I am preparing my last article about Strasbourg, where I am writing about the accommodation and the restaurants where I have been and where I had a very good experience. I am reading my notes, but before I thought to share something that I prepared before. I want to share with you some titles of the book that I have read about travels. Well, these books helped me a lot in my learning process, especially making a connection between life and travels.
The first one is “On the road” written by Jack Kerouac. The famous writer propose a novel about his trip around the USA, made together with his friend Neal Cassady. It was published in the ’50s, so everything goes around the Beat Generation, but also reading it now it has a lot of sense because the story is a travel around the big American spaces moving between the West and the East Coast, but also into the society to explore the values, the strengths and the weaknesses of the American community. There is the real essence of the journey.
Another great book that mixes the travel around a country and a trip into the society is “Notes from a Small Island” written by Bill Bryson. It describes a journey around Britain telling the main features of the modern community of the UK. There are nostalgia, humor and also a precise analysis regarding the inhabitants’ habits and way of life. It underlines how important is to catch the culture and be in touch with the population to know the country visited.
A few years ago I missed the chance to go to Barcelona and I have to visit it yet, the city is on my future destinations list, but meanwhile, I decided to read “Homage to Catalonia“. The author is George Orwell and it is a book that includes some history and it is focused on the role played by Orwell during the Spanish Civil War. There is a good description of the relations between Great Britain and Spain and as well of the local population. To know the history of a place helps to understand better the society and the country.
This choice is even more personal than the previous ones because I am fascinated by the Middle East and one of my dreams, that will become reality one day, is to travel on the Orient Express. Anyway my suggestion concern “The great railway bazaar: by train through Asia” by Paul Theroux. The journey around the Middle East and Asia, starting from Europe, it is a chance to meet different passengers with a various origin and with a big variety of jobs. There are the theatrical agent and the drug dealer. Reading it is like to be on board…
The last book that I want to mention in this article is about one of my favorite cities: Venice. I love so much the Italian town built on an island because of its architecture, its art and also its particular atmosphere. Maybe you know it, but if not you can read “Venice” written by Jan Morris. It is a complete journey into the city, exploring each aspect, including the local society. It can be an inspiration for your next tour.
One of the challenges for the travellers is the transfer from the airport to the hotel. It depends on the place and on the country, but in the main cities there are many options and it can be difficult to choose the proper one. It is not a matter of price, even if it counts. Buses and trains are cheaper but they have a lot of stops and they are not going directly to your destination. There are some exceptions, as it happens for example in Budapest where you can go on a minibus that does a tour of the hotels, according to the passenger needs.
The taxi is a good option to go faster, but if you are a tourist and you are not prepared in some cases the driver can cheat on the price. It happens also to find fake taxidrivers. The best solution? I do not have the answer but in many cases I use the rent with driver. It is not always convenient, it depends on the city, but in most of the cases is the faster option with a well proportioned cost.
When I visit a new place I check on internet the transfer options via airport website, if available the dedicated section. Especially I search about the rates in order to not waste money. I mean I like luxury and I am available to spend more for a good service, but not to spend more than what is normal according to the country that I am going to visit. Often I travel for work reasons and I need to save time and to go directly to my destination. That is why I try the fastest solution and also to move with comfort.
What are the options? Call the hotel booked and ask for a transfer from the airport, in case you did not get a complimentary one included in your room rate. Generally hotels have their own cars or they have deals with some agencies. The cost is higher than a direct booking with those service providers. This procedure will cost you around 30% more.
With a taxi you have the direct connection with your hotel, but the driver can choose a longer way to get more money and the risk is to find a fake taxi that will cost even more. It is not valid every where because there are honest people and also in some places the rates are not so higher and there are not different alternatives to be fast and to have a comfortable trip from the airport.
Private car with driver
If you have a bit of time to organize your transfer (I suggest you to find it) you can search the agencies that rent cars with drivers. They have luxury car and fixed prices according to the trips. To connect the city with the local airport there are usually competitive prices, meanwhile to go in different cities the cost can be quite high. Anyway it is a luxury transfer and you need to keep it into consideration.
It is not hard to find the various transfer service providers online, in some cases there are already showed the rates, otherwise you can ask via phone or email. It is a good idea to contact directly the agencies, so you can compare the offers. I suggest you also to ask precisely what type of car they will send to pick up you, because there are companies that use not huge and luxury car but they ask the same price of who is going to send Mercedes Class E or S, Bmw and so on. For an higher prices it is available also Rolls Royce.
