Giveaway time! Two Southwest Airlines drink coupons!!

Hello everyone!  I have a few Southwest Airlines drink coupons and so I decided to give two of them away!!!

Here is how to win them:

  1. Follow me on twitter @pointspinnacle
  2. Retweet my tweet for this giveaway
  3. Tell me what your favorite drink of choice is in your tweet!

Thats it!!!  Follow me on twitter, retweet my giveaway tweet and tell me what your favorite drink is!  One lucky person will win the two (2) drink coupons!  I figured this would be a nice to kickoff summer for one lucky reader/twitter follower!  I will choose the winner randomly.  These expire on December 31st, 2014.

This giveaway will run until Monday, June 30th at 9pm central time!  I hope everyone has a great weekend! Good luck.

-pointspinnacle


 

Trip Report: Paris (part 15) LOT Polish Airlines economy class Warsaw to Chicago

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Introduction
LOT Business Class Chicago to Warsaw
Hotel du Louvre
The Louvre
Park Hyatt Paris
Notre Dame and adding our “lock of love” to a Parisian bridge
Versailles
French Open (day 1)
French Open (day 2)
Radisson Blu Champs Elysees
Arc de Triomphe and Siene river cruise
Radisson Blu Le Metropolitan
Le Eiffel Tower and Sacre Couer
Lunch at Le Jules Verne in the Eiffel Tower and other Dining options around Paris
LOT Polish Airlines Economy Class WAW-ORD
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LOT Polish Airlines Economy Class Warsaw to Chicago

We took a cab from our hotel to Charles De Gaulle airport this time and I think it was around 40 euros.  There was a bit of a line to checkin but it was smooth and we didn’t have to wait long.  There was no line in business class and I got a little jealous considering we came here in business class.  I did in fact check business class availability on our flight home a few times while we were in Paris and nothing ended up opening for us. The flight according to Kayak only had 3 business class seats left for sale.

Our connecting flight to Paris was uneventful and we landed at Fredric Chopin airport in Warsaw on time.  We had a few hours to kill so we decided to get a real meal at a restaurant in the airport.  We stopped at Sami Swoi which is a buffet where you select your food.  The food was absolutely great! It was absolutely expensive too! We dropped over $60 on our meal and a beer and wine for a slide thru buffet style meal.   Im not complaining it was only surprising to me!  I would actually gladly eat here again as I fell in love with Polish kraut!

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Sami Swoi restaurant

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Pork Chop, cauliflower and mashed potatoes

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Chicken, mashed potatoes and the amazing kraut

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Tapper of Polish beer

We waited for boarding and since our seats were towards the back they boarded our rows first for economy customers.  They boarded passengers from back to front.

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Our gates

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Our bird home

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LOT Polish Airlines Premium Economy
Continue reading

Trip Report: Paris (part 14) Lunch at Le Jules Verne inside the Eiffel Tower & other dining options around Paris

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Introduction
LOT Business Class Chicago to Warsaw
Hotel du Louvre
The Louvre
Park Hyatt Paris
Notre Dame and adding our “lock of love” to a Parisian bridge
Versailles
French Open (day 1)
French Open (day 2)
Radisson Blu Champs Elysees
Arc de Triomphe and Siene river cruise
Radisson Blu Le Metropolitan
Le Eiffel Tower and Sacre Couer
Lunch at Le Jules Verne in the Eiffel Tower and other Dining options around Paris
LOT Polish Airlines Economy Class WAW-ORD
____________________________________________________________________________

Lunch at Le Jules Verne in the Eiffel Tower

I made reservations for Le Jules Verne about six weeks prior to our vacation.  During the time that we would be in Paris there were not a lot of slots available, in fact I don’t think there were any dinner reservations available at all. I decided to take the Sunday noon lunch reservation that was available.  That was the earliest and only reservation time of the day.  I wanted to have at least one special/fancy meal while in Paris so why not have a meal in the Eiffel Tower at a Michelen starred establishment!!!

We arrived at there special entrance exactly at noon and there were several other couples ahead of us that also obviously had noon reservations. We were checked in and had to wait about 10 minutes as the elevator is only big enough for six other people and the elevator operator. Meaning we had to wait until the other couples that arrived ahead of us were shuttled up the elevator first.

