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Old 06-06-2020, 09:41 AM   #181
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nemo.....it is so difficult to predict what will happen.
Indeed it is! As mentioned previously, we have small deposits on two back-to-back Pullmantur cruises, the first scheduled to depart Trieste October 25, and we would end up in Athens Nov 12.

Final payment is due, I believe, (without checking our records), late August, and we may (or may not) have a clearer picture by then and know if we can (or want to) proceed.

Should we go ahead, there's an RC ship departing Civitavecchia Nov 26 for Galveston, TX, which gives us two weeks to kill/fill before it sails. (This, if we booked it, would likely be 'last minute'.)

So this is a fishing expedition......DW's stopped in Messina, (Pullmantur again), but hasn't seen Greece.....so it's all 'hither & yon' right now......we've discussed, OK, chatted about), going up to Albania from Athens, (going via Meteora which DW hasn't seen), or going Athens to Catania, or taking the ferry to Brindisi and catching trains, (we're big train fans), up the Italian Adriatic coast......some places I've been to, some I haven't.....I want to go everywhere but that's not going to happen.

Bottom line, we appreciate any/all suggestions!
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Old 06-06-2020, 10:09 AM   #182
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We flew to Ioanini and made that our base for four days of travel. We really enjoyed Meteora. Spent the night in Metsova and were surprised to see the snow removal tractor parked in the basement parking garage! Just as surpirsed when we stopped by the ski hill and chair lift in Cyprus. We could have gone to Albania from either Ioanini or Corfu but chose not to. Our son spent time in Albania and highly recommended it to us. Public transport can be a challenge.

We have done the ferry route from Dubrovnik to Bari. OK, but at night and extremely boring. Did it out of necessity.

We want to spend time along the Italian Adriatic coast as well. From Ancona down to Brindisi. It is one area in Italy that we have never been but always wanted to go.

At some point you might want to check out the Air Malta routes and pricing. We found them to be very good. We flew with them from Prague to Malta, Malta to Catania. You can get to a lot of interesting places from Malta.

BTW..we thoroughly enjoyed Sicily. We had three wonderful days in Palermo at a small B&B opposite the Opera House. We could hear the music at night as we walked nearby.
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Old 06-06-2020, 10:09 AM   #183
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nemo.....it is so difficult to predict what will happen. This past fall we spent five weeks in Greece and then two in Cyprus.

Our initial plan was to use ferry, bus, car rentals. We did car rentals on the mainland and for each of our week long stay on each island. Our surprise was the low cost of air-incredibly low. In once instance flying from Corfu to Kefalonia was only about 20 percent more than ferry/bus but saved us a day of travel. Air from Athens to Ioanini was actually less and faster than bus. It was $50 cad each. Same for air to Cyprus, then return to London.

We did five flights, eight segments (they mostly go through Athens) on Aegean/Olympic. One surprise to us that on on occasion the fare Aegean/Olympic fare for the same flight, same time, on Expedia was considerably less that the airline's website (we use skyscanner to check routes/fares in Europe). We also experienced the same with Interjet domestic flights in Mexico this past winter.

We are fans of Aegean/Olympic. Always on time. No extra charge for our airline std. carry on. Unlike some other airlines they do not check your bag weight down to the last gram or put their thumbs on the scale while doing so in order to generate revenue!

We have done a fair amount of rail in Italy and we plan to do more. But not in Sicily!
Yeah I've only drove in Sicily, never trains. A bus once though.
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Old 06-06-2020, 10:16 AM   #184
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nemo.....as an aside we flew to Vienna on a one way ticket. When in Palermo we started to think about going home to Canada as well as a last minute cruise.

The last minute RCI cruise that we picked up from Rome-BCN was a bargain. Even better, they offered one way air home from BCN on BA (through London and then direct to Calgary) at an great price. Saved us going to London or Paris on our own and picking up a Transat flight.
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Old 06-06-2020, 10:32 AM   #185
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Thanks guys....keep 'em coming please....great tips brett!

Meteora....there in the late 1980s....spoke to a blind monk in one of the monasteries....he said he knew 'The Danforth' in Toronto...people there supplied him with eye medications.

First in Greece almost 57 years ago to the month...so much (in the world) to see, so little time.

As our 'local' girl says:



Malta is another place I'd like to visit.....I've seen so much, yet seen so little.

