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Host Bonjour

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About Host Bonjour

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    NYC Metro Area
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    Travel, photography, cinema, mixed-media painting, chocolate
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    Love new places, returning to favorite places, & going home.

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  1. Yes, have spent many weeks in Verona and love it. Here is a link to a recent thread which includes others commenting on Verona as well as Lake Garda, which is near Verona and also lovely. I think the OP's visit has already happened but I figured it couldn't hurt to add this in again. Others may wish to know about Venice alternatives, to have a backup plan in the event plans might need to be changed.
  2. I appreciate the gentle 😉 I made the adjustment. Merci bien. I have moved police parking barriers when I determined I could legally park in the city (they were taking up space and serving no obvious barrier function!) and so I'm not averse to very minor local scandals. (No parking ticket, no troubles 😉 ) Changed it! I probably only used English first since I learned it first but I came to love French soon enough. However since Canada is dual language and our next door neighbor, I goofed and made a mistake here that I'd hopefully avoid to the native French speakers of Canada by not using French first. Je suis très desolée. I am sorry! And I am glad you pointed it out. Thank you so much!! 🙂 _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ I do hope everyone will eventually use this new thread. The original Anything Montréal thread, which began in 2013, remains open and accessible for everyone to use as a helpful resource for obtaining helpful and interesting information when planning their visits to the wonderful city of Montréal. On many of our boards, Northeastern Europe, Spain, and Italy ,we have certain topics that receive a high volume of inquiry and responses, for example: Wonderful Copenhagen, Palma de Mallorca DIY - New, and Rome in Limo, and each represent popular topics that are in second, third or, even later editions. Each of those topics had reached about 20+ pages of posts, with approximately 20 posts (that's about 400 posts!) of varying lengths. Some topics might have started years ago; our Wonderful Copenhagen topic has started anew each year for the past few years, and is now up to 21 pages for 2019! It makes sense to keep information up to date for members because things change year to year. I keep old guides on hand for nostalgia and as a jumping off point as to historic places or sights, but I know there are strict limits as to what I can rely upon in older guides. I also like to do efficient searches. We have so many great topics from so many wonderful members and contributors and I don't want anyone's contribution to be overlooked as it might possibly happen if it gets buried deep into any multi-page voluminous topic. The boards work best when information is accessible, up to date, and above all, visible! We want as many eyes to see as many wonderful of these posts as possible. Here again is a link to the original, wonderful 673 post Anything Montréal topic. It is closed to new posts but it is most certainly open to read and review to anyone. We look forward to the continued interest and participation in this next generation of Anything Montréal or À propos de Montréal. Winter may be approaching but passionate cruisers are way into planning for next season and we know there is nothing like first hand information for the best, and most successful voyages. The French Canadian in me is grateful to everyone in advance for joining this topic to post about everything/anything wonderful, fantastic, distinctive about Montréal. The Cruise Critic/long time Independent Traveler host part of me enthusiastically appreciates, celebrates, and thanks every member for their contributions to this and every other board here at Cruise Critic. Our community is unparalleled because of you. Merci beaucoup, Thank you!
  3. Thank you for the link, it's an atoll, wow!! For whatever reason, I didn't think typing in Scilly Isles might turn up anything in a search. I don't know why but I love that I know about these islands and will look to see if I can find videos on them now. I'm obsessed with remote places. Kind of makes sense they named the patches of land inside the roads after the Scilly Isles...but it's a really good thing there aren't as many of them as there are Scilly Isles. 😳
