Wikivoyage:Tourist office/Archives/2018/June

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Train and bus tickets between Tallinn and Tartu[edit]

I and my girlfriend are going to Tartu on the last week of June, from June 21 to June 28. We've got the ship from Helsinki to Tallinn and back sorted, but we still need to actually get to Tartu.

We are planning to go to Tartu by train from Tallinn and return by bus. Where, how and when should we buy the tickets?

Asked by: JIP (talk) 13:38, 4 June 2018 (UTC)[reply]

Kazakstan in the summer[edit]

trying to make plans to travel across kazakstan, but information seems relatively limited my aim is to go mainly by rail because I like trains ;)

my issue is I'm not sure how to manage the Aktobe-turkestan leg there must be some cool things on the way, so I would rather not go on the fast train all the way ...but there simply isn't a road between "shalkar" and "aralsk"

concievably I could autostop or catch a bus from aktobe to shalkar (maybe 8 hours driving straight) and then wait for a train to uralsk (which I imagine will be have a few empty seats at that point) ...but hitchwiki says "The road between Aktobe and Aralsk is terrible, with little asphalt. Vehicles get stuck in the mud all the time and crossing the country this way can take days." Does anyone know anything about any of the towns on this route, and would private accommodation be available

I never though this "train being fully booked" would be such a huge deal, if I had known I would have gone months ago

-willthewanderer Asked by: 13:05, 6 June 2018 (UTC) Italic text[reply]

willthewanderer, to my knowledge, the road between Aktobe and Turkestan has been completed. It has been "road of death" some 10 years ago, but should have decent asphalt cover on most if not all parts now. Here is a travel report from 2015. It shows some bad parts, but the text says they are short, and the guys could do 1100 km (Kyzylorda-Aktobe) within one day without any difficulty.
Regarding your other questions, the region you are interested in is the most desolate part of the country, which is arguably one of the most desolate countries in the world. I myself have been as far as Kyzylorda and have little idea on happens west of it. I can only say that even the landscape between Turkestan and Kyzylorda was not exactly exciting. It's a very dry steppe, nearly a desert. It was quite hot there already in late March and should be really terrible in summer.
There are some old ruins around Turkestan, which you can reach by minibus or taxi. Baykonur is off limits unless you have a permission. Aralsk itself seems to be most unremarkable, and getting to the remains of the Aral Sea is not easy unless you find someone with a 4x4 car (here the guy describes his bus+hitchhike experience, but I am not sure his route is worth following).
I would personally recommend to do the Aktobe-Turkestan part by any train and spend more time around Almaty, where landscapes are much more pleasant, especially in summer. The remains of the Aral Sea are better reached from the Uzbekistan side (Muynak, etc.) --Alexander (talk) 16:20, 6 June 2018 (UTC)[reply]

Can I travel by bike on a ferry from England to mainland Europe?[edit]

I was just wandering whether it is possible to cycle to an English port and get on a ferry across the channel or sea to head out to mainland Europe. If anyone knows if this is possible and how much would it cost with the cheapest option let me know. Asked by: Laserek2 (talk) 18:27, 7 June 2018 (UTC)[reply]

Yes you can take a bicycle on the ferry. I assume you lock it up on the car deck while you are on-board. I have only travelled with car or motorbike but on the web booking page there is an option to travel with bicycle. Cost depends on time you want to travel and how flexible you want to be when booking ahead. Start at about £25 but can go up to £60 or more. See Ferry routes to Great Britain for list of ferry companies and routes. --Traveler100 (talk) 18:45, 7 June 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Side note, how onerous are the conditions for getting a bike onto Eurostar? Hobbitschuster (talk) 23:46, 7 June 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Here is what the Eurostar people have to say about it.
Note that Eurostar is only the through passenger trains that start or finish in London. The Eurotunnel shuttle trains, which ferry cars and trucks just through the length of the Channel Tunnel, also carry a limited number of bicycles and have separate procedures for them, i.e. you have to be collected at a pickup point separate from where motor vehicles go. Here is what they have to say about that. -- 23:09, 8 June 2018 (UTC)[reply]

How to contact page authors[edit]

How do I find out who wrote a particular location page. I was very impressed with their contributions and I would like to offer them a job.

