Whispering sweet nothings. | Page 15 | Australian Frequent Flyer
Australian Frequent Flyer

Welcome to Australia's leading independent Frequent Flyer and Travel Resource since 1998!
Our site contains tons of information that will improve your travel experience.

Joining AFF is fast, simple & absolutely free - register now and take immediate advantage of these great BENEFITS.

Once registered, this box will disappear. And you will see fewer advertisements :)

Whispering sweet nothings.

turtlemichael

AFF Supporter
Joined
May 24, 2006
Messages
1,848
Flights
My Map
Day 125 May 11 Lisbon, Portugal.

We didn't have any plans for Lisbon which was a good thing as we'd have had to abandon them. Both of us were coughing nearly non-stop and Turtle 2 was running a temperature, aching and had the shivers. The doctor tested and it was Influenza A. He'd clearly had had it for a few days already. So T2 stayed in bed and I went for a short walk in town after the ship had cleared. It was a stunning day again and real Spring weather.

First, here are some shots of the spectacular sail-in just after dawn.
LIS1.JPGLIS2.JPGLIS3.JPGLIS4.JPGLIS5.JPGLIS6.JPGLIS7.JPGLIS8.JPGLIS9.JPG
 

turtlemichael

AFF Supporter
Joined
May 24, 2006
Messages
1,848
Flights
My Map
Day 127 May 13 Bilbao, Spain

One of the few disappointments of this cruise was that we had to miss out on the planned event in Bilbao. Silversea had put on a number of events the big one of which was a three day overland trip from Osaka to Tokyo. Another was a trip to the Opera from White Bay in Sydney by our own ferry. We were also looking forward to a private tour of the Guggenheim in Bilbao followed by a special dinner. It was scheduled for a Monday when the Museum is closed to the public so we were to have it all to ourselves. Unfortunately, we were just too unwell to go and we couldn't have broken quarantine even if we had wanted to! By all reports this was the highlight of the entire cruise. Well, next time!
Bilbao (3).JPG
Our view of Bilbao.
 
Last edited:

turtlemichael

AFF Supporter
Joined
May 24, 2006
Messages
1,848
Flights
My Map
Day 128 and 129 May 14 and 15 Bordeaux, France

The ride up the Garonne from Le Verdon on the Bay of Biscay to Bordeaux is quite pretty for the most part but you don’t see very many vineyards. It takes about 5 hours so we got to Bordeaux early evening. Many people had disembarked in Le Verdon to do vineyard outings and rejoin when we got to Bordeaux.

We docked right in the centre of Bordeaux. We were about the biggest ship that could do it and only on the high tide. Bordeaux, having been there a couple of times, is a city I could live in. It is the right pace and size for me!

The plan here had been to go to St Emilion to climb the hill and have a boozy lunch but that was not to be given the chest condition. However, the doctor gave us the all clear to go for a walk in town and that we did. We added in a local lunch, to relieve cabin fever, without her knowledge. We were at last starting to improve. The restaurant was contemporary, new, near the cathedral, and called Modjo. www.modjorestaurant.com It comes highly recommended by us. It turned out the chef had had a year working in Melbourne. I'm just sorry the restaurant is not in Melbourne. We ate early, the minute they opened the doors at noon, and were the only ones there. Infection guilt was kept under control as we managed not to cough!

Bordeaux MCW (4).JPGBordeaux MCW (14).JPG

Bordeaux MCW (29).JPG
Gazpacho with yellow tomatoes.
Bordeaux MCW (30).JPG
Duck breast with soft ravioli and courgettes.
Bordeaux MCW (31).JPG
Strawberry and pistachio dessert.
Bordeaux MCW (35).JPGBordeaux MCW (37).JPGBordeaux MCW (40).JPGBordeaux MCW (47).JPG
The bridge raised for us to sail under. Apparently, like Tower Bridge, the locals hate it being raised as it creates traffic jams all over Bordeaux.Bordeaux MCW (50).JPG
 

turtlemichael

AFF Supporter
Joined
May 24, 2006
Messages
1,848
Flights
My Map
Day 131 May 17 Saint-Malo, France

