Posts Tagged With: Airport

Tel Aviv to JFK

Jan 12 2009

I boarded the plane and played musical chairs a couple of times. I finally wound up in the 2nd to last row of the plane on the left side. I was on an aisle so I was happy. I was sitting next to Deb and Ben was behind me. Ben helped me put my bag in the overhead compartment.

Shortly into the flight I realized I didn’t feel well. My throat was killing me and I went through all my stuff looking for cough drops, but I couldn’t find any. I asked everyone in the group, but no one had. I started to drink lots of water. We were then served our dinner, which luckily was vegetarian. It was a cheese sandwich. I devoured it. I started to run a fever and I felt very claustrophobic. More than anything I wanted the flight to be over. I attempted to watch TV and read, but I couldn’t concentrate.

Staci came over and confirmed that I was running a fever. I eventually fell asleep, which never ever happens on a plane for me. I awoke when we were about two hours away from NYC. I was still very sick. We were served breakfast. Chloe took all the grapes and shoved them into her mouth at one time, which was funny. I didn’t eat much.

We finally landed and I called my mom. I informed her that I was very sick. I then waited on a line for customs, which took forever. I must have been on the line for over an hour. I got my bag and said goodbye to whoever was still in baggage claim. Then I found my mom and I was so happy to see her. She had the water bottle I requested. I chugged it. I missed NY water so badly! I used the bathroom and we took a cab back to the city. I rested during the whole cab ride.

I came home and shared some of my Israeli food with my mom. I told her I was going to take a nap on the sofa while she ran out for medicine. I was knocked out when she came back. She woke me up to take medicine and then I slept for over 24 hours.

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Categories: Asia, Israel, Travel, Trip with a Tour Group | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jerusalem to Tel Aviv

Jan 11 2009

Our last morning in Israel! We had breakfast, loaded the bus, and checked out. It was a pain in the butt to get the luggage down to the lobby, but we all managed. I think we were all glad to be done with Shalom Jerusalem’s horrible tiny elevators.

We drove to an environmental place in Jerusalem to listen to a PowerPoint. It wasn’t working and we were all dead tired and not in the mood. Eventually the lady just gave up with the computer and spoke to us. I don’t think anyone was listening.

We boarded the bus and were off to Tel Aviv. Our first stop was Rabin Square, named for the assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, which included a visit to the Rabin Memorial. Shabat spoke to us for a bit.

Then we went to Independence Hall, site of David Ben Gurion’s proclamation of the State of Israel in May 1948. We listened to a film and a guide talked to us. When we were standing outside the museum for a bit we were shooed a way because it was dangerous. We walked back to the bus and headed to the Carmel Market.

At the Carmel Market we were given free time to explore and get lunch. I skipped most of the market and explored the side streets. In the first store I went to I picked up some Tel Aviv postcards. I got a Jaffa one for Ms. Jaffe. After that I found some Sephardic bakeries where of course I bought my lunch. I met up with Deb and we browsed a bunch of stores. We bought some stuff to take home. In particular, I got more pop rock chocolate. Then we met up with Nora and Maddy in this park. They had made some new friends so we all chatted for a while. I left them after a bit to buy more Sephardic food to bring back to the states for my mom. I found Ali in the ice cream place where we used the restroom.

Our next stop was old Jaffa. We had time to explore the flea market. Shabat gave the group a challenge, which was to find the most unique/unusual item at the flea market and buy it. I decided not to participate as did most people. I went with Ali, Lior, and Jen exploring. I bought a necklace for my grandma and a shirt for my dad. After that we got bored and kept walking. Suddenly, the neighborhood started to get really shady. We decided to turn around. As we were walking back I saw a guy behind us move closer to us and signal to a guy across the street. I watched both of them get closer, just as I was about to get Lior’s attention the two guys saw Lior. In particular, his gun. Suddenly, they both stopped and turned around. Oy that was close. After that incident we still had more time in Old Jaffa. So a bunch of us sat by the clock tower bored out of our minds. Little did we know that our trip mates were at the beach watching the sun go down.

