Royal City Carlson Wagonlit Travel's Blog

Here is a video from a wonderful series entitled "Live the Language" from the EF International Language Centers. Beautiful and moving, these videos artfully explore the process of foreign language immersion and practice. This one is Paris!

The majestic outside architecture and elaborate interior of the Lausanne Cathedral gives it international status as one of Europe's most treasured structures, and is a must-see for a traveler to Lausanne.

The Lausanne Cathedral was constructed in the gothic style between 1170 and 1240, with a later addition of the western portal in the flamboyant style. The cathedral has a remarkable multi-colored interior, with still visible paintings in the Chapel of the Virgin. The Rose Window, whose panes depict the medieval world perspective of the figure of God as creator, is among the masterpieces of European artistic heritage.

With the addition of a one-of-a-kind organ in 2003, you can now attend regular concerts held inside the cathedral. 

During the day, climb up the Cathedral Tower. The view of the city from the top is well worth the climb. 

From 10pm until 2am, a watchman shouts the hours, part of a tradition that dates back to 1405. 

Hours:

Mon - Fri, 7am-7pm

Sat & Sun, 8am-7pm

Guided Tours

July 1st until September 20th - Free of charge 

September 21st until June 30th - By appointment

Find it on a city map

Address: Riponne-Maurice Béjart, Bessières 

Tel: +41 21 316 71 61

A trip to Switzerland is closer than you think!

It might seem like a far off dream, but at Royal City Travel, we can make that trip happen in a snap. Our experienced travel consultants can plan the perfect vacation around your budget and interests. Just contact us for more information. 

 

Like most things in life, traveling involves some risk.

For the most part your risk is generally very minimal and there are measures you can take to all but eliminate it, along with your stress while you fly.

Here are the steps to take on your next trip.

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Valuables 
Don’t bring anything super valuable or difficult to replace, like a family heirloom. If for whatever reason the nature of your travel requires you to bring expensive jewelry, clothing or equipment, consider covering their replacement value under a policy in addition to the automatic, very limited coverage provided by the airlines.

Buy this protection through either your own insurance or at the ticket counter. Anything you really care about - wear.

Packing 
Before packing your bags, check all the zippers and locks for signs of wear and tear from previous trips. Replace or fix anything that is broken.

Don’t overpack your bag. Even if the bag is brand new, overstuffed luggage is liable to pop open while being transported (re: manhandled) from the terminal to the plane.

Keep your stuff organized and all in one place. If you know exactly where everything should be, you’ll notice much faster if something is missing.

Remember, just because you’re using a lock doesn’t mean people can’t get into your luggage. A pen can get access to your stuff without you ever knowing about it. Make an inventory of the items packed in each bag.

Identification 
Fill out a luggage tag (they give them out at check-in) and the slip-in pocket cards with your contact information. Keep this information up to date.

Keep a copy of your contact info in all your stuff - backpack, tote bag, purse, etc. If you’re bringing a camera, make your first shot that of your information. In the event it’s lost and then found by a good Samaritan it’ll be easier to return.

If you’re traveling abroad, make a photocopy of your passport and store it separately from the actual version. Make sure your passport is signed and the emergency contact information is filled out.

Airport 
Though your chances of encountering terrorist-related danger is very low, it’s important to be aware of these and other potential risks. The only thing worse than having something taken out of your bag is having something put into it without your knowledge.

In many countries if you’re found with drugs or other illegal paraphernalia on your person, you can face serious repercussions, in which case your national government might have little power to help you.

The U.S. Department of State recommends that you “schedule direct flights if possible, and avoid stops in high-risk airports or areas.” Be wary of strangers. Do not accept packages from anyone and keep an eye out for abandoned packages or luggage, or any other suspicious items or activity. Report them to the airport authorities.

Don’t wear anything too flashy. “Try to minimalize the time spent in the public area of the airport, which is a less protected area. Move quickly from the check-in counter to the secured areas.”

If you have to hang out at the airport for a while, keep all of your stuff close to you. If you think you might fall asleep, sit on your stuff or tie it to you.

Carry-On 
The three things you should always bring on an airplane are your ID, credit card(s) and prescription medications (if needed). Remember you’ll need your credit card if you want to purchase any food, drinks or additional in-flight entertainment. Also keep with you a phone or list of important numbers.

Once you’re on the plane, bury your wallet and cash deep in your carry-on; you won’t need it and it’ll be harder to get to.

Pack a smaller bag inside of your carry-on. In the event you board the plane late and are forced to check your carry-on bag you can remove things of value and put them into the small bag to keep with you during the flight.