Asked by: 02:52, 10 June 2018 (UTC)[reply]

Click on “View history” at the top of the page in question. — AndreCarrotflower (talk) 03:36, 10 June 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Generally most pages are a collaborative effort, including work by people who - for whatever reason - aren't active here any more. But the best way to contact any given individual author is their talk page. Hobbitschuster (talk) 15:25, 10 June 2018 (UTC)[reply]
The history always shows which account or which IP address made each change & usually it will indicate which section of the page was changed. It will also let you compare any two versions of the page, so with some mucking about you can get a good idea of which user contributed which text. Pashley (talk) 00:54, 18 June 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Alternately, just ask on the talk page for the article in question. At the top of the article page, click on the "discussion" tab to reach the talk page. At the top of that page, click on "add topic" for the easiest way to ask your question. Pashley (talk) 01:05, 18 June 2018 (UTC)[reply]

Visa procedures[edit]

how to get the visa entering Greenland Asked by: 05:55, 18 June 2018 (UTC)asoka ekanayake 17/06/2018[reply]

Hello. We cover this at Greenland#Passports and visas. Click the link and have a look, but the short version is that if you don't need a visa to go to Denmark, you don't need a visa to go to Greenland, though you may need a transit visa for Iceland or Canada if you are traveling through either of those countries. However, if you do need a visa to visit Denmark, you will need a separate visa for Greenland, which you can get at any Danish diplomatic office. You can find out whether you need a visa to visit Denmark by looking at Denmark#Visas and possibly Travelling around the Schengen Area, but of course checking with a Danish embassy or consulate would be most authoritative. And if you go to Greenland, please update Wikivoyage articles with any useful information you find out that could help the next traveler. Thanks! Ikan Kekek (talk) 06:39, 18 June 2018 (UTC)[reply]

Hiking in Uludag in summer[edit]

I would like to know how to organize a trip with an instructor to the mountains in Uludag in the summer with an overnight stay for 2 days. Are there any such tourist centers in Uludag and how to contact them. Is it possible to rent a tent, backpacks, mats, sleeping bags. Is it possible to climb the mountains on a cable car in summer from hotels in Uludag —The preceding comment was added by Wwwolgawww2727 (talkcontribs)

Unfortunately I have never had the chance to walk up the mountain, and I can only answer the last part of your question: no, there isn't any cable car going up from the Oteller area (and I doubt the cable car going up from Bursa even goes as far as the Oteller); there are some lifts going only as far as the upper ends of the skiing tracks (and I'm not sure if they operate in summer). I presume you intend to hike to the summit and/or the glacier lakes below it; it's reportedly a not-too-demanding walk up there from the Oteller along an unmarked but a clearly obvious and easy to follow trail—as long as a heavy fog, which the mountain is (in)famous for, doesn't set in—passing by the Volfram (the abandoned mine pit) and Keşiştepe (the second highest summit of the mountain with the supposed "hermit's hut" on its top). But a return trip on this route within the same day may be a little bit longer than the average walk in the park, and a night of camping somewhere up there may be warranted.
Have a nice trip and please contribute to our Uludağ article on your findings there when you are back. Vidimian (talk) 21:44, 18 June 2018 (UTC)[reply]

Barcelona: Narrowing things down[edit]