Eventually we all met up and Shabat warned us it would be a while until the next bathroom. Ali and I went to a coffee shop and paid to use the restroom. Some of the other girls did the same thing. Shabat had us walk through some winding back streets to this area that had all the zodiac symbols. There was even a bridge with the symbols. The bridge was called the Wishing Bridge. We were supposed to touch our zodiac symbol and make a wish while looking out at the Mediterranean Sea. By the way, my wish came true.

After that we got back on the bus. The people who bought stuff for the contest showed off what they got. Then Shabat showed us what he got. It was this blue insect thing on a stick. He won. Then he told us one of his infamous jokes.

Then we drove to a farm to eat dinner. We were all a little worried and confused by this piece of information. We ate in an indoor tent. The food was actually very good. My table went around and said what we’ll remember about each other. Our table consisted of Jen, Lindsey, Ali, Kevin, Alan, and myself.

After that we drove to a school. We created a yarn web by taking turns throwing a ball of yarn and saying what we liked about each other. Sarah Dickey picked me and said how sweet I was. I picked Ali. Then we cut our individual strands so we could wear them as bracelets. Staci and Anna handed out our group pictures and t-shirts. A bunch of us used the bathroom which was super gross and sketchy.

Back on the bus we packed up our cell phones so we could give them back. Some how we got on the fact that we sucked at the bus countdown. So we started to challenge ourselves by counting down in 30 seconds then 15 seconds then 13 seconds. We also did our countdown backwards. We had a lot of fun!

We watched Tel Aviv slip away as we drove to the airport. Shabat started to give away things on the bus, such as our signs and our map. I wanted the map, but Zac got it. When we got to the airport Shabat left us. We all thanked him and he gave us his card. Anna went and joined another trip. Shabat will meet another tour tomorrow. I don’t know how he isn’t exhausted. We all were beyond exhausted and 75% of our group had colds.

We got on a super long line to check our bags and get our tickets. I was little bummed that I didn’t get an aisle seat. We went through security and had time to kill before our flight. I walked around looking for a place to spend my leftover coins. I bought a bottle of water and a huge thing of Baklava for my mom. We hung out in the waiting area for a bit. Everyone was comparing seat numbers to figure out who was sitting next to whom. I was getting very tired. It was almost midnight so it had been a long day. Not to mention a long 11 days. We finally got the signal to board and we were ready.

Categories: Asia, Food, History, Israel, Travel, Trip with a Tour Group | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Shalom Jerusalem

Jan 2 2009
Our landing was pretty rough and security took forever. Josh got my bag for me and Collin put it on the bus. We met our guard/medic (Leo/Lior), our tour guide (Shabat), and our bus driver (Moishe). We drove to Jerusalem. We were in a rush because of Shabbat.

The scenery we passed looked like Greece. There were signs welcoming us, which was very cool. We saw the new bridge and a lot of Hebrew graffiti.

We got to our hotel, Shalom Jerusalem, and I found out my roommates were Rachel and Sarah from Lehigh. Jordi was with Lindsey and Jen. Our room is 1624. The elevator took forever! We changed and went to shabbat dinner. I sat with all the Lehigh kids plus Noah, Ben, Travis, and Daryl. The wine was awful. I ate rice, potatoes, and carrots. The bread was stale. The pumpkin pie was way too spicy and the chocolate mousse was awful. However, the vanilla cake was great.

We then had a meeting about the size of Israel, our schedule, the rules, etc. Then we played a name game where we went around in a circle saying our name, an adjective that starts with the letter of our name, and an action. We had to remember everyone’s. I picked Jolly Jackie.

Then Shabat gave us a book, schedule, emergency card, and a scarf. I really liked the scarf. I picked black with blue lettering.

The room is ehh. It’s a fair size with a nice view. The bathroom is a nice size. However, the hair dryer barely works and the shower floods. Also, the toilet takes forever to fill. The sheets are very dirty. O well.

Sarah and I took the beds and Rachel took the cot. We went to bed at midnight.

Categories: Asia, Food, Israel, Travel, Trip with a Tour Group | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Year-New Country

Jan 1 2009
The trip started off with killing time before the airport. We were able to find my group because of the sign Jacob was holding high in the air. I introduced myself to Anna and Stacy, our group leaders, and got a bag of candy from them. I eventually walked over to Lindsey and I met her step sister Jen. I think we will all get along.

