Figured this would be a nice distraction half way through the trip.


Yeah, my daughter was completely into Hetalia.

This Japanese webcomic takes liberties with history, and plays on cultural and ethnic stereotypes. You'd love the way America is portrayed, heh.

Here's the personification of Prussia, he's Germany's "older brother":

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/79/b4/38/79b43882f040bc077bc59789b4154c0d.jpg

and a cosplayer:

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/0d/28/30/0d283098159951f4b3b8bb927f33a941.jpg

If anything, it piqued an interest in history in my daughter.
0 Replies
 
McGentrix
 
  1  
Reply Sun 3 Jul, 2016 08:05 am
http://imgur.com/Y7m2e2J
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Sun 3 Jul, 2016 08:14 am
@McGentrix,
https://scontent-yyz1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/13532942_10153671401670770_1501717620885895970_n.jpg?oh=ab8673a8ff721355a0ebf25e6af7b29a&oe=57E9F227

looks like a good time at the Rotary Ribfest in Etobicoke Smile
0 Replies
 
McGentrix
 
  3  
Reply Sun 17 Jul, 2016 01:43 pm
https://tripwow.tripadvisor.com/tripwow/ta-084a-1bf0-d67f?ln
Walter Hinteler
 
  2  
Reply Sun 17 Jul, 2016 02:19 pm
@McGentrix,
Nice slideshow, thanks for sharing!
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  2  
Reply Sun 17 Jul, 2016 03:37 pm
@McGentrix,
Great slideshow.

Looks like it was a terrific trip.
0 Replies
 
margo
 
  2  
Reply Tue 19 Jul, 2016 07:24 am
Good slide show.

Do you want to tell us about the trip? What you loved? Disappointments? Amazing experiences? Things you won't do next time?

We're all ears!
0 Replies
 
ossobucotemp
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Jul, 2016 12:42 pm
@McGentrix,
I can't see it (no adobe flash, too old computer) but I'm very interested in how your trip went, just the old curiosity going on, love of adventure.
0 Replies
 
George
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Jul, 2016 01:13 pm
I'm gonna have to try TripWow.
0 Replies
 
McGentrix
 
  4  
Reply Thu 21 Jul, 2016 04:01 pm
Ok, I will try to write up something nice and post it. Thanks for your interest, it actually made me happy.
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 Jul, 2016 05:21 pm
@McGentrix,
Make us all happy, and post your travel log. As a frequent traveler, I'm curious.
0 Replies
 
