Hello Ibiza, Goodbye Amsterdam (EuroTour 2015)

The last leg of our EuroTrip ended in Ibiza, a small island off the coast of Spain. I was looking forward to this beach getaway the most. I love the beach, the lazy time just enjoying the sun, the breeze, and the water.

We took a local train from Amsterdam to the airport. Since I hadn’t gotten a chance to take a photo at the Amsterdam sign at the main train station, after we checked in and went thru airport security I left my carry-on bag with my friends and went outside the airport to capture a few flicks with the Amsterdam sign at the airport.

Of course our flight was delayed, but once we landed in Ibiza we took a cab to our AirBnb, grabbed food nearby, and walked around along the beach. We met a woman, Alesandra, who was about our age dancing in the street to a live band, her mother and grandmother sitting nearby encouraged me to dance with her, so I did. Afterwards she offered us free tickets to the club she worked at and told us to text her beforehand to confirm if she was working.

We woke up the next morning and walked a bit to find tickets to do excursions etc. we got the information we needed but didn’t book anything. We found a place nearby to get breakfast right on the beach complete with delicious mimosas. Let the fun begin!

After breakfast was the designated time for sun & sand. But before we could get our relaxation on we were intrigued by a speed boat pulling a group in a what can only really be described as a huge inflatable circular water raft.  Instant fun and we signed up immediately!

The four of us dropped our belongings, grabbed the life vests and hopped into the raft holding on to ropes on either side of us.  The ride was quite bumpy and a few of us fell off the inflatable benches onto the raft floor with the velocity of the boat making it pretty difficult to gain composure.  I’m pretty sure a few of us sustained a bruise or two, but it was so worth it.  It was unexpected fun, especially since the boat driver was deliberately maneuvering the raft to keep us from gaining composure and getting drenched in the process. 11907760_10153585525919190_1803335373055328077_n I don’t remember the cost and unfortunately (or fortunately) it wasn’t captured on any camera. But here’s a shot of the boat and raft in the water.

 

We made it back to the beach where we rented an umbrella and chairs.  A few of us went to a nearby shop to purchase some libations.

Luckily we happened to find a store with an ice bucket special that included a bottle of alcohol, ice, water, cups and juice.  I did a bit of negotiating for the price since we wanted to swap out the type and brand of alcohol pre-designated for the deal but the liquor bucket ultimately made for a great beach trip.

After a quick photo shoot we went back to relaxing on the beach.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Last Train From Paris

Next stop on the tour was Amsterdam!  But not after yet a little more travel drama…but this time we arrived at the train station in Paris to depart for Amsterdam. We probably got there way too early.


Unfortunately, we had to walk down to the second to the last Thalys train car (#18) for our seats only to learn that there was no more room for any of our luggage on our car. After being directed to the previous car (#17) to check for availability and being told the same.

We broke up our group of 4 into 2.  Two of us ran all the way to the 5th train car, where we finally found availability for our massive luggage.  We were not pleased with leaving out luggage so far out of sight and reach from the reserved seating we had in car #18, but what are you gonna do?

Returning to our seats was not a simple task as a train employee was refereeing an argument between a nice lady with kids who purchased a reserved seat and the arrogant man who was sitting in her seat and was determined not to move.

The train was full so finding an empty seat for him would probably not be easy. Getting past that drama took a few minutes. Finally we arrived at our reserved seating of 4 only to find a group of young guys playing cards and occupying them.

After making it clear that we had reserved those seats we were on our way to Amsterdam. I believe it was about a 3 hour ride.


Ironically, this happened to be the same train that 3 Americans would stop a gunman a mere 2 weeks later; only that train was going to Paris from Amsterdam. #Godisgood

 

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Booking the EuroTour

Actual travel dates were August 4-16, 2015.  It took weeks to solidify the entire trip. But ultimately it was decided to do a roundtrip flight from Philadelphia to London and piece the rest of the trip together from London.

Although I know waiting just a bit longer to purchase the that flight would have been much cheaper, the majority of my friends had the money ready to purchase this trip and wanted to get that leg of the trip out of the way. In hindsight, I should have set up a shared account or had them just send me the funds via Paypal and purchased the ticket a week or two later when it dropped by $100 dollars.

Unfortunately, I purchased our tickets at $985 USD direct from PHL to LHR on British Airways. I love British Airways because they serve free alcohol.

The next step was booking the intra-Europe travel. After searching across flights and trains it ended up being cheaper to take flights for most of the remaining travel. (At least the upfront travel costs…) in hindsight, it is really important to calculate baggage fees, baggage weight limits and the cost of the airport hassle when doing this comparison.

I was able to score a flight from Gatwick, London to Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris for $66 USD. But it ended up being cheaper to take the train from Paris to Amsterdam at only $39 USD.

From Amsterdam we flew to Ibiza for $69 USD. But finding a decent priced flight to get to our return flight out of London from Ibiza was a bit more difficult. I waited a few more weeks to book that flight and got it for $186 USD.

So let’s recap for travel:

  • $985
  • $ 66
  • $ 39
  • $ 69
  • $186

Total $1345 for travel.

We had a few hours layover in Germany on our way back to London from Ibiza.

Here is a snapshot of our travel path for the trip.
Screen Shot 2015-10-04 at 12.02.09 PM

In the next post I’ll detail our lodging and recommendations.

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