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Old 09-12-2017, 10:39 AM   #661
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50cl flask of house wine - $35. (Alcohol is VERY expensive - one is advised to stock up at the airport store before heading into town if you can.) The $4.50 hot dog is actually pretty good for the price (had one yesterday). But I bought a simple wool cap and two pairs of Polarfleece gloves, not even made in Iceland - $150.

Some things seem expensive but are worth it - the Braud & Co. cinnamon rolls, at $4.50, for example. But last night my wife and I had dinner for two (set menu) with 50cl wine - $210.
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Old 09-12-2017, 11:10 AM   #662
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But I bought a simple wool cap and two pairs of Polarfleece gloves, not even made in Iceland - $150.
You need to knit your own! Icelandic yarn is comparatively cheap and it's wonderful stuff. The hat I brought with me was one I'd knitted from yarn bought on my last trip.

I'd thought it might be fun to buy a high-end local brand of cold-weather wear (66 degrees North). I like the subterfuge of buying something high-quality that's not a brand name most people in the US would recognize. The jackets ran $400-$500- and they were made in Latvia. No, thanks.

Sorry for the Iceland Travel Blog tangent, everyone- but it's one of my favorite destinations despite the high prices!
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Old 09-12-2017, 11:21 AM   #663
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Yes, the Munich Hauptbahnhof DBahn kiosks do not accept overseas credit cards from what I can tell. I haven't tried using a debit card.
No longer true.
They were quite happy with my FirstTech Mastercard last week.
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Old 09-12-2017, 12:55 PM   #664
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No longer true.
They were quite happy with my FirstTech Mastercard last week.
Well that's great to know. Explanade had the same card and it didn't work there very recently. ??
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Old 09-12-2017, 01:55 PM   #665
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I should add that the transactions in those machines took longer than normal. Probably 20 seconds delay after entering my PIN. But I was just happy it worked. That's my default card now in Europe.
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Old 09-12-2017, 02:04 PM   #666
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Well that's great to know. Explanade had the same card and it didn't work there very recently. ??
Yeah I used it there on the morning of 9/7/17.

Tried at the street level kiosks in the main hall, before the train tracks at the back.

Also tried one level down where all the food places are. Ended up buying there with cash and then went down the escalator to the S bahn tracks.

But like I said, the same kiosks at the airport baggage claim worked two weeks before.

Inconsistent.
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Old 09-12-2017, 02:08 PM   #667
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50cl flask of house wine - $35. (Alcohol is VERY expensive - one is advised to stock up at the airport store before heading into town if you can.) The $4.50 hot dog is actually pretty good for the price (had one yesterday). But I bought a simple wool cap and two pairs of Polarfleece gloves, not even made in Iceland - $150.

Some things seem expensive but are worth it - the Braud & Co. cinnamon rolls, at $4.50, for example. But last night my wife and I had dinner for two (set menu) with 50cl wine - $210.
When we went to Norway last year, I booked the same chain of hotels in Oslo, Bergen and Alesund because they include dinner. Not great food, just mostly salad bar and one or two hot fishes of meat and fish.

But it looked like some normal meal would have cost at least $50 per person. I checked some menus online. Some nice fish dishes would have been $50 and up.
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Old 09-12-2017, 02:14 PM   #668
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Yeah I used it there on the morning of 9/7/17.

Tried at the street level kiosks in the main hall, before the train tracks at the back.

Also tried one level down where all the food places are. Ended up buying there with cash and then went down the escalator to the S bahn tracks.
Worked for me in Munich on 8/31. Last time I was there I used the PenFed Visa, but that's my secondary now over there.

The only thing I can suggest is to try all available machines. I had an experience once in the train station in either Brussels or Bruges (I forget which) where the first kiosk rejected my card while the one ten feet away happily accepted it.
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Old 09-12-2017, 02:15 PM   #669
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I should add that the transactions in those machines took longer than normal. Probably 20 seconds delay after entering my PIN. But I was just happy it worked. That's my default card now in Europe.
It worked super well for me.

I wish I had thought of trying my chipped debit card the very few times a machine said "invalid card" or "card refused" which to me indicated it did not accept credit cards. But I just didn't think of it because there was usually a quick solution a couple of steps away.
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Old 09-12-2017, 02:35 PM   #670
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When we went to Norway last year, I booked the same chain of hotels in Oslo, Bergen and Alesund because they include dinner. Not great food, just mostly salad bar and one or two hot fishes of meat and fish.

But it looked like some normal meal would have cost at least $50 per person. I checked some menus online. Some nice fish dishes would have been $50 and up.
We went to Iceland in June of this year on a home (and car) exchange. $0 for room and car rental makes a big difference to the budget! But yeah, sticker shock. $30 for a (nice but not special) burger and fries. $10-12 for a beer to go with that. $6 for a Coke (but it was half a litre). $7.50 for a gas station chicken sandwich.

