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Host Bonjour

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  1. Lambrusco is a fizzy type of wine but it's not like Prosecco (which is similar to champagne in that it is corked under high pressure and has a lot more bubbles!) or, one might say, frizzante which you usually see when it comes to water listed on Italian menus. Lambrusco, to me is definitely sweeter. Once upon a time it was popular in the U.S. when Riunite was selling big time, back in the 80s. It's a wine I only noticed being served when I was in Emilia Romagna and then, only with a certain dish. And indeed Spumante is sweet...much, much sweeter than Prosecco. There could be sweet proseccos but it would require specific knowledge of the grapes in that bottle or a producer of the bottle you're drinking to deduce whether or not the bottle is sweet or dry. If the bottle says brut, it's dry. For whatever reason, the French brut is still used to describe dry Italian Prosecco. I'd go with either Lambrusco (more of a wine) or Spumante (more like a champagne) for a definitely sweet something in your glass. Specify red, white, or rosé for your Lambrusco; not sure? Go for the rosé. Enjoy Capri!! 🙂
  2. Too funny 😂 ...but as a fellow number nerd, I kind of dig it too. Statistics and probabilities can provide wonderful ways to make sense of things. Or another way of saying, it might happen, and it might not....probably not, but don't let the possibility take up too much bandwidth. A better use of that sort of thinking would be in the unlikely event that there was a glitch, channeling the energy into problem solving mode, coping, and making the most out of the experience...maybe an interesting encounter, meeting someone kind/helpful, stumbling into some great little hole-in-the-wall, or at a minimum, you learn something, or have a colorful story to tell upon returning home. Examples: I missed my flight home from Paris due to a mini-strike but ended up at the flat of my hotel front desk manager and became long time friends, I stood from Bologna to Rome, like an anchovy in a tin with my luggage between my legs, due to a weekend strike because of the lack of trains running on the weekend. I made sure I never not booked a seat again on another train EVER. I got on the wrong S-Bahn train so it didn't stop at the stop in Aying where I needed to get off; my German was 🙄and out in the countryside, English was much less common, French or Italian, hit /miss, mostly miss, it's Bavaria. Took awhile, but I got to my gasthaus...walked past gorgeous homes and gardens, worked up a hearty appetite to satisfy at a local restaurant where I indeed spoke Italian...they thought I was French; had a blast. These are a few small examples. Ultimately, not always so bad when things go wrong (hello trip insurance). Initially...there's the staying calm (trying to!) figuring it out, accept/acknowledge "this isn't great" moments. But nearly everything is fixable, and even what isn't eventually gets better. 😊 Be prepared. Things will probably be ok. Just keep on going.
  3. Thank you for creating the Wonderful Copenhagen 2020 topic @DanishViking. And as you stated, there's never any limit to Copenhagen topics, but having one place to seek information has proven to be helpful for several years now. The information contained herein often can serve as a great foundation for someone who might still have additional questions while they are planning a visit. Alternatively, for someone seeking a one-stop shop on what might be a popular question (Getting around, best sightseeing, shopping) it might be efficient and fun to scan posts found here. A benefit of topics like this is that it definitely creates space on our board for other topics to be noticed; by consolidating many posts on these popular subjects into one place where they otherwise would occupy a separate space, visibility is available for topics on other places and things that might otherwise be overlooked or completely missed. We've seen great success with themed topics on other forums. Feel free to participate here and of course, if you wish to create a separate topic, we welcome that too! At times, we might merge topics that are essentially identical but the contents always remain in tact when one or more topics are merged, and this tends not to happen that often. Happy 2020 to everyone on the board and enjoy planning your forthcoming Northern European sailings and port visits. 🙂
  4. A friend of mine took a smaller boat to familiar areas/regions, and others less so translating to fewer people, on board and land. Won't mention line as I'm meant to stay as neutral as possible unless answering direct question. They loved it. Smaller carbon footprint as well, which as we know is also becoming more of an important matter in many ways. also on land and in the sea so that there are incredible places to visit. bennybear mentioned Como; sometime last year or maybe in 2018, I watched a documentary about a dog called Ice that belonged to a fisherman who lived in a small but beautiful village on Como. I was enchanted by Ice, his fisherman, the family, the village, and of course the lake. It wouldn't be easy to get to, but it would be special and unlike visiting other villages. I guess people will need to begin thinking about the type of experience they want to have: one that is authentic, personal, thus somewhat spontaneous and as a result truly unique, or....the one that looks like what they see in the magazine or on the postcard or movie, and understand what the difference between the two would be. No difference, Better, Worse, Mind Blown, I won't even consider it? When I got my Cinque Terre guide book as a gift from a friend who'd visited (purchased there) no other publisher had a guide or decent section on the region comparable to what exists today. When I received the guide, it came with strong advice: go now, this won't last. That was about 20 years ago. This topic started with Brest and Quimper, still relatively less visited areas of France (they are further from port as well, of course) but particularly unique in culture and quite beautiful in their own right. I had a Breton boyfriend once upon a time. But then so too was Biarritz a beach resort destination (Coco Chanel) that was almost as buzzy as Cannes or St Tropez and is surging again. Folks are realizing (or remembering) there's a sort of Stonehenge in Brittany, at Carnac. Langoustines and cuisine that is divine in the region and a separate language. Start coloring outside the lines. 😉
