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My 2019 Grand Europe Trip

Discussion in 'Trip Reports, Planning, & Questions' started by Donald Razorduck, Sep 14, 2018.

  1. Donald Razorduck

    Donald Razorduck Member

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    Oh, we are. He is more disappointed over the cruise than we parents. Everything else is refundable up to my weekend at Puy du Fou but that is covered under my credit card protection.
     
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  2. Doug A.

    Doug A. Member

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    Sorry to hear about your son, hope you are able to get to the bottom of the issue and find a solution.
     
  3. JoeCamel

    JoeCamel Premium Member

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    I am sorry to hear about this development, hope it turns out well for your son.
     
  4. Donald Razorduck

    Donald Razorduck Member

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    Well, the preliminary results of the Bone Marrow biopsy were good, still waiting on the final results to completely rule out forms of leukemia. hile still not knowing the root cause of this or even really how long he has had it. It had been over 5 years since he had a complete blood workup done up. We'll see what they say on Tues before the cruise gets 86'd.
     
  5. JoeCamel

    JoeCamel Premium Member

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    Thanks for the update, all the best to your son and your family. Tough thing to have happen.
     
  6. Donald Razorduck

    Donald Razorduck Member

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    I think the cruise has been saved. The bone marrow biopsy results came back looking good. No really bad stuff (lukemia) It showed lots of precursors for platelet production. So we are staying the course with the steriod treatment but tapering as we go. Other treatments are out there if this falters. Straight up asked if we should curtail our trip lenngth.and activities and was told not to. The wife and I have walked 5 miles at a time a couple of times in the past week to get into tourist form. Blessed with some nice trails up here in NWA.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2019
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  7. JoeCamel

    JoeCamel Premium Member

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    Yeah!, Thank you for the update. I hope you and your family have a wonderful time.
     
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  8. Donald Razorduck

    Donald Razorduck Member

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    We are still planning on doing this. We had a setback with my son this week. After an initial positive response with the Prednisone, his platelets fell again. We are weening him off of it(you can't just quit them). He is now going for a once a week for 4 weeks IV rituxan treatment. The firat one is 5 hrs long as they have to go slow to monitor for any kind of allergic reaction. My sis in law that was an RN at St. Jude is very familiar with this treatment as it is commong for cancer patients to get it and is explaining it all. The Hemotologist said it had an 80% success rate for remissions that lasts years at a time. Hopefully this works or we are looking at him losing his spleen. That will likely kill this trip. Like an idiot, I thought we were bulletproof and I never took out travel insurance policy right after I booked this cruise. So this is now a pre existing condition. However, through AAA, I got a policy that will pay 80% for cancel for any reason along with regular coverage for all the usually stuff. I am still booking things that have no cancellation fees for the most part.

    So, XNA(6:10am)-ORD(very long layover)-LHR(+1 11:30)
    1:20pm Cubs/Reds game at Wrigley

    We are getting into London midday on a Sunday, I am still decided on just where but expect it to be an Apt, I got to pull the trigger soon. I suspect we'll be zapped and crash but if not, I would like to get a visit to the London Eye/Dungeon in. I would love get my hair perfect and to go to Trader Vics in my vintage Warren Zevon t shirt and have a pina Colada for laughs. Ah-oohhhhhhhhh........

    Mon- Changing of Guards, Churchill War Rooms, other things in area, afternoon/evening free. Thinking a street art walking tour for the teens would be cool

    Tue- Tower of London, British Museum, evening on Oxford High Street or something.

    Wed- undecided, I've debated staying in London for a longer time, going for a Cotswold Drive to Bath, going to one of the parks between London and Salisbury or leaving London Early to get to Alton Tower's around the 10 am opening and then staying around Stratford upon Avon for the evening. (I wanted to start my trip at Alton Towers/Blackpool) via a flight MAN but I wanted no part of a bank holiday. I know nothing about those. We chose to get in Efteling and Phantasialand pre cruise and that airfare from Brussels to Barcelona was super cheap)

    Thu- Salisbury area, Stonehenge. We have an Inside the Stones tour at 8pm

    Fri- Back to London early, I have been told to take the train as much as possible by the wife. So... the Eurostar Chunnel train to Brussels is a no brainer, we'll rent a car from there, and check into Efteling that night. We'll do the park that Sat, take a day trip into Amsterdam on Sun. That Monday, we'll leave for Phantasialand. We'll get to the Park at or near opening, do it that Monday and spend the night at Hotel Matamba. That Tues, we'll take a drive to sight see and end up in Brussels for our flight that Wed. I didn't book a second night at Phantasialand as that Tue wasn't available for the 25% off early booking special. It is weird. That Mon that we are staying is as is the following Wed and Thur. That is not refundable so, I could get a 20% hit there if this falls through.

    Pre cruise, We booked a room at the new Port Aventura Hotel Colorado River. It includes tickets for 4 with express passes and a visit to Ferrari World and Breakfast for 400 bucks. Used Chase Points to pay. This is fully refundable up till mid May.

