May Volleyball Gazette Jr age Tour London
May Issue 2020 London, Paris, Barcelona Tour
Required Forms & Photos
In this month’s issue of the Volleyball Gazette you will find a link to several REQUIRED FORMS for travel.
All travelers must fill out ( the Emergency Contact information, Hold Harmless Agreement, and Bookings and Terms). These are available by clicking on the links on the left of this page.
Don’t worry if you do not have all of the information available (i.e. passport #’s etc.) “forward” the additional information at a later date. Please send the information you currently have available today, this will help us with the processing of your paperwork.
We do need a photo of each traveler... these can be a passport size or small school photo ... you may send them electronically or by mail.
People who need to finalize paperwork .....
Keeping a Journal....
It is advised that each of our travelers keep a daily diary or daily journal. We will be traveling to so many beautiful places and seeing so many beautiful monuments, cathedrals, sites and attractions ... it will be impossible to remember all the details. If you jot down a few details about the senses, feelings emotions ... and even the smells .... It will bring back to you the memories of the trip ....
I wish I had done this on some of my trips ... I now look back on some previous photos and try to remember exactly why I took that photo ... or even where I took it.... a journal will help re-capture those memories.
These are a few notes from my "return" journal...
"It is 4:00 am 2 days after our return to the USA.... (this is the latest I have slept in for the past 2 days…. (JET LAG upon the RETURN of the trip…is brutal...) one should give themselves about 3 days to get BACK TO "LOCAL" EARTH time… Symptoms are … your brain feels like you are in a thick fog…. Normal thought process is slow…. You will find yourself waking up and wondering what city, you are in, what time zone you are in…. or even what country you are in ...... you will fall asleep at 2:00 (in the afternoon) and wake up 2 hours later, even more tired than when you went to sleep….. people will talk to you and you will answer them through some form of ...... one way mental telepathy but nothing verbal ever comes out, (keep in mind.... this does nothing to enhance personal relationships….)" but after about 3 days ... the fog clears ..... and you are back to the USA.... both mentally and physically....
OK … so I may be exaggerating a little…. But EXPECT the JET LAG upon our return… and warn those around you of the pending results…..
RANDOM THOUGHTS / MISCELLANEOUS INFORMATION
WEATHER… from LAST YEAR'S trip
We experienced record setting temperatures in Europe..... IT WAS HOT..... Unfortunately ... our hotels in Europe did not have air-conditioning (most do not ... as they do not need it ...) Normally .... we will have.... cloudy sky’s and a little “mist” in London and Paris .. not enough to worry about. The temperature in London about 70, Paris about 70. What we will have this year ... only mother nature knows.. for sure...
If there is ONE important item to consider … it is your LUGGAGE…. DO NOT OVER PACK!!!!! YOU WILL BE MISERABLE … and I and those around you .... will be UNSYMPATHETIC!!!! In every newsletter I have emphasized the point of packing light. If you did not get the point of all of the subtle hints ...... DO NOT OVER PACK!!
EVERY TRIP …. Too many players over pack… they bring too much STUFF… (I have to plead guilty too …on my last trip I had 2 tee shirts, 1 pair of walking shorts, and a pair of Volleyball shorts that I DID NOT EVEN WEAR….) yet I did carry them all over Europe…
You will be allowed 1 suitcase or back pack (suitcase MUST have wheels)
You will be allowed 1 carry on (your Tour Backpack)
You will be allowed a personal item (i.e. purse)
LUGGAGE SURVIVAL SKILLS….
Review the items you have packed…
Take out at least 1/4th of the stuff you have in there …
Walk around the neighborhood for about 30 – 40 minutes if you have no problems then you have it just about right….
Clothes Washing … By Hand...
By hand? (I know this is a foreign concept to those under the age of 30... and I understand that this is something your MOM normally does for you.. in that “big white machine thing” in basement.
Each night (or every other night) take 10 minutes before going to sleep and hand wash some of your clothes (underwear, sox, practice gear, shorts). They will be ready to wear the next day….
EXTENDED USE CLOTHES….
Get use to wearing the same pair of shorts more than one time…. ALTERNATE your walking shorts… Just because you have worn them does not mean they are DIRTY…. Wear the blue pair on Monday, the black pair on Tuesday, and the Green Pair on Wednesday, on Thursday you are ready to do it all over again. Wash every other day you can make it with only 3 pair of shorts…
Sweatshirts have 2 sides to them…. One side gets something spilled on it… turn it inside out… voila .. a new clean sweatshirt…. (Ok ... this may be a "guy think" ... but when you are traveling... who cares....