So I’m finally down to brass tacks when it comes to planning my upcoming trip to Spain with my wife. We’ve got the flights booked, arriving in Barcelona midday on Wednesday, September 5 and leaving at the same time on Wednesday, September 19. The structure of the trip, broadly speaking, is as follows: we will be spending the first three and a half days (Sep 5-8) exploring Catalonia outside of Barcelona, the next three days (Sep 9-11) in Aragon, the next four days (Sep 12-15) in Navarre and the Basque Country (possibly as a series of day trips from Bilbao), then looping back eastward and spending a day (Sep 16) across the border in either Bordeaux or Andorra (this depends on whether our Bordelais friend’s schedule comports with ours; if we do go to Bordeaux, it will be strictly to visit him rather than for sightseeing), and then for the grand finale Barcelona from Sep 17-19. I’m including all this background information because this is likely not the last Tourist Office question I will be asking about this trip.

My question for now is how best to utilize those two and a half days in Barcelona? I know that’s not the optimum length of time to spend in such a large and interesting city, and we’re finding the sheer breadth of what Barcelona has to offer a bit overwhelming. Much like our trip to Boston last month, our strategy is to cover as many of the absolute “must sees” as possible while also hopefully stealing a few brief glimpses of the real day-to-day heart and soul of the city away from the tourist clichés, and to console ourselves with the thought that if we really fall in love with the place, we can always go back. Our priorities in terms of types of attractions are history, architecture, and fine dining above all. Personally, museums tend to bore me, though I’d be game to visit one or two extraordinarily interesting or prominent ones (especially art museums). We’ve already booked a private tour of Sagrada Familia, but beyond that I’m hoping some of you folks can help us pick and choose among the highlights and curate a collection of experiences that, together, make up a good representative summary of what Barcelona is all about.

AndreCarrotflower (talk) 19:07, 21 June 2018 (UTC)[reply]

You may have mentioned that elsewhere, but how will you travel between those different places? IIRC Spanish trains are cheaper when booked earlier... Hobbitschuster (talk) 01:35, 22 June 2018 (UTC)[reply]
We booked a flight package that includes car rental. I envision returning the rental car to the airport on the 17th, then using public transport for the final three days of the trip whilst in Barcelona. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 01:36, 22 June 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Oh getting around Barcelona without a car is easier than with one, no doubt about it... Hobbitschuster (talk) 01:38, 22 June 2018 (UTC)[reply]

May I suggest Barcelona/Gràcia as the place to look for your accommodation? It's a traditional Catalan neighbourhood that hosts the city's biggest festival, la Festa Major de Gràcia, which you'll just be missing (it's at the end of August). It's also a largely pedestrianised and extremely walkable neighbourhood with lots of pretty streets and a cool market hall to explore, but it still has a vibrant, cosmopolitan feel - definitely the heart and soul you're looking for.

Another reason why I suggest it is that it's just north of the centre, and is rather perfectly positioned with regards to attractions. Accessing the central / coastal attractions: Ciutat Vella, La Rambla et al can be done in just a couple of stops on the metro. It's a little further from Montjuïc, which I recommend for an evening visit, to coincide with the fountain and music show - sounds corny but is actually really beautiful and it's all on a hill overlooking the city in the evening light... On the other hand, Sagrada Família, L'Eixample (the modernist quarter, which also has high end restaurants that you're interested in) and Gaudí's Park Güell are within walking distance of Gràcia. Obviously time is not on your side, so I figure the more places you can walk to from your accommodation, the better. I also found Gràcia to be blessed with a mix of great restaurants that don't break the bank, though perhaps those may not fit your definition of fine dining. There's always Bordeaux for that, at any rate...

Overall, to get the best of the city, I suggest taking things by neighbourhood - Ciutat Vella and the seafront area could be done in a day with Montjuïc, while even if you don't end up staying in Gràcia, your Sagrada Familia tour will lend itself to spending the rest of the day in either l'Eixample or Park Güell, based on proximity.

