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Adventures With Robin

Your Go-To Travel Source

Welcome! This space serves as a platform for travel agent Robin Norell to share her trips, experiences and expertise with you. Exceeding your customer service expectations is Robin’s primary goal. Having worked for Disney for 2.5 years, she knows how to make your vacation magic. 

Robin has visited 25 countries (Caribbean, Europe, Asia) and 31 states, and has been on 26 river and ocean cruises (so far), visited Disney World, Disneyland and Disneyland Paris multiple times, and she is happy to share her travel experiences and knowledge with you to make your vacation the best it can be.

Robin has been awarded the distinguished certifications of CLIA’s (Cruise Lines International Association) ACC (Accredited Cruise Counselor) Certification, as well as earning her CTA (Certified Travel Associate) certification, has completed the College of Disney Knowledge, and continues to learn more about the travel industry every day.

Excelling in administration and customer service, she takes care of all the details, leaving you free to relax and enjoy!

Independent Vacation Planner

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March 28-30. Dresden to Prague

Friday March 28-29

Dresden


I spent the whole day of March 28th working. As much fun as I am having on this trip, my work tends to build up. I have a lot of amazing clients that are making arrangements for travel all over the world, and that takes a lot of time to keep up with. Luckily I have a nice little office set up in my hotel


On Friday the 29th, I woke, had breakfast downstairs, and went to work. I did go for a walk late morning – I couldn’t resist going back to see these magnificent buildings. It is truly amazing what they have done with their recreation of Dresden. If you didn’t know better, you would think you were in a very old well kept former capital. The amount of time and money they have put into re-creating the buildings is paying off – the streets were filled with tourists, and late March is not even a peak tourist time.





I stopped at a German chocolate shop and got some more goodies – when I got back to my room and tried them, I realized I should have stuck with the Lindt shop I also passed.


Work, walk to Chinese restaurant to pick up dinner, work, bed. Strangest Good Friday I can remember – I didn’t even have ice cream that evening (my Orlando choir friends will know to what I am referring there).



Saturday March 30

Dresden to Prague



I finished packing this morning, had breakfast downstairs, and had the front desk call a cab for me to the train station. I was nice and early, so I had plenty of time to ask from which track my train would depart, to buy some flavored bottled water, and to find the elevator up to track 1.



I thought it would be helpful to share about European train tickets. About 15 minutes before the train, the departure board will show the track number. If you arrive earlier than that, you can try and find the Information desk and ask, and they may tell you which track it will be on. (This is also the base for many flights within Europe - they don't post the gate until just before boarding time(.


Here is a photo of my train ticket for this trip:



Here are the important parts:

Klasse: 1. Klasse. This means 1st class – on some trains, it’s the private room with 6 seats, on others it’s seats with trays in between your row and the next.

Reisende: 2 personen (2 travelers)

Einfache Fahrt: Dresden Hbf → Praha. This is Dresden main train station (haupt bahnhof) to Prague

Zubindung: EC 173, 11:10 Uhr am 30.03.2024. Train #173 departs at 11:10am on March 30, 2024

In the next section, on the right side, it shows Reservierung / Hinweise – 2 Sitzplatze, Wgn 262, PL 51 53, 1 Mitte, 1 Gang.

This shows 2 seats on car (wagon or wgn) #262, seats #51 and 53, one is in the middle (mitte) and one at the exit door (gang)


At the station, before my train this was displayed above at track 1:



So I knew my car #262 was next to the sign for the letter D, so that’s where I stood to board the train. They are quick in these stations, so you better be ready to board when it stops. If the door doesn’t automatically open (inside or out), push the green button and the door will open. Getting my suitcase up the small, steep steps into the train car is not a lot of fun, but I get it done!


Pretty scenery on the train ride – even saw some castle or fortress ruins on a hilltop.


I know a question you’re probably asking right now – I left home 3 weeks ago, and still have almost 2 weeks left. Am I getting travel weary? Nope! I thought I might, but I’ve had a really nice variety to keep me interested. The first week of conferences with Cindy, a week on the river in Netherlands and Belgium with Trish and Quent, a week in Berlin (with Ines & family) and Dresden (by myself), now a week in Prague (half alone half with Amy) and Budapest and then a week on the Danube (with Amy).


As a travel agency owner, I send a lot of people to Europe, and it is so helpful to see things in person to explain them to my clients. I can literally visit the hotels and see where they are located, see the sights in each city and share my experiences (including which ones not to do and which ones were surprising). If I hadn’t traveled so much in Europe (this is my 13th visit), I don’t know how I could assist my clients so well. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it – lol!


One of the great things about taking tours is that they are done by locals. It’s a chance to meet local people and hear the story of their home from them. It’s just about checking things seen off a checklist, it’s about meeting people.


One thing I forgot to share – my friend Ines grew up in Eastern Berlin. She was a teenager when the wall fell. I asked her about it and she said when it happened, she was scared. She said she had grown up hearing that the west was a bad and scary place, and she didn’t really know what to expect. Interesting to hear that perspective – as a “westerner,” we all think the Eastern Berliners (and Eastern Germans) must have been excited for the new freedom, but not always true if that’s all you’ve ever known.


