The EZA Travel Thread

  • Hey everyone!

    I've been in and out of the EZA forum for a few months, and I occasionally see posts about traveling to different countries and such in here. As well, during the anniversary livestream, and on a few Cup of Jones, Brandon has mentioned that EZA has a geographically diverse audience.

    So, I figured, why not make a thread about where we'll be traveling, and other Allies might have suggestions or recommendations in that area, or even offer to meet up with them (kinda like a tiny meet-up).

    For me, this summer, I'm going on a trip around Europe with stops in:

    • Rome, Italy
    • Paris, France
    • Vienna Austria
    • London, UK
    • Cork, Ireland
    • Dublin, Ireland
    • Copenhagen, Denmark

    Maybe a few others, but that's all I have planned out for the moment. I'm open to recommendations and offers to hang out.

    Anyway, post your itinerary for other trips if this appeals to you!

  • Well I've been travelling for a good bit now. You'll find a bunch of stuff in blogs under the travel tag.

    Currently I'm travelling around the States. I've made my way to Yellowstone currently and I have a car until the 21st which I'll drop off in New Orleans.

    This a rough plan of the road trip. Then I need to make my way to Boston for my flight home in early May. Still need to plan that part out. It's been a lot of fun so far though.

  • Nice! I currently live in New Orleans, so if you are sticking around, there's lots of cool stuff around here to explore

  • @gaarathedancingpanda nice going to Denmark, just make sure its during the summer time. it can get pretty cold during the winter :)

    as for me ill be going to USA Los Angeles and LAs Vegas late april early may

  • Sounds like an awesome trip man!

    I don't have anything planned but about a year ago I went to Normandy, France, Rome and Southern Italy.

    I can give a few recommendations but the one must do restaurant in Rome in my opinion is this one Its pretty central to everything and perfect for lunch.. though it can be crowded so you may want a reservation.

    Another thing I'd recommend that's a bit off the beaten path is this

    Its a Middle Ages church built on top of a 4th century church thats built on top of a Roman villa. So you start in one and go underground into the others. Its really incredible

    Have a great trip!

  • Let me know if anyone wants to hear any tips or recommendations about the following:

    Been to Japan about half a dozen times (last time I left 3 days before the Tsunami, so it's been a minute)
    Last year, went to Amsterdam, Brussels, Bruges, and Paris.
    Have travel tips for anyone going to Seattle (I live here)
    Know LA pretty well, also.

  • I know New York and Tokyo if people ever need tips for those two

  • I'm a born-and-raised Chicagoan, so if anyone's making the voyage and would like tips throw me a message!

  • @Faaip Thanks for the food recommendation! I actually was planning on the San Clemente Basilica. I had an Italian teacher a few years ago who recommended it.

    @TokyoSlim I would love some Paris recommendations if you have them. I'm going with a friend who knows a lot more about Paris than me, but I'd love to get some personal suggestions before I go.

    Also, I forgot to mention, I'll be in New York next week as well for a conference, so suggestions for that too, @naltmank

  • @gaarathedancingpanda where in the city will you be/for how long?

  • @gaarathedancingpanda if you are going to copenhagen and want to eat danish food well then you could go to some classic danish restaurant in the area.

    I know Restaurant The Small Pharmacy in Copenhagen is really good. its traditional danish food. there is plenty of good stuff on the menu.

  • @naltmank Midtown Manhattan for 5 Days (I am at a conference in the Sheraton on 6th Ave/Ave of the Americas, kinda diagonal from where the Fox News headquarters is), and Astoria, Queens for 6 Days.

    That said, I've been to New York 3 times, and I've lived in big cities before, so I'm plenty comfortable with taking the metro to see bigger attractions. I plan on getting that Unlimited pass and going all around the city, so geography isn't really an issue.

    @fettouhi Ooh, I will definitely do that. All my international trips are over the summer, so it will be warm enough.

    My family lived in Denmark for 2 years, so we are well aware of the cold.

  • @gaarathedancingpanda Nice! Yeah I just found out because someone at a restaurant told us to see it haha. Definitely worth it!

  • @gaarathedancingpanda
    I think I have less tolerance for touristy stuff that doesn't blow my mind than normal people. :)

    1: The Louvre is nice but it's kind of like a theme park, everyone is going to que up before it opens, and then run for the Mona Lisa. (which is medium/small, and the closest you can get to it now is like 15 feet away behind velvet ropes, I honestly wish I'd have skipped it)
    I would go to Musee D'Orsay instead.

    2: I stayed at Hotel Konfidentiel in Paris, which is a nice boutique hotel about two blocks from the Louvre. I honestly think it's worth the extra $ to stay in the 1st Arr. your first time there. So much stuff within walking distance. The Louvre, Pont Neuf, Notre Dame, etc.

    3: Eating: I tend to not be upset about the differences between European and American schedules, but my dad was irritated that nobody was really "open for breakfast". The patisserie will be open, grab some croissants and an espresso. :)

    L'As du Fallafel is probably one of the top falafel places in the world.
    Lunch at Ellsworth.
    Lunch at Freddy's

    Tasting menu at Verjus is like 70 euro, totally worth it.
    Tasting menu at Spring is 84 euro, still pretty worth it.