The advantages of the rent with driver compare with a simple cab are:
a fixed price that does not change in case of some road traffic or deviation;
the driver waits for you at the arrivals;
the car is comfortable and clean, also inside;
the driver already know the destination and he or she already planned the best way, according to the road works and to the traffic, to arrive to your hotel;
especially in summer and in most of the cases but not all, there is a fresh bottle of water waiting for you on the car, so you can drink during the transfer.
Of course it is always good to check and then to evaluate the service, so if you will be back in the same city or you are using some company that is present in more cities and countries you know if you can call it again or search another one.
Just to give you a better idea on how it works I write some examples of what happened to me in years of travel. There are also some tips related to the transfers in some cities that I visited in recent time. Starting from Italy I can say that in Rome: the cost of a car with driver from the airport is the same of a taxi, but you can have more comfort and the driver waits for you at arrivals. The company that I chosen for my trips generally call me via phone when I land and we find a meeting point to be fast.
In the Italian capital the distance from the airport to the city centre requires around 45 minutes by car and the cost of the ride on the luxury car is about 45-50 euro. With the taxi you can even spend more, also because it is necessary to add a fee to carry the luggage. The situation is different among the cities, infact in Naples you can find a similar offer, also if the airport is about 20-30 minutes far from the centre. Anyway the rent with driver cost generally 40-50% more than a taxi.
Of course you have advantages, but it can be a bit much. If you choose the taxi in Naples do not forget to choose the fixed rate. The taxidriver always ask to you and it is better than to use the taximeter because he can prefer a longer way. The price from the airport to the centre is around 20-25 euro. If they ask more it is wrong. Keep in mind that they usually ask a couple of euro as tip, it is not mandatory, but it is up to you.
If you go to Sofia, Bulgaria, you will find as it happens in many places, a lot of people ready to offer you a ride, but they are fake taxi. So at arrivals you can directly go to the taxi reception. A girl will ask you the main information and she will give you a code and you can go out and find your taxi ready and especially legal. In Tirana, Albania, there are some companies at the airport, as Avis, that provide cars with driver.
The same in Skopje, Republic of Macedonia, with some local companies. If you go to Bucharest there is, like in London, the black cab, the taxi company with luxury cars available for the transfers from the airport and as well to take people around the city. It costs more than a taxi but it offers a very professional service, with more clean cars and well equipped.
These are just few example on how you can move with rent with driver around Europe, but anyway I suggest you to check before to leave. In Turkey for instance in the airport managed by TAV offer different services, included the transfer. It works very well and they operate with huge Mercedes and BMW with professional drivers and they also proposed the transfer perfectly coordinated with the meet and greet service inside their airports, starting from Istanbul. There is also the option with the speedboat for the transfer via sea.
How to evaluate the transfer service? This is the last question that can help you to choose the best company. First of all it is important to check how fast they are in answer to the request. Also it is possible to verify the information, if it is complete, and as well the courtesy used. The it comes the way to book, you control if it is easy or not. Naturally comparing the services you have the chance to check the price according to the service proposed.
After the first contact you can evaluate the transfer answering to these questions: was easy to find the driver? Was she or he on time? How was the car in term of comfort and cleaning? Was the driver kind? Did you arrive at destination without problems? The questions are covering the main elements that you need to consider to decide if the service was good and if you will use it again calling the same provider.
I had the chance to use different transfer services in Italy and abroad and always I use those questions to make a check and select the best ones. Going to the conclusions I want to make a couple of examples more. Once in Rome a driver during the trip from the airportstarted to talk about a person, telling me name and surname, who had bad habits. He told me almost everything about the trips of that guy, for 40 minutes… Well better have another driver, don’t you think so?
In New York I had a tour of the city in a limousine and after that the driver proposed to me to follow my movements for all my stay for a better price. He wanted to deceive the company and he sent me a friend of him. It was impossible to meet each other on time and in the place where I needed. The service was the worst one. This happens especially when you don’t need only a transfer, but a car with driver to go around in the city, so be careful when you say yes to a better price with a sub-agreement.
