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19 October 2014

Great TV News! London: Next Stop

Last summer, I came across an excellent travel show: Paris: Next Stop.  It’s one of the best travel shows I have seen in a long time, despite the fact I’m not keen on the host.

Last week, I learned they now have a London series too!!! How fortuitous for us since we’re going back to London next spring – I’m excited in advance for all the tips I know I will get!

I’ve seen one episode so far and it’s great…. and so is the host!!

I hope they continue this series with other European Capitals; I’m a huge fan already.

15 October 2014

12 October 2014

Fingers Crossed!

We’ve started picking our 2015 weeks!! YEAH!

With any luck, this will be booked by the end of next week Smile

France

6 October 2014

Reset

I’ve started the planning over again for our trip to France next spring.

My husband likes short vacations and it’s always a battle to get him to commit to extra dates (meaning: tacking an extra day on to the start or the end).  This is why I book as fast as possible when in a weak moment he concedes to an extra day.

Just now I suggested: “we can get a good price on the return ticket if we take an overnight layover in Amsterdam” and he replied: “wouldn’t you just rather be home?”   uuuhhhh NO!!

I wonder if one day I will be like all those old ladies on bus tours who are travelling as a group because their husbands prefer to be home scratching their balls in front of the TV??

Ok, that’s not fair. Asking him questions about the next trip so soon is not smart; he’s not like me who immediately focuses on the next trip before even getting off the plane from the current trip!

Because I am losing the battle for extra days here and there, my latest itinerary just wont work and therefore: Nice is out completely.

Since Nice is out, there is also no need to change home bases so we’ll stay put and fly in and out of Lyon, spend a week there (I’m still pushing for extra days!!) and just do day trips.

There are also 2 Citadines in Lyon, and I like both locations… I’ll likely just go with whichever is cheapest.

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Stay tuned for November when we know for sure what will happen!

29 September 2014

Pictures Part 4

Second of three albums for Switzerland…

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Pictures Part 3

I’ve decided to split the Switzerland pictures into 3 separate albums.

Here’s the first one, also the biggest!!!  It was SO HARD to whittle them down any more.

Click on the picture to see the album…

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Pictures Part 2

“Thanks” to the Air France pilot strike, we got a bonus day in Paris because our transatlantic flight was cancelled… TWICE!

We love Paris; it’s hard NOT to enjoy it and despite being sweaty, having no luggage, and not knowing when we’d be able to fly home, we still had a marvellous stay.

We wasted a lot of time looking for the hotel; I booked it from Basel with my IPhone, the map sucked and the address was abbreviated. I read “232 rue Faubourg steps away from the Gare du Nord”. How hard can that be?  HARD! Guess what, there are many rue Faubourg in Paris! We were searching on Rue du Faubourg Saint Denis instead of Rue du Faubourg Saint Martin!!  ARGH!

Rue du Faubourg Saint Denis ended at 230 so we started wondering if we got scammed as there was no 232!! We asked almost everyone for directions – shops and businesses and people on the street - and FINALY discovered our error…  boy did we feel like idiots! So much precious time wasted!!

Had I seen the map properly, I would have just taken the metro to save time as it turns out the stop was right across the street from our hotel! Of course. I really should have concluded that from the start since the hotel and the metro stop are both named Louis Blanc. Duh!

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So instead of just walking straight down Rue La Fayette, we did something more like this:

Map 2

 

Just click on the picture here to see the album:

05 Lunch at Terminus Nord - Simone's Dessert

I miss it already!

Pictures Part 1

I am starting with the easy stuff!

Here are the pictures from our pop-over into Germany to visit Konstanz.

Click on the picture to see the album.

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And so, we made it!

After 2 cancelled flights in a row, we are home. Thankfully it was not as bad as it could have been as there are (with the 3 airlines that fly the route combined) about 6 flights a day from Paris to Montreal if not more, so lots of chances to get home.

Now I have to jump through some hoops to get the hotel room reimbursed, but I have no mental energy to do that right now.

I am surprised I am up at 4AM, it's usually earlier than that on Day 1. I don't know how my husband can go in to work on Day 1 - I always need 2 days to unpack properly, do laundry, groceries, pay bills and decompress before going back to work....  hmmmmm, I think I just realised why it's easier for him!!

I started organizing the pictures a little last night, the official count is just under 1600 so I don’t think they will be ready today; lots to go through and cull.

In case you were curious, I put on exactly 5 pounds on vacation.  Not bad, I thought it would be more!!  Let's see know how fast is comes off! 

Man, seriously, this already feels like months ago:

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27 September 2014

Will we ever get home?

So, our flight on Saturday night was cancelled, and we were put onto a Wednesday flight.
 
That was not acceptable to us, so when we went to the airport in Basel, we got put on a Sunday morning flight- great!!! By the time we got to Paris, we learned the flight was cancelled. Crap.
 