Even better, make sure your carry-on can fit under the seat in front of you. It might be less comfortable than storing it overhead but you will never be forced to gate check it.

Fly on airlines that have and enforce restrictive cabin baggage policies. Try to keep your stuff close to you instead of storing it 10 seats down the aisle. If you go to the bathroom mid flight, don’t leave your wallet, iPod and other valuables unattended and untethered in your seat.

Remember: you are less of a risk from staff stealing from you than fellow passengers.The general rule here is “start out by trusting everyone, but don’t make it easy for anyone.”

But of course you will be sampling more sushi than you'd ever imagine while visiting Tokyo - it is as delicious as it is ubiquitous. However, even if you're on a budget, splurging at one of the city's top sushi restaurants is well worth the hit your wallet might take. Take a trip to the famous fish market Tsukiji in central Tokyo.

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Tsukiji’s restaurants can be found in alleys of Building 6, reached by walking in from the main entrance and turning right at the central square. These restaurants are stocked with fresh fish from the nearby fish market. After a long, jet-lagged night (or a night of partying) a sushi breakfast will do you right.

Arrive early!! Like 6am early. Get there on the first train or before to avoid waiting for up to 2 hours for a place at the sushi bar. Weekends are busier. Smaller groups are more quickly served. Lines are (surprisingly) very orderly, probably thanks to the appointed line monitors. If you’re with other people, have one person wait while the other does some exploring and/or shopping around the area.

Both of these restaurants serve fresh, never frozen, fish. Leave the soy sauce at home.

Daiwa Sushi 
This sushi spot is larger so you might get seated more quickly. Order the omakase (7 pieces & 1 roll) or the yummy, soft anago (conger eel). About $40 for 10 pieces of sushi. 
Hours: 5:30am-1:30pm 
Tel: 03-3547-6807

Sushidai 
The food here is so good. Try everything: octopus, tuna, baby squid, salmon, even a freshly cooked egg. Every piece of sushi is professionally served one by one, each with its own taste and texture. Chefs are super nice. Expect to pay upwards of $30 
Hours: 5am-2pm; Closed Wednesday if the market is closed 
Tel: 03-3547-6797

Bonus!

A trip to Tokyo is quite the adventure, and making the arrangements is much easier than you might think with our expert assistance. Just contact us for more information!

Parents may see a vacation as a time to bond and strengthen their relationship with their adolescent or teen. Yet for some parents it would be easier to travel with a drunk grizzly bear than with a moody teenager. Here are some tips to ensure a smooth and fulfilling trip for everyone involved.

Get them involved! Incorporate your teen in the planning process and allow them to pick out some of the activities and locations. While you’re there, let them pick where you eat a couple nights. Give them responsibility - they can be the group tour guide or photographer.

However, don’t let your teen run the show. It may seem easier to cave into their whiny whims but there comes a time to put your foot down and establish some authority - for the sake of the trip. They will be more likely to remember they saw Niagara Falls than that they were forced to go in the first place.

Go somewhere where everyone in the family will be engaged, and be flexible. You may want to explore the Charles Dickens Museum in London, but compromise with a trade off to visit punk rock & fashion mecca Camden Town later in the day.

If you can afford to, consider having your teen invite a friend along. The companionship will relieve some of the family pressure and the friend’s presence might act as a buffer for bad behavior.

Give them space! If possible, book them a separate room adjacent to yours. In any case, give them mental space via down time on the trip. Don’t book up every minute with activities. “Schedule” some time to relax, when the kids can wander, go to a park, or shop at a mall. Hotels with swimming pools are great for this.

And if you’re comfortable, give them freedom to explore. Especially for older teens, allow them to go off and check out some nearby places on their own. Have them use a buddy system, enforce a curfew, and give them a hotel business card with phone and room numbers.

Set a budget for their trip spending allowance and stick to it.

Don’t ban gadgets cold turkey. You may want to use this trip to relax and unplug but don’t cut your teen off completely. Set some parameters, like no texting or electronics during meal times.

Let them sleep in. Most adults want to get up and go, to make the most out of their trip. Teenagers are more inclined to sleep late - and that’s okay. Give them an extra hour or two for a couple of mornings and you are almost guaranteed a better mood during the day. And it gives you a couple hours in the morning to yourself or with your partner.

And most importantly, pick your battles. Your teen may camp out on a bench instead of exploring the museum, or refuse to order at a restaurant they didn’t pick. Let it go. By feeding into it you’re rewarding it with attention and creating more problems.

It might seem easier to learn the Japanese language than to figure out the subway system but don't fear - what may seem intimidating isn't too bad once you get some basic local knowledge on the train system. 