We had reached the last port of the cruise prior to our arrival in London. Saint-Malo is a pretty beach resort in Brittany. It has the distinction of having the highest tides in Europe. They can rise 13 metres so that at high tide there is no beach and water laps up onto the esplanade. At low tide the beach is 2 km wide. It becomes a race for people to beat the incoming tide back to safety. The town looks quite attractive but is largely new or rebuilt. It was the major German submarine base in WW2 and was heavily bombed by the Allies.

Our destination, however, was 50 kms further up the coast. We were heading to Mont-Sant-Michel to see this wonder of the world. It was good to be continuing to get better but we were still apprehensive about climbing the 500 steps to its top. Fortunately, we managed it with knees being the only bodily part really suffering. Mont-Saint-Michel also has large tides so that it used to be cut off at high tide. Now there is a road bridge which allows all time access. Still, there are no cars but just a few electric buses that shuttle the 4 million a year visitors across to the Mount. When you get there the only option is walking and climbing. Luckily we were there in low season and it was relatively quiet, particularly in the morning.

We had never been there before and were totally impressed by it.

MCW Mont St Michel (16).JPGMCW Mont St Michel (21).JPGMCW Mont St Michel (24).JPGMCW Mont St Michel (29).JPGMCW Mont St Michel (36).JPGMCW Mont St Michel (38).JPGMCW Mont St Michel (51).JPGMCW Mont St Michel (55).JPGMont St Michel DLB (12).JPG
 

love_the_life

AFF Supporter
Joined
Dec 21, 2012
Messages
4,634
Flights
My Map
Hope those infections are under control now. The flu season is shaping up to be bad with already deaths in the double figures, so hopefully you will both be fully recovered before returning home. T2 has had a particularly bad time of it.:(
Stunning photos. We were to visit Bordeaux a few years back but had to cancel. The pics show me what we missed. :(
 

craven morehead

AFF Supporter
Joined
Aug 1, 2008
Messages
1,597
Qantas
Gold
Flights
My Map
Day 128 and 129 May 14 and 15 Bordeaux, France

The ride up the Garonne from Le Verdon on the Bay of Biscay to Bordeaux is quite pretty for the most part but you don’t see very many vineyards. It takes about 5 hours so we got to Bordeaux early evening. Many people had disembarked in Le Verdon to do vineyard outings and rejoin when we got to Bordeaux.

We docked right in the centre of Bordeaux. We were about the biggest ship that could do it and only on the high tide. Bordeaux, having been there a couple of times, is a city I could live in. It is the right pace and size for me!

The plan here had been to go to St Emilion to climb the hill and have a boozy lunch but that was not to be given the chest condition. However, the doctor gave us the all clear to go for a walk in town and that we did. We added in a local lunch, to relieve cabin fever, without her knowledge. We were at last starting to improve. The restaurant was contemporary, new, near the cathedral, and called Modjo. www.modjorestaurant.com It comes highly recommended by us. It turned out the chef had had a year working in Melbourne. I'm just sorry the restaurant is not in Melbourne. We ate early, the minute they opened the doors at noon, and were the only ones there. Infection guilt was kept under control as we managed not to cough!

View attachment 165371View attachment 165372

View attachment 165373
Gazpacho with yellow tomatoes.
View attachment 165374
Duck breast with soft ravioli and courgettes.
View attachment 165375
Strawberry and pistachio dessert.
View attachment 165376View attachment 165377View attachment 165378View attachment 165379
The bridge raised for us to sail under. Apparently, like Tower Bridge, the locals hate it being raised as it creates traffic jams all over Bordeaux.View attachment 165380
The Duck breast looked very tempting :)
 

ellen10

AFF Supporter
Joined
Jul 18, 2008
Messages
2,108
Yes the food looked delicious. Glad you are feeling better.
We stayed on the Mont a few years back and it still remains one of my travel highlights. Amazing to watch the tides come and go and to have the Mont free of tourist hordes in the evening and early morning was really special.
 

