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cont... of trip report to London, Wales,a nd Paris

cont... of trip report to London, Wales,a nd Paris

Old Oct 12th, 2005, 02:12 PM
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cont... of trip report to London, Wales,a nd Paris

Well Fodorites here goes:

Day 3 Monday, September 26 through Sunday October 2nd 2005.

Monday brought us to Buckingham Palace for the changing of the guards. What pagentry!! after which we went back and forth over which fish and chip eaterie that you all recommended would be best. Would it be Rock, Soul and Plaice or North Sea Fish and Chips. We settled on North Sea Fish and Chips. What a sweet little place. The atmosphere was quaint, and the fish and chips were top quality. My husband loved the chips, I like mine a little browner and crispier. We had a bottle of wine with lunch and then spent a little time talking with a couple from our own California before going window shopping. The shopping in London is amazing. We walked around Russell Square and found a Sainstbury market. There I bought my Davidstow cheese and some french wine. That cheese would be used for picnics on many occasions over the next few days. Later that evening we had dinner at the Victoria pub in Marble Arch. The cumberland sausages and chips were great. Of course we had more ale and this time the ale of choice was Leffe a Belgium ale. wow!! I loved this one - so spicy.

Tueday morning September 27th we caught the train from Euston station to Llandudno station for our trip to Northern Wales. The car rental company picked us up and off we went on the left side of the road (yikes). We had never done this before and it was a real adventure. My husband drove over many a curb!! The fact that it was raining didn't help much either. We drove to Betys-y-Coed to the Ty Gywn Hotel (thank you Annie for the suggestion). It was a wonderful hotel. We had a four poster, balcony and a jacuzzi tub. Our dinner at the hotel was great, the room so romantic. I had a pasta dish with some local cheeses and my husband had a mushroom strogonoff with rice and of course we shared a bottle of wine. After diiner we retreated to the cozy pub for a night cap. The next morning we drove over to Swallow Falls as we were on a mission. My husband's father passed away last year. He was born in England but his heart belonged to Northern Wales. So there in the pouring rain overlooking a huge waterfall we scattered him to the wind. It was a touching and beautiful moment. Afterwards we drove to Capel Curig for a picnic of Caenarferon Welsh cheese and the Davidstow along with bread and some florentine cookies all in front a a little lake - oh yes, we had wine also. We then headed for the little cottage we had rented in Llandullas. After a real effort we found the cottage. However, the keys that we were given seemed to need a special sequence to open the cottage doors. We feeling frustated drove down the road to the general store and there the shop keepers kindly called our caretaker and their daughter drove with us back to the cottage for assistance. They were unbelivably kind. Once we got in the room, what a suprise - beautiful views of the Irish Sea from every room. We cooked our own evening meals every night for the next 3 nights and ate our dinners in front of the cottage fireplace. We shopped for our groceries at the local market - what fun to check out all the foreign brands. We spent the next 3 days touring castles. We saw Conway, Caernarferon, and Beaumaris they were all beautiful. We got lost alot in Wales, as those round abouts are a nightmare. We did alot of back tracking. We ate british food like cheese and onion tarts, sausage roll, and a spinach, cheese and potato tart all yummy. On Saturday morning we reluctantly left Wales on the train and headed for our relatives home in Sutton Coldfield England. We had a picnic on the train of more wine, cheese and bread. My husband is a train nut so he was in heaven riding all those trains. I thought that the aisles were a bit narrow especially for the "too much" luggage that we had brought. We had a nice time at our relatives and we were taken to their local pub the Fox and Hounds for dinner of steak and salmon. The next morning we headed on the train back to London to position ourselves for our trip on the Eurostar Monday morning to Paris. We spend Sunday in London at Covent Garden shopping and watching the street scene. I had my first potato/meat pasty - it was great but how much more fried food could I eat! We had a drink in the Salisbury pub in Covent Garden and then headed back to our hotel. We made a bid on Pricline ($150.00)for the Russell Hotel. It was really nice. Our room was spacious and nicely decorated and had been recently redecorated. For 25.00 sterling we could have upgraded to a luxerious room. We declinded because we knew we would spend little time in the room our last evening in London. We had our last meal in the Victoria Pub in Marble Arch and it was packed. Sundays are apparently a popular night for pub goers. We ordered bangers and mash and fish and chips and of course more Leffe. The next morning off to Paris on the Eurostar. More to come....