Once we got through El Al interrogation we had to say goodbye to our parents. It was sad. A little later I said goodbye to Lindsey and Jen’s parents who hugged me. I thought that was super sweet. Security went surprisingly smooth. Lindsey, Jen, and I dropped our stuff off at B31, which was our gate. We got food to eat for dinner and for the plane. It cost $10. Then we started to play Uno, but Anna stopped us to play a name game, which was fun.

We boarded and I found out that I was in the last row. Everyone but Jordi and I played musical chairs. Daryl put my bag in the overhead for me. Later in the flight Zac and Ricky took Sarah and Jacob’s seats in our section.I read two mags, 60 pgs of my book, looked through the airline mags, talked, watched Nights in Rodanthe, and watched a really bad Israeli dancing show. The food was awful!!! My vegetarian meal wasn’t ordered for me. I ate a roll and a brownie from the El Al food. I ate the bagel and cookie I bought in the airport. The stewardess felt really bad and was really sweet. What I thought was strange was that El Al just takes off without any warning.

Categories: Asia, Israel, Travel, Trip with a Tour Group | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Best Two-hour Layover in the U.S.

To view the original article click here

All rights belong to Yahoo, Men’s Journal, and Melaina Juntti

By Melaina Juntti | Men’s Journal – Thu, Sep 12, 2013 12:53 PM EDT

Photo courtesy of Ike’s Food & Cocktails

Sometimes, flying direct just isn’t an option, and you’re stuck kicking around some airport terminal before boarding a plane to your final destination. Less than ideal? For sure. Painful? Totally depends on which airport you’re trapped in. La Guardia‘s filthy, LAX is jam-packed, O’Hare is a known nightmare, and most mid-sized stopovers offer little more than Dunkin’ Donuts or Panda Express.

But if you wind up with a layover at Minneapolis-St. Paul International, you’re not only in for a breezy transfer experience – quick lines, easy-to-navigate layout, mostly on-time flights – but you have all the spoils for a damn good time. If you’ve got more than an hour before takeoff, you may as well latch the laptop shut and take full advantage of MSP‘s surprisingly vast, very un-airport-like selection of top-notch restaurants and cocktail lounges.

Sure, you’ll find the usual fast-food chains and coffee carts, but MSP hosts several secondary outposts of favorite Twin Cities haunts – and they truly don’t feel like cheesy, crammed mockups of the originals. There’s Ike’s Food & Cocktails, a retro-themed joint that serves up steaks, ribs, a seriously amazing burger, and a bunch of interesting small plates and apps, along with killer cocktails. For lighter fare, French Meadow Bakery & Café delivers unique and locally sourced salads, sandwiches, and entrées with a great wine selection set in an open, inviting space. Axel’s Bonfire is another winner, with wood-fired Southwestern-inspired nosh and the restaurant’s signature Bull Bites.

Surdyk's Flights restaurant in Minneapolis-St. Paul International airport (Photo: M C Morgan / Flickr)

Surdyk’s Flights restaurant in Minneapolis-St. Paul International airport (Photo: M C Morgan / Flickr)

Rather stretch your legs than belly up to a bar? The terminal is huge, so there are many miles to cover, and the layout makes it so you can walk casually without getting stuck in a stream of hurried travelers or having your ankles nipped by baby strollers. Just be sure to stop by Surdyk’s Flights, a fully stocked wine and gourmet cheese shop and tasting room based on the renowned, nearly 80-year-old Minneapolis liquor store.

If you must cram in some work during your stopover – or maybe you’re only a few hours out from dinner and drinks with clients and would be wise to just chill – MSP has you covered there, too. Despite its size, several parts of the terminal are sectioned off into several smaller areas, almost like rooms or mini-terminals, so there’s no shortage of spots to hunker down and not be bothered. The one knock is there’s currently a fee for wireless access, but MSP plans to offer free service by the end of this year, according to the airport’s website.

Obviously, you’ll never plan a trip around a layover, but if you’re bound to make a brief Midwest stop and can choose between Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis, Milwaukee, or Minneapolis, you’ll know what to do.

