I’ve got a ticket to ride. Well actually sail, train and fly!!
50th wedding anniversary and it’s taken me the whole 50 years to convince David we need to do a transatlantic crossing. He is prone to seasickness and I had to convince him a huge ship is not like a fishing boat on the ocean. Flew into NYC a day early , up and out of the house by 4:30 AM to make a 7:30 plane. All the folks who usually drive us to the airport are out of town so decided to leave the car at Parking Spot. It is not mush more than 2 cab fares with a discount coupon. Zipped thru security thanks to the wheelchair, I could walk even with my bad legs but why bother and there is a deducted security line, Into JFK on time and grabbed a cab to take us to our hotel in Brooklyn. I chose it because it is convenient to the cruise terminal. It was not in a very interesting part of the city but was nice and the service was great. Walked around t find a place for lunch and then just hung out. Arranged to meet a friend from amour Paris Forum, Geordy , for dinner. She arrived at the hotel right on time. No place to talk in the lobby so grabbed a cab to try and fine some dinner. The hotel told me there were loads of restaurants a few blocks away, so I chose one and got the address. Found the number but it was a different place, went in anyway, Italian and very busy and noisy but the food and conversation were good. I so enjoyed meeting Geordie in person after chatting online for a few years. I wish I could make the BBAOPF GTGS!Up early , breakfast at hotel and repacked what I’d taken out. Got a cab and it knew where the terminal was. What a surprise first cabbie in NYC who knew where he was going! The pampering on Cunard starts as your cab pulls into the terminal. We were sent luggage tags in advance to fill out with our deck and stateroom info. A Cunard person unloads the cab and ushers your luggage thru security and leaves it at your door, So no waiting and no lugging cases. Showed our e tickets and passports went thru metal detector and were given a boarding card to wait for our number to be called out so the embarkation is orderly. Met at the top and shown how to find our stateroom and informed lunch is being served the King’s Galley. Suitcases by the door when we got to cabin and the cabin steward carried then in for us, showed us the days schedule and said we’d get the next days each evening, offered to open our welcome bottle of champagne but we passed on that for now. Unpacked a bit then headed to lunch and to check out the harbor and Statue of Liberty in the distance. You are assigned a dining room by the class you are traveling. But there are also several other options , the Kings galley and a terrace room. They open at 4:30 AM for breakfast so I guess that is where this early riser will be heading.
It was a beautiful day sunny and cool so after lunch took to the deck chairs and viewed NYC from the harbor as we set sail. The salt air and our early departure from home called for a nap before dinner. So settled into our very comfortable king sized bed until time to dress for dinner. This was a casual night so no ties but a jacket required in the dining rooms. Met our table mates, a lovely British couple , she Liz, a retired dental surgeon and Colin a retired security specialist from the Lake district and Nancy and Mary 2 retired widows who spend most of their time traveling the world. All excellent company. We were seated in the Britannia restaurant and served by 3 very kind gentlemen, Tomas, Alvin and Emmanuel. Your wine is not included but the wine list has some good reasonable choices and if you don’t finish the bottle it is set aside for the next evening. The food is varied and it was all excellent. Talked until it was time for the last sitting to arrive. This will be a very pleasant experience for the next 6 nights. Stopped into the King’s pub to listen to the pianist for a few minutes before a last stroll along the deck.
Up very early as usual for me so went for coffee and was surprised to find so many other early risers. The sea is calm today, you hardly feel any movement at all. When David got up we had breakfast in the Galley instead of going to our dining room. They don’t start breakfast there until 9:30 way too late for us. The choices on the buffet are amazing. Every kind if fresh fruit imaginable. hot and cold cereals, Scrambled eggs English and American bacon, corned beef hash. Grilled tomatoes, mushrooms, potatoes, they will also cook eggs to order and do pancakes and waffles if you want. Fresh baked pastries and croissants.
Still a lovely day so after some time in deck chairs went to the library. It is better stocked than some land libraries I’ve been in.Yiu can take books out for the duration of the cruise. I found a Stuart Woods mystery I hadn’t read so I was a happy camper There are comfortable chair with places to put your feet up overlooking the sea. A perfect place to while away some time. There are various lectures and entertainments throughout the day. Musicals and actors from RADAput on performances. More than enough to keep one busy. David did the tour of the bridge. I wanted to do the kitchens tour but got mixed up on the 4 time changes. I thought you were to put the clock ahead at bedtime not in the morning so I missed it. All the breads and pastries are baked fresh daily and the menus are very varied. One night we had lobster and David asked if it was just a tail. Alvin our main waiter said not to worry he would take good care of us. As the plates were served with 1 lobster tail each he appeared with seconds for all of us!! There are 2 formal nights when men wear a tux or a dark suit and ladies really dress up. I had=d forgotten one is called the Astor ball and ladies wear fancy hats. I was hatless.