  5. Close-ups on delectable desserts and adorable ponies. You do like to tempt and tease....
  6. Oh my, I see why she wants one...absolutely adorable!! And it's got a kind of llama vibe to it as well. Very cute. Might not be keen on heat and humidity but then again, it might. 😉 Thank you for the teaser video. I use Adobe Creative Cloud, which includes a bundle of tools like Lightroom, Photoshop, 20GB storage, and many other apps I haven't even tried yet. Very reasonable monthly price that costs less than my Hulu subscription (I don't have the live bundle) and gives me so much flexibility. No contract, can cancel anytime, and no I don't work with Adobe. Previously I have used Flickr, VSCO, Effects Studio, Diptic, but not all for the same reasons. Flickr was always one that was for posting a gallery of photos, and free but I haven't checked in lately to see if they've added pricing tiers; they probably have, like most apps. VSCO has, and the others never were free but I got Effects Studio for free early in Starbucks Rewards (they used to give aways apps every week!) and Diptic I bought, though it wasn't expensive but it's not meant to be a storage utility. Sorry I went off topic a bit. Now back to the beautiful Iceland photo/video review. Loving it!
  7. Gordon had it coming 😉 No warning about the that....um....finale: puffin shucking? The F bombs I can handle, the uh cooking preparations, not so much, but thanks for the alert. 😳 Ah, a shetland pony. I could see why your wife took a shine to them. Some people have dogs bigger than that so really, would it be a problem? I think I thought it was a goat? Luckily, I've never seen a food show where they cooked a shetland pony. Can't say the same for goats. If I see Andrew roaming around the city, I'll pass on the message. I think he lives in these parts but is often also on the road eating...bizarre things. Hopefully not shetlands. I see messages above that says Photobucket isn't responding. Have you used Flickr? I don't know if it works on here so I maybe shouldn't suggest if I don't know about it but you can host edited images there for free. Keep the photos and vids coming! 🙂 Let us know when the pony arrives...
  8. Glad you found the info helpful Jax. Before I went to college I worked for tips as well and ever since, I tip well; only because I know that life and it is what it is. But when I traveled, I feel responsible to do my best to respect the culture of wherever I am visiting, even if it's not so easy...and it isn't always, though it's not a big deal. Especially if we have the information ahead of time and can plan. Enjoy this part of the process, it's exciting and before you know it, you'll be on your way. 🙂
  9. I don't know how I previously overlooked this image but then I do a lot of reading in these topics or maybe I thought I did comment...but forgive me for not already saying that I love it, it's captivating. I'm sorry the weather wasn't great when you hoped it would be, that can be disappointing but I've also always found it lead to some of my favorite photographs. In this one, the stone is multi-dimensional, as is the grass and the colors of the umbrellas pop. The drama of the location and of the occasion of your visit is represented in this photograph and you can feel it right away in a manner that is no way near as palpable than when viewing a similar image that was taken in bright sunlight when the stones seem lighter and it's harder to make out the people, or a lot of other details. It's also a really well made shot! Thanks so much for sharing it here.