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Separate and private entrance to LeJules Verne

We were seated promptly once we arrived to the second floor entrance of the restaurant.  I noticed many tables but at around noon it was very empty compared to the amount of tables available.  There were many other prime seating locations and when we were seated I asked if possible to move closer to the window however the hostess informed us that the better seats are obtained by making your reservations early. So if you are certain you want a window seat you must make your reservation the moment your day is available to reserve! We were just lucky to get a reservation so we got a non prime seat.

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My wife at our LeJules Verne table

As you can see in the photo below the three tables next to us and the one closest to the window would be ideal but it was not to be.  We were given menu’s and asked the option of what type of water we prefer. We were also given a separate drink menu which is either by the glass or a menu by the bottle. Continue reading

Trip Report: Paris (part 13) Eiffel Tower and Sacre Couer

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Introduction
LOT Business Class Chicago to Warsaw
Hotel du Louvre
The Louvre
Park Hyatt Paris
Notre Dame and adding our “lock of love” to a Parisian bridge
Versailles
French Open (day 1)
French Open (day 2)
Radisson Blu Champs Elysees
Arc de Triomphe and Siene river cruise
Radisson Blu Le Metropolitan
Le Eiffel Tower and Sacre Couer
Lunch at Le Jules Verne in the Eiffel Tower and other Dining options around Paris
LOT Polish Airlines Economy Class WAW-ORD
____________________________________________________________________________

Eiffel Tower

We actually visited the Eiffel Tower three different times and went inside the tower twice.  The lines were long and we waited maybe 45 minutes to finally get to the elevator.  The tickets were about $20 per person for the elevator line.  We got into line around 9pm and finally got up to the second floor just before 10pm or so.  You have to go through a security check before boarding the elevator.  The entrance for people wanting to take the stairs up was closed and I believe it closes around 6 or 7pm.  I do think the admission price maybe slightly cheaper if you take the stars however.

Once up on the second floor there is a completely separate line for the elevator ride up to the top of the Eiffel Tower.  We decided to walk all the way around the second floor and enjoy the views and skip visiting the top floor altogether.  It was amazing that the sun was setting around 9:40pm in Paris which is late compared to Milwaukee summers.

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View from under the Eiffel Tower

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View from under the Eiffel Tower

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Views from the 2nd floor of the Eiffel Tower

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Views from the 2nd floor of the Eiffel Tower

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My wife from the 2nd floor of the Eiffel Tower Continue reading

Trip Report: Paris (part 12) Radisson Blu le Metropolitan

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Introduction
LOT Business Class Chicago to Warsaw
Hotel du Louvre
The Louvre
Park Hyatt Paris
Notre Dame and adding our “lock of love” to a Parisian bridge
Versailles
French Open (day 1)
French Open (day 2)
Radisson Blu Champs Elysees
Arc de Triomphe and Siene river cruise
Radisson Blu Le Metropolitan
Le Eiffel Tower and Sacre Couer
Lunch at Le Jules Verne in the Eiffel Tower and other Dining options around Paris
LOT Polish Airlines Economy Class WAW-ORD
____________________________________________________________________________

Radisson Blu le Metropolitan

Let me just start off by saying this was a great little hotel. I loved it.  However it is not perfect!  If I could buy our hotel room as a cheap Paris condo I would! I loved the location and the fact that it had a balcony!!  The balcony was my favorite feature by far.  Next to our earlier stay at the Park Hyatt this was my favorite property of the four we stayed at in Paris.

We were dropped off right at the front door by our cab and assisted in by the doorman who helped bring our bags in. At checkin we were told we were upgraded to a superior room or something of the sort.  SCORE!   The front desk agent was really nice and walked us around the property and escorted us to the elevator.  It was sort of funny as she was still talking the elevator kept slamming in her face and she kept keeping it open (this must’ve happened 4-5 times).  The property is small. The halls leading to the room are small and tight!! The elevator was only big enough for us and our bags (barely).  When we walked in, the room was small. My wife mentioned, “this is an upgrade?”  Which I had to laugh at and agree.  I looked at the floor plan on the door and realized this room is one of just a few that have a balcony thus the “upgrade” terminology.  However after spending two nights at the property the balcony is really an upgrade!!!! To have usable outdoor space in the heart of Paris was great!!!  I would take a chair out there and sit-down to enjoy the sites and sounds for a while.