Personally, I don't think any of Barcelona's museums are really 'must see' during such a short visit, at least not in comparison to other more famous museums in Europe; it's not like missing out on the Louvre. You might want to go to the Picasso Museum, however, which is only small so you won't need to spend hours just to get a feel for it, and it's right in the Ciutat Vella. Plus, if you're exploring the rest of Catalonia, you can always fit in a trip to Figueres - home of the brilliant Dalí Museum. That northern part of Catalonia, inland of the Costa Brava, is also very traditionally Catalan, and Girona's a nice small city worth a day by itself.

I don't know whether it's intentional, but you've probably chosen wisely to not be in Catalonia on 11 September - it's their national holiday, and given the past year or so in politics, there will be massive demonstrations and transport disruption (as there have been every other year recently), not to mention the potential for civil unrest. Overall, I'm low-key in love with Catalonia and especially her capital - I'm sure you'll love it. Bon viatge! ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 06:53, 22 June 2018 (UTC)[reply]

Thank you very much ThunderingTyphoons! for the exquisitely detailed response. In particular, breaking Barcelona down by neighbourhood is a great idea that we're definitely going to use to refine our plans. Here are some brainstorms I've had, and do feel free to chime in if I'm making any wrongheaded assumptions.
  • It seems like Ciutat Vella and l'Eixample contain most of the really prominent attractions, and are thus the main areas that first-time visitors such as us should zero in on for sightseeing. Personally, as a fan of pre-WWII modern architecture in general and Gaudí in particular, I actually feel inclined to place Eixample on an equal footing with Ciutat Vella, perhaps devoting a full day to each.
  • Gràcia does strike me as a good place to look for accommodation, not only for the reasons you mentioned but also because (at first glance, and this is one of the things I might be wrong about) it seems to have sort of a Goldilocks location, not exactly centrally located but still decidedly on the beaten path. Also, as a "traditional Catalan neighbourhood" it seems like a good place to seek out local cuisine. (A clarification: by "fine dining" I was referring to good food regardless of price point, and above all authentic regional specialties. For example, if I were travelling to Chicago, I'd sooner pay $5 for a Chicago-style hot dog that's really, really good than $100 a plate at a fancy steakhouse where the food is just okay.)
  • Regarding the rest of Catalonia, we're planning on heading directly to Figueres after landing at BCN, and spending the rest of Day 1 exploring the Dalí Museum (for which the Picasso Museum in Barcelona would make an excellent counterpart experience at the opposite end of the trip) and the castle, and maybe dinner on the Rambla. (The very densely packed) Day 2 will be Girona in the morning and afternoon and then to Blanes for dinner. Day 4 is going to be mostly relaxing on the beach at Tarragona; Day 3 we haven't figured out yet.
  • Not being in Catalonia on September 11 was unintentional but definitely fortuitous. Another question for you: I speak fluent Spanish but no Catalan at all. (To be clear: thanks to my familiarity with Romance languages in general, I have enough reading comprehension ability to be able to decipher e.g. road signs, Metro maps, and other simple things like that, but understanding spoken Catalan would likely be out of the question.) I'm aware the most of the locals are bilingual (at least; probably more than that in the touristed areas of Barcelona), but given the political goings-on of the past year, how likely would it be for a local to take offense at me addressing him or her in Spanish? Would I be better off just using English when possible?
-- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 02:04, 23 June 2018 (UTC)[reply]
I was in Barcelona in 2016, and people never took offense when I addressed them in Spanish. Sometimes I would address them in Catalan and they'd respond in Spanish, other times I would address them in Catalan and they'd be pleased that someone who was obviously foreign could speak a little of their language, but whenever I addressed someone in Spanish they were perfectly happy to respond in Spanish. A friend of mine said that a couple of times he addressed someone in Spanish but they responded in broken English for political reasons (though I don't think they were offended, really, they just didn't want to speak Spanish). I realize the political situation has gotten a lot more tense since then, and I haven't spent too much time in the rest of Catalonia, but I think anyone whose job involves working with tourists will be used to being addressed in Spanish. It's probably a good idea to say castellano rather than español, though, and again, I realize the political situation has changed since I was there. —Granger (talk · contribs) 04:10, 23 June 2018 (UTC)[reply]
  • the day you go to the Picasso Museum, you should as well check out the Museum of the City (MUCBA), with the underground remains of the Roman city Barcino, and some very nice medieval architecture, including a royal reception room where Columbus met the king and queen after returning from the Americas - it's adjacent to the Gothic cathedral in the Barri Gòtic. The naval museum is nearby (metro Drassanes) and also features wonderful Gothic architecture, and extant medieval city walls. Have a snack in the Boquería Market, before or after that. The Boquería is by far the best eating spot in the Rambla but is open only on breakfast to lunch hours. If you like Gaudí then you should definitely visit Casa Milà, aka La Pedrera; one of the apartments is preserved in original condition and visitable. Ibaman (talk) 14:08, 23 June 2018 (UTC)[reply]