    We'll get there early and have them hold our luggage and they take it to the room like Disney and we'll hit up the park straight away. I didn't go for half board, thinking we'll go down to the coast for a late dinner. We couldn't book this room before this Friday, I think this is the first weekend it is actually open. So, we flipped our order for Barcelona., we'll get there mid day Wed. I plan on going to Tibidabo for the Sunset and the view, and then some late night tapas in town. That Thurs, we'll hit up our Gaudi site Parc Guell and La Familia Segura early and see what we are in the mood for.

    We'll check out at PortAventura on Sat, Stop at the Aquaduct and other Roman sites near Tarragona and get into Barcelona noonish, turn the car in near the port and board.
    We are not big, must get on to start eating types.

    Cruise days

    Off at Rome, haven't figured out how to get into town. I'd like to get Ostia Antica but we'll have done Pompeii the day before. I also thought about Getting in the things aling the Appian Way but we may just get into town and just sight see and get the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain and a couple of things nit the Vatican or Colosseum out of the way.

    Sat Morning, Vatican Tour, Our rental just a couple of blocks away. Sat Afternoon is open.

    Sunday- a day trip to Florence. This is the only time we can get it in. As a Razorback fan and having a copy on campus here, I must see and rub Il Porcellino and the Statue of David of course. We'll get back to Rome 5ish and chill
    We have a night tour of the Colossium that night at 9pm.

    Mon- early train to Venice, sight see, evening tour of St. Marks.

    Tues, Doges Palace early, after lunch train to Munich through Alps.

    Renting a car one way from Italy to Germany was insanely expensive We thought about the NightJet train to extend out time in Venice but the wife and I want to comeback and cruise from there to Greece, Croatia, ect. This option gives me time to hit up a biergarten in Munich that evening.

    We'll rent a car for a day and drive to Swagnau to see the Snow White Castle go back and catch the train to Strasburg. We'll stay Wed to Sat we will be at Europa Park at the new Rulantica hotel. Sadly, we'll miss the opening of the waterpark. Either that Thurs or Fri, we'll day trip to Rhine Falls or Holiday Park to get in Expedition Geeforce and back. That Sat is a super early train to Nantes for our stay at Puy du Fou. The walking elephant at Isle of Machines in Nantes we be closed that week, that is a major bummer.

    We'll drive to Puy du Fou get checked in eat and have preffered seating for Cinescenie that evening.

    Sun- spend the day at Puy du Fou

    Mon- Drive to Mont St Michel and then Bayeux area

    Tue- D-Day sites

    Wed- Bayeux Tapestry to Giverny(Monet's Gardens Afternoon) to Disneyland Paris

    Thu- Disneyland Paris. We got an apartment near the rer station right before Downtown Disney at Val de Europe. With the money we saved , we are getting the one fast pass for every ride add on. ($80) Couldn't bring myself to spring for the unlimited version that was over $125. We'll do only one day at Disney during the week(no Fri, Sat, Sun)


    Sat- We are doing an afternoon at Versailles on Sat and have booked tickets for the Fireworks there the morning


    Sun- Louve, d'Orsay, catacombs, Eiffel tower

    Mon- Paris proper , no set plans, Monmarte area, Lux Gardens, Napoleon's Tomb at Invalides. Researching teen stuff/hip areas.

    Plans not set in stone from here:

    Tues- Paris to Copenhagen(fly)am, Tivoli Gardens Night.

    Wed- Copenhagen to Stockholm (AM), Grona Lund (PM)

    Thu- Stockholm, Vasa, other

    Fri- flight home to XNA only a 14 hr affair.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2019
  9. JoeCamel

    JoeCamel Premium Member

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    Sounds like a wonderful trip. I hope things work out so you all can take it.
    My wishes to your son for a speedy recovery and the best outcome he can get
     
  10. ThemeCrafter264

    ThemeCrafter264 Newcomer

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    I'd say it's probably better to not go to the Merlin London attractions if you have limited time. London eye always seems to get insane queues before even going on it. Maybe do tower bridge experience instead as it's cheaper, quieter and you still I get some great views across London. If you have any questions about UK, London or portaventura/Gardaland, feel free to ask. :)
     
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  11. Donald Razorduck

    Donald Razorduck Member

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    It has been a roller coaster but it appears this trip is a go. Our Son's Dr at Arkansas Childrens has some basically free blood tests set up in Paris and Munich if his numbers dip right before we leave this Sat.

    First up Cubs/Reds at Wrigley during a long layover this coming Sat. Will post updates.

    Only for sure theme parks
    Disneyland Paris, Port Aventura, Europa Park, Puy du Fou, Tivoli Gardens, Phantasialand and Efteling.

    Anything else like Tibidabo, Toverland, Les Iles de Machines, Holiday Park, Movie Park, Walibi Belgium, ect is gravy.
     
  12. tielo

    tielo Veteran Member

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    Good luck with everything. It's unfortunate Efteling is on a Saturday as it is the difference between a crowded park and one that you have for your own on a weekday.
    I hope your son will be alright and don't forget to enjoy the real stuff and not the whole tourist thing. I'd rather walk aimlessly trough the streets of Paris and London that stand in line for an overly crowded museum for hours or a wheel that shows you rooftops.
     