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First, make sure you do some planning in advance. Look over and print out the English Route Map from Tokyo Metro. This website also has plenty of other great info - subway mannersairport accessmetro transfer planning & fare calculationdiscount tickets, and more.

You can also cheek with the front desk of your hotel or any other tourist information information desk - they can point you in the right direction and usually have maps available for free.

The Tokyo Traveler has 6 basic steps to help make your train travel easy. Here is an outline, but check out the site for detailed information regarding each step.

Step 1 - Determine the Fare to Your Destination

Step 2 - Purchase a Ticket

Step 3 - Proceed through the Fare Gate

Step 4 - Locate your Track

Step 5 - Exit at your Destination

Step 6 - Locate the correct Station Exit

Try to avoid taking the trains around rush hour, at least at first. Though it might be one of those perfect Japanese experiences.

The Tokyo Traveler also has some great Tips & Tricks for making subway travel even easier. They recommend a Prepaid SubWay Card, either a Suica or Pasmoboth available for a deposit of Y500 (all but Y210 is returned to you).

You can also get a One-Day Open Ticket for Y710 (about $7 USD).

Bonus!

Are you ready for the adventure of a lifetime? Contact one of our experienced travel consultants to see what it takes to get you to Tokyo. We can help plan the perfect trip for your interests and budget. Why wait?

Public was awarded the 2011 Michelin Star for excellence. This Australian-Asian fusion restaurant manages to epitomize the NoLita dining experience while still evoking and innovating entirely creative, exotic and delicious food.

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Public is characterized by simple, industrial elegance. Sit outside on the elevated patio for some prime NYC people-watching. Perfect for a date or small group of friends. Service is wonderful and the crowd diverse. Even the bathrooms are lovely, the walls lined with complimentary bars of soap individually wrapped in Public wrapping.

The dinner menu by Chef Brad Farmerie seeks to “excite and challenge patrons by introducing new flavors and ingredients to their culinary vocabulary.” Just about all of the eclectic, global cuisine is absolutely delicious. In particular, try the Oxtail Snail Ravioli, the Pork Confit Belly, or for the more adventurous, the Grilled Kangaroo on coriander falafel. Finish your meal and cool your palate with a refreshing sorbet.

Don’t go expecting huge, generous portions but rather palate-satisfying, rich dishes, in appropriate portions. 

Full Bar. Pair your food with a Guava and Red Chili Margarita, refreshing with chili pepper kick, or the Pear and Lemongrass Fizz
PDF of Full Drink and Wine List

The Monday Room features 60 varieties of wine from Australia and New Zealand plus small plates to compliment them. Brunch at a $22 fixed price that includes cocktail, coffee/tea and meal. Try the coconut pancakes. Saturday & Sunday, 11am-3:30pm

Reservations Recommended 
Hours: Monday - Thursday 6pm-11pm; Friday & Saturday 6pm-12am; Sunday 6pm-10:30pm . Bar open late, 1am or 2am. 
Address: 210 Elizabeth Street between Spring St. & Prince St. 
Tel:             (212) 343-7011      

15 of the World's Most Bizarre Buildings

(Image: AP Photo/Frank Rumpenhorst)

Really wanted to share this list by MSN UK Travel of 15 of the World's Most Bizarre Buildings. 

The photo above is "Waldspirale, based in Darmstadt, Germany, which was the last architectural piece by Austria's Friedensreich Hundertwasser. It houses 105 apartments and was designed to rise up in the form of an afforested spiral. The architect claimed the design was an allegory of the earth's strata, sediment that has been deposited over millions of years."

Alex Vallis, Senior Digital Editor of Food & Wine Magazine, posted an article in the “Mouthing Off” column of the blog: 5 Signs You’ve Picked a Bad Restaurant is intended to prep diners of a slightly higher budget for choosing the right spot as the Fall high season for restaurant openings returns.

The list applies more specifically to upscale eateries but is practical enough for all diners to learn a thing or two. After all, if you’re going to splurge on a nice meal, you certainly want to get your money’s worth.

5. You’ve been ushered in off the street. 
“It’s unlikely that one restaurant on a touristy strip will be any different from the others just because an animated host told you how great it is. A similar phenomenon occurs with online deals: Ryan Sutton, a Bloomberg critic and the blogger behind The Bad Deal, compared buying these deals to ordering products from infomercials. If someone who you don’t know, whose opinions you aren’t familiar with, and who has a 100-percent bias is trying to convince you to eat at a particular restaurant, you might want to do a little more research before committing to a meal.”

