Paris – Settling In

Once the rain stopped we decided to pay a visit to the local supermarket to fill up our fridge. Nothing like keeping it fresh with delicious crusty bread, cheese, meat, tomatoes and wine of course.  Our little balcony was the perfect spot to enjoy our dinner. Good food, good wine, good view.

Notre Dame

Notre Dame

With our tummies full we decided to go for a walk and soak up some of that French atmosphere.  We walked down to the Seine and crossed one of the many bridges throughout Paris to the Isle of Citi.  Here in it’s glory sits Notre Dame Cathedral.  Day or night the square just in front is always busy with sight seers, hawkers and those just gathering for a chat.  As night fell we watched as the Cathedral lit up against the black backdrop of the darkening sky.

Locks love on the bridge

Locks of love on the bridge

What else do you do in Paris, the city of love, but walk hand in hand along the river Seine. Not quite the ambiance that we hoped for.  Young men and woman lined the banks swigging straight from their wine bottles. Happily chatting with their boom boxes blaring their favourite music.  But far worst was every time you walked under a bridge the stench of urine was enough to make your eyes water. Obviously they didn’t want to stray too far when they wanted to relieve themselves.

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The river Seine at Night

The romanticism returned once back on street level.  The city lights reflections shimmering in the water, beautifully lit boats gliding up and down the river.  This is the time when the buskers all come out and start playing … good or bad it didn’t matter, there was always music where ever you went.

Heading back over to the mainland we stolled around some of the little streets. They were a buzz with many restaurants and other types of night life. All cuisines were represented, Greek, Italian, Thai, all the different aromas tempting you as you walked past each establishment.

It was all good and we slept well that night.

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Bonjour Paris

“Hey you want a taxi? no waiting, 90 Euro’s”

WHAT!!

The French weather was not playing very nice today. When the Euro star arrived at  Gard du Nord we were greeted by rain and a lot of it. This station is big, noisy and very busy. We could have taken the Metro to our accommodation but weather conditions and the four bags in tow did not make this an appealing option.

Everyone else had the same thoughts same as taxi queue was exceptionally long. Although most of it was undercover where we joined was not. Luckily it moved quickly, but it was still nearly an hour before we were on our way.  One enterprising gentleman trying to take advantage of the situation was offering transport for the measly sum of 90Euro’s …

Once in the taxi the rest was pretty painless. We arrived at our destination, the rain had eased and we found our apartment.

We stayed in the Latin Quarter on Rue Galande not far from Notre Dame.  Paris buildings are old and when they were built the last thing on the architects minds were long distance travellers with large suitcases. Did I mention we were on  the 5th floor?  The  building has been renovated and a lift installed… unfortunately it started on the first floor and ended on the fourth floor.

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Our room ” Esmeralda”

In Paris stairs are narrow in width and long in depth. This makes them pretty steep. The lifts were big enough for one person and one suitcase or two people as long as you didn’t mind being intimate.  The reward for getting our bags up to the 5th floor without breaking our necks was a magnificent view of Notre Dame.

A room with a view…..

 

Our apartment appropriately named Esmeralda, was light, airy and decorated beautifully. It was very well equipped, although we had a Iron but no ironing board, so towels and table top it was.

The white washed room, shabby chic furniture and crystal chandelier just screamed out parisienne. There was a washing machine/dryer, dishwasher and WiFi….. we wanted for nothing…

A little balcony with just enough room for a table and two chairs  was the perfect setting to sit and watch Paris go by.  Delicious pate’s, creamy soft cheeses and crusty baguettes became our staple, washed down with a light red wine.

Our Parisienne Diet.

We shared two of our six days with Vicki and Ron, Garry’s niece from England.  They flew over to spend time with us which was great and a lot of fun.

If you want more information about our beautiful apartments you can visit http://www.parisbestlodge.com/

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The Perks of Cruising

One of the great perks of cruising, just like those souvenirs, you collect new friends along the way.  We would have to say our closests friends are those we have met on the high seas.

Today I headed out to White Bay Cruise Terminal.  I know, I am a tragic who likes to hang out where the ships are ( hence why I am a Check-in Chick ), but I really had an excuse this time.

MegMalJo 1Our dear friends Meg and Mal from New Zealand flew in this morning to join the Sun Princess 42 night Asia and Japan Cruise.

We first met on our 2011 World Cruise and then cemented the friendship when we sailed together on the 90 day Round Europe cruise.  It wasn’t just our love of cruising that drew us together, but the fact that we shared the same last name. Although not related by blood, it still feels like family.

I don’t know if it is just that  we are getting older or we have been on too many Princess cruises, but  I looked around that cruise terminal, I swear a lot of those faces looked familiar.

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We might as well face it, we’re addicted to …………

“Once the travel bug bites there is no known antidote,                                                  and I know that I shall be happily infected until the end of my life”                          Michael Palin

Cruiseaholic Tshirt 1I don’t know what it is about long cruises out of Australia, but once you have been on one, like an addiction, you can’t seem to stop.

Our next big cruises for 2016 & 2017  opened in a booking frenzy. Like seagulls fighting for the crumbs, cruisers were pecking at what ever cabins were left, trying to book their favourite or least something close by.

Both of the Cruise Critic Rolls Calls are filling with more and more people, with over half of the people we already know….

So we might grumble about heading off early to work, that is until we remember the bigger picture, and with a smile we know we are feeding our addiction!

 

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What we are doing in 2017

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The count down is on

Pacific Circle map

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“Let them eat Cake”…. and drink champagne

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Cake Rhapsody

Cake from the Rhapsody

Cake from Radiance

Cake from Radiance

As many of you know while I am not on or planning the next cruise, I can be found down at the Overseas Passenger Terminal as Royal Caribbean’s No 1 check-in Chick.  Well actually yesterday I was no 9 or sometimes I’m 15 or even 23 depending which paddle I am assigned to.

If not on a ship this is my pathetically sad way of being as close to a ship as possible.  Last weekend marked the end of the 2015 – 2016 summer season for RCL with the Rhapsody of the Seas being deployed to the Mediterranean and the Radiance of the Seas repositioning back to Vancouver for its Alaskan season.

As a thank you for our hard work for the past six months both ships rewarded us with cake and champagne.

Those very last passengers had to contend with the cheers and laughter congratulating ourselves for a job well done.

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