SURVIVING ON $25.00 - $30.00 PER DAY…
Europe is expensive…and the US dollar is not as valuable as it was last year.... you can spend AS MUCH AS MOM AND DAD GIVE YOU … and more…. Learn to be frugal….
Sitting down at a restaurant is more expensive than picking something up along the way… Gyros (pocket sandwich’s are GREAT…. ) I live on the these when in Europe, they are about $5.00 and are a FULL meal. For the unadventurous there is McDonalds, Burger King, Pizza Hut etc… very PLASTIC, very unadventurous, boring, (I would like to limit the number of times you can eat at these plastic food factories… to FORCE you into some NEW EXPERIENCES…. ) But I know when you are hungry, tired it is easy to go in and say” number 3 please with a coke”. Most of these MENU DEALS… will be about $8.00 - $9.00.
Restaurants.. most have a sitting charge ($1.00) and if you are in a group of .. 4-5 persons they may also charge you a “pre paid TIP” fee. Getting the “TOURIST MENU” is normally a good deal…. They will serve you a starter plate, a main course (fish, chicken, beef or pork....) and usually a desert of you choosing (remember in some parts of Europe they consider a plate of apples and bananas as "desert"). The Tourist menu vary in price from $10 - $15 at a reasonably priced restaurant ... and considerably more at the higher priced ones .....(they normally have 2-3 different tourist menus to choose from. If you do not know what something is… ASK … you are not the FIRST AMERICAN the waiter has ever seen. He is a professional waiter, and usually will speak more English … than you do in his language. Pasta and Pizza are always a SAFE BET if you do not recognize anything else on the menu..
One year while in Paris we (coaches) were going to eat at a reasonably nice restaurant. The menu was entirely in French, given the fact that none of us really spoke much French .... we decided to look around at what some of the other folks in the restaurant were having (after all if they were ordering it ... it must be good). I noticed the waiter bring a well cooked beefsteak to the next table and decided to have the same thing, a while later the waiter walked by with a very nice fish plate, one of our coaches decided that looked good and decided to order that. A while later the waiter walked by with a large Bratwurst / sausage looking thing on a plate of French fries and our other coach decided to order that. Great we were all set..... Proud of our accomplishment and avoiding the French Menu we had a glass of wine and waited until dinner was served.
I was the first served and proceeded to cut into my steak (I asked for it to be cooked well done and it was still a little on the rare side.... those silly French chefs love to under cook the meat), but the flavor was good and I was happy with my "selection". The other coach cut into his cooked fish dinner and said it was "excellent". The third coach cut into his Bratwurst looking sausage and noticed that it was a little difficult to cut into, but proceeded to cut and cut and cut until he was able to cut through the sausage and take the first bite. We all watched with anticipation as he started to chew, and chew, and chew and after about 2 minutes of chewing we asked him "how is your French Bratwurst", (it was not really necessary to ask, as the look on his face said it all). "I am not sure....He said It tastes familiar... but I m not sure what it tastes like". He said "here you take a taste" so as good sports, good traveling buddies and remembering what his face looked like we each took a "small taste" of his dinner. Instantly we both spit out the sample and took a drink of water...... he said to us "well what do you think it tastes like?" Good manners in a public restaurant did not allow us to say what it really tasted like.... but let me tell you what it was, and you can guess what it tasted like. Our coach had ordered "PIG INTESTINE" ... that's right pig intestine stuffed into a Bratwurst casing ..... and we all know what goes through the intestine .... that is what it tasted like. As we wiped our tongue off, and drank a little wine to get the taste our of our mouths, we looked around the restaurant and noticed that about 1/4 of the people in the restaurant were eating the same thing...... So much for the sophisticated French Cuisine. .... But ... it makes a great story....
Most all Museums, and churches are free.. going into the various other attractions / activities will be additional. I went to see the Phantom of the Opera .. in the afternoon, I sat in the 6th row center, it cost me about $40.00. There were less expensive seats, and less expensive plays but I chose to see the Phantom. The entrance into Tower of London is about $12.00, the London Dungeons are about the same, The Eiffel tower is about $8.00, however many of the things in Paris will be free. To go into the Palace of Versailles to see the Hall of Mirrors and the various rooms inside is about $7.00, to walk the grounds and see the exterior is free.
Many of our players will NOT want to go all of these attractions.