The bathroom was a good size which was welcome since the rest of the room wasn’t . The rainfall shower head was nice too!!  The wifi was good just as it was at the previous Radisson Blu Champs Elysees.  There was a welcome amenity in the room which consisted of some small chocolate snacks and a glass bottle of water.  We did not eat at the property although the restaurant looked aesthetically pleasing.  We did not get free breakfast as Gold members at either Paris property which is not required however the Radisson Blu’s in Dublin and Galway were nice enough to comp us free breakfast buffet’s. The window in our room was very large of course because it allowed access to the balcony so the room got a lot of light. Overnight and earlier in the day they automatically bring down the window awnings and in the afternoon and late evening they are brought up to make the balcony much more usable and spacious.

Another positive for this hotel is its location!!! Actually all the hotels we stayed at were really well located near attractions/landmarks.  This property was only about a 10 minute walk to the Eiffel Tower and you could see the Eiffel Tower from the front of the property.  It was pretty much a straight shot to the tower so not much walking. There are also many shops and cafes in the direct area as well as a drug store/pharmacy.

Lets talk about the negative aspect that put a sour taste in our mouths.  On Sunday we had a noon lunch reservation at Le Jules Verne in the Eiffel Tower.  Around 10:30am I called the front desk for an iron so that we could look halfway presentable for lunch considering most of my clothes were packed in our suitcase for several days by this point.  They told me they will have someone send one up “right away”.  Perfect, I thought and we continued getting ready.  About 15 minutes went by and I decided to call again.  This time she said the same thing that someone will bring it right up.  Ten minutes later we still don’t have our iron.  I called again, this time I was angry.  She (front desk lady) apologized and then admitted that all the irons were being used by other guests!!!! She said that the last available iron was called for about 10 minutes before I called for mine.  She said as soon as one becomes available they will bring it to our room.  I said I have a noon lunch reservation and it was already 11:20am!!!!  I then walked down to the front desk to ask them for other options.  I asked if they can purchase another iron? Could they have another iron delivered from another Radisson property?  Nope!  Just sit tight till the irons are available.  I got pissed and said “EVERY ROOM SHOULD HAVE AN IRON!! HOW MANY IRONS DO YOU HAVE??!!”  She replied, six.      SIX!! The property only has six irons for 48 rooms, seriously.  How much does an iron cost?  Maybe $20??  They need to go out and buy at least 42 more irons so that guests don’t have to go through this inconvenience.  After yelling at them for a bit another gentlemen sitting in the lobby overheard and was nice enough to offer me his portable steamer and mentioned he just went through the same scenario.  I raced upstairs and we used the steamer to get us to semi-presentable status but not our bests for a Michelen star restaurant lunch. We rushed out of the hotel about 10 minutes before our reservation with plans of walking there.  The hotel could have offered to buy us a cab ride to ensure we were not late but nope they dropped the ball again. No recovery at all.

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Radisson Blu le Metropolitan exterior

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Myself outside the Radisson Blu le Metropolitan

Continue reading

Trip Report: Paris (part 11) Arc de Triomphe and Siene river cruise

 

___________________________________________________________________________
Introduction
LOT Business Class Chicago to Warsaw
Hotel du Louvre
The Louvre
Park Hyatt Paris
Notre Dame and adding our “lock of love” to a Parisian bridge
Versailles
French Open (day 1)
French Open (day 2)
Radisson Blu Champs Elysees
Arc de Triomphe and Siene river cruise
Radisson Blu Le Metropolitan
Le Eiffel Tower and Sacre Couer
Lunch at Le Jules Verne in the Eiffel Tower and other Dining options around Paris
LOT Polish Airlines Economy Class WAW-ORD
____________________________________________________________________________

Arc de Triomphe 

Since the Radisson Blu Champs Elysees was so close we decided to walk over to the Arc de Triomphe and take a stroll down the Champs Elysees. They are currently doing some sort of maintenance thus there is some scaffolding on the monument.  I had no idea that the Arc de Triomphe was something that you could actually go inside and see the views from the top!  I always thought it was just a solid stone monument.  This is a popular spot to sit down and take a rest or perhaps a meeting point. You will notice a lot of folks sitting down relaxing around this grand monument. We waited in line about 15 minutes and paid maybe $15 (I forgot) to take the stairs to the top.  The stairs are small and its a tight, winding staircase but not too tiring to reach the top.

