The EZA Travel Thread

  • @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.

  • @alexwhiteplays Hey alex, I will be in Chicago this summer for about 2-3 days. This will be my third time there, so I have done all the super touristy things like Willis Tower or Millennium Park.
    Is there any other stuff that you would recommend or maybe things that only people from Chicago know about? If you have any good food recommendations let me know as well!

  • @fettouhi Det Lille Apotek (The Small Pharmacy) gets also recommendation from me. I've visited Copenhagen twice (2013 and 2015), and both times I went here, and I wasn't disappointed.

  • So I've actually got a better idea of where I'll be over the next month.

    Heading to Alpine/Big Bend National Park for the next few days.

    Austin/San Antonio around the 14th-17th.

    New Orleans - 18th -21st

    And then New York, Chicago and Boston from the 21st-3rd.

    Chicago is the only one where I might not have time to do much as my mother is visiting me but still, if anyone has any tips on any of those places, it'd be appreciated.

  • @tokeeffe9 I always recommend Regina Pizzeria to anyone going to Boston.. Its really good, though you can't really go wrong eating anywhere in the North End (if you like Italian). You can compare it to NY and Chicago pizza haha

    If you like history or Assassin's Creed 3, you can eat at the Green Dragon tavern. The food there is actually pretty good.. don't be fooled by the place that claims to be the oldest, I didn't think it was as good.

    I personally love seeing the history stuff.. walking the freedom trail is always really fun if you have a nice day, as is the Faneuil Hall market area. The USS Constitution is pretty cool as well. Depending on how much time you have, I'd also recommend exploring Cambridge, checking out the MIT Museum or the Museum of Science.

  • @AedardGaming @tokeeffe9

    What kinds of things are you looking to experience in Chicago (museums, music, food, theater, etc.)? For things like food and music, what are your preferences in terms of cuisine/genre? I have a lot of recommendations, but being able to tailor them to things you'll enjoy would probably be more effective.

  • @alexwhiteplays Pretty much anything really. I think I have been to the Museum of Science and Industry, but I'd like to go to another museum. Theater not so much; I am looking for stuff that can be done during the day. Maybe if you're into comics you could give me a good recommendation for comic book stores.

    And food wise probably fast food since I am on a low budget.

  • @AedardGaming
    Food: If you do a little bit of digging and are willing to get away from downtown into some of the cool, culturally rich neighborhoods, you can find amazing food at prices that compete with fast food. Wok Cuisine on Kedzie is really great Chinese food, and you can get a quart of pork, chicken, or vegetable fried rice (about two meals' worth, depending on how big your appetite is) for less than $6.50 including tax. At Ann Sather on Belmont, you can get two massive cinnamon rolls (more than enough for a morning meal) for about $4.10 after tax, and they're the best cinnamon rolls I've had in my life. I'd also check out the Pilsen neighborhood, no one place stands out but it's a great place to get inexpensive snacks, drinks, and more substantial food. Thanks to strict laws, street food isn't really a thing in Chicago, but there are still some great hole-in-the-wall places where you can get good food at a low cost.

    Entertainment: I'm going to be honest, it's hard for me to recommend much to you. You've already seen a lot of tourist stuff but you're also looking for things that you can do mostly during the day. The problem is that most of the things that locals do start anywhere between 7 and 10 PM and are a few hours long. The things that are open outside of those times are usually geared towards tourists because they assume that the people that live in Chicago are probably working during the day and won't be available to go to entertainment stuff until 7 or later.For the same reason, events are usually clustered towards weekends. Some of the best free entertainment you'll get, especially in the early afternoon on a weekday, are open mic nights. Chicago Bagel Authority is on the pricey side in terms of food (but it's worth splurging a little if you can manage it), but they have open mic nights Thursdays at 7 and Saturdays at 5. I used to make the rounds at almost every open mic night in the city, but I honestly can't remember what they all were. Chances are that if you just look up where you happen to be, there'll be something nearby.

    Museums: The National Museum of Mexican Art is in the Pilsen neighborhood I mentioned earlier, and it's definitely worth checking out. Depending on whether you like old historical stuff or new weird stuff, the other two best art museums in the city are The Art Institute of Chicago and The Museum of Contemporary Art. I personally have a soft spot for the MCA because it has one of my favorite pieces of all time, but AIC has some of the more well-known works. Keeping in mind your budget restraints, there are some great smaller art studios across the city that are either free or inexpensive but show some really cool stuff. FLATstudio near Lawrence is a great example, as is the Slate Arts and Performance venue. The only other museums I would be remiss to not mention are the Museum Campus, which consists of the Adler Planetarium, the Field Museum of Natural History, and the Shedd Aquarium. They're all fairly pricey and some of them are geared towards a younger audience, but they're there and they're cool. Since they're all right next to each other, they have a deal where you can buy combined admission to all three museums and split up your time however you'd like.

    Comic book stores/General nerd things: The best one I can think of is Alley Cat Comics. It's not the biggest and doesn't have the best selection ever, but the sense of community there is unreal. I'd ask if they still do this, but it used to be that every Saturday after closing some people would come around and do a movie night and the last Sunday of each month after closing would be a karaoke session. Neither of those are openly advertised and both are BYOB. Seriously, Alley Cat is the embodiment of jolly. Over by the Belmont location of Ann Sather is also MTGCardMarket if you play Magic at all, as well as The eXchange which is a place where older games ranging from the Sega Genesis to the DS and Wii can find a happy home. I'd also recommend checking out The Dice Dojo, which has free board game nights on Wednesdays at 6. It's really easy to find people to play with, and the event becomes BYOB after 7:30.

    Hope some of those sound enticing, and enjoy your time in my hometown!

  • Nice one! Vienna is rad, I was there in February. The coffeehouses are great, if you go prepared. Bone up about all the weird and wonderful coffee varieties, and be prepared to take a seat and wait for service. You can get decent food and wine in them, as well - a good place to go for classic Viennese staples like schnitzel and goulash. I recommend Cafe Hawelka - go after 7pm, it shouldn't be too busy, order a plate of Buchteln and a boozed-up coffee (eg. a 'Maria Theresia'). It's a little bit grungier than some of the big name places like Cafe Central, and it has a very charming story. If you're there for a few days, a Vienna Pass is a good thing - it gets you into just about all the museums etc., and often lets you skip the lines. Be prepared to learn ALL about the Emperor Franz Joseph II and the Empress Sisi. You will find yourself feeling strangely sympathetic towards a bunch of old Hapsburgs. Apart from that, have a great time! Public transport's really easy, you can walk around the city centre pretty comfortably, people are really pleasant in a formal sort of way.

  • @alexwhiteplays Dude thank you so much for this long response. I really appreciate it. I will make sure to check some of those things out! I am most excited about the cinnamon rolls lol. Thanks for your time!

  • @alexwhiteplays To be honest, I'm more so going to Chicago because my mom wants to visit me. So I really don't have anything in particular planned for there at all. I imagine it'll just be the standard touristy things and shopping.

    I believe a cousin is showing us around one of the days.