Fasting and floods – Four weeks on the road to Eastern Europe

This week’s trip report is once again one filled with many contrasts. Written as they travel, our member will experience Dubai during Ramadan, Venice during an Aqua Alta and then a cruise through to Turkey, finishing with some time in Greece. With the larger cruise ships banned from being so close to Venice next year, it was a case of now or never.

As with all big trips, it can make a big difference if you take the time to do your research. As a result of that research, our traveller has a nice little tip for those considering a similar adventure. Despite being Australian and undertaking a cruise in Europe, the best deal was to be found by booking through a country most would overlook for European cruises.

We booked through a US travel agent as they offer more flexibility. Due to sheer mass of the US consumer size then they are more accommodating than TA’s in Australia and indeed cruise lines themselves. Not all cruise lines accept Aussies booking through a US Agent. Princess for instance….The best thing – you can cancel up to 90 days before the cruise, for any reason, and receive your deposit back in full.

Now that the research is done, bookings made and foreign currency acquired, the journey can begin. As Adelaide no longer hosts Qantas international flights, our traveller turns to Emirates as a means of getting to Europe. It’s a decision that proves to be rewarding, at least on the first leg.

Nice. More than nice. Amazing. Upgrade from discount economy to business at checkin.

With Ramadan in full swing, the Emirati hospitality did not stop at just a flight upgrade. Public eating and drinking is banned from sunrise to sunset, and the climate is at its hottest for the year, making it an unpopular time for tourists. As a result, not only did a hotel upgrade eventuate, it was a double upgrade to a two bedroom suite. The downside was getting used to the conditions outside during the day, and not always being able to do what you enjoy on your holiday.

I hadn’t realised how much enjoyment we get on holidays from the ability just to go grab a nice drink and nibbles and just people watch. There’s none of that here. I know that come 7.30pm there are lots of dinners for end of fast. I just don’t know how people endure the rigours of Ramadan. I know it’s dedication and purification but it must make for very stressful environments come later in the day in this heat.

With such a hot start to the trip, what lies in store for our traveller as they head to Europe? How will our traveller cope with the change from the desert to floods as they head to Venice? Have they packed the gum boots for dinner in the Piazza San Marco, or will a waiter lose theirs? Join the journey, as we travel from Sand to Santorini, with the odd bit of Turkish delight in between.  Follow the adventure HERE.

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