  10. You’re welcome. With the driving international experience he has, then indeed it’ll be fine. Other experiences I loved and enjoyed were in different places and I’ve not yet returned but my kiwi friends, we’ve been friends for more than twenty years having met on a very small tour in southern China. I’ve seen them in various places here in the U.S. but aim to get back to this most breathtaking place on earth. I would absolutely encourage a certain amount of spontaneity. Equally memorable was just pulling off the road and stopping for a picnic lunch at gazebos in beautiful gardens that just seemed to be there or wandering Koekohe Beach that is populated with giant round monolithic round rocks, I have a photo where I am standing inside one that is split open (Moeraki Boulders) north of Otago. However even without boulders that appear to be swallowing me whole, it become a challenge to find a place that isnt tempting to turn into an opportunity; this country is that stunning beautiful and rich with cultural history. My friend’s daughter and her family are avid hikers, her husband was an amateur competitive cyclist (and has Maori heritage), and I recall them often visiting Te Mata in the Napier region. http://tematapark.co.nz/ For Picton, there are also dolphin and orca wildlife tours, access to NZ’s Marlborough wine region (note: Te Mata includes Hawkes Cay, another of NZ’s wine regions) but there is also an opportunity to dive into Maori culture and get a look at the world’s oldest merchant ship, the Edwin Fox, in dry dock. All this in addition to the charm of the region. http://www.visitpicton.co.nz/ Here is a link to Bay of Islands. I’d have trouble choosing, to be honest. There’s a seal swim in shallow open water (not where their kept in an aquarium or water park!) that I think would be hard to pass up. Adding in a hike or guided kayak tour might make it a well rounded day...or just one of these things. You could mix/switch out any of these things in various ports, keeping in mind the spontaneity variable. I was on a budget, everyone more or less is, at varying levels. Mine was in the true meaning of the word but I fared well. I encourage you to read more on the destinations you’ll be visiting to see what most interests your group, then create a list and come back here to whittle down your selections. Everyone here is always happy to help. 🙂
  11. It's a pony?? 🤔 It's so little. Very cute. Andrew ZImmern wrecked everything for me and my puffin love when he did an episode of his Bizarre Foods show in the Faroe Islands (which was incredible) and they went to catch puffins and then later, eat them. Turns out there are too many of them in the area and so catching them was sort of...necessary? The segment on catching lagoustines was easier to take in. 😉 Spectacular photos and context as always, I am late catching up. Thank you so much for sharing these wonderful journeys with us.
  12. Credit card may work in large cities, some large stores, certain restaurants, as may Apple Pay. Absolutely be on the safe side and have cash available. I didn't have any reason to try using a card in China because everything was prepaid and for shopping plus the only unscheduled stop we made–I strong-armed our guide into stopping at a jewelry factory so I could purchase an amber bracelet like he had–I used my RMB/yuan. While there are many more east-west corporate joint ventures in China now (the tariff war, wherever it's at, notwithstanding) that started small have become mammoth and the goods flow all over the world but, and China looks different, has a different image all over the world. BUT, a lot hasn't changed; the government. What has not, and likely will not be reciprocal any time soon is the financial system between eastern/western countries. It is burdensome for the corporations doing big business, but there are systems in place for trading; this is why Hong Kong/Singapore are essential, easy conduits for the money. For everyone else, i.e., all of us, compare to how social media is barred like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram (no Cruise Critic, etc; access via a VPN only) they have their own versions. It's kind of why the money doesn't mix. Everyone can visit China and experience the truly fascinating and amazing culture, people, history, see the latest changes and how it familiar, modern it may be. A looks the same which is good, a lot looks different which is great, so much you don't ever want to see change, and some things haven't changed at all which is...harder to see. Be sure to obtain RMB/Yuan when you arrive in China in the event a card you have, or your Apple pay, is not accepted.
  13. I stayed with locals in Dunedin (I was visiting farmer friends that lived further north on South Island) who absolutely insisted I take a day tour of the Otago peninsula and I was enthralled. I have always been interested in natural beauty and wildlife so it seemed a perfect fit and it was one of the highlights of my entire South Island visit although the entire trip remains one of my all time lifetime best. I am not exaggerating when I say everything in New Zealand, especially South Island, is a must-see. But don't worry, you are stopping in some wonderful places on both islands! The farmer's kids lived for a few years up in Tauranga as well and the family has toured the world but so often tend to holiday in their own spectacular country–why wouldn't they? Chiming in along with 3Shelaghs, and remembering what my kiwi friends recounted as I remarked on the roads in NZ (as a life long NYC resident) unless you are very, very comfortable driving on roads that are sometimes quite (quite!!) narrow, curvy, and negotiating their *bridges that have a long lane you may have to back up on before crossing in order to let an oncoming driver cross because they are further across than you are* all while driving manual transmission (possibly) on the right side of the car, I say BRAVA/O/X, or....it might be better to arrange a tour, no shame, just chill out and enjoy the view. I'm very much a DIY'er (and started my gig on these boards over at our Independent Traveler sister site, so you get me) but I also know what works for me, my host country, maximum happiness/survival for all involved. 😊 🙄 I suggest browsing through our boards for ideas on visiting other ports, try using the search feature or just clicking through using the page numbers near the bottom of the list of topics in recent weeks and months. You'll discover some great ideas and information from other CC members that have recently visited New Zealand or like you, are planning their cruises for the near future and members have pitched in with helpful information. Planning this trip help kickstart the dream into reality. Have fun.