McGentrix
 
  4  
Reply Wed 27 Jul, 2016 12:52 pm
Got this far, still catching up at work...

July 1, 2016
The plan was to drive to Toronto, celebrate Canada Day with what turned out to be every Canadian and then fly out of YYZ (also an excellent Rush song) the next morning. We had all purchased new luggage as I wanted to pack light, one carry on per person. My wife and daughter had hard sided small suitcases with rollers and handles and were really quite nice. I purchased a Rick Steve’s soft sided backpack/suitcase that had a lot of nice features for my son. I also bought an eBag that was similar to the Rick Steve bag. I liked the features my bag offered over the Rick Steve. My wife had purchased the space bags for everyone to be able to compress their clothes to fit better. I bought myself a set of “packing cubes” from Amazon. The fit like puzzle pieces in my bag. So, 4 bags, 4 people on our way to Toronto excited about the coming adventure.
Everything was great until about 1 mile from the border where we encountered the traffic trying to get into Canada. Holy cow! Lots of people cross at Niagara Falls to get into Canada. Waited in line until we could get to the Duty Free where we decided to stop as neither kid had been there and I told them about the giant Toblerone bars they sold. Now, the one alcohol that I really enjoy is Canadian Royal blended whiskey. I had recently finished my bottle and refilled with a 750ml bottle for $45. I see I can get 2 1.25l for $30… OMG! Cheap booze! Naturally I grab them up. My wife also got 2 bottles of Kahlua and a bottle of Capt. Morgan. So, 5 bottles. Cashier says that the limit is 1 bottle per person of age. We risk it… Pack the bottles away in the trunk and head to the border where we encountered the best Border guard ever. Asked if we had anything to declare, showed her the receipt and she says that the limit is 1 bottle per person of drinking age. “Your kids are 18?” she says, I think for a second and say “Do they need to be?” “yes.” She says and I say “Yes ma’am.” And she lets us go… Awesome person that understands people are people. She could have made us pull over and go inside to pay the duty. What an awesome start!
Get to hotel, the Quality Suites at Toronto Airport. They offer 15 day parking if you get a room. How awesome is that? Get directions for Ribfest and off we go. Was warned about parking, shrugged it off. Get to park and there were only one and half million people there. Ended up parking on some back road in a housing development nearby. On the complete opposite side of where we needed to be, but parking is parking. As we walk towards the event, we kept seeing people with their food boxes leaving. They got their ribs and were going home. This wasn’t one or two people, this was a constant stream. Like a trail of leaf cutter ants with their leaves. We get to the gate and we passed where the fireworks were going to be launched from. Many people were already claiming their small plots of land to watch. We stand in line to get in, only costs $4 cdn to get in as kids are free. The lined in front of the rib stands were crazy! Easily 2-300 people in each line. There were 8 different Rib places, several side dish ones as well. Toronto and the region within 100 miles must have been empty because they were all in that tiny area. My wife and daughter picked a rib line and my son and I went in search of sides and drinks… Sooooooooo many people. Made the command decision that this was ridiculous. We were going to be miserable trying to find a table to eat at, with cold ribs and just wasn’t worth it. We walked back to the car and went to a nice steak house near the hotel. Got an acceptable night’s sleep and grabbed shuttle to the airport.
July 2, 2016
Plane was scheduled to leave at 10am, so I wanted to get there early but that didn’t quite happen. Get there, check in, Canadian TSA is nice (not really TSA) and we get to the right gate with about 10 minutes to spare. Now, one of the reason we were flying from Toronto was that the price for tickets was almost half the cost of flying from anywhere in the US I could drive to in a day. That saved us almost $3000 flying from Toronto. In the interest of saving so much money, I booked myself business class for flight over. Figured the 3 of them could all have seats together and then we would all have a nice flight… lol.
We had a small plane to fly us from Toronto to Chicago where we would then fly to Edinburgh. Flight was good, no issues, no complaints. Get to Chicago and our flight was already delayed 45 minutes. We had a 3 hour layover so ok, another 45 minutes is alright. Stuff to do in O’hare anyways. After a couple hours I go look at the board again and now flight delayed 2 hours. WTF? So, now we decide we’ll have dinner. Have an ok airport dinner and go look, delayed 3 hours now… ok, what’s happening?! Turns out it was a flight from south west somewhere and the plane had experienced engine failure and had to make emergency stop somewhere… I am not sure if we got a new plane of repaired plane. Ugh.
Finally queue up for boarding and I get zone 1 while fam gets zone 4. Get on and I have a fancy seat that has a 22”screen, chair folds down flat into a bed, full size headphones, a nice gift bag of goodies… generally very nice. I sit down and get comfortable and my seatmate gets on and it’s a 20 something attractive girl wearing tight yoga pants and a comfy shirt. Going to be an enjoyable flight… people stream by until I finally see my family get on. I smartly tell them to use my overhead bin as there is a ton of room and who knows what’s available in steerage. I get comfy as flight is getting ready to leave, start watching Batman v Superman and life is good. Meanwhile, from what I am told, steerage is cramped, there is a baby in the row behind and the row in front had no problem leaning their chairs back. After landing and finding this all out, I almost felt a pang of guilt. Almost. If you get the chance to take a long distance flight and you can get business class, do it for yourself. It is worth it.
We land in Edinburgh 9am local time. First day in Europe! Woot! I’ve never been to Edinburgh proper. We get off plane and they had given us customs cards that needed filling out and we needed passports and women folk needed to pee… ugh. Have to stand in line to get through customs, then have to stand in another line for something else and finally get through. Get my Uber app out and call a car to get us to our hotel. Driving left side of road feels wrong. Saw Magpies all over the place. Only ever seen one live at a zoo now they are everywhere! I was hoping swooping season was over.
ossobucotemp
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Jul, 2016 01:04 pm
Enjoyable to read, thanks for posting.
0 Replies
 
cicerone imposter
 
  0  
Reply Wed 27 Jul, 2016 01:07 pm
@McGentrix,
Good start, but this is July 27. LOL
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Jul, 2016 01:10 pm
@McGentrix,
Good reading!


(should have given you Ribfest instructions - they're all like that up here - seating first - everything else follows)
0 Replies
 
ossobucotemp
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Jul, 2016 01:13 pm
@cicerone imposter,
What about it? I didn't post my New York City diary for a year (though I think I sent copies to people I met there soon after I got home) and got thumped for waiting a so long to put it on a2k. Geez. It's a treat to read a good diary at any time.
0 Replies
 
 

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