We were invited to the Captain’s cocktail party along with everyone else. The champagne flowed freely.!!
Most evenings we went down to the Golden Lion pub for a before dinner drink and to listen to the pianist. Later in the evenings there were musical performances and a rather raunchy reading from the Canterbury Tales. All very well done.
The last day we decided to have afternoon tea. It too was excellent abut really unnecessary food wise as it was an hour before dinner!
Last night cases were put outside door and tagged for pick up when you disembark. I had booked the Cunard Shuttle bus to London before we left home. Glad I did as it was 39 dollars booked in advance and 89 dollars booked onboard. You wait to be called off the ship and collect your luggage and are directed to the bus going to Victoria. It was a pleasant 2 hour drive with a very nice driver who explained sights along the way. I would do it again in a heart beat!! I would prefer to skip the day we had heavy seas being just ahead of a low pressure front . Everyone looked like they were failing a sobriety test. David got a bit seasick. And the outside decks were closed only lasted 1 day though!!
Arrived in Southampton and baggage had been collected the night before so we disembark retrieve luggage and head to our precooked bus to London Victoria. Could not be easier. the British border patrol checks you out onboard, so no immigration or customs.
Arrived at Millennium Gloucester , one of our favorite London hotels and our room is ready! Purchased Club privileges which included internet access, breakfast, before dinner drinks and canapés and afternoon tea but passed on an upgrade to a club room. Really isn’t necessary as their regular rooms are quite large.
Headed out to the tube station across the street to put some money on our Oyster cards, then hit Boots for some ibuprofen with codeine and David wanted some Rennies, an antacid that he says is superior to any we can buy in the US. Went across the road to Paul to get our first taste of Paris , had baguettes mixte , the first of many. Just relaxed the rest of the afternoon and checked 7 DAYS MAIL. The internet on the ship was 75 cents a MINUTE!! And my computer is slow. It would have cost a fortune just to load. Dressed for dinner at our usual first night in London place, La Famiglia. Warmly greeted by all, the staff there has been with Alvaro for years and never changes. It being Sunday Alvaro was not there so we will return when we get back to London. The welcoming glass of prosecco was much appreciated. David had rare veal liver , said it was fantastic > I had a nice rare lamb steak . A short walk along the King’s Rd and we headed home.
Up early and down to a full English breakfast and back to room to pack up what we used. Arranged to leave the suitcase with formal wear at the concierge’s desk while we are in Paris as we will be returning to the Gloucester on the way home. The doorman got us a taxi and we are on the way to St Pancras or as David pointed out the Americans keep calling it St Pancreas, short wait until boarding Eurostar and our coach is right at the end of the escalator!! Found room for the larger cases with no problem and settled in for the 2 hour trip to Paris. Only got up once to get some juice. Arrived at the far end of the platform at Gare de Nord and hiked to the taxi stand , not much of a wait and we are headed off to La Familis hotel on Rue des Ecoles. Easy check in and they upgraded us to a larger room. Only here for 1 night so only took out toilet cases and headed off to Jussieu to load our Navigos and hit BNP parabis for more cash. Passed by a restaurant called Le Buisson Ardent that has been on my list for ages , didn’t realize it was so close to hotel so stopped in and made a reservation for that evening. Grabbed a quick lunch before heading back to hotel to get on with the rest of the day. First things first, As we got to Orlando airport I asked David where my cane was. he’d left it in the trunk when he unloaded the cases. Don’t need it for short walks but it does prop me up when My legs start killing me also have had a tricky knee lately and it flips out especially on stairs , so went across the street to the pharmacy and bought another one.. Hopped on a bus mainly just to ride around and check out the scene. Got off at Odeon , listened to the only bucker we would see for 2 weeks playing the tuba and very well too. Stopped and had a kir before heading back to hotel to clean up for dinner.
Put this place Le Buisson Ardent on your list. The food, chestnut soup, rabbit terrine Kidneys rascasse, and mille feuilette were really very good, all locals, and very pretty setting, old murals on the wall. Perfect place for Paris dinner. Prices not too bad either.