  14. I think they hold off on the muy grave designation too long; it gets muy grave, muy rapido. That's not even counting the points, I presume, one also gets on their license, which at a certain time would become moot. Who could afford to own a car after getting hit with a few muy graves? Nadie pudo/No one could. Then again, I come from the land of alternate side of the street parking, four days a week. That got expensive at times. 😩 (And they sometimes put big neon colord stickers on people's windows, which was just mean.) Thanks for sharing your experience and sorry for your unfortunate experience. Just when you think you've heard the last bad surprise car rental story....this was a tough one.
  15. More like.....the view!! Spectaccolare!! Thanks for taking us along on your journey and tempting us with tales of great food and wine. I prefer photos with skies like this....the drama of it, and not having to wrastle with the light as much (glare, backlight) getting shots, so atmospheric. So then hearing that is was mostly temperate, save for some rain, makes me happy that your stay was long, well situated, and otherwise pleasant. Please share some more photos here, if you will, when you have some time, so we can set our eyes 😳 on them! Welcome home 🙂
  16. Just adding a few recent independent posts from the board which may be helpful to anyone with a transit question:
  17. If anyone goes to St. Barth's, they won't want to ever visit another island. Well, maybe Anguilla? Or Sir Richard's island. And, it is possible to visit St. Barth's without being a gazillionaire although it'll take a bit of detective work, sort of like trying to break the Swiss banking system, not quite, but doable. Similarly, they just don't want anyone to know. After all, one of the most famous and best places to eat there is a salad and burger joint called Le Select. It obviously does cater to the .001% but...don't let that keep you away. Gorgeous variant beaches, hilly terrain to hike, varied cuisine, quiet. I hung out at the bar for sunset at Carl Gustaf, name never changes...a friend worked there. The view is spectacular, breezy, beautiful. The suites are sort of built into the hill and rise sort of like it was Amalfi or Cinque Terre, but in the Caribbean. You just have to want to be in Gustavia, but then you're kind of near to Shell Beach, not a bad thing. Eden Roc is near the airport and over by St Jean, particularly beautiful beach, it sparkles in a mixture of blues and greens that blend like I've rarely seen. I wasn't so keen on that location but...it's been updated so imagine it's much improved. Liked La Saline and La Petite Saline beaches. Locals knew where the tidal pools were to swim into, but some climbing was required to get to them, though it wasn't too bad. Not sure I could manage now but it isn't so necessary. Grand Cul de Sac was very flat, low, and still, by the Sereno hotel....nice to swim in. Look for places to hear live music with afro-caribbean-jazz vibes in the outdoors. Perfect. Get a rental somewhere in the hills; you may get stuck listening to some loud roosters. Go anyway Hitchhike. No worries. It's perfect. 😎
  18. If it had to happen....well, it's a better story and maybe a decent place to convalesce, albeit with an adjusted sightseeing schedule. (Sorry to hear about it!) What a way to trip into great wine, though.. 😉 (Makes me realize my clumsy self was lucky to make it through the day traipsing through the hills of Moët Chandon in Epérnay plucking the remaining grapes off the vines to eat. As I write this I'm wondering, it wasn't a tour, how or why were we even there? Nevermind...must have been after I left the tour of Mercier Caves. 🤐) And congrats on your new job!! That's definitely brunello-worthy, if ever anything was!! 🍷🎉 Since it's the season of sales and promotions, perhaps there's a little discount this time of year on a brunello. I say little because premium wine varieties don't tend to get or require major promotions but you never know. I felt about the same about Amarone when I first tried it in the early '90s, it was quite a surprise; I was at Taormina in Little Italy out to dinner after work with a friend. Robust, vibrant, rich, great accompaniment to our dinners that evening. It took awhile to find it at all for awhile in some stores (still can) and at reasonably approachable prices, but it has gotten a lot better nowadays. Treat yourself!! And congrats again Slidergirl!! Auguri 🙂
  19. I love hearing about these Ritz-Carlton stays (or any interesting place!) in certain destinations that are attainable, doesn't matter if it's off-season, it's an incredible city in a great location. There are other R-C locations that also still offer this type of off season pricing, though not very many. Back when Cancún was just getting started and there were still lots of empty stretches of strip and some cranes, the R-C was one of the earliest better hotels there and while it wasn't ever what could be considered cheap, it wasn't what it is now. 😉 I arrived in Berlin from Rostock and ended up having to call around for another place to stay because I'd let someone else choose the accommodation. Never again. It worked out alright though, I ended up at Hotel Bleibtreu quite relieved and ordered room service. Although it was summer, since it was a last minute booking and not quite central, the price was right because they had something available for the time that I needed, and Berlin is still not outrageously expensive and easy to get around. Then I set out into fascinating Berlin.