Also like to see Charyn Canyon in Kazakhstan:



But I'm getting waaaay ahead of myself.
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Old 06-06-2020, 01:11 PM   #186
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Gradually, after retiring nine years ago, we have switched the way we travel. We tend to travel spontaneously. We have a general schedule but it is very much open to adjustment. On our fall trip to Greece we thought we might go to Cyprus, Israel, or Morocco for two weeks. It was Cyprus...the air and the accommodation worked to our advantage. Only taking carry has made it even more enjoyable.

Attractive places, good accommodation & price, great airfare to places we have never been want want to see, knock out prices on cruises and shorter AI stays are all on our menu. Cannot imaging going back to having everything organized from the first day to day 50 or 60. When we leave home it is not unusual for us to have only 3 or 4 days booked. The rest is done on the fly so to speak. Not as many last minute cruises as in the past. We find the value(to us) to be decreasing across all the mass market lines because of the cutbacks.
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Old 06-06-2020, 01:18 PM   #187
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Attractive places, good accommodation & price, great airfare to places we have never been want want to see, knock out prices on cruises and shorter AI stays are all on our menu. Cannot imaging going back to having everything organized from the first day to day 50 or 60. When we leave home it is not unusual for us to have only 3 or 4 days booked. The rest is done on the fly so to speak. Not as many last minute cruises as in the past. We find the value(to us) to be decreasing across all the mass market lines because of the cutbacks.
"Hallelujah"......Handel couldn't have expressed it better!
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Old 06-06-2020, 01:18 PM   #188
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. When we leave home it is not unusual for us to have only 3 or 4 days booked. The rest is done on the fly so to speak. Not as many last minute cruises as in the past. We find the value(to us) to be decreasing across all the mass market lines because of the cutbacks.
I am curious. Among your 3 or 4 days of bookings does that include your return flight home?
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Old 06-06-2020, 05:14 PM   #189
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Sometimes it includes the flight home but when it does it is typically an open jaw flight. Last fall we flew into Athens with a return from London. Why? Price was right and we knew that we could easily get LC air flights from the three options we were looking at post Greece-Cyprus, Israel, or Morocco. Lots of good, inexpensive flights from Crete to London or Paris. We have done this before in Europe from both London and Paris. Good hubs and we enjoy both cities. Once we snagged a transatlantic cruise on Celebrity from Istanbul. Never again. Once we left Europe we had five days at sea. We were both ready to jump ship by the end of day three!

We do a fair amount of research on both matrix ita and skyscanner to understand what is possible in terms of routes and pricing on the nationals and the LCC's.

This past winter we flew to Cancun one way. We did not know where or when we would come back other than we had 60 days max because of travel insurance coverage. Picked up 2 5 nights stays in AI's along the way. Went to Huatulco and worked our way up to PV. Then had to come home ten days earlier than planned because of covid and flight availability.

On two winter trips to Asia we did one ways to Bangkok on points. We spent time in SE Asia then flew to Australia. Easy to get inexpensive one ways back from Sydney to HNL on Jetstar Australia. We do two nights in HNL then fly home. Lots of competition on the flights home from HNL.

We are not a couple of vagabonds. We take time to plan a general route then change as required. I had lots of well planned business travel and vacation travel during my working
life. This is a nice change but I do not think it is for everyone. On a few occasions we did not know where we would be sleeping that night in the morning when we woke up. It all works out. The only proviso is to keep safe, understand your surroundings, etc.
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Old 06-06-2020, 10:25 PM   #190
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Gradually, after retiring nine years ago, we have switched the way we travel. We tend to travel spontaneously. We have a general schedule but it is very much open to adjustment. On our fall trip to Greece we thought we might go to Cyprus, Israel, or Morocco for two weeks. It was Cyprus...the air and the accommodation worked to our advantage. Only taking carry has made it even more enjoyable.

Attractive places, good accommodation & price, great airfare to places we have never been want want to see, knock out prices on cruises and shorter AI stays are all on our menu. Cannot imaging going back to having everything organized from the first day to day 50 or 60. When we leave home it is not unusual for us to have only 3 or 4 days booked. The rest is done on the fly so to speak. Not as many last minute cruises as in the past. We find the value(to us) to be decreasing across all the mass market lines because of the cutbacks.
What are "AI stays"
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Old 06-06-2020, 10:36 PM   #191
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Old 06-07-2020, 10:02 AM   #192
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Like Blow Flies in an upturned jar we've been looking in every direction at once.....hope it's not all in vain.