VPS

AFF Supporter
Joined
Apr 2, 2011
Messages
2,755
Flights
My Map
Bordeaux is a lovely city and they have done a great job with new trams - the bridge is pretty impressive to watch go up and down and it is bizarre seeing huge cruise ships in the middle of the town.
 

turtlemichael

AFF Supporter
Joined
May 24, 2006
Messages
1,848
Flights
My Map
Days 132 and 133 May 18 and 19 Greenwich, London

We got into London around 1.00pm but didn't finally leave the ship to head home until 10.00 am the next day, as scheduled. The idea at Greenwich is that the city can have a cruise terminal for small to medium size ships within reasonable proximity to the centre. The smallest ships can go under Tower Bridge and the bigger ones can dock at Tilbury. The very biggest go elsewhere, such as Southampton, on the south coast.

There is no cruise terminal at Greenwich. The ship anchors (there is a picture of the barge below) beside a barge and passengers disembark onto the barge, cross it, and then take a ferry over to Greenwich Pier. In our case passport processing was done speedily on the ship. This arrangement came about apparently as a compromise between the desire to have cruise ships in town and environmental concerns. It is incredibly labour intensive and a slow procedure. All the luggage had to be moved on to a barge by hand, then taken over to the pier and carried up to a tent where guests picked it up as they headed off. With tides an additional factor, the whole process took about 20 hours.

The sail up the Thames was interesting and impressive but nowhere near as spectacular as some of the sail-ins we had had. A wander around Greenwich filled out the afternoon before our final night on board. Saying good bye to crew and fellow passengers was emotional as we have formed many friendships in the 4 and a half months.

All up we sailed 33,252 nautical miles or 61,583 kilometres from San Francisco to London. That is effectively 1.5 times around the world at the equator. We visited 55 ports in 33 countries. From our point of view it has been the greatest trip we've had. The failings by Silversea were minimal and merely minor detail. When the odd thing didn't go right they did everything they could to fix it. The only real issue has been the internet and some people have got very excited about that. Despite that, it has been totally a first class experience. So much so that we have booked to do it again in 2021. There is a lot of water to flow under the bridge before then.

For us now it is off to Paris for a week, back to London for 11 days then 3 more in Hong Kong before we get home to Melbourne on June 10. I'll make a few more entries over that time to finish this Trip Report as we have a few interesting things planned.

Greenwich DLB (15).JPGGreenwich DLB (28).JPGGreenwich DLB (43).JPGGreenwich DLB (54).JPGGreenwich DLB (59).JPGGreenwich DLB (62).JPGGreenwich DLB (73).JPGGreenwich MCW (21).JPGGreenwich MCW (41).JPGGreenwich MCW (56).JPG
 
Last edited:

turtlemichael

AFF Supporter
Joined
May 24, 2006
Messages
1,848
Flights
My Map
Well, the cruise ended on Day 133 with a transfer from Greenwich to Heathrow. Two of our four cases, and a large carry bag, are still on board. They are travelling back to Lisbon from where they'll be air freighted by FedEx to Melbourne compliments of Silversea. For some reason bags to Australia leave from Lisbon not London. Every other destination left from London. Silversea told us that FedEx does not ship from London to Australia which seems a bit weird. Our bags will therefore have a week longer than us at sea.

The saying good bye after 133 days was sad. I'm sure we'll retain many friends.

Our trip to Heathrow was speedy at 10.30am on a Sunday morning. It took about an hour and a bit in a limo. Apparently about 160 limos were used for the transfers. World cruises are big operations. That meant three hours wait in Terminal 5 before the BA fight to Paris. It was uneventful apart from a delay circling over northern France.