Sorry I posted this originally on the U.S. site - jet lag is not quite gone!
Karen
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Old Oct 12th, 2005, 02:48 PM
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Loving your trip report, especially your description of Wales. The part about your father in law was so moving.

Would you recommend the cottage to others, and if so, please consider posting how you found it!

Can't wait to read the next installment.
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Old Oct 12th, 2005, 03:27 PM
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Hey, Karen... please add your next installments here instead of on the "cont" thread.. that way, your whole story will be together... OK?
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Old Oct 12th, 2005, 03:29 PM
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aaaaahhhhhggg, I meant to please post your next installments on your original thread,

THIS ONE:
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34690676
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Old Oct 13th, 2005, 02:18 PM
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Well here goes the final chapter!

By the way after reviewing my previous trip report post, I was shocked at the typying and spelling mistakes. Please chalk it up to fatigue from jet lag.

Monday morning October 3, 2005

We check out of our hotel (The Russell) in London. We hailed a taxi and went direct to Waterloo to catch the Eurostar. For anyone concerned about the Eurostar being a target for terroits, rest assured security if tight. Check in is similar to airport security. All bags and people go through screening.

Once aboard the Eurostar, we sat back relaxed and let the high speed train take us to paradise. The train travels at around 180 mph after it leaves the tunnell and arrives in France. We had a nice lunch of a baguette sandwich, a salad and of course french wine on the train. The 2 1/2 hours just flew by.

We arrive at the train station in France. Wow! it's so French. We looked everywhere for an ATM - a BNP Paribus - no luck. My husband tried speaking his high school French to get some info. It didn't help much. He decided to go outside around the corner and eventually he found the ATM we needed. We caught a cab and were taken by a chatty, nice, French cabbie to the Hotel Muget in the 7th.

After arriving a the Muget and unpacking, we went for a walk and of course got lost. We ended up at Tuliaries gardens. We walked over to the Eifel Tower to marvel at its size and to try and make ourselves realize that we were actually in Paris, France.

Feeling a bit overwhelmed, we decided to have dinner at Willies Wine Bar. We knew we would encounter some English spoken there. We ventured the Metro, it was not to difficult considering it was our first venture on the Metro. We found Willies Wine Bar, went in and were handed a menu, all in French. At first I paniced and then we just decided to try and decipher each dish. Our waiter came, and he spoke English to us right away. He must have seen the fear in our eyes. The dinners we ordered we great. I had steak with a side dish or what appeared to be a mound of hash browned potatoes with an interesting wine sauce. My husband had a fish dish that was touted as Dorado. The wine the waiter recommended for 18.00 Euros was too good for that price.

One interesting thing we found out about the French people, is that they eat dinner really late. Places don't start getting really crowed until at least 9:00 p.m. or later. So to keep with the program, our dinners got later each night, until one night we were eating dinner at 11:00 p.m.

Tuesday we went shopping for a picnic lunch at our neighborhood street market Rue Cler. What fun! It took us forever to gather up that lunch. We bought 2 cheeses (that I do not remember the name of) 2 slices of roast beef and a slice of pork shoulder, a baguette and some delightful looking chocolate cookies. What an adventure trying to ask for what we want. The cheese was the most difficult. We did not know how to ask for the amount that we wanted. We therefore settled for 2 cheeses that were already wrapped up in plastic that fit the size we wanted. We took our picnic with wine (of course) to the park by the Eifel Tower. It was windy and cold, but it didn't matter, as we were in Paris. We each took a bite of our new cheese and wow it was so digusting. Not only did it smell horrible, but it tasted worse. We had to throw the first one away. The second one was edible, but not really our cup of tea. After lunch we spent the rest of the afternoon on the Batobus riding around looking at the beautiful sites of Paris. We set our sites on seeing St. Chappelle, but when we arrived it was posted that they were closing early that day. We made it all the way through the security line and then were told no more entries for that day. So what else could we do except retreat to a cafe to some French wine. The cafe sat across the street from Notre Dame (Petit Pont Cafe) and what a view!