Reluctantly we've eliminated some places we'd love to visit.....but this is a rough 'plan' (ha ha) conjured up this morning...(we're off to social distance with the granddaughters later....possibly when we return there'll be another itinerary/route):

1) Athens to Meteora
2) Meteora to Kakavia, Albania...(maybe go direct or via Saloniki)
3) Kakavia to Gjirokaster
4) Gjirokaster to Berat
5) Berat to Tirana
6) Tirana to Bari (Italy) probably ferry from Durrės (or perhaps even fly direct Tirana-Rome)
7) Bari to Civitavecchia
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Old 06-07-2020, 11:23 PM   #193
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We have only traveled in Albania vicariously though our son. He did Croatia, Albania, Greece, Turkey, and hitch hiked through the stans and came home via Korea.

And yes, we were worried when he was by himself going through the stans. Sometimes 10-14 days before hearing from him again! We are not up to this though Albania has some attraction to us. Hope that you nemo, and that you provide some follow up data and advice.
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Old 06-08-2020, 05:13 AM   #194
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We are not up to this though Albania has some attraction to us. Hope that you nemo, and that you provide some follow up data and advice.
I'll admit to being slightly older than I was when I was detained at submachine gun point in Basra, Iraq, 1963....but I might have gained .000001% of an IQ point since then, so we'll be on the lookout for problems.

As I say though, this might all be a futile exercise, what with Covid, et al. The "Maybe it was, maybe it wasn't" TIA will be two years behind me, almost dying of sepsis last year will be 18 months in the past, and, once the hospital labs are functioning normally, if an ultrasound uncovers any more kidney stones my urologist says he'll zap them.

Medical insurance could/will be the issue, IF I can get coverage it'll certainly cost a lot more than I've ever paid in the past.....we'll start investigating that after the ultrasound.

But...if we get to go, doubtless you'll all be subjected to yet another boring slideshow.
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Old 06-08-2020, 09:51 AM   #195
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Our out of country trips are now limited to sixty days. This is what my pension benefit provides. As a benefit it can be changed or withdrawn at any time so we have to check the plan at the beginning of each year.

I really appreciate the benefit and we take advantage of it. We do two 60 day trips a year. Now that my spouse has had some serious health issues in the past I hate to think of what replacement insurance would cost.
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Old 06-08-2020, 10:14 AM   #196
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I really appreciate the benefit and we take advantage of it. We do two 60 day trips a year. Now that my spouse has had some serious health issues in the past I hate to think of what replacement insurance would cost.
If I can get medical coverage, (I turn 78 in September, and DW 68 in October), it will be expensive...but, we haven't been anywhere for 2 years, (effective the hoped for start of this trip), so our expenditures have been lower than 'normal'......if/when I reach 80 coverage will become prohibitive...so, if this trip's a 'go'....we'll suck up the cost and depart.
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Old 06-08-2020, 10:25 AM   #197
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I think the main drawback of cruising now is being quarantined for weeks. Especially since we get inside cabins.
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Old 06-08-2020, 11:35 AM   #198
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Cruising is not even on our radar at this point in time. Not until a safe, effective, and widely available vaccine is on the market.

We are quite happy to bounce around on independent travel until such time.
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Old 06-08-2020, 03:44 PM   #199
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If I can get medical coverage, (I turn 78 in September, and DW 68 in October), it will be expensive...but, we haven't been anywhere for 2 years, (effective the hoped for start of this trip), so our expenditures have been lower than 'normal'......if/when I reach 80 coverage will become prohibitive...so, if this trip's a 'go'....we'll suck up the cost and depart.
Nemo,

Hope that you will feel well enough to do this trip. The clock is a tickin, after all.

If you are going to Bari, and your time allows, consider exploring the Puglia region. We spent a couple of weeks there and and in Molise last fall and really enjoyed it. There is lots to see and it is not crowded since everyone goes to Rome, Florence (which I didnt care for), Venice and the Amalfi coast. We based ourselves in Monopoli and did day trips to places like Matera (really unique with cave houses), Alberobello and then went to Molise which is the least visited place in Italy and toured the mountain top towns. Now you have whetted my COVID inhibited travel appetite to get back out on the road.
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Old 06-08-2020, 03:59 PM   #200
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Cruising is not even on our radar at this point in time. Not until a safe, effective, and widely available vaccine is on the market.

We are quite happy to bounce around on independent travel until such time.
+1
Even after the vaccine, I'm thinking balcony rooms only just in case the ship gets quarantined due to other's getting sick.
I imagine Ports will be quicker than normal to deny docking to sick ships in the future for a few years.
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