Posts Tagged 'travel'

London? Yes, London!

I’ll be traveling to London this week for both business and pleasure, arriving on Wednesday the 6th and leaving on Monday the 11th. Wed-Thu is business oriented, with meetings and events, and the weekend is pleasure of course – celebrating my birthday (April 9th)!

The entire trip is pretty packed, but I’ll be happy to meet and chat with anyone, if time permits. Thursday is probably the best day for those random meetups, so shout away – either comment here or better yet on Twitter, @dvirreznik.

My last visit in London was for Nokia World 2010, a very short one (60 hours, give or take), during which I saw very little of the British capital, so this time I expect to do more tourist stuff. Would love to hear your recommendations: good restaurants, theater and musicals, tourist attractions, music performances, what ever comes to mind. Again, comment here of reach out on Twitter.


20 days into 2011.

20 days without a post.

20 days of working at Onavo.

Onavo team - missing: Eran Friedman

Onavo team - missing: Eran Friedman

We’re doing brilliant things here, around data compression – very relevant to business travelers, and travelers in general. In a sentence: Onavo is about saving you money when you’re doing data roaming with your iPhone (Android coming soon) abroad.

We’re currently in closed alpha, but accepting new beta testers. If you want to join, email your name and mobile carrier to: info at

Stay tuned.

Alitalia and Rome Airport – FAIL

This is the first time I am writing a post as an angry customer. Usually, and my friends will testify, I am very calm, but the connection we had this morning at Rome International Airport and the proceeding flight (AZ 808) with Alitalia to Tel Aviv was a huge disaster.

Our flight from NYC (CO 040, Newark-Rome) was fine, more than fine. This was only my 2nd trip with Continental, but will start looking more closely at their schedule, especially on Atlantic flights – the trip TLV-Newark, CO 080 went much more smoother than I thought a 12.5 hour flight will be. The Boeing 777 is amazing and the Continental service was great!

Don't fly Alitalia

Don't fly Alitalia

Anyhow, back to Rome. We landed at 08:00 on Sunday April 11th, with a plane to catch at 09:25, from another terminal (Gate G). The horror began at the security check, as some 400 passengers (2-4 planes) waited in one of the most un-organized processes I had even seen. Six Italian officers with English similar to my Italian, lost control of things, and it took us 50 min to pass a security check, which had little to do with security: Some took their shoes off, others didn’t; watch/belt/rings were on/off, depending on your line; Laptop stayed in the carry-on bag; Our passports were NEVER opened; No designated line for handicapped passengers, which meant every 5min an officer let a handicap passenger into the front of the line – the same line each time (ours of course); Five Italian couples were also let into the front of the line, for a reason I (and others) couldn’t fathom; The crowd formed way behind the actual conveyer belts into a single line, only to disperse 5 meters before the belts, into 4-6 different lines (I mentioned only 3 belts, right?); a passenger came up to the security officer, saying he’s going to miss his flight – the officer sent him back, mumbling something in Engtalian.

The flight was scheduled to leave at 09:25, with boarding set for 08:50 via gate G10. Boarding started at 09:15, with a single line. At 09:25 another line opened, both leading downstairs, to a bus. The bus stood, full, for 10min, before taking us 100 meters to the plane itself. We waited for another hour on the tarmac with the AC turned OFF (!), finally taking off at 10:30. Alitalia – it’s 2010, and I know several teenagers that can produce a movie 10 times better than the poorly-animated-using-cardboard-figures-excuse-for-a-movie you showed. Drop me a line, I’ll send over some names. I only hope our 3 suitcases found their way in all that mess to our plane (post written in-flight).

Update: our luggage were a no-show of course, all 3 of them – left at Rome. Unfortunately, we were not surprised. They did arrive at our house at 11:00pm, 8 hours after we landed.

I love Rome, and Italy (very cool snowboarding slopes), but in the future, traveling abroad, Alitalia just made my bottom 2 airlines, alongside Iran Air.

A beginner’s guide to Prague

Following our trip to Prague last week, I decided to write a post, A beginner’s guide to Prague, that would provide additional information to all those considering traveling to Prague and want to get some first hand impressions. This post covers what we did and saw, how we traveled, what cultural activities we went to, etc. If you have specific questions, feel free to comment below (or email privately) and I’ll respond. Our photos from the trip are available on facebook (friends only, sorry).

General information
We had 6 full days in Prague, Mon-Sat (April 6-11), landing at 10am and departing at 11pm.
We bought the full package from Israel, including flight, pickup from/to airport and hotel voucher (BB). I strongly recommend to cross-reference your hotel location with Metro linesour hotel was 1min from a metro station, and 2 stops from City Center – saved us a lot of time and money on transportation. Also remember that the Metro/Trams run from 5am till midnight, after that it’s only taxis, and those are expensive (and have designated stops to pick passengers). We used the 18CZ tickets, good for 20km or 30min (Metro/Tram – 5 stops max). Note that Police are doing random inspections and can also question tourists – the fine for NOT having a valid ticket is 700CZ (35 US$). Prague is relatively flat (except Prague Castle area) and covering it walking is easy.

