After a quick walk to the train station, we hopped on the first train to Cochem. Once on, we showed our 7-day rail pass to the conductor, who stamped it with a start date. He was supposed to check our passports as well but I guess we looked sufficiently foreign so he skipped that step.
After a day in the rain, we picked up wine and headed home.
We picked up wonderful fresh German bread and had a supper of Rhein spätlese wine and bread.
Boston has a wonderful metro system so if you’re heading to downtown from the airport, and want to save big bucks, take the metro. There are shuttles for the blue line (shuttle number 22), the red line, and the silver line. The red line shuttle was free. I suspect the others are too. Although the #22 shuttle was only labeled on the outside as the bus for other terminals and rental cars, it definitely stopped at the airport metro station–before going to the rental car sites. At the metro, it cost us a whole $5.50 for two of us to get within a couple of blocks of our hotel.
One caveat. If you buy 2 tickets together at the machine, it’ll spit out a receipt and one pass. Both people need to use the single pass to go through the turnstile. The receipt is only for your records.
At your subway stop, let Google maps take over.
If you can’t walk a few blocks or have heavy luggage, Lyft is another affordable option. Reddit users claim it’s much more affordable than taxis.
But if you are able to walk a few blocks, the Boston metro can get you anyplace you might want to go in Boston, affordably and quickly.
By the way, Boston, including our hotel, is all dressed up for the holidays. And the Omni Parker House is the birthplace of Boston Cream Pie and Parker House rolls. Want to try them?
By the way, if you’re planning an Omni hotel stay, sign up for Omni select so you don’t get charged a big (about $10/day) internet fee.
Public busses are a convenient way to move about large Japanese cities. Their routes have stops near most of the sites that you would want to visit. Better yet, the busses are scrupulously clean and comfortable to ride in. In general, they are full but not unbearably crowded. Rush hour can be another matter so claustrophobic tourists should definitely avoid public transit during peak travel hours.
The fare is paid with a plastic IC card that is purchased from a ticket machine at a railroad station. The machines have an English option for operations.
The initial cost is a refundable deposit of 500 yen plus whatever amount you wish to credit to the card, typically another 1,500 yen. Using the card saves you from the inconvenience of buying a ticket every time you want to take a bus (or a train that honors the card.)
To use the card, tap it against the panel at the front of the bus near the driver when exiting the bus. In most cities, enter the bus from the side door and exit through the front. Note: because one pays as one exits, getting off the back door is considered theft. Don’t do it.
When working in Cleveland during a summer break from college, I purchased milk and sundries from a nearby Lawson’s convenience store. Lawson stores are no longer found in the continental US, but to my surprise, they abound in Japan. Nowadays, 7-Eleven stores in the US are owned by a Japanese company, and, along with Family Mart, compete with Lawsons.
All told, there are more than 50,000 convenience stores in Japan. And they are convenient, abounding on commercial streets and in railroad stations and offering an ever changing array of snacks, sandwiches, ice cream, fruit and soda beverages, cigarettes, cold beer, candy, and international ATMs. Many ATMs throughout Japan won’t work with foreign ATM cards. Fortunately, this is an area where Japanese 7-11 stores shine. Google maps or a 7-11 finder app can help you find the 7-11 nearest you.
While ATMs at Family Mart, Lawson, and others may not support international cards, they offer many of the same useful services for foreigners as 7-11 stores including: currency exchange, free Wi-Fi, and ability to use credit cards for purchases.