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Leigh Witchel

Ballet Travel - Tips and tricks?

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Friends gave the nearby 57th Street Holiday Inn a rave last June. I haven't been there myself (yet), but getting a room on the back, i.e. away from the heavy traffic on 57th itself, might be worthwhile.

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Has anyone info on how to fly standby? I have a great mny airline tickets to buy this summer!

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This is a favorite topic of mine, so I'm giving it a bump.

Who's going where this season?

Projected trips for me (they've totally gotten out of hand. Totally) Those marked* are definite as I've bought or stolen a plane ticket. I'm not going to do all of them; I'll be in hock for years if I do.

*London 11/23-8 - Rubies and a bus to Southampton to catch ENB's Snow Queen. If you're in London on 11/23-4 can I recommend Nina Rajarani's "Quick" being done at the Linbury for "Firsts"?

*Sarasota 12/1-2. Yes really. They're doing Ashton's Two Pigeons. Who else in the US does? I'm on a plane.

*SF 1/31-2/4 - Believe it or not, I want to see Filling Station.

Paris 2/15-8 - Not at the opera but in a southeast suburb, Creteil, they are doing a Lifar/Petit/Bejart program of works I ought to see (Suite en Blanc, L'Arlessienne, Bolero) I may not like any of them, but it is still sooo tempting. . . If there is some sort of fare drop, I may just do it.

Toronto 3/14-6 NBoC mixed program. Predicated on an Aeroplan reward or CO having a weekend deal.

*Miami 3/28-31. For Square Dance and the new Tharp/Costello work.

Paris/London 4/20-7 Our projected "Ballet Talk on Tour".

SF 5/2-4. If there is a fare drop, to see the New Works Festival.

*London/Barcelona 5/17-23 Well, I *had* to use my Asia Miles for an award ticket before they inflated the chart by 20%. . . What's a boy to do? Dream/Dances at a Gathering and New Works in London; Hamburg Ballet in Barcelona doing Death in Venice. (I'm mostly going to see Barcelona!)

Toronto 6/13-5 NBoC mixed program. Again predicated on an Aeroplan reward or CO having a weekend deal.

How can I afford this? I can't, and won't do all of it, but a good chunk is on carefully planned mileage awards or bought during sales.

My other best tricks right now: For European bookings, if I am not using Priceline, I really like Booking.com - prices there are very fair and bookings are completely cancelable without penalty. A sweet deal is to use shopathome.com - which gives a 12% cashback (!) for Booking.com - (if you join, I wouldn't mind you using me (lwitchel@aol.com) as a referral :dunno: ) There's actually a better trick using both milesource.com and shopathome that can give up to 25% back, and it isn't hard, but it needs too much detail to describe here. PM me before booking if you want it.

For airline tickets - I got a new credit card, the Citi PremierPass Elite which comes with a signup bonus of enough Citi "Thank You" points for a free round trip ticket. So with good credit, a lot of ballet travel is possible on less money than you think.

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Projected trips for me (they've totally gotten out of hand. Totally)

Thanks Leigh, I feel much better now :dunno:

In recent years I have found myself going to 2, 3 or even 4 performances of the same ballet and opera here in Seattle. I've been telling myself that things are getting out of hand. But I can now see that I am as yet a piker. Apparently I am still sane since there are truly insane fanatics like you on the planet! I have comtemplated travelling to NYC to see the Ring (we only get it once every 4 years here in Seattle). In fact, my wife and I planned to go this last summer, but we never made it. This thread makes it seen easier (good tips). 2008 here I come!

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Ok, in addition to the $3-400 on top of my ticket price & the 8hr transportation grind every time I come to NYC--(went 12 times this past spring/summer and 6x last fall), I've been to LA twice, London twice, and Chicago. And most of the time, I was very glad I went--if not always for the performance, then for chance to meet/greet, observe, & socialize with other like-minded balletomanes.

I am trying to plan a trip to Barcelona early next year. Probably going indep./alone, probably bringing some expensive equipment that needs to be protected. And I am NOT fluent in Spanish--in fact though I read it ok, and can understand somewhat if I listen closely, no practice speaking it. I DO KNOW Catalan is the language in Barcelona, so even more a problem linguistically. ANY tips, advice will be very welcome--eg. lodging (near Tivoli theatre?), transport, security, tickets to perfs, ways to save $?

