Books I've Read

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Warsaw: We are off! (part 1)

So we decided in Feb to go on a short city break some where in Eastern Europe. We spent a few weeks researching and looking at the options before we settled on Warsaw. Using Expedia we booked in for the flights and the hotel for March 29- April 1. We got a good deal it was just over £500pp for a nice long weekend break.

Lessons I learned while booking this trip is that Expedia's top choices are not usally the best. I found that they sometimes were not that central or that nice compared to other options further down the list. So my advice DO not be swayed by a place being a "top pick" take your time and do a bit more research before settling on where you are going to stay. Google street view and Google maps proved to be very valuable tools.

Second really look at the flight details and look at all the options before settling on a flight. By being willing to be early birds at get a flight one hour earlier than expedia's top pick we gained 4 hours in Warsaw as the return flight left much later in the final day compared to the top pick. AND it was no more expensive.

Bags packed, parking arranged, E-tickets on my phone, passports ready we got up at 03:30 to head to the airport. The drive to London Heathrow was easy as there was no traffic on the M25. Our parking turned out to be business parking and we were literally 5 minutes from the terminal! (again the cheapest option...thanks to Money Saving Expert). We checked in to our flight on time and spent a bit of time wandering around the airport. It was our first experience flying with Polish airlines. Their check-in process was fairly simple, aside from their scrict cabin baggage weight allowances (our carry on's were weighed...first time for both of us that happened while flying). We had hoped to carry our bags on BUT due to the fact that our wheely bags weigh almost 6 kg when empty they did not come under the 6kg weight allowance. Oh well.

While waiting in the cue we noticed that we were going to be sharing a flight with somesort of boy band! hehe!! No one that we recognized...but then again we are not really up on boy bands. hehe. Finally when borading the plane we realized that alothough we had chosen seats together, without asking us they had seperated us. Worse though was the appoling leg room allowance, even I barely fit in the seat! Poor Marks knees where at his ears. Even though it was only a two hour flight it would have been a very uncomforatble two hours. So a quick word with the air hostess and she talked two passengers in the exit rows to change seats with us. We still were not sitting together, but at least we fit in the seats! The seat allowance on that plan was not designed for tall people...and I'm not that tall! Plus I got to sit by one of the boy band members! hehe. I was too chicken to ask who they were though.

Before leaving on this trip we had decided this trip to be more of a traveller than a tourist so instead of hiring a car in Warsaw to meet us at the airport we had looked up the Warsaw city bus maps on the internet. It looked fairly straight forward to travel from the airport to our hotel and I was pretty sure that even though we spoke no English we would be ok. However after collecting our bags at the Warsaw Aiport, Lotnisko Chopina w Warszawie looking around to signs that made no sense to me I began to get a bit nervous. We plucked up our courage and went into a small convince store in the airport as the internet had assuered us that these kind of stores sold bus tickets.

The lady behind the counter spoke no English! But thankfully understood "bus" so we got tickets and then found the bus stop. we got on the bus and again thanks to google street view we recongnized the last corner before our stop. It was super easy as it was a single bus ride with no transfers. After a short walk to our hotel we were checking in. Easy!!

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

My Books

Just a note....

I was thinking the other day and I've decided that I should tell you about the "Books I've Read" tab on my blog as it is relatively new. This is something I started to do for my own interest. The books I review are purely books that I have read at sometime. I am trying to make it so that as I read a book I review and then this will become a record of the books that I have read. However I am not keeping up as I read too many books. hehe!

The books I have reviewed to date are either given to me, I purchased them, a publisher sends me a copy to read (with no compensation), or I obtain then through Read it Swap it.

Read it swap it is a network...for lack of a better term, where for the small obligation of setting up a user name and password you are connected in to a network of readers. To date this is only available in the UK. How it works is that you put up on the network any books that you have that you are not interested in keeping. The website then puts them in the Library and any other user then can find it. If another finds a book of your that they would like to read then they request a swap with you. You are sent an email, and then by logging in you can see all the books that they have to swap. You then decide if you want to swap or not. If the answer is no then you are done for that swap. If the answer is yes then you will post your book to them and they will post their book to you. The only cost involved it the postage and here in the UK that is usually under £2.50 (depending on the weight of the book).

I have saved OODLES of money doing this!! And have had not difficulties in swap not happening! Sometimes I even get little notes, bookmarks, of teabags in with my book! It is great! Not to mention gotten rid of books that I didn't want to keep, expanding my reading experience to authors I probably would not have ever found, and keeping me in books without spending a fortune (I read about a book a fortnight) I love this service!!! So if you are in the UK and you like reading check this out.