France (Le Havre & Paris)

A bit late in the travel series from earlier this summer, this post is from our last stop on the trip, which was France.

Le Havre

Places visited

  • The ship docked at the port early in the morning and it was a very pretty sunrise.
  • We only drove through Le Havre on the way to Paris but it was an interesting city. There’s a combination of both new and old architecture since not much of the city was left after WWII.

Paris

Places visited and what I did

  • We drove up into the city to the Place Charles de Gaulle where the Arc de Triomphe is. The Place Charles de Gaulle is a junction of 12 streets and the traffic was crazy. I’m happy we were on a big bus.
  • The bus continued down the Champs Élysée to Place de la Concorde, which was very beautiful. It is home to an Egyptian obelisk and intricate fountains. It was also where many executions took place. The Hôtel de Crillon and the French Naval Ministry are behind the fountain and obelisk.
  • Drove by the Paris Opera and the Louvre (it’s so much bigger than I thought! Also, we were there shortly after Beyonce was recording there).
  • After a drive around the city, the tour stopped at the Seine (right under the Effiel Tower) to get off on a boat down the river for lunch.
  • The boat was almost full glass. We were served a foie gras terrine for the first course. The second course was chicken thighs (coq au vin, maybe?) and for dessert, there was a creme brulee type of thing but I had fruit salad because of allergies. There was the option of many courses of wine, but I had sparkling water. There was live music which felt very much like what one should be doing in France.
  • From the river, I saw the Musée d’Orsay, Hôtel national des Invalides, Notre Dame and many other beautiful buildings and bridges. Everything in Paris is beautiful.
  • After the river cruise, we were able to walk around under the Eiffel tower for a bit. There are a little carousel and cafe there. The bus took us back to Le Havre and we boarded the ship for the last time before heading home.

Tips

  • It was very hot that day in France! Apparently, it isn’t usually, but keep in mind it does get warm.
  • I would definitely spend one more day in Paris. Three days at most. It would be interesting to just walk around the city and explore that way, plus go to the museums (or just the Louvre) but otherwise, I’m not sure what else one would do there.

Photojournal

Next up on the series of posts from this trip will be deep thoughts on the trip/what I’ve learnt from travelling this summer.

P.S. It’s Peri

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England Trip (London, Southampton, Guernsey)

In June I went on a 2 week trip around the British Isles starting with England!

London

We spent 2 days in London before boarding the cruise ship (more on this later!) to adjust to the time zone and explore London.

Food eaten, places visited and what I did

  • Flew into Heathrow Airport and took the Heathrow Express into London close to the Gresham Hotel where we stayed for 2 nights. The Express took us to Paddington Station which was beautiful and hard to get around. We couldn’t figure out how to get out of the station for the longest time.
  • Ate at Pret a Manger for the first time which is the best place. We need them in Canada. They have prepared, healthy foods that you can just grab and eat. And good coffee!
  • Walked around Hyde Park/Kensington Gardens. Saw The Peter Pan Statue and Italian Gardens. Beautiful gardens, lots of people walking around, dogs kept jumping in the Italian Garden fountain (??), chairs were set out for people to sunbathe in. It was quite a nice place and I could walk around there for a while.
  • After walking around, we had dinner at a little cafe down the road from the hotel. I had an omelette and salad since after travelling I wanted something not too fancy.
  • The next day we were surprised with an English Breakfast at the hotel, then headed out on the Hop On, Hop Off tour.
  • We saw all the major landmarks of London (Big Ben though it was being renovated, London Eye, Parliment, Buckingham Palace, Tower of London etc.) and got off of the bus at Buckingham, Trafalgar Square/National Gallery, and Tower of London to go on a cruise down the Thames. It was a long day but we saw so much and it was crazy to take in.
  • Ate at Pret (of course) and had dinner at a little Greek restaurant close to the hotel. They surprised us with fruit after dinner. A day full of surprise food.

Tips

  • The Hop on, Hop Off tour is great. We rode the full route through once to see everything and decide where we wanted to get off. They sometimes come with extras, like this one had the Thames River cruise included.
  • The tap water was pretty gross. I brought a water bottle filter and you could still taste it. So hydrate lots when you can and bottled water is probably better.
  • The Galleries admission was free but special exhibits were more.

Photojournal

Italian Gardens in Kensington Gardens

Peter Pan Statue in Kensington Gardens
Paddington Station

I accidentally took a photo of this guy but it looks very purposeful. 
Piccadilly Circus 
Parliament and the River Thames
Tower of London
Cleopatra’s Needle
Buckingham Palace, the Queen was in that day. 

The National Gallery

Southampton & Guernsey

In order to board the cruise ship, we had to meet at the airport and then take a bus down to Southampton. The first full day we spent in St. Peter Port, Guernsey.

Places visited and what I did

  • We only drove around Southampton a bit, but it was a cute city. There were ancient ruins of the Town Wall built in with the more modern parts of the city. The city has a rich history since it is a port. It was where the Titanic departed, not comforting when you’re about to board a cruise ship.
  • Most of the day was spent waiting to board the ship, then exploring the ship and unpacking once our luggage arrived.
  • The next morning we boarded tenders to take us into St. Peter Port. It is the definition of quaint. The town is colourful and looks straight out of a painting.
  • We took a bus from the port, through the island and to the Little Chapel. The Chapel is made up of bits of old broken china and shells. It sits in a pretty garden up a hill. You can go downstairs in the chapel so it’s almost two levels? There are many little alters in the chapel.
  • We went back to the ship where it was the first formal night. We had dinner (which I forgot to take pictures of, so I forgot what I ate that night) and saw a show onboard.

Tips

  • Always be prepared for rain! Even if it says it’s not going to rain, it probably will because it’s Britain. Luckily we were very fortunate and it only sprinkled a little rain. It was still cooler outside than in Canada at the same time of year so I would’ve dressed more warmly if I had known.

Photojournal

The cruise ship in Southampton 
The Little Chapel in Guernsey

Next up on the trip will be Ireland!

P.S. It’s Peri

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