    4: Going up the Eiffel Tower is the same as going up any other tower. Cool, you're high up in the air. You are now 17 Euro lighter and you MIGHT have to wait in a 2 hour security checkpoint line like I did to even get to the part where you pay money. My dad insisted on going up the dumb thing though. I'd have been happy taking pictures of it from the steps at Jardins du Trocadero and calling it good. lol

  • @TokyoSlim & @naltmank
    I am very interested in going on a trip to Japan at some point. I don't even have theoretical plans as of now but I think mainly because of many questions I have. If I were to go I would be doing it solo, know zero Japanese, and don't even know where to begin. Its all a little overwhelming since the closest I've been to taking a trip this intense is a long weekend on the other side of the States for PSX, which isn't even close. Any suggestions on places to see or whatnot would be appreciated. Maybe one day I'll muster the courage. Haha.

  • Oh boy, I could talk for days about this.

    If I were to give you my best 6 pieces of advice, after GO! they'd be

    1: Go for at least 10 days. Longer if you can afford it. A shorter trip is going to feel like a minute sandwiched in between two long ass plane rides.

    2: Figure out a loose itinerary of things to see before you go, but don't be afraid to be flexible or just ditch certain things altogether. You will probably hit a point if you spend a lot of time in Tokyo where you're going to go through a Lost in Translation moment of sensory overload and being completely overwhelmed and not being sure what to do. Japan is like another planet. Everything is different. Small things are going to start blowing your mind if you're there long enough to notice them. I can't really explain more than that, but stuff just works ...differently over there even though superficially it may be familiar. Anyhow - once you hit this "I don't know what to see or do or feel" phase, get out of town for a day trip to like Kamakura, Nikko, Matsumoto, or somewhere else less crowded, and more serene. See some natural wonders. Climb halfway up a mountain and drink from a sacred spring at a forest shrine, or go sit on the beach and watch Japanese surfers, or go see a waterfall, or go visit the monkey hotsprings or a fox city or a cat island for a day or two. Which brings me to my next bit of advice...

    3: It's worth getting a JR East rail pass before you go if you're planning to leave Tokyo at all. Bullet trains between cities are a technical marvel, but Tokyo to Kyoto or whatever can cost like $200 if you just decide to go and don't have a ticket. It's literally cheaper to fly most places. But that's lame, get a rail pass. It works on the Tokyo JR light rail (not the Tokyo Metro Subway though) It will allow you to take pretty much any train in the area. It's cool taking a local train somewhere like Yokohama and just seeing a regular old slice of people's everyday lives that commute that route every day.

    4: Be prepared for less personal space. As an American, I'm used to a certain "bubble" around me at all times. Not sure if you're from here or not, but it's pretty weird the first time you get on a train and it's standing room only and you think there's no more room - and then 60 more people push into the same train car you're on right behind you... If you're lucky and tall like me, you'll be able to see over everyone and have clear air to breathe and etc.. If you're not? You're going to be smushed up against someone who generally isn't even noticing that it's weird. It's not ALWAYS like that on the trains, but it does happen. Hotel rooms are also smaller (in general). It's just something to make note of.

    5: I don't know what your dietary restrictions are, but if you're a practicing vegan, it's going to be kind of hard to find food in Tokyo. Pretty much everything you eat is going to have touched at least a fish at some point for flavoring. There are vegan/vegetarian restaurants for sure - but they are few and far between, and the concept of only eating vegetables (without any meat at all) seems like an impossible request to get across accurately to most places. Just be aware! If you're allergic to anything specifically, I'm allergic to oysters, for example, you can find and print out a card with the appropriate information on it, translated into various languages that you can show at a restaurant to let them know your condition. Just google "allergy translation card" it's like $8 but it could save your life!

    6: Money. Japan is still a cash first society, and some stuff you may be used to (like debit cards) don't exist or function here - So it's good to always have cash on you, in case your credit cards don't work (I have had mine flagged 2 times for suspicious transactions even though I've let them know I was travelling internationally) Withdrawing money can also be kind of a weird hassle in Japan. The most western-friendly ATM's that work in the network I bank in are Citibank and the ATM's inside 7-11 convenience stores. 7-11 is kind of a big deal in Japan and they have their own banking network (which may be backed by Citi, which may be why my cards generally work there?)
    But I've had to learn that through trial and error. Post offices sometimes have ATM's that work with western cards - but post offices have random and unreliable hours. Public ATM's may also "close" for some reason. So just keep in the back of your mind how much money you need to get back to where you can take out money. :) Also, you're going to acquire a lot of coins. Get a coin purse or small pouch for coins and remember to try and pay for things in coins if you can or you'll end up with like 80 coins of various denominations at the end of your trip.

  • There's literally so much stuff to recommend... Do you have an international certification on your drivers license? (they are relatively easy to get, if not) Go do real life Mario Kart in Akihabara. Though they are apparently currently being sued by Nintendo, obviously - so they may not be around much longer. :(

    Take a river cruise from Asakusa down to Odaiba and then hang out there for the day at Joyopolis, Toyota Mega Web where your international cert drivers license may again come in handy, Leisureland, and a Ramen themed food park.