In some ways the best value was at the middle-to-high-end restaurants. We had a couple of $100 tasting menus that were on a par with what might cost $70 in France, so they were more expensive but not outrageously so. (But then we didn't have the wine pairings that we might have made in France.) At small places in Reyjkavik, the "fish of the day" makes for an affordable (though not inexpensive) lunch and is usually very good.

That said, we met some people who lived in Manhattan who said "Meh, it's only a little more than back home". And indeed, we went to NYC at the end of July and we didn't feel the need for cocktails outside of happy hour, once we'd added 27% for tax and tip. (Icelandic prices are all-inclusive, and there is no tipping culture, except in places that get a lot of Americans.)

There is an Icelandic airline called Wow Air that specialises in getting Americans to Europe (and vice versa) cheaply using Boeing 737s. Two four-hour flights and you've gone from London to New York with barely any less leg room than in cattle class on a 757. They have has fun with their aircraft registration codes, too: they have TF-MOM, TF-DAD, TF-BRO, TF-SIS, and (flying the San Francisco route, of course) TF-GAY.
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Old 09-12-2017, 02:39 PM   #671
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I did try several machines.

I think contactless cards are taking off in Europe because the transactions are faster and doesn't require keying in PIN, at least for transactions below a certain amount.

And everywhere where Contactless cards work, Apple Pay works.

Spain seems to have more contactless terminals than Germany or Austria. Maybe just a matter of merchants updating their hardware. The thing is, these little wireless terminals that they bring over to your table at restaurants can't be too much in price.

Yet US merchants, especially restaurants, won't buy them and it's hard to fathom why.

Well one possible reason is that contactless doesn't make it easy to add a tip. I went to one new place here in CA and Apple Pay worked but they wanted me to sign. I had to tell the restaurant manager that the point with Apple Pay is that I don't sign. The Apple Pay number that gets printed on the receipt has no tie to me anyways. That's the whole point about security. But big chains hate that because they want to track your spending, especially with rewards or loyalty programs.

The manager at this restaurant said that if I don't sign, I won't be able to tip. My order was to go.
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Old 09-12-2017, 02:41 PM   #672
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We went to Iceland in June of this year on a home (and car) exchange. $0 for room and car rental makes a big difference to the budget! But yeah, sticker shock. $30 for a (nice but not special) burger and fries. $10-12 for a beer to go with that. $6 for a Coke (but it was half a litre). $7.50 for a gas station chicken sandwich.

In some ways the best value was at the middle-to-high-end restaurants. We had a couple of $100 tasting menus that were on a par with what might cost $70 in France, so they were more expensive but not outrageously so. (But then we didn't have the wine pairings that we might have made in France.) At small places in Reyjkavik, the "fish of the day" makes for an affordable (though not inexpensive) lunch and is usually very good.

That said, we met some people who lived in Manhattan who said "Meh, it's only a little more than back home". And indeed, we went to NYC at the end of July and we didn't feel the need for cocktails outside of happy hour, once we'd added 27% for tax and tip. (Icelandic prices are all-inclusive, and there is no tipping culture, except in places that get a lot of Americans.)

There is an Icelandic airline called Wow Air that specialises in getting Americans to Europe (and vice versa) cheaply using Boeing 737s. Two four-hour flights and you've gone from London to New York with barely any less leg room than in cattle class on a 757. They have has fun with their aircraft registration codes, too: they have TF-MOM, TF-DAD, TF-BRO, TF-SIS, and (flying the San Francisco route, of course) TF-GAY.
Iceland is on my bucket list but I haven't researched it to see when is the best time to go. Of course if you go in late summer, probably best chance to avoid bad weather.

But you have to go in the winter to see the Northern Lights I believe.
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Old 09-12-2017, 02:53 PM   #673
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Spain seems to have more contactless terminals than Germany or Austria. Maybe just a matter of merchants updating their hardware. The thing is, these little wireless terminals that they bring over to your table at restaurants can't be too much in price.

Yet US merchants, especially restaurants, won't buy them and it's hard to fathom why.

Well one possible reason is that contactless doesn't make it easy to add a tip. I went to one new place here in CA and Apple Pay worked but they wanted me to sign. I had to tell the restaurant manager that the point with Apple Pay is that I don't sign. The Apple Pay number that gets printed on the receipt has no tie to me anyways. That's the whole point about security. But big chains hate that because they want to track your spending, especially with rewards or loyalty programs.

The manager at this restaurant said that if I don't sign, I won't be able to tip. My order was to go.
Yeah I wonder also. You might have something there about the tip. In Europe we leave cash tips. But I have also run into wireless terminals that let you add a tip.
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Old 09-12-2017, 02:56 PM   #674
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Iceland is on my bucket list but I haven't researched it to see when is the best time to go. Of course if you go in late summer, probably best chance to avoid bad weather.