Thanks in advance.

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I haven't been to Barcelona yet, but I found Booking.com good for comparatively reasonable prices on hotels. I have a cancelable booking at the Ayres Caspe via there for about 103 Euros/night. There were places for less, but this was the best deal I found for me for price to quality. I can also try to beat it later if I choose to, but this one is also 12% off for going through shopathome.com (see above)

I believe they will tolerate your Castilian in Barcelona :dunno: I found the Pimsleur tapes very helpful for resuscitating my high school Spanish.

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My husband missed out on Christmas last year because of miltary obligations so we decided to make up for it by doing a tour of German Christmas markets. We are visiting a number of cities with distinctive markets and are catching Nutcrackers in Berlin, Dresden and Stuttgart. If we are not in the Christmas spirit after that we never will be. The best part is that we will visit our dancer there and will fly home with her when she is on her Christmas break. :dunno:

I almost forgot the tip! Rail tickets are much cheaper to buy ahead of time from outside of Germany - you can buy them for how many days you will need to travel - they can be used at any time within a period of months. If you order them online from North America you receive them within a couple of weeks. You then simply get on the train you choose and mark off your date and your pass may or may not be checked en route. No line-ups and the schedules are very clear and simple to understand and the trains almost always run on time to within a minute or so.

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I haven't been to Barcelona yet, but I found Booking.com good for comparatively reasonable prices on hotels. I have a cancelable booking at the Ayres Caspe via there for about 103 Euros/night. There places are less, but this was the best deal I found for me for price to quality. I can also try to beat it later if I choose to, but this one is also 12% off for going through shopathome.com (see above)

I believe they will tolerate your Castilian in Barcelona :) I found the Pimsleur tapes very helpful for resuscitating my high school Spanish.

As always, VERY many thanks for sharing your knowledge, experience, tips etc.. I have visited Bookings.com while surfing web and did appreciate the comparisons offered. I did not know about the discount thru shopathome.com and will definately investigate using it.

Unfortunately, I took French and Latin in H.S. (mediaeval history interest at the time, and my family is French). So any Spanish I've learned has been very generic...The above has allowed me to read it ok, and because of a very good radio program every Sunday on our local NPR station, and the Spanish television cable networks, I'm getting better at diciphering content at speed during conversations by those from Latin & South America. I'm still fascinated by that 500 year old Hapsburg lisp evident in the Castillian Spanish accent, but only rudimentary at disciphering it. (Apologies to Mr. Corella et.al.) So Pimsleur to the rescue?

Thanks again.

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Here's my experience - my walk to work is pretty much exactly the length of a Pimsleur lesson. I did one - occasionally two - lesson(s) daily for two months prior to my trip to Buenos Aires. I had three years of High School Cathtilian prior. I was really pleased with the results of daily practice. On my first trip to BA, I wouldn't even attempt to speak unless desperate. This time, I did just about everything in Spanish. I couldn't have a philosophical conversation, but I could make myself well understood when in a cab, purchasing or ordering something, even making small talk with the cab driver. I did pick up a Rioplatense accent from talking in Argentina (Una otra botesha de agua, por favor!)

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There is absolutely no language problem in Barcelona, nor indeed in most of Spain as virtually everyone speaks English, many to a very high standard. Spain is the number one holiday destination for millions of Brits every year and they have now colonized huge swathes of Southern Spain, consequently English is spoken almost everywhere. The only areas where you might experience some difficulty would be the Atlantic coast region and the inland areas, but Barcelona attracts so many tourists that you'll find English spoken just about wherever you go.

Apart from watching the Ballet do find time to visit the Gaudi buildings and don't miss Park G├╝ell. The Picasso Museum in the old part of the city is also unmissable. If you are into clubbing, the Barcelona club scene is second to none in Europe. Shopping is good too. Downside: my younger male companion was openly approached by drug dealers and prostitutes in broad daylight, something that doesn't happen in other parts of Spain.

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