Yes, l'Eixample and Ciutat Vella should definitely be on equal footing for a first time visit - the only remark I have is Ciutat Vella is more pleasant to get around, as it's mostly pedestrianised, whereas l'Eixample is a huge grid of straight and busy avenues. But it's where most of the prominent modernist buildings are, so you'll want to go there. Park Güell will take a long morning, if you're interested in that. Buy and print your tickets for the main bit with all the Gaudí weirdness in advance - most of the park is free, but access all the architecture stuff is ticketed.

Gràcia is a very good area for Catalan cuisine, yes. I'll try to remember the restaurants we visited and would recommend when I have a bit more time, and post you the links / add them to Wikivoyage! On that theme, La Barceloneta - the old fishing quarter near the beach - is also very good, especially for seafood tapas, the more backstreet the better: If you can see the beach, you're in the wrong bar!

Figueres is pleasant enough, but the Dalí Museum is by far the most interesting aspect of it. For Girona, I recommend walking the city walls, which is a spectacular way of seeing the whole town without actually visiting it all. Also, the cathedral and the old town around it are superb. Don't miss the Jewish quarter, which has an old bathhouse. When I was in Girona, there were all sorts of bits closed off because they were filming Game of Thrones, so there might be other obvious good stuff I missed.

I was last in Catalonia this time last year or thereabouts, so things may have changed since then, but I generally agree with Granger's assessment of the language situation in Barcelona. Northern Catalonia is more strongly Catalan than Barcelona, in my experience. Some local people not involved with the tourist industry will not speak Spanish to you at all - try French in this case. On the other hand, people who live there know that most tourists don't speak Catalan, so most don't mind if you can't hold a conversation, but they do expect you acknowledge the fact you're in a Catalan-speaking area. It is therefore in my view essential to learn at the very least how to say hello (bon dia / bona tarda / hola), thank you (gracies - not pronounced with a lisp as in Castilian Spanish) and goodbye (adéu - the D is like the 'th' in the or there).

Just to add to Ibaman's excellent suggestion of the Boquería market, be aware that it's not actually on La Rambla itself - there are market stalls and restaurants on La Rambla, but these were incredibly touristy, tacky and overpriced when I went last year - a huge contrast to my first visit with my school in 2008, when it still felt like a locals' place. When walking 'up' La Rambla from the direction of the Colombus statue and the sea, the Boquería's a couple of blocks to the left in the side streets. ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 10:23, 24 June 2018 (UTC)[reply]

  • Thank you everyone for your valuable assistance! As fior the language question, I suppose my course of action will be to open with some pleasantries in Catalan (bon dia/bona tarda/hola), then switch to Spanish, explaining that I don't speak Catalan and asking if it's okay to address them en castellano. If not, then Plan B would be English or French. Perhaps that's something of an unnecessarily careful approach, but the locals would likely appreciate it. Also, again, this is probably not the last question I'll be asking as the planning process for this trip continues along, so stay tuned. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 15:20, 24 June 2018 (UTC)[reply]