Oct 15, 2017

Paris, Le Meridien Etoil with Viking River Cruises. and Mum...

Paris, Le Meridien Etoil with Viking River Cruises.
and Mum...


We arrived in Paris at the AĆ©roport de Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle late afternoon and were met by our Viking River Cruise Concierge. Within a few minutes we were on our way to our hotel, the Le Meridien Etoile.  Once there we were taken care of by our Viking River Cruise host who got us all our rooms as well. Speaking of getting rooms there was some issues with married couples getting twin beds and single people getting king bed rooms. 
Personally we had to deal with my 90 year old mum being on a different floor (can you say nightmare) and started with twin beds but managed to get a king room after a while of working with the hotel direct.

 I had talked specifically about this with our Viking contact that setup our Cruise. We had a similar situation with our airline tickets. Our first set of tickets had us on different flights!

The Le Meridien is a very nice hotel close to the Arch de Triumph. Nice clean rooms and a great breakfast. Had a couple of late night dinners at the bar which was pretty good also. The room issue was a Viking booking problem, even after two calls prior to leaving on the trip, specifically about us  traveling together with my elderly mother in different but adjacent rooms.


While all the rooms were very nice the mix ups were poor and for me personally the mishandling of my two rooms was very problematic.
We headed to our rooms upon arrival and after settling mum into her room we told her to stay in the room relax and watch some tv for an hour or so or take a nap. We wrote down our room number (with the 1 in front for dialing) so she could call if needed.  We had a quick check in to see about another tour and headed back to the room.

About 1.5 hours later after showers there is a knock on our door. One of the hotel staff found mum wandering the halls. She left her room, could not find our room, went to go back, keys did not work (she was going to the wrong room) went to the front desk, got new keys still could not get in (still wrong room) got lost in the halls and when found by a hotel staff member could only hand him our room number, which she could not find as I had added a 1 in front of it for calling room to room. Luckily the porter was savvy enough to realize that.
The hotel could not figure a way to get us together so we took to writing instructions for everything which helped but still many, in hindsight and having survived, many more funny events happened.  It was interesting that the group seemed scattered all over the hotel. This posed no issues other than for us with my mum. 



One classic was at breakfast. Mum we will get you and go to breakfast at 8 ok. Ok. 
Next morning at 8am mum's not in her room. Panic as we race to breakfast hoping that she is there. I ask the concierge if her room number had checked in (had to check in by room number for breakfast)   No that room has not checked in. But I gave my room number a went in to be sure. Yep. There she was eating fruit with a cup of coffee. 
Asked why she was there. She said she was hungry and they had given her coffee when she had asked for tea and there were no scrambled eggs today. Did you look under the silver lids? Why would I do that? (She also had a habit of when asked for coffee or tea, she would answer, yes please) Not sure who's room number she used as she couldn't remember.

The Le Meridien Etoil Hotel was a very nice place with a good bar, good bar food and a great breakfast. It rates a 'Good, would go back' on our scale. The booking issues were a Viking short fall, but I'm not convinced the hotel did all they could.

Happy Travel Adventures,
Cheers,

WineWalkabout

Oct 8, 2017

Fine dining, Jules Verne Eiffel Tower Paris


Travel adventures from European trip #1 Kiwi gores to France.

Some places are obvious points to visit in Paris, such as the Eiffel Tower. Doing the tourist visit is fantastic and a must do, but you really should delve a little deeper.  This goes for a number of things. Paris is known for its gastronomy, and so what better way to indulge in that than indulging on or in I guess, one of the most recognizable structures in the world.

You enter on a private elevator on the Pilier Sud and you arrive at one of the premier restaurants in Paris – the Jules Verne.


Located on the second level of the famous tower if offers commanding views of Paris, including the Seine, Arc de Triomphe, and the infamous “Aweful Tower”.

We booked well in advance for our dinner via the website www.lejulesverne-paris.com.  Reservations are a must, and for good reason. 
At €190-230 for a five or six course meal, plus wine, it is not a casual event, but possibly one of those once in a lifetime events. I mean after all you just traveled half way around the world so why not?  
The wait staff are fabulous, with every request met with good humor and professionalism.  We asked to change tables a couple of times as others opened up to get a better / different view with no problem or eye rolling. 

We ordered several bottles of wine from their 'manual' of wine choices!  All were amazing and the sommelier was extremely helpful.

The food kept coming!  Not a meal but an experience!  Small bites to a delicious main course for all.  The first four courses were fixed menu items with marinated sea bream, duck confit and lobster!  Veal, chicken or fish for the main, and desserts to die for.  Most interesting of all, a spork! Still giggling over that strange utensil. 
And with more wine.  Did I mention the wine?!

Plan to spend some time at Le Jules Verne, have a great meal, soak up the ambiance and extraordinary views, and leave satisfied, with fond memories that will last a lifetime.


Happy Travel Adventures,

Cheers,

WineWalkabout







Oct 1, 2017

Jet lag... Just don't even...



Oh the places we have been!
We recently talked about staying healthy and not catching some disease during your flights. Jet lag is the other down side to long haul air travel. Once you cross a couple or more time zones during flight it is on the table. Well worry no more.

Having traveled half way around the world at least 40 times between us in the last couple decades we recon we have some sound advice to offer. At least how we survive and maybe, just maybe, our experience my benefit you as well.

So here goes. Most of our survival practices are relatively simple and some seem to be obvious once mentioned but its surprising how few people actually make a conscious effort.

Rule number one is be and stay hydrated. Yeah yeah you say. I always drink water. OK, that may be true but do you drink it in a way that keeps jet lag at bay? Probably not. Here's the deal. Not only do you need to be optimally hydrated 'before' you get on the plane, staying hydrated on a plane takes effort. The super dry 5-20% humidity is in stark contrast to most normal ground levels of 50-80% means you need to be consuming way more water than normal. Constantly sipping and if like us you like to enjoy the hospitality of the more professional airlines and imbibe in the alcoholic offerings you need to double the number of ounces water to alcohol to keep up. While no double blind, scientific experiments have been done to verify this, as stated earlier, this has been tested dozens of times.


One of the other biggies is napping. Here is the scenario. You have been travelling for 24 hours and you arrive at your destination in the am sometime. One of the biggest mistakes is to succumb to the desire for a nap in the mid afternoon. Just don't! Hang in there and stay awake until a reasonably normal bedtime. When in doubt allow for no more than a 10 hour sleep. Ideally a similar length to what you normally would have at home. This help getting you system into a normal rhythm. Just do it! for a couple days.

So Kiwi Chris puts it most eloquently - Maybe I’m lucky, maybe I’m special. Jet lag and I have had many meetings, and we have an agreement. I win. I have read many articles about how to counter the effects of long distance travel, and I here add my two cents. First – drink on the plane. Well, if it’s free I feel its rude not to. Watch a movie, take an Advil PM, and Bob’s your Uncle.

On landing set your watch/phone and live by the new time. Eat at the new time. Drink at the new time. Just because it’s 6 am at home doesn’t mean you can’t have a glass of wine in Paris! Honestly that’s the key. Mental strength of not saying to yourself its bedtime at home. OK, drink a big glass of water and go out, keep moving. If you sit, you’re out and you lose.

Next day – repeat and you are good for the trip!
On the way home its different.      Call in sick. 


What are some of your solutions to avoid Jet lag?

Happy Travel Adventures,
Cheers,

WineWalkabout