  13. Donald Razorduck

    Donald Razorduck Member

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    Oh, the timing/ schedule has changed.

    Disneyland Paris is on a Tue, June 4th
    We are staying at Nature Villages

    Port Aventura is a Friday but we are staying at the brand spanking new Hotel Colorado Creek that comes with the unlimited express pass wristbands.

    Puy du Fou is a Sat/ Sun but we got the preferred seating passes for show including the the big show on Sat night. We are staying in one of the Iles de Clovis water Cottage

    Phantasialand is a Sunday/Monday visit with a Sunday Special stay at Ling Bao so we get that hr of of post closing ride time on Taron.

    Efteling is a Tue/Weds with a stay in a 4 person tree house.

    I have one more night to book and that is the Mon nite between Phantasialand and Efteling. We may add a night at Hotel Matamba at Phantasialand but I doubt it.

    What museums and what not we are visiting are all pre booked. But we have plenty two free afternoons in London, Paris and Barcelona. Plus one in Rome, a whole afternoon in Florence and Venice with nothing planned. And only a timed visit to Anne Franke house in AMS.

    The only for sure things in London is London Tower and the British Museum. We are researching a street art walking tour on our own one afternoon.
     
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  14. Scott W.

    Scott W. Premium Member

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    That's awesome, mate! I hope everything goes smoothly for you and yours! :cheers:
     
  15. tielo

    tielo Veteran Member

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    Great changes! I am happy for you. I hope the weather will be good. I think this time of the year is the best to visit Europe. Kids are at school (and we can't take them out for a vacation), nature is all fresh green and nice and the weather won't be unbearable hot (most hotels don't have AC).
     
  16. Donald Razorduck

    Donald Razorduck Member

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    Got our Catacombs of Paris tickets today, checked and several of the early entry times were gone so I went ahead and secured them. I refuse to queue when the option is there.

    Our Sunday in Paris is
    Am- Musee d'Orsay

    1pm- Top of Eiffle Tower

    2 to 5:45- lunch and Walking around Monparnasse/Luxembourg Gardens making way to....

    6pm- Catacombs

    8pm - a late dinner.

    I checked the Chase UR travel portal and Marlin Waterloo had a great special so I canceled our stay at South Point Suites and transfered over to that one. Much easier access to the tube and right across the river from Big Ben plus 4 1/2 stars on Tripadvisor.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2019
  17. fryoj

    fryoj Premium Member

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    Things are looking better for you thankfully. If things turn though, and you booked any part of the trip through a Chase sapphire reserve card, you are pretty much covered. Before my cruise, my fathers health took a turn and I thought I'd have to cancel my cruise. I knew there were some protections, so I called Chase and they said as I had booked the cruise with that card, pretty much anything I would have needed to cancel was covered for reimbursement. That included cases where I'd transferred points to partners. Not sure what you've booked through Chase, but I saw you mention the Chase UR, so I thought it was worth mentioning.
     
  18. tielo

    tielo Veteran Member

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    That reminds me, credit cards are almost no where accepted. Make sure you have euro's.
     
  19. Donald Razorduck

    Donald Razorduck Member

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    240k transferred to United for round trip airfare XNA-ORD-LHR and BRU-ORD-XNA for 4, all non theme park hotels plus Port Aventura and Nature Villages (badically a month's worth). A couple of car rentals and a couple of tours by Walks of Italy. All with UR points.

    I paid with the CSR for 1/3rd of our cruise, for other car rentals, theme park stays, The easy jet and ryan air flights.

    We used Barclays points for Eurorail pass, and other activities

    The other 2/3rd of the cruise was via our using our Freedom cards at Sam's for Disney Gift Cards for 5x last quarter for 15k UR points and then transferring to my CSR.

    When we get home we are going to each get the Freedom Unlimited with the 3x points up to 60k for a year. We got a shed to build plus we'll put all our spend on it and then transfer those points over to our CSR to turn them for 1 to 1.5x each, basically 3x to 4.5x and the points hoarding for Asia in 2022 begins.

    Our boss just adjusted us to 4 day/10hr days with paid lunch so we all can have 3 day weekends. We asked for this.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2019
  20. Donald Razorduck

    Donald Razorduck Member

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    My bank flat out told me to get to the UK and then mainland and go to an atm at a bank an get pounds and euros. That it was cheaper than getting them here at the banks due to the fees. This is one of the reasons we got the Barclays cards, it was chip and pin and not chip and signature like most US cards. We have the money set aside for this, so cash advances on a card will not bother us. We'll just make a payment when we have some secured wifi.
    We made basically a car payment for three years for this into a special account.

    I am a bit amazed at the cost of Westminster Abbey and Tower of London, the only two things we have tickets for in London. The Guars change for Monday was moved to 8am with no band so we aren't wanting to do that. We'll do Westinster Abbey with the Queen's Jubilee galleries in the AM and then head to the Camden Market area for the afternoon/early evening


     
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