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Travel Thought for the Week January 25, 2010

“But there is one priceless thing that I brought back from my trip around the world, one that cost no money and on which I paid no customs duty: humility, a humility born from watching other peoples, other races, struggling bravely and hoping humbly for the simplest things in life.”

-- Félix Martí-Ibáñez, Journey Around Myself, 1966

International Taxi Fare Calculator

When I'm planning a trip, one of the first questions is "how do I get from the airport to my hotel?" Getting into town is always a balance between ease and cost -- the easier it is, the more it costs. Public transportation is usually the cheapest option, but when you arrive in a strange city, jet-lagged and with luggage in tow, figuring out the system, buying tickets, negotiating stairs and waiting on train platforms might be the last thing you want to do.

The most expensive method is usually a private shuttle. Nothing like stepping off the plane and finding a driver holding a sign with your name on it to boost your ego and drain your wallet. Not quite so ritzy, and not quite so expensive, are shared shuttles. These often strike the perfect balance between ease and cost for the single traveler.

For two or more people traveling together it may be just as cheap or cheaper to take a taxi, though. To estimate taxi fares ahead of time, I use the World Taximeter, a fun site that also shows you the route on a map. Print it out, and you'll know whether the taxi driver is honest or taking you for a ride.

Travel Thought for the Week of January 18, 2010

“Before a journey a map is an impersonal menu; afterwards, it is intimate as a diary.”

-- Thurston Clarke, Equator (1988)

Hotel Report Card: Hotel Liberty, Prague, Czech Republic

Hotel Liberty, Prague

Hotel Liberty
ul. 28. října 11/376
110 00 Praha 1
Tel: 224-239-598; Fax: 224-237-694
32 rooms. Singles: €130; Doubles: €130

Hotel Liberty, Prague

Quality furnishings, warm, rich colors, friendly staff and a great location. The Liberty is housed in a carefully restored Art Nouveau building from the late 1800’s, and located on a quiet street near the bottom of Wenceslas Square, the humming heartbeat of Prague. Old Town Square, Charles Bridge and Josefov are all less than a 10-minute walk away, and you have easy access to trams and subway for castle hill and other parts of Prague.

Travel Thought for the Week January 11, 2010

“One’s first day in a new country is largely a sensory experience: body-contact between the stranger and a myriad unfamiliar sights, sounds and smells. These have an acute -- oddly animal -- importance while the traveler’s mind is uncluttered by personal knowledge or acquired opinions. There is nothing to puzzle over, analyze, dissect: one is merely a passive, though excited, receiver of impressions. That first day rarely deceives.”

-- Dervla Murphy, Irish travel writer, Cameroon with Egbert, 1990

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