That evening we decided to eat dinner at a little Italian restaurant(Sorrentino)in the 7th that we had seen on our travels. We did not make reservations, so we were lucky when we just showed up that there was a table. It was only 8:00 p.m. early by French standards. We decided to order pizza and salad (I know - we are in France) but, that sounded really good. The food came and it was okay. We are New York pizza fans and this pizza was not up to our standards. However, the people at the next table had ordered what appeared to be Fettucini Alfredo. The waiter brought out this giant parmesan mold and poured the hot pasta into the mold and than began torching the whole thing. All that parmesan melted into the pasta. I wish we had ordered that!

After dinner we walked back to the room saw the Eifel Tower blinking at the stroke of the hour for the first time since we arrived. Magnificent!!

Wednesday morning we got up early, took the Metro to the Abbess stop and met up with Peter our guide from Paris walks. We took a facinating tour of the Village of Montemartre. This tour was a highlight of trip to Paris. Peter was so interesting and informative. Everyone visiting Paris would benefit from his tour. After the tour we went shopping again for lunch. We bought a ham and cheese baguette and a chocolate dessert and had lunch (with wine) on a bench in front of Sacre Coeur. We toured Sacre Coeur, it was so beautiful with all the candles that the faithful at lit. We then took a walk through the street market and browsed the shops of Montemarte. We ended the evening at a a cafe called Comptour 7eme. Not a good place.

Thursday morning we headed out early after crepes at a little Greek place on Rue Cler. Our destination the Rodin Gardens. They were so beautiful and we really enjoyed the peace and quiet and all of the sculptures. We had bought our ham and cheese baguette and a slice of Opera Cake before going there so that we were prepared for lunch when we found the right spot. We decided to do the Rick Steve's guided walk of the St. Germaine area. We loved the action of this area. So many cafes and restaurants to choose from. We took our lunch and went to Luxumbourg Gardens for more peace and quiet. After the park, we finally made it to St. Chappelle. What a beautiful place. If only it had been sunny, the effect would have been like standing inside of a jewel box. We ended our day with a ride of the Eifel Tower(to the very top). It is really high up!! but the view was amazing. We had dinner at 11:00p.m. in a little cafe called Tribeca in Rue Cler. The waiter tried to take advantage of us with our choice of wine. He brought us a different one, and we didn't notice that it was different. We know California wine, but our French wine exposure is limited. After arguing our case with his "Director", we paid for what we had originally ordered. By the way we had pizza and salad again.

Friday morning our last day in Paris. We decided to do has much as we could on this our last day.

We got up and headed for Rue Cler. We had pizza for breakfast. We have come to the conclusiion that the French do not know how to make pizza. They make wonderful bread, fabulous desserts and their presentation of all things goes beyond comprehension, but, they cannot put together a good pizza.

After the breakfast of pizza, we decided we wanted to see Rue Moufftard and the Marais districts. I loved Rue Moufftard. We bought all of our lunch items at this wonderful little street market. The bread was superb, the cheeses a Conte (sp) and a farmhouse chedder(not stinky this time)were great. The wine we had brought from home to drink on our last day in Paris. It was a Zin from Lodi, CA that our son had given me as a birthday gift. The dessert was several layers of chocolate wrapped in pastry.
We found the Le Jardin Plants (sp) nearby and had a wonderful time having a picnic on our last day in Paris.

After lunch we wondered over to the Marais district and shopped and looked around for awhile before betreating to the little cafe by Notre Dame. We had wine and listened to the jazz piano player.

After the cafe, we headed back to our hotel to change our clothes. We decided to take the Seine Cruise at 9:00 p.m. that evening. The cruise was wonderful. We shared some wine as we watched our last glimpses of some beautiful places.

We then hopped on the Metro to look for a different area to eat dinner in. It was late and we were both starving and really tired. We actually gave in to fatigue and hungry and ate at McDonalds in the Marais area (?). At least McDonalds has some nice beer, that was a slight plus.

We headed back to our room to pack for the ordeal of Charles De Gaulle the next morning.

Saturday October 8, 2005

After being dropped off by taxi, we wondered around looking for the right terminal for American Airlines. No signage at this airport. The people that work at American Airlines are jerks. We were asked for receipts as to where we had stayed for the last 2 weeks. I was frisked by a large older woman. This was strange, as I did not set off a beaper. We finally boarded our plane and then sat for 11/2 on the runway as the airport was fogged in.

