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laverendrye

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About laverendrye

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  1. A brief update from my TA. If I cancel my trip I will receive a full credit less the $200 administration fee for trips completed by the end of December 2020. For trips ending in 2021 (until end April) I will receive a credit less the administration fee and airfare portion of my present trip. I think that’s fair considering I should be able to claim that balance from my insurer. This is the policy from Scenic/Emerald Canada. It may vary in other countries.
  2. I have been speaking with my TA who informed me of the welcome change in policy. She thinks however that for my Vietnam/Cambodia cruise which includes air and a land portion that these might not be refundable under the condition “with any third party fees at the guest’s own expense”. She is calling Scenic/Emerald to clarify this and determine just what the future credit will amount to. However she did did inform me that another client with the same insurance plan as mine will have their claim for reimbursement for their cancelled Mekong cruise accepted because of the Canadian Government’s formal recommendation to avoid all cruise ship travel. So depending on the future credit, I will either accept it and claim the balance or cancel without a credit and claim the total loss. I will be speaking today with my insurer. In any event I won’t be travelling to Vietnam and Cambodia this year (or perhaps ever, as I’ve done much of the trip before).
  3. The situation in Canada is far from the chaos and denial that you said you see in the US. We learned our lesson from the disastrous response to the SARS epidemic in 2003 and have spent the intervening years preparing for another epidemic like this one with new institutions, facilities and procedures. The responses of the federal and provincial governments and health agencies have been timely and effective so that nearly all the cases identified have been travel related. This is not to say that the epidemic has been contained but I believe most Canadians are confident in the measures being taken by the authorities. But as these authorities stress, it is not only for them but for all citizens to take responsible measures to contain the spread of this disease.
  4. Please report back on how your appeal to the head office turns out.
  5. I am not surprised. This was bound to happen there sooner or later. I am booked on an Emerald Cruise tour from Hanoi to Siem Reap at the end of this month. I haven't yet cancelled as I am waiting for Emerald/Scenic to change their very restrictive cancellation policy, but I have no intention of taking the risks of going. I've travelled in Cambodia before and have been following the news regarding coronavirus there closely. It must be understood that Cambodia is essentially a vassal state to China and the Cambodian dictator, Hun Sen, has misguidedly attempted to please his Chinese masters through obfuscation and denial (while ironically, the Chinese have been much more open and effective in dealing with the epidemic). Sadly, he is not the only world political leader using the epidemic to try to boost his personal and political image. This article gives a sense of the politics of the situation: https://thediplomat.com/2020/02/hun-sens-political-gamble-the-coronavirus-epidemic/ I suspect that there are many more cases of COVID-19 in Cambodia than the government admits and at the best of times its medical facilities are rudimentary as the following advice from the Government of Canada indicates: With the exception of some Thai-run hospitals in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, medical facilities throughout Cambodia are extremely poor and very limited. Doctors and hospitals may demand cash payment or written guarantees from insurance providers in advance for health services. Medical evacuation to Thailand or Singapore is often required in order to obtain adequate treatment. Seek immediate assistance in Phnom Penh or Siem Reap and consider leaving the country if you experience medical problems. Those who may still be thinking of travelling on a cruise in Cambodia should give it careful reconsideration.
  6. Taxis should certainly be available at that hour but to make sure, have the ship’s desk order one for you the night before. With little traffic, the trip should take no more than 15 minutes and cost between €15 and €20. For Viking to charge $60 per person is a big rip off.
  7. Strasbourg and the rest of Alsace follow the German practice of closing shops on Sunday. However souvenir shops in the centre of the city will be open as well as restaurants. The Cathedral is open for visitors on Sunday afternoons and all museums will also be open (museums usually close on Mondays). So there’s lots to see and do in Strasbourg on a Sunday. In answer to the OP, Cologne Cathedral is also open to visitors on Sunday afternoons.
  8. Unless you are transported there by bus as well as back, I doubt that this tour will actually take you into the Black Forest, which is really too far away by bike for the time available. It would also involve some fairly steep climbs. More likely, it will be through the foothills of the Black Forest north or south of Freiburg, which is largely a wine growing area with many pretty villages. Or perhaps most likely, it will be through the Kaiserstühl, an area between the Rhine and the foothills to the east. The Kaiserstühl is also quite pretty, with its old volcanic hills rising from the Rhine valley. It has lots of vineyards and picturesque villages and Breisach is its principal town.