We now have boarding passes on a flight for Sunday afternoon, I don't think it will be cancelled because we'd have received an email by now... but what they did was oversell the flight on purpose, knowing some people won't show up.
 
So, cross your fingers for us for tomorrow!
 
In the meantime, we're enjoying a bonus day in Paris. It's nice of course, how can you not enjoy Paris? But with no luggage and flight disruptions looming in our heads it's far from a care free vacation!!
 
Here are a few pics if you haven't seen them on Facebook:
 

 

26 September 2014

Swiss Field Report 15 – Day 15

CHEESE COUNT: fondue 7 / raclette 1. 

We did it!!! We tied the cheese record from 2011! That one was 4 and 4, but I did not have raclette more often this time because I could not find a place that served it the way I like it: “melt it yourself” with a little stove on the table.  Instead, it was prepared on the plate in the kitchen and served melted. I don’t like that because it cools (and therefore congeals) too quickly and you can’t eat it fast enough; so instead we opted for fondue.  Here was tonight’s – If I had to rate it, it would be near the bottom of the list; too thick, they must have added starch.

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We spent the day with our friend in Konstanz Germany, right on the Swiss border and easily reached from her place.  You can immediately tell you are not in Switzerland anymore because prices for everything drop drastically! No wonder so many Swiss people hop over the border to do their shopping, I would too!!! Switzerland is SO EXPENSIVE!!!

The town of Konstanz and the Bodensee are very nice, I love lake-side atmosphere so we went for drinks after lunch to a hotel terrace by the lake – so nice!! (well, I had drinks and she & my husband had cake!)

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We stayed until about 3:30 ish, then said goodbye to our friend and headed over to Basel for our last night as we fly out of here tomorrow…  IN THEORY!

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If you are friends with me on Facebook, you already know my flight from Paris to Montreal tomorrow was cancelled. NO CLUE what’s in store and frankly I am too exhausted to speculate. 

We’ll see tomorrow what kind of fun and games await us!!!

25 September 2014

Swiss Field Report 14 – Day 14

CHEESE COUNT: fondue 6 / raclette 1

Short and sweet for today; we met up with our friend in Chur for lunch, then back to her place to spend the night.

To get to Chur from Samedan, we took a regular train and guess what…  IT WAS DRAGGING GLACIER EXPRESS CARS!!!  Oh my God I feel like such a chooch for spending money on that thing!! Imagine: same train, same track, just bigger windows!!! Here’s a shot of it when we were turning – normal cars in front, tourist trap cars in back.

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Chur was new for me, nice little town to putter around in for 2 hours…

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24 September 2014

Swiss Field Report 13 – Day 13

CHEESE COUNT: fondue 6 / raclette 1

Saint Moritz is very quaint, but there is not a whole heck of a lot to do if you are not skiing or hiking (or shopping!!!). A full day is more than enough if you’re just “walking around”.

We got off to a late start because it was -3°C when we got up! It made us reluctant to get an early start to the day.

We started off by going to Piz Nair, and we were a little annoyed that we didn’t get a discount with our Swiss Pass; normally these excursions up to famous mountain peaks are not included with the pass, but you do get a discount (half price). In this case, we had to pay full price which was 144 CHF for 2 adult return tickets! not cheap!!

At that price I said we’d stay up there as long as it took for the fog to lift, and it wasn’t bad at all – we were above the clouds and fog so we got a nice view. 

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We stayed for a drink, I had a Schümli Pflümli, if you are not familiar with it, it’s the ultimate boozy coffee – a well loved Swiss concoction.

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…then back down to explore the town(s) a little more: St Moritz Bad and St Moritz Dorf.  Not a lot to see overall, we just walked around the lake then went for lunch.

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Ironically, we found a place that serves fondue right by the place we were searching around last evening! Figures.  I have to admit I am slowly reaching my limit for cheesy meals, but I will at least try and have ONE more to tie the record from 2011.

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After lunch, we walked around the lake a second time then headed back to the hotel so my husband could rest and have a nap; his cold is so far very minor but better safe than sorry! Around 6PM I woke him up and we went for a walk around Samedan (the town where we are staying) and aside from the lake, I like it even better than St Moritz!

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In the mother of all ironies, since I was not very hungry for supper, we decide to have a “lite bite” in the hotel restaurant…  and wouldn’t you know they have fondue AND raclette!!!!  If only we would have known that yesterday!

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The Air France strike has been concerning me. We got an email today giving us a head’s up that all is being done to minimize flight disruptions and “reassuring” us that so far they have managed to run half their flights…  How is this reassuring exactly????  Ah well – there is really nothing we can do about it, just have to cross our fingers and toes that all runs smoothly on Saturday!!