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My wife outside the Arc de Triomphe

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Me posing outside the Arc de Triomphe

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Standing in the middle of the Champs Elysees Continue reading

Trip Report: Paris (part 10) Radisson Blu Champs Elysees

 

___________________________________________________________________________
Introduction
LOT Business Class Chicago to Warsaw
Hotel du Louvre
The Louvre
Park Hyatt Paris
Notre Dame and adding our “lock of love” to a Parisian bridge
Versailles
French Open (day 1)
French Open (day 2)
Radisson Blu Champs Elysees
Arc de Triomphe and Siene river cruise
Radisson Blu Le Metropolitan
Le Eiffel Tower and Sacre Couer
Lunch at Le Jules Verne in the Eiffel Tower and other Dining options around Paris
LOT Polish Airlines Economy Class WAW-ORD
____________________________________________________________________________

Radisson Blu Champs Elysees

We stayed two lovely nights at the Radisson Blu Champs Elysees in the middle of our trip.  This hotel had a super location as it is just a two minute walk away from the Arc de Triomphe and Avenue Champs Elysees!!  If you like to shop this is the hotel for you!! Another major benefit of this hotel is that there is a large drug store just around the corner. The drug store sells most anything you need at a reasonable price. We made numerous stops there for food and water and it was a life saver.

When we arrived by cab the front desk staff actually doubled as a doorman. He came out to grab our bags and check us in.  He was very friendly and offered a lot of advise on things to do in the area and restaurants we could walk to that were well recommended. I tipped him 2 Euro’s and he even told me not to tip in France “that is an American custom and we don’t expect tips here” but of course he was thankful.  They also offered us two free drink coupons which we promptly redeemed for a glass of champagne.

The room was a decent size by paris standards.  The bathroom had a separate tub and shower which is always a nice touch if your a bath-taker. The bed was comfy and the wifi was good.  They also had a welcome amenity of three macaroons waiting for us on the desk in the room.  The shower had good water pressure and the amenities were fine as well.

The main thing that makes this a nice property is the location….. it is hard to beat! We would both have no problem staying here again and enjoyed this room more than the Hotel du Louvre that we stayed at our first night.

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Radisson Blu exterior signage

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Me in front of the Radisson Blu Champs Elysees Continue reading

Trip Report: Paris (part 9) French Open Day Two

 

___________________________________________________________________________
Introduction
LOT Business Class Chicago to Warsaw
Hotel du Louvre
The Louvre
Park Hyatt Paris
Notre Dame and adding our “lock of love” to a Parisian bridge
Versailles
French Open (day 1)
French Open (day 2)
Radisson Blu Champs Elysees
Arc de Triomphe and Siene river cruise
Radisson Blu Le Metropolitan
Le Eiffel Tower and Sacre Couer
Lunch at Le Jules Verne in the Eiffel Tower and other Dining options around Paris
LOT Polish Airlines Economy Class WAW-ORD
____________________________________________________________________________

French Open Day two

Our second day at the French Open was going to be exciting for me as I was going to get to see Rafa Nadal play on the main court (Phillipe Chatrier) at the French Open!  This is the court in which he has won eight previous championships!! We had good seats again as these were behind the baseline.  Our tickets as I mentioned in the previous installment were ‘category one’ seats and they costed us around $125 per person (which isn’t to bad when you consider you’re going to get to watch four matches).

We thought we might arrive late due to us once again forgetting our tickets at the hotel! However by the time we got there the woman’s match was still going on before the Nadal match so we had plenty of time and decided to grab a quick bite to eat. By the time we got back the Jankovic vs Nara match was just about done.

Jankovic vs Nara match  (Jankovic won)

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Sitting behind the baseline today

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Jankovic serving

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Game, set, match Jankovic

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Grooming the court in between matches


Nadal vs Thiem match (Nadal won this match and the 2014 French Open for his 9th French Open title!)

