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marazul

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  1. Top Day just provides "back office" services and payment processing for those agencies. They remain independent businesses. This is the quote from their website: "This website is a payment processing gateway for individual guests and a back-end management portal for online Travel Agencies."
  2. The Paradores network started about 90 years ago to develop tourism in the countryside. In the beginning they would remodel old monasteries and castles in the country and smaller towns. More recently, they are adding some spectacular modern buildings, especially near the beaches Cadiz, Mojacar). They still do not have paradores inside the major cities (Madrid, Barcelona, Sevilla). In some mid-size cities (Toledo, Cordoba, Cuenca) the Parador is just outside the town and it usually has great views of the town. Most are in the center of town (like Leon, Lerma, Cadiz, Ubeda). IMO, one of the the most spectacular ones is the old Convent of San Marcos in Leon dating from the 16th century and located on the pilgrim Road to Santiago. https://www.parador.es/en/paradores/parador-de-leon What is also interesting is that each Parador serves local specialties in their restaurants and otherwise promotes their region. The Pousadas in Portugal follow the same pattern and are loosely associated with the Paradores. I agree with Hank about independent travel and I would encourage others to explore the north of Spain which is one of the most beautiful and historical parts of the country (Santiago, Leon, Burgos, Salamanca, Zaragoza, etc.). The paradores website shows suggested routes and packages for many different areas of Spain and wine routes. (Or at least, it will once the pandemic is over.) https://www.parador.es/es/experiencias/rutas https://www.parador.es/es/experiencias/rutas?field_route_type_term_tid=169
  3. Reservations are open on their website. Check superior rooms on August 30 and 31 of next year. Those 2 nights they are sold out. I do have a confirmed reservation for a standard room including those dates.
  4. You are not going to believe this. My trip is one year from now. I tried to book a superior room at the Senato and they are sold out two nights out of the three I wanted. So I booked a standard room and will keep checking.
  5. Ooops! Late night senior moment. I was also looking at hotels near Piazza Navona and that's what I wrote. Yes, I know the Albergo is by the Pantheon. Thanks.
  6. Question on the Albergo del Senato. Do you need to book a junior suite to get the view of the Piazza Navona? Or are the regular double rooms also on the piazza? Also, has anyone stayed at the Palazzo Navona? Or the Eithch Borromini Palazzo Pamphilii? Thanks
  7. Does that mean you would like to walk to the pier? Not a great idea. The most convenient way to embark is to have a taxi deliver you to your pier (even if you are staying in Piraeus). There is a lot of walking and traffic to get to the piers. There are two cruise ship terminals , A and B. The ferries to Hydra are on the opposite side of the port from the cruise ship terminals. Look at the map. The hotels are marked with the $ signs. The cruise terminals are on the lower left hand corner (Piraeus Port) The ferry to Hydra is the top dotted lines (Egina-Piraeus line). The hotels are somewhere between the two and it is not a lovely area. Do a street view of the hotels in the map and you'll see. https://www.google.com/maps/search/Hotels/@37.9423077,23.638175,16z/data=!4m8!2m7!3m6!1sHotels!2sPireas,+Greece!3s0x14a1bbebb7ac3147:0xd820da95ff30fdf7!4m2!1d23.6469832!2d37.9429857?hl=en Stay in central Athens. Piraeus is part of the city even if it is nominally a different town. Look at this satellite view with the taxi route from the excellent Athens Gate Hotel to the farthest Terminal B. As you can see, the towns run into each other. https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Athens+Gate+Hôtel,+Athens,+Greece/Piraeus+port,+Pireas+185+38,+Greece/@37.94467,23.6818856,9601m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m14!4m13!1m5!1m1!1s0x14a1bd16c3c139dd:0xcb1be6891f217887!2m2!1d23.731445!2d37.9687633!1m5!1m1!1s0x14a1bbd55712aa75:0xa93329c6eea40aab!2m2!1d23.624673!2d37.9351377!3e0?hl=en
  8. I agree with you, Hank. Paradores are awesome. We have been in ultra modern ones, like Cadiz; and medieval ones, like Santiago de Compostela; or in a mixture of centuries, like Alcala de Henares. They are wonderful and a great value. Right now they are having amazing sale prices to get tourists back. Look at www.parador.es
  9. I agree 100% with the advise of staying in Athens. You can enjoy the city and restaurants in the evening and morning. And a taxi ride from the Plaka to your dock is 15 minutes and about 10-12 euros.
  10. The fireworks would be a good reason to find a hotel in the 7th Arrondisement within a short walking distance of the Champ de Mars - the park leading up to the Eiffel Tower. If you are at the right hotel, you might even see the fireworks from your window. The fireworks are spectacular, especially if the weather cooperates.
  11. In Spain: agua corriente (running water) or un vaso de agua corriente (a glass of tap water) . In France: une carafe d'eau (a jug of water) In Italy: un bicchiere d'acqua (a glass of water) or acqua corrente (running water)
  12. benynear and notentirely - I agree about Park Guell. The interior of the Sagrada Familia is extraordinarily beautiful. IMO, it would be a shame to miss it. (Book ahead of time! https://sagradafamilia.org/en/home) I also recommend the Casa Batllo and Casa Mila (La Pedrera), both within 3 blocks of each other on the Passeig de Gracia as a better option than the park. They both have elevators for the visit. Just ask. https://www.casabatllo.es/en/ https://www.lapedrera.com/en
  13. For hotels also look at the Cromwell Rd area of South Kensington. Great connections everywhere and across the road from the Natural History Museum, the V&A, etc. Very near Hyde Park. Or around Brompton Rd in Knightsbridge, up the road from South Kensington, near Harrods, Buckingham Palace. Lots of restaurants and places to stay in the area. The Tower Bridge area is convenient for the Tower of London, but too far from other main attractions.
  14. No I haven't been to the new ones. Then again, it was really a while back while doing the wine routes. I think we stayed at Montalcino that trip.
  15. Yes, quite a while back. Oct 2025 is on my calendar! 😁
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