Up early and had the included breakfast, and got a cab to take us to the Marais and our apartment. We’ve stayed here before and love the location and the apt, even though it is a bit small. The place was ready for us with the welcome bottle of wine waiting. Unpacked a bit then headed across the street to the grocery store for some essentials, milk, comfiture , Chestnut for me rhubarb for David, coffee and butter. Had free tickets to a contemporary art exhibit at Bastille, so grabbed a bus across the street , arrived just in time for the rain showers to start. More misty than a downpour so donned rain hats and ignored umbrellas. It is mostly outside along both sides of the Seine. Not much into contem. Art but the gawking was good. Had lunch there sitting along side the river. Weather cool but not cold. Back to our hood as I wanted to walk down rue St Paul to find rue Charlemagne where Darcy had mentioned a new restaurant. David was wearing a Pittsburgh Steelers’ hat and we were surprised that several men yelled out here we go Pittsburgh , a Steelier fan’s song!! Never did find the restaurant but made note of a brocante being held this weekend at Village St Paul so added that to the list. Too some pics of the barges and chose the Marco polo for mine! Did I get Nancy’s?.
Wanted to see our friend Francois at the Danube so decided to go to Bistrot de Paris on Rue de Lille. Got the same waiter as last time, a Frenchman who was raised in Detroit and graduated from the Uni. Of Texas then headed back to France. Very few people in the place , he said it was a holy day and business is always slow then. I had the rack of lamb and a crème brulee. David went for foie gras and a salmon dish.
This trip we are finally going to make it to the Branley! The building is huge and architecraly very interesting. The gardens are a nice place to rest. The floors are big open galleries with small rooms opening off each side. You will be worn out if you try to cover the whole thing in 1 visit. The collections are fascinating. It always amazes me the intricacy of these native handcrafts with no modern tools. The weavings are something to really study. After a few hours we went to their café , were seated and given menus then ignored for 20 minutes while the waiters stood around talking to each other so we got up and left along with some other people!. Got on a bus going the wrong direction and ended up near the Tower so had lunch in that area before heading home. After a rest I was still tired and it was quite chilly out so went across the street to Le Bouquet St Paul. This is a nice neighborhood bistro with a very local clientele and quite good food. There are usually 3 special each evening in addition to the regular menu. We both chose the Osso Bucco as We really like it and I seldom cook it at home as veal is so darn expensive here. Lingered over our wine before heading back.
Time for our obligatory trip to Antiqaires de Louvre, at least for David! Rather chilly this morning !
Checked out the junk souvenir shops along rue de Rivoli for a cap for our little nephew , Cooper, with the tower on it. He asked for it specifically, start ‘em young!! Looked and talked for several hours among the treasures for sale her. I am into selling rather than buying lately. Headed back toward apt. in the early afternoon. Stopping at Le Chimeries for lunch. Georgy is right the waiters are so cute with their aprons and caps. One even mentioned David’s steeler hat and asked if we were from Pgh! What is it with burgers in Paris this year? I swear every bistro and café had them on the menus. David tried one and said it was one of the best he’d ever had. I went for a salad but wished I had joined him . It looked so darn good.
Back to apt. as I had to do some laundry. There is a washer dryer in apt but it takes too long and the clothes come out damp . There is a drying rack but it takes up too much of our limited space. The Laundromat next door is cheap and fast!
This afternoon the rains came again and it is cold so stayed in our ‘hood and went to Le Bouquet again. I had delicious lamb shanks braised in red wine sand David had dorade. He is on a fish kick! More to follow
5oth Anniversary trip by land sky and sea
I’ve got a ticket to ride. Well actually sail, train and fly!!
- 1 Chip-and-PIN cards again
- 2 Turkish Itinerary suggestions?
- 3 Venice Hotel near Cruise Terminal
- 4 London on a sunny day
- 5 Seville Cordoba and Grananda
- 6 Travel from Logrono to Paris, Barcelona or San Sebastian.
- 7 large supermarket in Munich - where?
- 8 Rome to Amalfie Coast-10 year anniversary
- 9 Garmisch-Partenkirchen accomodations
- 10 Netherland -> Belgium -> West Germany for 18 days
- 11 Rooms in Sorrento & Rome
- 12 A bit of Scotland, wing mirror casualty, 7 days in London, and a Fodors GTG
- 13 Swiss visit - Mürren for Berner Oberland and Chur? Sargans? for Engadin hub
- 14 Solo in Sicily - April 2013
- 15 Am I in an unsafe Parisian neighborhood?
- 16 Zurich to Montreux to Paris round trip - drive or train??
- 17 Schiphol to cruise port - luggage problem
- 18 Norway, Sweden, but have to make it to Marseille
- 19 Credit card CHIP in Europe
- 20 Connection in Newark EWR
- 21 Battlefield Tour
- 22 If an AirBerlin flight arrives in Rome at 11:30 ...
- 23 Torun and Zamosc similar?
- 24 Language Immersion Courses in France
- 25 ? re hotels in 5 terre