The strangest thing has happened to me since my Segway ride. It’s like a door in my memory has opened, and my years of studying German has been set free. I find myself thinking in German, coming up with words I had no idea I still remembered. And of course, now I am going to Czech Republic and Hungary, where i am clueless about the language (although many speak English, or enough English that I get by). I will be back in German-speaking lands in about a week – April 7 in Vienna.


We crossed from Germany into Czech Republic less than an hour into our 2.25-hour trip. The Euro is not the official currency here, so I’ll have to get some Czech currency after I arrive.


I actually ended up with a cabin on the train to myself – when I arrived there was another woman with a bunch of bags and a guy, and then he took her and the bags and they left the cabin and went down the hall – I don’t know where they went, but I didn’t see them again.


I must be getting to know my way around Europe – I helped two different people on the train today. The first came into my “cabin,” and asked (in German) if this was the train to Hamburg. I told her (in German) no, that one was at 11am, this one goes to Prague. She left to find a conductor and he told her to get off at the next stop. Hope she made it!


Then as we were standing by the door to get off, we pulled up to a train station that said Prague (and something else after that), but I could tell it wasn’t the main station. I looked at google maps, and I was right and told the couple standing next to me (they spoke English) and they thanked me because they would have gotten off at the wrong station.


The hotel I’m staying at is a different one than where we stayed when we were here in 2018 – then we stayed at the Carlo IV, a beautiful “Dedica Anthology” collection hotel with Marriott. It’s no longer in the Marriott family, so I booked the Hotel Rott through my supplier. It’s literally around the corner from the Astronomical Clock and Old Town Square, so I thought the location was perfect.


I walked out and ordered an Uber, but I spent about 20 minutes trying to figure out where the driver was. Never did find him, so I asked the taxi driver on the road how much and he said 25 Euros. The Uber had only been the equivalent of 12 Euros, so I said no, that’s too much. It was only about a 20- minute walk, so I decided to walk. Yeah, with the cobblestone sidewalks and my suitcase that wasn’t going well, so after about 10 minutes I stopped and ordered an Uber. Much easier to find, since I was no longer at the big train station. He took me right to my hotel.


The location is as perfect as I thought, right around the corner from the old town square. But it is definitely an old building. There is an elevator – a glass enclosed square “tube” just next to the reception desk. I am on the 4th floor, and there is a slanting ceiling with windows. There are two beds in the room, and a small love seat, small table and chairs, and a desk. But the floors creak a lot – guess that’s why there are ear plugs provided next to each bed. And the bathroom is pretty small – not as small as on the Emerald river cruise ship, but no counter space at all. It’s fine for just me, but it will be interesting when there are two of us here.


I left my things in my room, and went for a walk. It was beautiful weather – I was wearing a light long sleeved shirt and was warm. I think it was around 70 and the sun was out more than not. I went into the Old Square, and WOW! Wall to wall people! There is an Easter festival, and it was kind of like a Christmas market without the cold and selling food and other craft items. I walked down by the river to look at the Charles Bridge, and I could see it was crowded with people. I walked back to the hotel, and worked in my room for a bit.


When I realized I would be in Prague for Easter (and alone), I pictured going to a big old church, and it might not be in English, but I could imagine it being a truly memorable Easter. I went down to the front desk and asked if they knew about any churches that would hold Easter services in English, that wouldn’t be a Catholic church (they aren’t welcoming to people who aren’t Catholic). They didn’t, but said they would look into it. I asked about places nearby with food to go, and they recommended the Sushi restaurant right there in the lobby (canned Taste), or one of the nearby Italian restaurants. I went into the Sushi restaurant and ordered – what did you say? I didn’t do Chinese AGAIN - it wasn’t Chinese, I did something else (Japanese) – LOL! Back at the front desk, they suggested St. Thomas’ church, but when I googled it I found it was a Catholic church. So I googled Prague English church, and what showed up at the top? ESUMC – English Speaking United Methodist Church! I looked where it was and when their church service was – tomorrow at 11am, about 20 minutes away. Yay!

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Robin is an Independent Travel Planner who has been awarded CLIA's (Cruise Line Industry Association's) Accredited Cruise Counselor Certification and The Travel Institute's Certified Travel Associate designation. Her excellent service is yours at no cost - she's paid by the suppliers (hotel, cruise line, etc.), nor does she charge a fee for services. She may even save you money over booking it yourself, as she follows all the specials and will get you a better price after you book with her. When you are planning a family vacation or celebrating a special occasion through travel, you want the best experience possible, and Robin is ready to help you! She provides excellent customer service, and your happiness and satisfaction is her top priority. With the knowledge gained by her extensive travel experience (25 countries, 31 states, and 26 cruises so far) and customer service experience (2.5 years employed at Walt Disney World Resort), she's excited and ready to help you plan new adventures!

Location: Alexandria - VA
Email: Robin.Norell.Travel@gmail.com
Phone: (567) 307-3476
Toll-Free: (866) 779-4830

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