Turin became famous for Winter Olimpic Games in 2006 (now the city is a candidate for the same event that will be held in 2026), but there are other reasons why people know the capital of Piedmont and the first capital of Italy. Fiat and Juventus have their headquarters in Turin for instance. Visitors are attracted by those names and various monument, but maybe fewer tourists from other parts of Italy and from other countries do not know surroundings.
I decided to have a break from my job for a few hours…yes on Monday! It is even better because I need to take some energy after a relaxing Sunday, you know how it is. Anyway, I am lucky because I can do it and I did it. As you know I love lakes and I just took the car and I started to drive. My destination? Avigliana. It is a town 25 km. far from Turin and that place has two lakes, one big and one small.
Avigliana is very popular in the area and also people from abroad are going there, especially from France, but still, it is not considered an attraction by who is visiting Turin and Piedmont. Also, the big lake is not like Lake Maggiore, Lake Como or Lake Garda, but it is really lovely. There are many options for who is interested to see the area. It is possible just to walk around the water using the prepared and easy trails, it is possible to rent a canoe, choose a trip on a boat, eat and drink in restaurants, use a spa created on the shore of the lake and many other amazing activities.
Lakes Avigliana is recognized and protected as a natural park since 1980. They have a morainic origin, the biggest one has an extent of 91,4 ha and the smallest of 61,09. The towns located close to the lakes are historical places where you can find amazing ancient villages well kept and in Avigliana there are the ruins of the castle, placed on a hill from where to enjoy a beautiful view and have walked in nature.
If you are going to visit Turin do not miss the chance to go to Avigliana and to the lakes. There are trains and buses from the city, but if you have a car it will be easier to see the villages and to move around. In the next articles, I will tell you about a pizzeria with the best position on the lake and about the most important attractions of Piedmont, few kilometers far from Avigliana. Follow me!
Jesolo is a very small town located few steps from Venice by boat and it offers a good location for many tourists who want to add to their visit to the city on the lagoon sometimes on the beach. For this reason, the place is full of hotels, restaurants, and services dedicated to the visitors, active mainly during summer time. It is possible to eat almost everything, especially pizza and fish, the leitmotiv of many of the local restaurants, but there are also some elegant places where to taste high-quality food.
The food is a need for our body, but it is also a pleasure, that is why I generally search for a restaurant where to taste something typical and special, served by a professional and kind staff and consumed in a smart and original setting. Otherwise, I can just cook some pasta at home and that is it. Traveling for me it is always the chance to discover the culture in a deep way and cuisine is, of course, a part of it.
In Italy, food is quite popular, but there are not only pasta and pizza. In Jesolo, on the Venice lagoon, in town center few steps from the sea, there is a place that reminds a French bistro with brick walls and lovely objects disseminated as to underline the elegance of the dining room. The modern furniture well spread around the restaurant gives a precise style.
The menu offers dishes coming from the local traditional cuisine proposed with great quality ingredients and accompanied by homemade bread. There are cold and hot appetizers and different recipes for the first and the main courses. Also, the list of desserts leaves the embarrassment of choice. Also, the wine cellar is well stocked with a big selection of wines.
If you like fresh fish this restaurant is highly recommended, especially because it is not too elaborate. Do you want to know the name of the place? It is called Ristorante da Omar and you find it in Via Dante Alighieri 21, in Lido di Jesolo, it is in the main street of the center. It is a good choice also for the tourists who are searching for something different from the most famous Italian recipes.
I needed to plan a meeting in Jesolo, not far from Venice and for me it is a pleasure to be again in this small town. I decided to book an hotel for my few days stays to have all the comforts and also a good position to watch the sea directly from my room window. It is summer and the place start to host people on holiday, so also to be quiet, since I am in Jesolo for work, and have some good rest it is a need and not all the accomodations can offer this aspect.
Hotel Almar is a quite big resort located direcly on the beach, it offers a variety of facilities as a spa, gardens, pool, the private beach on the turquoise sea. There are also bar and restaurant where to taste specialities form the Mediterranean cuisine proposed in an innovative way. The professional staff gives assistance for any need and this is an added value for who wants to relax between work meetings.
Despite the conference area, the resort is more typical for holidays, but maybe this is the aspect I like because I need relax and rest in some moments. The suites are really modern and spacious, full of amenities to give to the guest a more pleasant experience. The balcony or maybe I should say the terrace offers an amazing view of the sea, a superb panorama. The elegance and the luxury are the leitmotiv of the hotel. Each detail is important for the staff.
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