Categories: Mish Mash, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Long Flight Back to New York

8/6/11 to 8/7/11 to 8/6/11 (Flying through time zones in the middle of the night)

Our flight takes off at about 9:10pm after a two hour delay and a 7 hour layover. I’m sitting next to a couple from Connecticut who knows one of my dad’s coworkers. Small world. They are sitting next to a Hawaiian lady. Our row doesn’t recline and my seat has the entertainment box. Thus, making me have one of the most uncomfortable seats on the plane. I can’t lean back and I have no leg room what so ever. My seat is also right next to the bathroom. Fun. I watch the end of No Strings Attached and I watch Arthur. I now have 6hrs to entertain myself. They serve me rice with brown junk all over it. It looks disgusting. I decide not to eat it. Instead, I stick to bread. I attempt to sleep, but it’s impossible since I can’t recline and because people keep hitting me on their way to the bathroom. I’m cold and my legs ache. I watch the miles to JFK screen and keep hoping they would magically fly by. I listen to music until we land at about 11pm. In total I have been up for 25 hours and have been traveling for 24hrs of them.

We land and customs harasses me about my two passports. I have to explain the purpose of them. My bag is one of the last ones off of the plane, which gave me at least 15 minutes of anxiety until I saw it. I used the restroom and went to another area of customs. They pull me to the side along with all of the other suspicious people. They thought the lady in front of me was smuggling drugs from Mexico. I get interrogated. They want to know why I was in Egypt. I explain and they finally let me go. I’m so happy to see my parents. It’s about midnight and we still need to drive home. I desperately want to eat and shower. I wound up going to bed around 4am bringing my grand total of being up for 30 hours after a week of very little sleep. Glad to be home!

Categories: Europe, France, NYC, Travel, USA | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Exploring Charles de Gaulle Airport

8/6/11

I see my suitcase get unloaded. At least I know it made it to Paris. I take the shuttle to my correct terminal. I use the restroom and have to go through security. Their security is worse than New York’s. They wind up breaking the wheel on my carry on. That bag had lasted through a 12 day trip to Israel and a 9 day trip to Egypt (not to mention all my little side trips) only to break due to a careless security agent. Not cool. Time for my broken suitcase and I to explore the airport.

I look for my mom’s makeup first. They don’t have it. I then look for postcards. I buy some individual ones and a book of them. I also get a magnet, chocolate, and a mini Eiffel Tower. I want to buy a book on Versailles and another one on Paris, but I decide not to get them. I buy two pretty prints of Paris. I go to the food court, which sucks. I buy water and pita bread. I try to go to the lounge and get rudely denied despite having all the right cards to get in. Thus, I sit and wait in a chair for five hours. I eventually buy macaroons at La Maison Du Chocolat. They are expensive, but I hope they are worth it. I still feel sick and I am beyond exhausted at this point. I stop by Swarovski to take a look and to tell my mom I saw it.

They eventually begin to board us. However, we don’t get far when we find out that our plane has issues and we need a new one. No idea how long that will be. We switch to a different gate. I’ve been up for 15 hours after a week of no sleep and 14 of those hours have been spent traveling. I am tired and bored out of my mind. I decide to buy the Paris book to keep me awake. Two hours later we get a plane and board. Thank goodness because otherwise they were going to make us stay overnight at the airport and take a plane in the morning.

Macaroons

 

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Cairo to Paris

8/6/11

5 am. So tired!! Less than 4 hours of sleep. I get up and I feel awful. I feel so sick! All I want to do is stay in bed, but I have a ride and a flight to catch. I get to the lobby and my 6am ride is ready. The driver and Spring Tours representative are nice. The airport is chaos! My representative and a family argue back and forth in Arabic about security. Thank goodness I have the representative guiding me. He helps me change my seats to aisle seats. He also helps me fill out my forms. I tip him $5 and go through security. I see the men with the dark spots on their heads from praying too much. Sherif had told us about them. The dirt smudge from putting your head on the ground is considered a good thing.