We are staying at the Hilton Curio Maison-Astor which is at the back of the Elysee Palace in the 8th. I'll do a report on the hotel in a day or two. After check in we got the recommendation of the Concierge for a restaurant. This is very much a business area and not a lot is open on a Sunday night. We were recommended to an Italian restaurant which was, being polite, ordinary. Next morning we did some exploring as we tried to get rid of our sea legs walking across to Parc Monceau and back via the Arc de Triomphe. Parc Monceau at lunchtime is a major jogging track.

Paris DLB (7).JPGParis DLB (9).JPGParis DLB (10).JPGParis DLB (16).JPGParis DLB (25).JPGParis DLB (26).JPGParis DLB (39).JPGParis DLB (40).JPG
 

tgh

AFF Supporter
Joined
Apr 23, 2006
Messages
1,332
Uh Oh... .. we are booked at the Curio in a few weeks.. please , pretty please….don't tell me it is bad……..
 

turtlemichael

AFF Supporter
Joined
May 24, 2006
Messages
1,848
Flights
My Map
Uh Oh... .. we are booked at the Curio in a few weeks.. please , pretty please….don't tell me it is bad……..
Curio by Hilton, Maison Astor, Rue D'Astorg, Paris 75008

Ha ha. Like the curate's egg, it is good in parts. This is all from my perspective of course and ymmv.

We were upgraded from the standard King to a Junior suite, a one level upgrade. Although I'm a Hilton Diamond I was not expecting any upgrade given we are having a seven night stay so I was pleasantly surprised. The hotel appears very busy with predominantly American tourists and a few business clients.

Location: It is in a quiet area at the back of the Elysees Palace and about a 10 minute walk from the Champs Elysees. There is heavy security in the area particularly as you get close to the Palace. Our street was blocked to all traffic for quite a few hours on both Wednesday and today, Saturday. This was apparently because of gilets jaunes activity and the need to protect the institutions of government including the president. I should add that we saw no marches or protests so I think it was probably precautionary. It meant that no taxis could get within a couple of hundred metres of the hotel much to the consternation of some fellow guests. We leave tomorrow and are told there will be no problem.

The location is very quiet traffic wise, even when not blockaded, with little street noise. Peaceful in Paris? Who would have thought? It is also light on for bars and restaurants in the immediate vicinity, At the weekends it is very quiet. Pepiniere was a passable brasserie nearby but, Visconti, an Italian place recommended by the hotel, was dire. The waiter smelt like an ashtray and prices were exorbitant for the quality.

The hotel: Our room overlooked the street rather than the courtyard. It was still very quiet. The renovations are apparently completed and I would describe the resulting style as Period Kitsch. Everything has a modern interpretation (classic pictures with the heads painted out, candelabra without arms just hanging from the ceiling) There isn't a surface not covered by knick-knacks. It is all a bit overpowering. We didn't use the gym, the restaurant for other than breakfast, or the bar.

Good things: An excellent concierge (despite the recommendation above.), friendly staff.

Average things: The breakfast. The displayed eggs and bacon were always cold or tepid. The only fruit was that processed sort. No fresh fruit of any kind on most days. Juices, cold hams, cheeses, the pastries and the breads were all excellent. It got very busy late in the morning (7-00am -10.00am, 11.00am on weekends) so that we queued for 15 minutes one morning. Tables weren't cleared etc and an air of chaos prevailed. We took to arriving early to beat the rush as the week went on.

Room: Our junior suite was very large by Paris standards and comfortable though the bed is too soft for my liking. However there are design failures. Like the bench at the end of the bed has flayed legs which are perfect for tripping over in the middle of the night. The desk chair was designed for someone less than 150cms tall. The central aircon was not on as it isn't summer. Today it got to mid-20's and it is stifling in the room. The window will only open a couple of inches. Sitting in the lobby while they did the room today (never before 4.00pm) there were constant (American) complaints about the lack of working aircon. Hopefully it will be on for you.

The bathroom is large but badly designed - average shower over the bath, no ceiling light anywhere near the wash basin to shave etc by, no rails for bath towels.