  20. Hank knows.... ...and I left out Hotel Indigo, where my aunt and uncle stayed last year (April) and absolutely loved. It's also near Opéra and the concierge pointed them to some good dining in the area too, places that were unassuming but divine. One even shared a recipe with my uncle but for what in this moment, I cannot remember. They were actually on their way UP to Normandy, but whichever way it goes, it's a wonderful combination. 😉
  21. I dig where your palate is at, and again, am envious. My local shops don't seem to be aware that there's much beyond chianti (well, a d'Oro isn't awful...) or pinot grigio–one shop has about 20 labels, or a token barolo (nothing to sneeze at, nevertheless....) or a barbera, probably because it's slightly frizzante but not too. I hear brunello and then the floodgates open, I think of tagliatelle, corniglio, and a zillion other things I cannot find here w/o heading to a particular shop. Amarone, dolcetto, varieties from Sicily I can't even remember, and the stuff that comes in mason jars. 😉 I'm hoping I can convince a newer shop owner to get a Chinon. 😳 Sancerre has finally caught on. But no one goes beyond pinot grigio and chianti, generally. What a wonderful world of Italian wine exists. As an aside, there are times I have just purchased an Italian red table wine because the selection was so uninspiring (it happens) and it was just fine...ok with a simple meal. Not to give or bring...but good enough and easy on the pocket.
  22. Awesome! Now is not really the busiest time for this board (everyone is out cruising somewhere warm!) but it will be soon as we get deep into winter in some places, and the appeal (& general fun of planning) of seasonal travel plans picks up again. The build-up has always been part of the fun for any previous journey, as is reminiscing and sharing about past experiences in places we have visited. Thanks for posting! 🙂
  23. ...can't say the little man doesn't have varied taste in hats. I don't remember these from my early aughts visit to Berlin but so much was still being rebuilt or torn down in the eastern side of the city back then. But then I just realized I'm a scofflaw when it comes to paying heed to these signs....if the road is all clear, I just go. 🙄 shhhhh
  24. It's going to take them awhile to get this sorted but then to your thinking, perhaps it's just as well since these attractions cannot handle the same size crowds that Colosseum can handle. Nevertheless, a sprinkling of synchronicity would be most ideal, these are definitely verbs of importance in the Italian lexicon, or way of life. Which is fine 😄 it's viva Italia. Is it chianti-o'clock yet? 🍷 Enjoy your time in bella Roma. Post pictures please, if you have them!
  25. Marais is lively and distinctive, great markets. The 6th is particularly lovely. I have a black and white photo of traffic heading up Boulevard St Germain, it's from the 90s, that almost really looks like it's from the 60s because the cars and scooters that happen to be in the frame weren't so new. I ran around that day shooting in black and white and those photos are among my all time faves of Paris. It was when you had to finish a roll of film rather than just flip a button on the camera. My Cafe Flore pic is awesome as well. Something indescribable about this area but, that said, as I previously wrote, each of the repeat visits to different locations proved to be memorable and brought Paris closer to my heart and deeper into my brain. I had to get out of my comfort zones again, but they were still there for me of course, a quick métro trip away (or a walk) but invariably I became so much more comfortable in Paris, this city that I inexplicably realized the day after my first arrival, was also my home. Returning to Paris in different locations (but always revisiting my standards) expanded the boundaries of Paris for me, expanding the possibilities and range of how much more I could discover, whether I planned it or not. And I always figured that if I didn't like an area I'd picked, I could leave and pick some other place to stay but that never happened. I became immediately curious wherever I was, busy exploring and off on my itinerary to see or do whatever was next or just hit my usual places to check in and just be Parisian for an hour or so. It probably should get talked about more, pre/post cruise stays in Paris, not unlike London stays which seem to be more common. Much more time to enjoy the city and do side trips and avoid the long travel from Le Havre to Paris and back for the day trip. Very easy to do any number of side trips or half days from Paris including Rouen, and Giverny, Versailles, Barbizon, but I always try to bring up Vaux le Vicomte when I can as an alternative, as it preceded Versailles, and was the inspiration for the larger palace. There are candlelit tours of Vaux that can be quite enchanting, perhaps not unlike the evening concerts in Saint Chapelle. Maybe we can convince Hank and Mrs Hank to take a flat somewhere else next trip to Paris? It is rather nice being near the Opéra, Place Vendôme, Le Louvre all within walking distance or who knows, maybe in scenic Montmartre? Yes, I suppose maybe I'm trying to get you to the other side. Rive Droite. Stay tuned everyone.... 😉
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