I find a place to buy a water bottle, which was pretty expensive. I also find the lounge only to find out that they have free water bottles. They also have wifi. Yeah I get to do a 4sq Egypt check in. I use the restroom and don’t tip the lady. She’s mad at me. I figured I would use the restroom one more time before I boarded and would tip her then. However, not too long after the guy who runs the lounge runs over to me and tells me my flight is boarding. What! So early? Thank goodness he told me since the announcement was made in garbled Arabic. There is more security at the gate. Goodbye water bottles. We wait for the tram to take us to the plane.

My seat on the plane is small. Lovely. I have an Egyptian American teenage girl next to me. She’s working on history homework. I offer to help her and we spend some time chatting. She goes to school in California with her brother (who is sitting behind us). I watch Water for Elephants. I also watch No Strings Attached. I spill water all over myself, which is quite fun. I soak the blanket and my pants. We finally land at Charles de Gaulle Airport.

All my entrance tickets

Categories: Africa, Egypt, Travel, Trip with a Tour Group | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Losing my Luggage in Amsterdam

7/30/11
We land in Amsterdam. A woman waits for the 8 of us heading to Cairo. She takes us to our next gate where we are instructed to throw out our water bottles. BOO! When I ask the woman about my bag I get a rude answer. Then at the gate, I ask again and they tell me that they do not know anything about it. When the woman goes to check me in she tells me that my reservation doesn’t exist and I can’t board the plane. After me arguing with her she makes a phone call and magically I turn up in the system. After getting groped by the gate agent for security, I finally board the plane. We are delayed, which is a mixed blessing. My luggage now has 1 hour to make the plane. New question/worry: will my Contiki rep wait for me? I’m in the 2nd row of the plane next to some British guy.

They serve my meal and I have no idea what it is. It looks disgusting! I eat the 3 spoonfuls of white rice and a piece of bread. The bread tastes like sawdust. I’m given one Belgian chocolate and I put on the movie Sucker Punch. About 15 mins in and I feel ill. I feel like I am running a fever, have chills, and am extremely nauseous. I am informed that there are no pillows or blankets on the plane. Not even for first class. What the hell? I turn off the movie and put on Glee, but even that doesn’t help. I try to review some hieroglyphics, which helps for a while. I try to sleep, but cannot. I can’t stop thinking about my suitcase. The stewardess comes around and offers each of us a blue delft house, which was the best part of the flight. Then I’m given a waffle, which looks and smells amazing. However, I am too sick to eat it.

We land in Egypt and take a shuttle to the airport. I see a Contiki sign and I couldn’t be happier! Yeah Muhammad did wait for me! He points me to the passport line. However, I decide to use my first Egyptian toilet before dealing with the passport line. Not bad. The passport thing was easy since I already had my visa. Next it was time for luggage. I stood there praying that I would see a hint of lime green, which would indicate my bag was coming. The crowd started to get thinner and thinner. The 8 of us were standing there and no one had their bag. Now what? Muhammad and I go to file a claim as he explains to them we leave Cairo tomorrow. He asks me if I have any other clothes and I reply that I do not. I’m praying Janelle, Megan, Lexi, and Sonja will take pity on me. I exchange $220 American and check out the only shop in hopes of deodorant. No luck.

We drive through Cairo in the Spring Tours van. The roads are smooth at first and I read my hieroglyphics book. Then we encounter Cairo traffic. There are absolutely no rules! From the time I landed it takes 2 hrs to get to the hotel. I pick up my room key and am shown to my room. The room looks just like the pictures on the web. Within minutes I have a mosquito bite on my ear. I check the bed for bed bugs and then dump my stuff on the floor. I take inventory of what I have and don’t have. Thank goodness for first class amenity kits. I now have 2 pairs of airplane socks, ear plugs, toothbrushes, tooth paste, and scented cream (to act as deodorant for now).

I go downstairs for the meeting and I don’t see anyone, but then I hear someone call my name. Turns out Sonja and Lexi were in the bar. I fill them in and am introduced to some of the guys. Next I run into the twins. It’s so crazy to finally meet all the girls after talking for months. We sit down in the lounge and Sherif comes in. What a relief to see him! After all the Contiki research I had done, I felt like I knew him. He explained the trip and then I explained my suitcase situation to him. He told me not to worry and that it happens all the time.