Before arrival
Check the weather of course, but be prepared for anything. Weather was excellent, 7c-20c most of the week we were there, sunny, although it was only the beginning of the Spring and people told us to pack warm clothes. I walked with a t-shirt and jeans every day, Dina had a long shirt and jacket in the bag. We had 2 short periods (30min) of rain, afternoon of day 2 and 3, so remember to bring a mini-umbrella with you.
Prepare what you want to see, and check online for city resources, either the official site or other travel guides. A map of the city and public transportation are also important, but you can get those at Prague. While you’re online, verify what holidays, local vacations, renovation work, etc are planned. If you’re into Opera, Drama or Ballet, check Narodni Divadlo (National Theater) to see what’s showing the days you’re there. There are 3 theaters at Prague, beautiful buildings – worth the visit even if you’re not into the performance itself.
If you’re students, bring your card with you. Most sites have a discounted rate for student, which can save you 50% on the ticket – we paid 15 US$ for 2 tickets to see Don Giovanni on the last day.
We had 2 books with us: Michelin Green Guide to Prague and an Hebrew version of Globetrotter travel guide to Prague. Most of the time we used the Hebrew book, sorted by quarters (unlike Michelin which was alphabetically) and easier to follow.

Day 1 (arrival)
Although we arrived early (10am), we were tired from not sleeping the night before – 2 hours sleep on the place don’t count. So only in the afternoon we head to Stare Mesto (old town), walking the streets towards the Old Town Sqaure. We found this cute cafe at Na Prikope st., towards Mustek station, inside an inner patio of some sort – very American and they had free wi-fi, one of the few places I noticed.

Day 2
Day 2 was all about Hradcany and the amazing Prague Castle. Had to change metro lines to get there, but the 18 CZ ticket (20km or 30min) still sufficed. Spent more than half a day at the castle and its surroundings, but you can easily spend a full day, even more. There are several types of tickets – we got the semi-full that grants access to the Cathedral and Basilica, The Story of Prague Castle (which was closed for renovation) and The Golden Lane (don’t miss it) including The Black Tower (Daliborka) which served as a prison. Second half of the day we walked down towards Mala Strana (lesser quarter), checked out the gardens and headed east to Charles Bridge and Stare Mesto again. Before crossing the bridge, make sure you visit Kampa Island, a small piece of land south of the bridge – beautiful and peaceably neighborhood with a great view of the other side.

Day 3
Since it was Pesach Eve we decided to visit Josefov (Jewish quarter), the Old-New Synagogue, the Old Jewish Cemetery and other attractions in the area. The Old-New Synagogue was built at 1270 (!) and is still being used by the local community. The tombstones at the old cemetery are very crowded, the result of multi-layered burial, right until the end of the 18th century. That evening we went to St. Nicholas Church in Stare Mesto, and bought tickets to its Easter Festival, hosting Praga Sinfonietta Orchestra that played Bach, Vivaldi and Mozart.

Day 4
Since it was my birthday, we decided to stay close to our hotel, and unlike other days, do an afternoon break/nap at the hotel. So, we walked 15min and arrived to Vysehrad (which means ‘castle in the mountains’), the Basilica of St. Peter and St. Paul and the old (and very prestigious) cemetery, the resting place to some of Czech’s most famous citizens. Make sure you head down to the streets (Neklanova and Vratislavova) below the castle – 3 examples of Cubism architecture awaits your eyes.
Vysehrad gardens are also the place I proposed to my girlfriend :-)) She agreed. In the evening we had dinner at Mlynec – an excellent Asian fusion restaurant (huge thanks to Ariela!).

Day 5
The 5th day was dedicated to Nove Mesto (new town) and its sights: Fred and Ginger, National Theater, The Botanical Garden, Slav (Sofin) Island and others. We stayed away from the Wenceslas Square which we walked in all week, and focused on the eastern and southern portions of the new town, closer to the Vltava River. At that evening we reached Nardoni Divadlo and bought tickets to Causa Carmen, student of course, 10 US$ each.

Day 6
Last day at Prague was spent at Stare Mesto and was dedicated (mostly) to shopping and relaxation. We were under no pressure to see any sights and even got to see Don Giovani at the 2pm performance.

Final thoughts
Walking the streets of Prague, seeing the massive castles and basilicas, you can understand why Prague is considered one of the beautiful cities in the world. It’s a classical European capital that actually lets you touch and feel its past. All you need to do is close your eyes and imagine yourself in the 13th or 15th century, walking the same streets, in an entirely different attire. Too bad the Holodeck is still reserved to Star Trek fleet only. Although we had the option, we decided not to go on tours outside of Prague. We came to see the city, a true classical European capital, and we left with a strong desire to return.

Being green in Prague

We stayed at an excellent hotel last week in Prague, Corinthia Towers Hotel, which like many hotels these days, has boarded the green train. Other than the usual towels procedure (put in the tub to change or leave hanging to keep), we saw this gray card on our bed:

Protect. The choice is yours. We’ll serve your room every day. Your bed linen will be changed only when this card is placed on the bed in the morning.

Being green (Dina disconnected all the power cables at home before leaving, and we disconnect some stuff during the day as well) and all, we put the card on the bed only one time – changing linen once in 3 days is more than enough. In the days we didn’t put the gray card, we got another card – green of course – saying thank you:

Protect. Your choice makes a difference. Thank you. Upon your request we did not change your bed linen. Should you choose to have your bed linen changed tomorrow, please place the gray card on the bed.

Lots of business and service providers are looking to be more green, in various ways. What I liked about the Corinthia way is that extra step towards to guests – not just giving you the choice, but also acknowledging it by saying ‘thank you’. One might ask, like CNN’s Ayesha Durgahee, are hotels doing enough or is it just a marketing thing, but for me, saying thank you, is a step in the right direction.

How green are green hotels?

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Mobile & Media Consultant. I help startup companies launch products to the consumer market. Reach out: dvir.reznik [at]



This is my personal blog. The postings here do not represent the thoughts, intentions, plans or strategies of my past employers or of my clients. It is solely my opinion.