But you have to go in the winter to see the Northern Lights I believe.
IMHO, any time is good.
My first trip to Iceland (long ago) was in January. Spent a couple of weeks there and loved it.
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Old 09-12-2017, 03:19 PM   #675
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Yeah I wonder also. You might have something there about the tip. In Europe we leave cash tips. But I have also run into wireless terminals that let you add a tip.
The devices at Chillis do allow tipping (as well as sell games on the side). In Chillis the device is assigned to a single table so it stays there and this is how it knows which bill to present. It presents a screen where you can set the tip with a slider to vary the amount. Of course they still swipe and don't use the chip.
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Old 09-12-2017, 03:51 PM   #676
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The devices at Chillis do allow tipping (as well as sell games on the side). In Chillis the device is assigned to a single table so it stays there and this is how it knows which bill to present. It presents a screen where you can set the tip with a slider to vary the amount. Of course they still swipe and don't use the chip.
Right. They've had this for years now. Serious time saving for wait staff. Don't see why most US chains aren't already doing this.
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Old 09-12-2017, 04:33 PM   #677
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There's certainly a cost to equipping terminals at every table.

I'm just talking about those little handheld things that are a little more bigger and thicker than one of those old cordless phones.

The waitress brings it over to your table in Europe when you tell them you want to pay by credit card. You can enter a PIN there or it will print out a slip for you to sign if you have a US card. But the newest ones also have the NFC chip and will show the contactless symbol on the screen. That is when I use my iPhone.

I usually tell them I want to tap or use contactless. Then they have to enter in the amount and then the contactless prompt comes up.

Anyways those little terminals are maybe $200 at the most.

A lot of small restaurants may not be able to absorb that cost, especially if they need to get several of them.

But my suspicion is that many banks, especially in Spain, will lease or provide those terminals, just so you end up using those banks to clear the transaction, for which they get a fee.

So I contrast that with Austrian and German restaurants who want cash unless the bill is at least 20-25 Euros.

In Spain, a lot of my bills were 11-12 Euros (and they were some of the best deals, good 2-3 course meal with house wine in Asturias).
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Old 09-13-2017, 12:13 AM   #678
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There's certainly a cost to equipping terminals at every table.

I'm just talking about those little handheld things that are a little more bigger and thicker than one of those old cordless phones.

The waitress brings it over to your table in Europe when you tell them you want to pay by credit card. You can enter a PIN there or it will print out a slip for you to sign if you have a US card. But the newest ones also have the NFC chip and will show the contactless symbol on the screen. That is when I use my iPhone.

I usually tell them I want to tap or use contactless. Then they have to enter in the amount and then the contactless prompt comes up.

Anyways those little terminals are maybe $200 at the most.

A lot of small restaurants may not be able to absorb that cost, especially if they need to get several of them.

But my suspicion is that many banks, especially in Spain, will lease or provide those terminals, just so you end up using those banks to clear the transaction, for which they get a fee.

So I contrast that with Austrian and German restaurants who want cash unless the bill is at least 20-25 Euros.

In Spain, a lot of my bills were 11-12 Euros (and they were some of the best deals, good 2-3 course meal with house wine in Asturias).

I think you mean POS terminals like these. They are ubiquitous in Canada.

https://www.tdcanadatrust.com/produc...nt-of-sale.jsp
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Old 09-13-2017, 08:51 AM   #679
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I pay cash for meals at 'family' owned restaurants. Otherwise, the bank fees take to big a chunk of their profits. I enjoy the smaller family restaurants and want them to stay in business.

Same with hotels. Small family hotels have to give a huge chunk of the rent to those online booking outfits, so, if possible, I reserve a room directly with the hotel.

Penfed chip and pin Visa works well in Europe for me including many ticket machines. My Barclay card is supposed to work as chip-n-pin but I have never actually had it work as a true chip-n-pin in Europe, even after using it as chip and signature for the first transaction. Thankfully, both have no foreign transaction fees.
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Old 09-13-2017, 09:13 AM   #680
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I pay cash for meals at 'family' owned restaurants. Otherwise, the bank fees take to big a chunk of their profits. I enjoy the smaller family restaurants and want them to stay in business.

Same with hotels. Small family hotels have to give a huge chunk of the rent to those online booking outfits, so, if possible, I reserve a room directly with the hotel.

Penfed chip and pin Visa works well in Europe for me including many ticket machines. My Barclay card is supposed to work as chip-n-pin but I have never actually had it work as a true chip-n-pin in Europe, even after using it as chip and signature for the first transaction. Thankfully, both have no foreign transaction fees.
If you look up the chip verification list for the Barclay card you'll see that it is signature priority.

The only US issued PIN priority cards currently AFAIK are the First Tech Credit Union MasterCard and a United Nations credit union credit card.
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