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Old 03-17-2011, 09:39 AM   #136
bibbidibobbidibecky
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Would it be possible to go to Pisa first thing in the morning. Basically see the tower--my kids are too young to even go up in it--maybe have a quick lunch by the tower (I was there 10 years ago and there were several restaurants right by it, which I assume are still there). And then take the train to Levanto and walk around there for a couple of hours before heading back to La Spezia.

I want to show my kids Pisa but the adults would like to see something new.

So would we have time?

TIA!
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Old 03-17-2011, 10:29 AM   #137
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Would it be possible to go to Pisa first thing in the morning. Basically see the tower--my kids are too young to even go up in it--maybe have a quick lunch by the tower (I was there 10 years ago and there were several restaurants right by it, which I assume are still there). And then take the train to Levanto and walk around there for a couple of hours before heading back to La Spezia.

I want to show my kids Pisa but the adults would like to see something new.

So would we have time?

TIA!
According to the RailEurope schedule (as it's posted for right now) the timing for that plan would be very similar to the one we were planning to do for Pisa & Cinque Terre. If the tower is open on Aug. 15th we'll probably try to do both. If the tower is closed to visitors that day we'll probably skip Pisa & just do Cinque Terre. (I haven't heard back from the tower yet regarding that date.)

Anyway, the trains from La Spezia to Pisa take anywhere from 51 min. to 1 hr. 15 depending which one you catch (some apparently have more stops than others). Then the train from Pisa to Levanto takes 1 hr. 16 min. Finally, the train back from Levanto to La Spezia is only about 30 min. on average. I think it sounds completely feasible depending on how long you spend in each place. You might find it's still too early for lunch in Pisa if you go early like we were planning to do (I was planning on lunch in Monterosso.)
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Old 03-17-2011, 03:14 PM   #138
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Thanks, but I think I am obsessive enough to be sure to plan this day out right before we go. :.
glad to see you have looked into it. I was also posting for people that may have not done as much research and may not be aware that it is a holiday or that the museums in Florence are closed on Mondays
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Old 03-18-2011, 03:17 PM   #139
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Old 03-19-2011, 04:43 PM   #140
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Found this site with some good information on using the trains in different port

http://ftroute.com/ItalianTrains.htm
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Old 03-21-2011, 10:25 AM   #141
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Purchasing Euro

How did you purchase Euro? In the States before your trip? Use ATMs when you got to Europe? Other? Just curious what others have done in the past. Thanks!
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Old 03-21-2011, 11:29 AM   #142
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How did you purchase Euro? In the States before your trip? Use ATMs when you got to Europe? Other? Just curious what others have done in the past. Thanks!
If you have a cc that does not charge you more than a 1 or 2 percent international fee, I would take most of my money out from ATMs in Europe. Banks usually charge you more than a cc will, depending on their fees. I live in England right now and I rarely take pounds out of my banks (american banks on an AF base)) ATM. I usually pay with my cc that only charges a 1 percent fee, or get money from an ATM with that card if I need cash.
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Old 03-21-2011, 11:44 AM   #143
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How did you purchase Euro? In the States before your trip? Use ATMs when you got to Europe? Other? Just curious what others have done in the past. Thanks!
If you don't have a Capitol One card, I recommend getting it for International travel...they don't charge a foreign transaction fee and a pretty small percent for cash advances.

I almost always get a little money at the airport (exchange some) just to have a little when I land--you never know! Although the rate is not as good and they will charge you a fee. And then just use ATMs once you are there.

I do not recommend getting it at your home bank before you leave. They will charge you a silly amount to exchange it.

But seriously the card without the foreign transaction fee can save you a ton. I also don't think you'll need as much cash as you may think...it's amazing the places that take CC now.
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Old 03-21-2011, 12:01 PM   #144
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If you don't have a Capitol One card, I recommend getting it for International travel...they don't charge a foreign transaction fee and a pretty small percent for cash advances.
I second this! We have a CO card for our foreign travel (make sure to call all credit card companies before you go to let them know you will be traveling, BTW) and it saves a TON. I would also check with your bank to see if they have a relationship with any foreign banks. We use B of A, which has a relationship with Barclays in the UK. We can pull money out of Barclay ATMs for no charge.

We also get a good exchange rate from B of A on foreign currency--you have to check which branches have foreign currency and/or order it directly from the bank. Check the spot rate to compare. Today it's 1.418 http://www.dailyfinance.com/quotes/e...usd/eurusd/fx1 For comparison, B of A is offering to exchange at 1.4922 and travelex (the company at a lot of airports) is 1.5126

Someone on a post mentioned AAA, so I'm going to compare that this year.
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Old 03-21-2011, 12:15 PM   #145
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I just got my Cap. One card in the mail last week for the trip!
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Old 03-21-2011, 12:48 PM   #146
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We have a Cap One Rewards Mastercard that I saved miles on for like 10 years...we accrued enough miles in that time to cover 2 of our airline tickets and since they have no blackout dates we redeemed miles for 2 tickets. And as others have said, there are no extra fees to use the card internationally. Our bank was bought out by Cap One last year too so I have already inquired with them about exchanging money in euro and euro travelers checks. They only charge a flat $10 fee to order either. I didn't think that was too bad. They will go by the current exchange rate for the day. Euro travelers checks are available in 50 & 100 e denominations in case anybody is interested. And apparently unlike American travelers checks you can order any amount that you want instead of having to buy pre-set booklets. Our Cap One ATM debit card will incur a $2 fee per transaction if we use it in Europe.