We missed our connection in Dallas, Texas by 4 minutes after literally running through immigration, customs and the 25 terminals that we had to traverse to reach our terminal.

This meant another 2 1/2 sitting in the Dallas/Texas airport until the next plane could take us to Ontario, CA. Well thank goodness we found a T.G.I.F. to have drinks in. We both had chips and salsa and a Long Island Ice Tea. We arrived home around 8:30 p.m. Saturday night.

We really enjoyed our first trip to Europe and plan to do it again really soon.

Thank you all for your help and good wishes. We could not have planned such a successful trip without all of your advise.

Au Revoir

Karen
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Old Oct 13th, 2005, 02:35 PM
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By the way I just read over what I wrote and tried to edit the errors and typing mistakes. I could not seem to get the edit function to work. Please forgive the typing and other errors made.

Karen
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Old Oct 17th, 2005, 01:33 PM
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Okay, Karen--you made it! Congrats. I especially liked your description of the waiter seeing the fear in your eyes. Thank god there's international code for "I don't understand your menu."

Thanks for this lovely, detailed report. Where to next time???
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Old Oct 17th, 2005, 03:49 PM
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^^^
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Old Oct 17th, 2005, 03:53 PM
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Well done, Suze.
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Old Oct 17th, 2005, 04:11 PM
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Thanks for your report. It seems you are just getting started and you have been attacked by that European travel bug. I hope you have many more trips to come.
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Old Oct 17th, 2005, 04:23 PM
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Hello Karen, I am so glad that you posted that you had added to your thread, I so enjoyed the balance of your trip report.

Karen, just out of curiousity as my grandfather had vineyards in Lodi, CA a long time ago. What winery was the zin from that your son gave you for your trip to Europe. I really am not familar with any of the Lodi wineries (shame on me as Lodi is just east of where I live) so I was wondering. Thank you. Best wishes!
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Old Oct 18th, 2005, 06:40 AM
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Someday, we're going to revisit London - my husband says he doesn't remember it due to our first exposure to jet lag. Wales 'scares' me because I can't pronounce anything! Your mission was touching and will be a memory for life. On a lighter note, I've asked my friends to scatter me at the airport, since I love to go places. It's too bad you had poor experiences with your Paris dining - at least you had good sightseeing experiences.

Where do you think you'd like to go next time..?
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Old Oct 18th, 2005, 06:56 AM
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Thanks for the trip report. I completely agree with you about Peter from Paris Walks. We took three of their tours (and were lucky enough to have Peter for two of them) and feel it was the best money spent on the trip. He's a fascinating storyteller.
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Old Oct 18th, 2005, 07:45 AM
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first part of report is on this other thread
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34690676
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Old Oct 18th, 2005, 09:32 AM
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LoveItaly,

The winery is called Michael David Winery. Their wine is wonderful,especially the zins. Lodi is known for their wonderful Zins.

Our next trip will either be Scotland and Northern Wales (again), or possibly the South of France and Scotland. We hope it will be next year.

Thank you all again for your wonderful information. We truly could not have done it without your great advise.

Karen
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Old Oct 18th, 2005, 11:12 AM
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Hi kpilling, thank you for the Lodi winery information. I will get it for Friday night. Lodi is a very special place for me, lots of good memories! Take care.
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Old Oct 18th, 2005, 11:38 AM
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Hi elaine, thanks for the help with reading all of kpilling's trip report!! I really enjoyed it. I would imagine kpilling your report will be very informative for those travelling to England and Paris. Wishing you two more wonderful trips!!
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Old Oct 18th, 2005, 01:09 PM
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LoveItaly,

Thank you for the kind wishes. Lodi is a favorite place of mine. My son lives in Brentwood between Sacramento and San Francisco. We love to go wine tasting in Lodi whenever we are visiting. There are so many good wineries in Lodi. There is a brand new one that just opened that my son is raving about. I will get the name and maybe when you are near you can check it out. If you go to Michael David try their simple Lodi Red table wine. It is a blend of several grapes and it is really a nice table wine for everyday (dinner) drinking.

Karen
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Old Oct 19th, 2005, 09:40 AM
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Sutton Coldfield! Never in this world did I ever think I'd see my home town mentoned on a travel forum! And the Fox and Dogs takes me back to my teenage years. sigh. Thanks for the memories.

Kate
London
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