Also referred to as the Paddington Bazaar, this weekly market features over 200 stalls of high quality, Australian-made goods. Arguably the best in the city, this vibrant churchyard market is a great way to kick off your Saturday in Sydney.

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In the courtyard of the market you’ll find the emerging designers section where you can find distinctly New Age and high fashion clothing items. All around the market are stalls with unique clothing and accessories, ranging from avant-garde to vintage.

Within the market you can also find fresh flowers, baked goods, and other local, hand-made artisan goods and crafts. This is a top-notch market where most of the wares are of high quality as the different vendors are in friendly competition with one another. 
List of Stall Holders

The vibe here is fabulous and chic and you’re bound to pick up some gifts or a souvenir for your trip from the hodgepodge of cool items for sale.

Paddington Market Website

Saturdays only, 10am-4pm. Rain or Shine 

Address: St. John’s Uniting Church, 395 Oxford St., Paddington, Sydney 
Tel: +61 2 9331 2923

If you don't quite parle français or sprechen die deutsche, then odds are, you've had an awkward moment abroad. Maybe a cabbie didn't quite understand your directions, or perhaps a waiter brought out the wrong dish. One time I accidentally told a foreign dignitary that his earmuffs smelled of chutney. Messy business.

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The point is, there’s a way to avoid that kind of embarrassment. Nyrius makes a few different global translators, but for my money, the 12-Language LT12 packs the most bang for your buck. It’s got over 8400 key phrases that’ll not only display on its screen, but it’ll actually speak them aloud for you. So if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t do well with foreign tongues, you’re covered.

Covering a wide range of discussion topics, from emergencies to shopping to immigration to street directions, at a mere $39.99, it’s hard to go wrong with the Nyrius LT12. Pick it up today at Amazon.

Who wants to deal with the groggy, foggy slow-motion sensation that is Jet Lag while traveling abroad? Unfortunately, the farther we explore the more likely we are to experience jet lag's symptoms and thus lose precious globe-trotting time recovering. It can take up to three or four days to overcome jet lag naturally. Here are some tips to neutralize some of jet lag's effects quickly and effectively.

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Begin to reset your internal clock several days before you leave. 
Make sure the days leading up to your trip you get a quality night’s sleep. If you’re traveling east, start to go to bed earlier and wake up earlier; if you’re headed west, go to bed later and try to wake up later. Flying east is trickier because as the human body cycle is actually slightly longer than 24 hours, it’s more difficult to shift your body clock earlier. Traveling west you can expect 30%-50% less recovery time.

Reset your watch to the time of your destination. 
As you board your plane, get on local destination time. If it will be nighttime when you arrive, stay awake on your flight. If you’re arriving during the day, try to get some sleep on the plane. Bring earplugs and an eye mask. Power through Day One of your trip.

Avoid caffeine and alcohol. They will mess with your sleep cycle.

Instead, drink plenty of water. Water will keep you hydrated and healthy on long flights and help keep your head clear and free from headaches.

Also take vitamins like Vitamin C to boost your immune system and B vitamins for more energy.

Stretch. Keep your body limber to improve circulation and prevent muscles from stiffening. Stretching also offsets fatigue.

Get in the sun! The sun’s rays will wake you up and keep you alert.

If you’re going on a short trip - a business meeting or weekend vacation - don’t bother. You’re not going to catch up in time so just enjoy yourself.

When you arrive, avoid heavy meals and exercise before bed. Eat lightly for a few days.

Inflight sleeping pills. While there is no fool-proof cocktail for maintaining a quality sleep schedule on a plane, many swear by certain sleeping pills such as the hormoneMelatonin and the prescription medications Ambien and Nuvigil. Respectively, the prescriptions knock you out and keep you awake; they don’t cure jet lag but give you more function over your body as it adapts. Melatonin both induces sleep and improves its quality. Talk to your doctor about these options if you think you need them.

Give yourself a day to recover when you get home. If you’re flying back in on a Sunday, don’t make yourself go to work on Monday.

Stay positive! Everyone goes through this and having a good attitude will help you get over jet lag faster.

Essential. Affordable. Economical. You can use the Budapest Card throughout the city for more than 150 discounts at different sights, museums, spas, restaurants, transports, programs and more!

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Here is a list of discounts that come with the Card. It even comes with a Travel Accident Insurance.

Starting in April 2011 are the new Budapest Cards which you can purchases according to time increments: 24 hrs, 48hrs (6300 HUF, about $29UDS/$30CAD), 72hrs (7500 HUF, about $33USD/$35CAD), and a new 'Walking' 48hrs.

Check out the Free Walking Tours.

Here is information about where you can obtain a card - there are over 250 locations in the city.

You can also order it online for free.