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Make way for the King of Clay Continue reading

Trip Report: Paris (part 8) French Open-Day One

___________________________________________________________________________
Introduction
LOT Business Class Chicago to Warsaw
Hotel du Louvre
The Louvre
Park Hyatt Paris
Notre Dame and adding our “lock of love” to a Parisian bridge
Versailles
French Open (day 1)
French Open (day 2)
Radisson Blu Champs Elysees
Arc de Triomphe and Siene river cruise
Radisson Blu Le Metropolitan
Le Eiffel Tower and Sacre Couer
Lunch at Le Jules Verne in the Eiffel Tower and other Dining options around Paris
LOT Polish Airlines Economy Class WAW-ORD
____________________________________________________________________________

French Open (Day One)

One of the primary reasons for visiting Paris was to attend the French Open.  I have become a big tennis fan over the past several years so this was sure to be a highlight of our vacation!  On March 12th I stayed up late as French Open tickets went on sale at 1am central time zone in the US.  I wanted to make sure we got decent seats so it was worth a late night to ensure we got tickets to the days I wanted to go.  It was a fairly easy process selecting the tickets and you just choose what day(s) you want to attend and then you select what type of ticket you want.  I wanted to make sure to see Rafa Nadal and some of the other players so it is best to go earlier in the tournament as most of the players have not been eliminated yet.  We ended up buying tickets to both days of the 2nd round of the tournament and sitting in Phillipe Chatrier Stadium (which is the main/largest court).  We bought category one seats which were the closest and most expensive seats I could buy.  The box seats that are even closer to the court were mainly corporate tickets or reserved for super expensive VIP packages! Tickets to the French Open can be bought here.

Everything worked out well as it was very easy taking the metro to the Roland Garros stop and pretty much follow all the signs and people.  Amazingly both days my wife and I left the hotel without grabbing our tickets!!!  One day we had to walk a few blocks back to our hotel to grab our tickets and the next day we actually got half way to the tournament on the metro and realized neither of us grabbed the tix!!!

It was a great experience just walking up to the site and getting closer to the event.  You could hear the cheers from the crowd and the smack of the tennis balls on the outside courts. On our first day we got to watch the end of the Venus Williams vs Schmeidlova match, Djokovic vs Chardy, Tsonga vs Melzer, and Sharapova vs Pironkova matches.

It was a cloudy and cool day with the occasion light rain towards the end of the day but otherwise comfortable with a jacket or sweatshirt.  In between matches we would walk around the grounds for a bit and we also grabbed a bit to eat at the tournament as well (hamburgers and fries). We were surprised how limited the food options were at the tournament but made due. We saw some people eating a bag lunch (smart) but otherwise I hope you like ham sandwiches and hotdogs because that was what most concessions stands sold. They also had a fancy buffet area as an option however it was over $50 per person so we passed.

(note: as always, simply click on any picture to enlarge it)

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Trip Report: Paris (part 7) Versailles

___________________________________________________________________________
Introduction
LOT Business Class Chicago to Warsaw
Hotel du Louvre
The Louvre
Park Hyatt Paris
Notre Dame and adding our “lock of love” to a Parisian bridge
Versailles
French Open (day 1)
French Open (day 2)
Radisson Blu Champs Elysees
Arc de Triomphe and Siene river cruise
Radisson Blu Le Metropolitan
Le Eiffel Tower and Sacre Couer
Lunch at Le Jules Verne in the Eiffel Tower and other Dining options around Paris
LOT Polish Airlines Economy Class WAW-ORD
____________________________________________________________________________

Versailles

We took the train to Versailles and had a busy day there.  The train ride from our hotel in central Paris to Versailles took around an hour or less. We bought our tickets there and the ticket line wasn’t very long when we arrived shortly after opening. Although the line for getting into the house was LONG.  One of the tips we learned from my wife’s research prior to our trip was to see the grounds and exterior first and go to inside the palace at the end so thats what we did.

We wandered around the various gardens and walkways and we both had NO IDEA how BIG this place was!!!  I was mad when I saw people getting around with golf carts and bikes and via mini trains!!! I would highly suggest getting some mode of transportation to get around because it took us forever to walk to one corner of the grounds! I didn’t see any advertisements for the golf carts or bikes but did see where to buy train tickets as you enter the grounds (around back).

Versailles was swamped!! A ton of tourists and field trips happening. At least outside there is lots of space so you can enjoy the grounds fairly peacefully.

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Entry statue

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Coming up on the entrance

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Entrance gates

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Front entrance gates Continue reading