  9. This map has three walking tours of the former town of Chicoutimi, now Saguenay. https://tourisme.saguenay.ca/files/circuits_patrimoniaux_pdf/depliant_patrimonial_chicoutimi.pdf
  10. Without a doubt stay in Sarlat. It’s a beautiful historic town with a famous market (Wednesday and Saturday) and close to many of the top attractions in Périgord. You’ll want to spend some time exploring Sarlat itself. Périgueux is interesting enough but too far from most of the places you will want to visit in 4 days. There are many prehistoric caves near Sarlat, particularly in the Vézère valley. Even though the original cave at Lascaux has been closed to visitors for many years, there are reproductions you can visit. I visited Lascaux II and was most impressed, but recently Lascaux IV has been opened and is apparently stunning. If you want to visit an original cave, the Font-du-Gaume in les Éysies-de-Tayac is open, but restricts the number of visitors daily. You need to reserve well in advance. Also in the Vézère valley is La Roque St-Christophe, a large open cave overlooking the river which was inhabited from Neolithic times until the Middle Ages. It’s well worth a visit. Aside from caves, the Dordogne is known for its castles and fortified towns (bastides), many of which were built during the Hundred Years’ War and often changed hands between the French and English. You’ll certainly want to visit Domme, La Roque-Gageac, Beynac and Castelnaud among others. You also might want to take a short cruise on the Dordogne river from La Roque-Gageac in a gabarre, the traditional cargo boat. There’s much more a bit further afield that I could mention but your four days will go by quickly without your venturing too far beyond Sarlat.
  11. Regarding Salzburg or Cesky Krumlov, I’d recommend the latter. It’s a very attractive town with many mediaeval structures. You’ve already been to Salzburg and it doesn’t seem that your partner is set on it. I wouldn’t go just for the Christmas market. As to a city to visit after Budapest, if your aim is an impressive Christmas market, then you must see the Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg. I assume that your cruise does not include it. It’s one of the oldest, biggest and certainly most impressive in Germany if not all Europe. Munich would also be a good choice. I can’t speak for Prague as I’ve never been there at that time of the year.
  12. I have made a connection from an Air Canada international arrival to the Fernbahnhof. As I recall, my flight arrived at 0820 and because I was concerned about the time to get my bags and through customs and passport control I opted for a train at 1050. Although it is a long walk I arrived at the station about 0930 and could easily have made an earlier train. However there are always variables and you may wish to err on the side of caution.
  13. Le Continental and Lapin Sauté are both good suggestions. Like martincath I am of two minds about Aux Anciens Canadiens. It really does date as a restaurant from the 18th Century and is attractively decorated, although as martincath suggests, verges towards kitschy. The food is traditional Québecois, meaning it is very hearty indeed and you should come with a good appetite. This is not a place for haute cuisine à la francaise. If you want to have dinner there, if you order before 6PM the lunchtime prices apply—the evening prices are considerably higher. For lunch, if you are in the Lower Town, you might try Le Cochon Dingue (crazy pig) a French bistro across the street from Lapin Sauté and under the same ownership. In the Upper Town, for lunch I like the Pub D’Orsay where I usually have their mussels and fries. Pub St-Alexandre is another favourite of mine. If if you want to splurge for dinner with traditional French cuisine, I think it’s hard to beat Le Saint-Amour in the Upper Town. Laurie Raphaël and Légende are also very good restaurants in this category. If you are looking for something cutting edge, there are a number of places in the Saint-Roch district that you could look up. In the tourist parts of Québec City, you will have no problems with a lack of French. Those dealing with the public will speak English and English menus are generally available
  14. Excellent advice from martincath. The only thing I might add is that you might consider the train from Montréal to Québec. It’s a pleasant trip and as the train leaves from Central Station (Gare Centrale), it would be very convenient if you stay nearby after arriving on Amtrak. There are 5 or 6 trains a day. Check details at www.viarail.ca.
  15. Thanks GMT. The first time I saw the term "Federweisser" was in the Rheingau and I didn't know then if it was a local term or not. Obviously it has become the general term for this type of wine.
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