    Just wander around in Kabukicho (which is where the fictional Kamurocho is modeled after (probably during the day is recommended) and soak up that Yakuza vibe. It's more or less just like it is in the game. Hostess clubs, bars, Cafe Alps, Don Quijote, curry and donburi restaurants, occasionally you will see real life yakuza milling about. It's interesting. Don't follow any street touts back to a "cool bar" they are shilling. Don't even talk to them. Keep your wits about you after dark, it's pretty safe compared to like South Central or whatever, but it's still what passes for a "sketchy" neighborhood in Tokyo, and some people might try to rip you off. Personally, I really like it there. lol If you're in the neighborhood, it's pretty close to Shinjuku park, which is a nice place to sit and people watch while having some lunch.

    Akihabara is interesting. The deals on electronics and games is pretty much non-existent though. Most you can hope for is maybe some duty-free merch, but it's an interesting place to just go and see.

    If you're into the whole "paying money to go up on a high thing" Tokyo Sky Tree on a clear day is pretty impressive for 15 minutes or so. On not clear days, it's pretty much worthless though. :)

    uhhh... If you happen to be in town during Sumo, go to Sumo. If you happen to be in town during Baseball, GO TO BASEBALL. (even if you don't like Baseball) Go see Kabuki/Noh/Bunraku if you can. There's a good "beginners" program put on by the Japanese Arts Council

    I could keep going forever.

  • I'm going to Osaka and Tokyo in May, so I'm going to keep an eye on this thread! ;)

  • @TokyoSlim touched on a lot of the Japan stuff nicely (although we have differing opinions on Kabukicho, lol :) ). I'd also check out the Japan threads from a while back when we were trying to help compile stuff for Ben to do. Don't stare at people with tattoos, and if you have tattoos you will likely have to cover them up in some public places like onsen, pools, and the like. Kamakura and Enoshima can make a nice day trip out of Tokyo. Definitely head to Asakusa and go to Kaminari-mon/sensoji, which I think is beautiful despite the insane crowds. You can also shop around in the nakamisedoori, grabbing snacks and souveniers and the like. You can easily walk from Ginza and the Kabuki theater to Tsukiji (the fish market) if you want. I don't suggest waking up super early for the fish auctions, but there are usually stalls open until the late afternoon if you want some dynamite (if not very sustainably harvested) seafood. I'm also a big fan of Kichijoji for shopping, since it's way less touristy than Ginza and those areas, but that could also just be nostalgia talking. If you buy the tickets way in advance (think months), the Ghibli Museum is 100% worth it. I've been several times and it never gets old. Mt. Takao is also a nice, leisurely hike out in the far west of Tokyo, though that Michelin dickbag wrote it up fairly recently so now it's always crowded. It has a really pretty view of the city from the top, though, and also a nice temple. There's a soba restaurant right at the foot of the mountain that's unreal.

    @gaarathedancingpanda regarding New York, Astoria blows :D
    JK, there's some pretty great Thai and Indian foods out there, but I couldn't tell you names off the top of my head. Flushing has a dope Chinatown, though, and of course Citi Field (I'm from a family of Mets fans).
    For the real part of the city, definitely check out the Met if you have time. Just take a nice little stroll up through central park until you hit the 80s. You can't miss it (though stay on the eastern side of the park to be sure). It's one of the best museums in the world. There are a bunch more famous museums all up and down that stretch ("Museum Mile"). If you want to go to one more art museum, check out the Guggenheim. Or you could walk across the park to the Natural History Museum, which is my personal favorite.
    Keeping with the Japanese theme from earlier, Totto Ramen and Ippudo are the best Ramen places in the city. Very authentic, though like everything else in NY, very overpriced. Ippudo literally costs almost double what it does in Japan. People that say Ivan Ramen is number 1 are smoking crack. That shit is too greasy and not at all legit.
    If you want to venture south into the village, Rocco's down on Bleecker has my favorite cannoli in the city. You can also walk a bit further East to hit up Mahmoun's, which has some good falafel (though my friends who went on birthright like to shit on it).
    Times Square and MSG are awful, but if you feel the need to do the typical NY touristy things, I guess you could check them out.
    Lastly, I highly suggest you visit the 9/11 memorial. It's an extremely powerful and beautiful piece of art.
    That's kind of an intro. Obviously there's a ton more to do in the city, but idk how much time you'll have out of your conference. What else are you into?

  • @naltmank I did end up going to Citi Park today. I bummed around Corona park a ton, went to the Unisphere and Hall of Science.

    Ramen suggestion is dope. I love kinda niche food, and ethnic food. AND I LOVE CANNOLI. So, food is never a bad suggestion.

    I love movies and video games definitely, but I also love history. Last year I did a self-guided tour of jazz in NYC, which has a lot of really cool stuff that's historic, but not super touristy, so stuff like that is great.

    Museums are awesome. I plan on going to the Museum of the Moving Picture in Brooklyn and the Paley Center in Manhattan. I've done a lot of the touristy stuff (Times Square, Central Park, etc.) before, so I don't really need to do it again.