We also have a Platinum Visa credit card from Wachovia (now changing to Wells Fargo) that is attached to our Home Equity Line. I called them just to see how that one works too. It has some special benefits including no transaction fees & no cash advance fees. It is also currently at 3%. We also have a Visa debit card on a bank account there but unlike the Platinum card IT has a 3% fee to use it in Europe and a $5 fee to use at an ATM. Wachovia / Wells Fargo was going to charge a $15 fee to order euro so I'll definitely be going to Cap One to order those.

You really have to check on your own individual card...I think I agree tho that the Cap One cards are the best deal. I am going to order some euro to take with us since their fee is nominal. I don't want to have to be constantly hunting down ATM's.

I booked 2 tours with Romeinlimo for Rome & Naples and they told me if I want to prepay in full by credit card I can IF I DO IT BEFORE MARCH 31. So I am thinking about using that Wachovia Platinum Visa card to do that...that would save on some of the cash we need to take since they would be taken care of already then I can save the Cap One card to use on other purchases while we're there. But I think we should take 2 cards with us (one Visa & one Mastercard) and keep them separated just in case something happens to one or the other. If one gets lost or stolen we'll need a backup.
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Sadly, no countdown tickers at the moment.

Come join me for my 2nd ever trip report now in progress for DisneyLAND and Aulani and Maui 2014. http://www.disboards.com/showthread....7#post52179607

My first ever trip report - Disneyland Paris and our DCL Med cruise: http://thewhitehouseblog.weebly.com/ (ALMOST but not quite finished)

August 2014 - 3 n @ VGC & DL followed by 7 n @ Aulani follwed by 3 n on Maui / Jan 2014 - 5 n @ AKV Jambo House / Aug 2013 - 9 nights @ SSR / Aug 2012 - 9 n @ Boardwalk Villas and HRH / Mar-Apr 2012 6 n @ Bay Lake / August 2011 Disneyland Paris and DCL MED cruise / August 2010 Disney's DVC resort at Hilton Head Island, SC / March 2010 Kidani Village at AKV / August '09 BCV & Vero Beach / May '09 SSR / July '08 AKV & B2B Cruises on The Wonder/ January '08 VWL / August '07 OKW / July '06 Offsite - Waikiki, Kona & Ka'anapali, Hawaii / July '05 Disneyland & Disney Magic West Coast Cruise to the Mexican Riviera / Summer '04 CSR / May '03 Offsite - St. John, USVI / Summer '02 AKL & O.C., MD


















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Old 03-21-2011, 01:38 PM   #147
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on our last vacation in Europe we exchanged a couple of hundred dollars at our bank. When comparing it to Amex and other exchange places our bank had the best rate. I don't like to arrive in a country without any local currency.

Usually too tired after a long flight to find an ATM at the airport and since the ATM may be one that is not affiliated with my bank the fees would be higher.

We also bank with Bank of America and have already called to inquire about banks we can use in Italy and France where we would not get charged a fee. Just the 1% exchange rate that they have.
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Old 03-21-2011, 05:07 PM   #148
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Thank you so much for all the great ideas for getting Euros for our trip!!
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Old 03-21-2011, 07:12 PM   #149
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Question for those who took the train on your own into Rome from Civitavecchia. I think we'll try to take the "express" IC (or IP) train... I saw it on some posted the "unofficial" time tables below, but when I try to find it on the official website, it doesn't come up. Am I doing something wrong?

here it is on this site:

(see 9:17 departure from Civitavecchia)
http://ftroute.com/alltrains.cfm?FM=1&TO=2

and the return:

(see 15:46 departure from Roma Termini)
http://ftroute.com/alltrains.cfm?FM=2&TO=1


but when I plug in the times on the search engine here, it says "no records found."

http://www.ferroviedellostato.it/homepage_en.html

maybe they don't have them up for July yet?
any tips will be appreciated.
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Old 03-21-2011, 07:20 PM   #150
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On the Rome trains...

Everyone basically got off at the vatican stop (i'll find the exact stop name and post it later) rather than termini. Termini was a full 30 - 40 minutes further and then forced you to back track somewhat to the Coloseium.

You'll want to plan your day starting either at the vatican and ending at the coloseium or vice versa. We got off at the vatican stop and took a taxi to the coloseium. Walked from the coloseium to the spanish steps (seeing the sights along the way). Walked to the vatican from there. Got back on the train and went back. Its very easy - lots of walking. We took taxi's when we were tired and ate at a fantastic place near the coloseium.
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