There is a mini-bar with a few complimentary soft items that weren't replenished. The is a nespresso machine and a couple of coffees and two bottles of water a day were provided. There is a good Monoprix with 200 metres.

So, all up I'm not certain we'd stay here again unless the price was very attractive or I was using HH points. Having said that I am told I am very fussy about hotels! Me? Never! As I say, I hope it works for you and I have stayed in worse properties in Paris so I'll look forward to your comments! Here are some pics.

IMG_2306.JPGIMG_2307.JPGIMG_2308.JPGIMG_2309.JPGIMG_2273.JPGIMG_2275.JPGIMG_2276.JPGIMG_2277.JPGIMG_2278.JPGIMG_2279.JPG
 
Last edited:

tgh

AFF Supporter
Joined
Apr 23, 2006
Messages
1,332
Thank you very much for the heads up, michael.
I agonised between the H.Opera and the H.Maison, but decided the Maison may be a better bet for a Diamond Upgrade.
My Hilton experience (as a Diamond) is coming to an end next year so I will need to clean out my points stash and look at other chains again.
On balance it's been a worthwhile experience.
 

turtlemichael

AFF Supporter
Joined
May 24, 2006
Messages
1,848
Flights
My Map
Parc de Vincennes and the Coulée verte René-Dumont

The Coulée verte is the walk that goes from Bastille to just beyond the Peripherique and the Parc De Vincennes, the largest park in the city. It basically follows the line of an old railway track that ran from Bastille to the eastern perimeter of the city. The line was shut in 1969 and the Bastille station was demolished to be replaced by Opera Bastille. It was gradually converted to one of the first linear parks. It has been much copied since including by the High Line in NYC. It used to be called the Promenade plantee.

A few years ago we had six months in Paris and lived in Bastille. My morning walk was the 4.5km length of the park to Vincennes and back, picking up the baguette on the way. Being a creature of habit I did it again one morning.
Paris DLB (11).JPGParis DLB (13).JPGParis DLB (16).JPGParis DLB (21).JPGParis MCW (1).JPGParis MCW (4).JPGParis MCW (8).JPGParis MCW (9).JPGParis MCW (10).JPGParis MCW (21).JPG
 

OZDUCK

AFF Supporter
Joined
Aug 1, 2010
Messages
1,299
Flights
My Map
Lovely photos. We have stopped out by the Parc de Vincennes (near Porte Doree) a couple of times and it is really lovely early in the morning with a bit of mist on the water. The Coulée verte is a fun walk. Thanks for bringing back some nice memories
 

AFF on Air Podcast

  • Choosing a Rewards Program – AIR017
    Sat, 10 Aug 2019 13:32:24 AEST
      If you’re new to the world of frequent flyer points – or moving to a new country – it can be difficult to know where to start. In this episode, Matt discusses the con ...
  • Travel Insurance – AIR016
    Sat, 27 Jul 2019 07:34:12 AEST
      They say that if you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel! In this episode, Matt chats to James Green about the importance of travel insurance, and ...
  • The Qantas Oneworld Award – AIR015
    Sat, 13 Jul 2019 02:07:50 AEST
      Learn how to fly around the world using your Qantas Frequent Flyer points as Matt chats to James Green, an award travel consultant at Frequent Flyer Solutions. This episode ...
  • Qantas Frequent Flyer Changes – AIR014
    Sat, 29 Jun 2019 00:40:35 AEST
      Last week, Qantas announced a major shake-up to its Qantas Frequent Flyer program. In this episode, former Head of Loyalty at Malaysia Airlines, Mark Ross-Smith, joins Matt ...
  • jb747’s Stellar Career with Qantas – AIR013
    Sat, 15 Jun 2019 03:00:41 AEST
      In this special edition of the podcast, Matt chats to John Bartels (a.k.a. jb747) about his flying career with Qantas, the A380, the QF30 incident, flight training, retirem ...

Community Statistics

Threads
82,503
Messages
1,910,908
Members
50,280
Latest member
Lenscap
Top