After reaching Kobarid, we already began to fantasize about our 11 course dining experience and wine tasting at a Chef’s Table featured restaurant, Hisa Franko, in northwest Slovenia. We also had booked the B&B portion for one night ti breakup our visit to Ljubljana. #traveltip: Hisa Franko is closed Monday and Tuesday so if you are thinking about visiting, plan your travel accordingly. Hisa Franko itself was only a few kilometers from Kobarid and was easy to find through Google Maps. We pulled up in the very windy and slightly rainy weather to check in – it looked a bit like a Tuscan villa, but slightly overgrown and with more homely charm. We were competing with the front-desk, which was busy processing check outs, at our 1600 arrival. We had to wait about 15 minutes, so we took some time to walk around the property and get our luggage. Shortly after we were checked in to room #2, one of the “My Africa” room. It had some odd bugs – maybe features? (such as no shelf in the shower, little to no usable outlets, no bathroom door that completely closed, and a shower that leaked). Nonetheless it was a comfortable….
Getting an early start (0900) on our first full day allowed us to get out of Ljubljana and on the road towards the Predjama Castle and Postojna Caves in the northwest area of Slovenia with time to make it to Kobarid by nightfall. Our plan was to spend a few hours in each place, and then make it for our big 11 course meal at Hisa Franko at 715PM without feeling rushed. The plan worked, and here was our route for the day. But first, we had to pick up the car at the local Sixt office near the Ljubljana railway station. Luckily we had already scoped it out the night before and found the way passable by foot – so we spent about 15 minutes after breakfast rolling our suitcases towards the train station. Other than a little excess noise which we didn’t expect over lightly pebbled streets, the plan went flawlessly. It was such a quiet, green city, we felt bad about our noise pollution contribution. The Sixt office was a little difficult to locate, on the railway side of the station, but we found it after asking for help. We only had to wait a short while….
We took the new United 787-8 DEN-FRA route for the first leg of our trip to Ljubljana, departing at 1545. It was about an hour late due to having to drop off passengers at the International terminal first (and then drive it to B). We got to use the United Club in advance despite having booked award tickets (which made it ineligible to use my complimentary upgrades or GPUs). Beyond a slight delay, the only other minor nuisances of this otherwise pleasant flight were 100%, and a non-functional entertainment system at Brendan’s seat (which they comped him 7,500 miles for). We watched “First Man” during dinner, consisting of quinoa salad, ravioli, and lemon sorbet (which was an odd choice we felt), slept a little, and read a little. We landed more or less on time in Frankfurt at 0930. Uncharacteristically, the flight attendants on this United flight were extremely pleasant and dare I say friendly. After very quickly passing through immigration (and never having to collect our checked luggage, scan them, and re-check them), we scoped out our gate in A, before making the trek back to B for the Lufthansa Senator Lounge (accessible via my United Gold status). We….
We thought we’d put together a list of #cruisehack tips for fellow travelers under the age of 40, and also those that have never cruised before. Since most of the cruise passengers are 60+, there are not many survival guides written for the younger generation. This one is brought to you courtesy of Brendan and CJ. And just for the record and in case our advice below reads as snarky or unappreciative, we actually really enjoyed our cruising experience on Celebrity. Leave at least 2 days in advance if you have to fly to ensure that you don’t miss your cruise. Yes, it may mean you have to spend a couple extra days in a city like Fort Lauderdale which you may not care about, but it’s the cost of doing business. See our horror story for proof that this is important. Bring a water bottle, don’t buy the water beverage plan. It’s irritating to have to use separate glasses to fill your bottle, but it will save you $25/day for two people. Unless you are going to drink more than 7 drinks a day per person, don’t buy any beverage packages, in fact. Drinks are between $6-15 depending on….
The last two days were our final at sea days on the Celebrity Silhouette and very much reflected the routine described in our previous blog. We continued scheduling our evenings around the shows – a PG rated comedian who was hit or miss, and the finale “Life”, a music and dance mashup performed by the Celebrity cast and special performers. The aerial acrobatics and dancers once again stole the show, earning a standing ovation. Our days consisted of reading, laying out by the pool, and going to the gym. Our last two dinners were memorable, however – the penultimate night we tried Tuscan Grill, one of the specialty restaurants. At $45 per person, it was one of more expensive dining options on the ship, but it didn’t disappoint. For starters we had salads and a white flatbread (plus delicious regular bread). For mains, Brendan ordered a filet mignon and lobster linguine alfredo, and I ordered vegetarian gnocchi and a side of eggplant parmigiana. I again broke the waiter with a menu substitution – chicken parmigiana was one of the entrees, and I really just wanted eggplant ptarmigan, which was unfortunately listed as a “side” on the menu. This of course….