Suggested LIST… (geared toward what would be fun for “teenagers”)
Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, Take a River Cruise, See a play / musical, Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral, The Louvre, .. just to name a few
I am happy to report that last year we did not have any successful pickpockets, nor any money exchange problems…. That does not mean we can let our guard down…. WE are AMERICANS… we have money… and most of us are CLUELESS to the BIG CITY WORLD…. Three reasons that Americans are GREAT targets for the pickpockets… I will talk more on this subject when we have our group meeting … I will say we can “relax – but not be careless” Money belts or Money pouches under your shirt are REQUIRED!! IF .. YOU DO NOT HAVE A MONEY BELT OR MONEY POUCH ...... YOU WILL TO BE PICK POCKETED!!!
UNIFORMS / SWEATS / etc…
I will be sending to you your tour equipment the first week of May ..... It normally takes 5-10 days to arrive.
Players will receive 1 tour tee shirt, 2 uniform tops, 1 Tour Backpack (please bring your own black spandex or other shorts you feel comfortable wearing)
All traveler will also receive a laminated "where to go if I get lost card" it will have the name and address of our accommodations in each city.... If you do "get lost" just show it to a taxi driver ... they will bring you home....
On the tour member website you will see the 2017 tour logo for this years commemorative sweatshirt.
The sweatshirts are White Hoodies with a color logo on the left chest and the full center back...
These are optional sweatshirts, the price is $35.00
IF you did not order one.... We may have a few extras ... contact john to ask.
You have been sent electronically your specific Air Itinerary. You will have a confirmation number and will be able to access your ticket through the American Airline; and Delta Airline website. You will be able to add your frequent flyer numbers, request specific seats and even specific meals. Airlines have gone to E-tickets, all you need to do is to go to the airline ticket counter and present your passport. They will issue your tickets and boarding pass at the check in desk. Be sure to ask if your luggage is being check THROUGH to London . You will not see your luggage again…….. (just a little travel humor….) Let me re-phrase that… You will reclaim your luggage in London. Make sure you do NOT pack anything that you MAY need before arriving to Europe (i.e. medications passports etc…)
Most of our travelers will have a DOMESTIC FLIGHT LEG to their trip... (from their home airport to the international departure point ... and return). Some families have been booked on a more direct flight to London and will not need to wait for the group international departure. We will all meet in London ... and go to the hotel together.
At our international departure airport.. we will collect all of the GROUP at the international departure gate… we will have time for introductions, answer questions, and go over the RULES of the ROAD…. (how to stay safe, what is acceptable and not acceptable behavior, etc....
We depart the USA at night, most of you will have been awake since 5:00 am that morning…. We arrive into London the next day at 7:00 AM (that is to say we will START A NEW DAY, we have a FULL DAY Planned .. If you do not get any sleep on the flight you will miss our first day in London ….
Drink lots of fluids, watch the first movie, talk with your new friends .. and then SLEEP
I used EXCLUSIVELY the ATM machines.. It worked WONDERFUL. No standing in lines, no walking around “looking for the BEST RATE”, no translation problems with the person working, no extra hidden charges, (I think my bank charged about $1.50 for each of my transactions) and received a GREAT exchange rate by my bank. I would HIGHLY recommend using an ATM card while on tour (it will need to say Cirrus or Plus or Interlink on the back). These cards have a 4 number pin. Check with your bank to see if your ATM card is compatible in Europe.
Yes .. "don't leave home with out it.... but be sure that the credit card company knows that you will be using it in Europe. Call the number on the back of your card and tell them that you will be using your card in Europe. They will ask when you will be leaving and when you will return. (do this before you leave..... it is very awkward to do this after you have made a purchase ... and your card was refused ....)
Each player should bring with them a small inexpensive EXCHANGE gift, to be given to ONE of the opponents before the match. Sometimes you will receive a gift in return (sometimes this does not happen … not all team nor players that we will be playing are as affluent as we AMERICANS are, Don’t take this as an insult .. it is simply and economic issue)
Bringing 8-10 small items will not take up much space in your luggage ....
Our accommodations in Europe will be in tourist class hotels. The accommodations are centrally located, safe and comfortable. They have been chosen for are located in the central area of the cities, which will allow us to easily to see the cities and to quickly and easily return to our accommodations at night. The accommodations are not 4 start hotels with an abundance of amenities. The only time we will be spending in the accommodations is for sleeping, changing clothes and showering.
London: St Giles Hotels Bedford Avenue, London, WC1B 3GH
Paris: Holliday Inn Express Gare de L' est 5 rue du 8 mai 1945 75010 Paris - France
Barcelona: Holiday Inn Express C/ Pallars. 203 08005 – Barcelona
MISSING FORMS / EMERGENCY INFORMATION
SOME OF YOU… are missing the REQUIRED travel information … PLEASE if you have not yet sent to me the …
Photo, Permission to travel form, Emergency contact information, Passport #, etc…
PLEASE DO IT ASAP…..
More later …..