The hotel informed us that fighting was going on outside so we convinced the boys to join us in a walk to the gas station for stuff. I desperately wanted water, food, and deodorant. Luckily I found all 3. I debated about buying flip flops, but they were expensive (16LE) and I hoped my suitcase would just be a day late. Besides the lack of traffic lights, it wasn’t so bad outside. I’m glad we didn’t see the fighting that was happening nearby.

After the gas station we went back to the restaurant in the hotel. Everyone got food, but me. Found out Mike is Greek, Alli had a strange situation with a guy from the previous Contiki tour, and that the special price for Contiki guests was actually more expensive then the menu prices. I ate the chocolate I bought in the gas station while everyone else ate food from the restaurant. My goal is to barely put any Egyptian food in my mouth while here.

I borrowed a night shirt from Janelle and turned my jacket into a skirt. That will have to do as PJ’s. I killed the mosquito and used my headphones from Delta with my earplugs to drown out the traffic noises.

Categories: Africa, Amsterdam, Egypt, Europe, Travel, Trip with a Tour Group | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Panicking on the Plane to Amsterdam

7/29/11
I woke up really nervous. Mommy is stressing me out over this trip! I did some last minute packing and waited for the car to come and pick us up. The car came at 3pm. We barely hit any traffic and were at the airport in no time.

I checked in and was relieved to hear that I wouldn’t have to pick up my bag in Amsterdam. It would be checked in for the entire route. Outside of security, I checked into 4sq and spoke to my dad on the phone. I also updated my Facebook status. I took some flu medicine and I said goodbye to my mom. For security I chose a male TSA worker and had no problems with my meds. However, they didn’t like my wheelie. I was pulled to the side and it was swabbed with something. That probably had something to do with bombs.

I bought a bagel and a water for the plane, which was very overpriced. Then I went into the Delta Lounge. The place was mobbed! There were barely any seats and there was almost no food left. The lady at the desk was extremely rude and refused to help me with my seats. Love how they treat their first class passengers. I had two pieces of cheese and then I left.

I waited at the gate and started to tear up. My first flight all by myself. Of course that only made my cold worse and I spent the next 15 mins blowing my nose in an effort to breathe. I bbmed Bik to cheer myself up.

Once we boarded I situated myself on the plane and waited to meet my seatmate. Meanwhile, the woman right across the aisle from me was being a prick. She never requested a gluten free meal, but expected one to be there for her because she was first class. My seatmate finally showed up. She was headed to India. We started to prepare to leave the gate when I saw the first sign of trouble, a rain drop.

Sure enough the captain announced that we would be stuck at the gate for 30 mins to 1 hr because of the weather. Let the panic begin! My connection in Amsterdam is 1hr 40mins. I went on my phone to inform my mom and to check the weather forecast. It was a severe storm alert and even a tornado warning. I started to freak out! The stewardess said as long as I had 30 mins I would be fine. However, once I explained there is only one flight to Cairo a day she became rude and dismissive. 1 hr mark. I called my mom to have her call Delta to go over my options. I knew if I missed the transfer I would miss the tour group. For an additional hour I had a major panic attack. My mom was on the phone with Delta and I was on the phone with my insurance company. It wound up being an over 2hr delay.

After we finally took off, they served everyone around me nuts even though their instructions (and I reminded them) said not to. Then they came out with the food. I skipped the salad. I had hummus with bread. The main course was pasta in Alfredo sauce with nuts. Who puts nuts on pasta? I spooned the dozen nuts off, ate the pasta, and prayed that I would be ok. The pasta was good and the dessert was cheesecake.

Then I watched Just Go With It, which was cute. I decided I would try to attempt to sleep. 10 mins in and it hits me. MY LUGGAGE! What if I run and somehow make my transfer, will my luggage as well? I talk to a stewardess (Kathleen not mean Ruth) and she says it won’t make my flight, but they’ll send it the next day at 2pm. I explain the whole tour situation and she speaks to the captain. They decide to take down my info and call ground control in Amsterdam. They want them to pull the bag ASAP. I don’t sleep and don’t eat the breakfast (oatmeal). We land with 30 mins to make my transfer.

Categories: Africa, Amsterdam, Egypt, Europe, Travel, Trip with a Tour Group | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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