  4. ...and goodness were they packed full nightly! Such a great discovery while I explored the New Town although I decided not to venture in; each one was packed fuller than the next but it sure looked fun. I knew I was out of my element when I was in Greyfriars Bobby one afternoon 😉 I don't know if I could say I prefer the Old Town over the New my impression was they were both glorious but in completely different ways. I think it must have been obvious when planning the New Town that it had to be as wonderful, but of course in a new style, and it is. I lean towards old things, but what is wonderful here might be how well they complement each other, of course. An outsider can't rightly say one is better. Plan to take time on the walk, and there are ample places of wonder along the Mile to stop and recharge when heading up to the castle. Peak down the closes, pop into St. Giles, look into shops here or there - it is so pretty and picturesque, you will want to see everywhere and go slow anyway. It's gradually inclining and just steeper towards the approach but lots of people will be around you and as you see the castle getting closer the excitement will hopefully provide you with an extra boost of energy knowing you're nearly there and about to have an unforgettable experience on your visit! I felt like I traveled through time when I was there and can still feel the wind blowing about; it was kind of chilly that day but nice and sunny while I was up the castle and so I didn't care. Once back down the mile, normal wind conditions again. After I went home I got a book about Mary Queen of Scots. She must have told me to.... Enjoy your visit and let us know how it went when you're home.
  5. #1 #2 #3 https://www.schengenvisainfo.com/schengen-visa-types/ #4 Sometimes the flow of information loses clarity in the back and forth so I've summed up the facts here to help readers determine if the scenario is similar to their circumstances. Hopefully this makes the information more accessible to everyone who is curious.
  6. You don't mention what time of year you are traveling, which might possibly be a factor; if it is not May-September, the chances of a direct flight on another airline or charter are less likely as this would be the time, if ever, for routes to be added. It's likely you'd find direct flights from Zurich to Milan, Rome, but to get to most other Italian cities would require an additional flight from these main hubs. Not enough demand, or profit for the type of direct flight you seek, especially with such an incredible rail network running through Switzerland (and it's an incredibly scenic journey!!) and Italy. Did you check Lufthansa? Alitalia? Don't overlook checking the airline websites directly, especially when seeking a specific type of route, the fare might even be exactly the same or better than what's on booking sites and I wouldn't have believed it if a pilot for a legacy domestic carrier hadn't told me to do this (and it wasn't to look at their carrier's site!) I think we've all become accustomed to automatically hitting the sites that check all the airline fares when it isn't always the best strategy. In some cases, it might be best to pinpoint the search and you may be pleasantly surprised. I flew from Paris to Berlin on one of their smaller jets but then I was heading to Berlin. My only thinking is that Lufthansa seems to go everywhere but, it is Switzerland so with Swissair, they likely have most of the gates at each of the airports leaving few available gates for competitors. You never know. If it works, you're all set and if it doesn't, at least you know you covered all the bases. Good luck and enjoy your week in Switzerland, it's spectacular. And Venice too, hopefully they recover well - they always do! :)
  7. My friend's mother took us around the city, she'd gotten married in Basilica di San Lorenzo having lived in Tuscany prior to marrying and then moving to Emilia Romagna. Even before we parked the car and walked anywhere, I couldn't wait to eat the sciacciata (skee-AH-chah-tah) she'd been talking about, and she knew which panetterias to go to for the best. It is a tuscan bread treat, not focaccia, not garlic knots, I'd never had anything like it in decades of living in immigrant Italian-American neighborhoods (no tuscans) or found elsewhere in Italy. I've had great gelato in many parts of Italy. I've only had this in Florence. Go find the sciacciata. Then, yes, finish with a gelato in your preferred flavor but you'll need a bit of time after the richness of the bread, prego. 😉
  8. From a profitability standpoint, it's a slam dunk...in that food (esp. good food!) is the least profitable part of the meal, especially if real estate is expensive. Highest profit margins are on beverages, desserts. No guarantee on whether or what will folks will drink or take dessert. so the only way left to ensure a steady cost/benefit is to keep everything else constant; everyone eating, all the time. Everyone eating, all the time, very Italian. But not being welcoming to everyone all the time...not at all Italian. No one said it would be easy running a good restaurant. Even harder to find one.
  9. Small, quick and easy for commercial travel, absolutely nothing like the larger airports. Well, those airports have their moments, but rarely. HPN is small compared to the others, civilized, easy, and calm, you'll like it. Making a 12 Noon flight should be no problem. And Uber are licensed by NYC Taxi and Limo (TLC) the same as yellow cabs so they are permitted to pick up passengers anywhere that taxis are able to enter. Uber cars that do not have NYC TLC certification can not pick up passengers if say, they have driven from HPN to Red Hook; they must then drive empty back to wherever their home turf is (or anywhere outside the NYC area) in order to resume collecting passengers again. Enjoy the experience. 🙂
  10. What about sailing on freighters? It's not glamorous but they can be decent in terms of food and accomodation and at least get you through to where you want to be. They aren't necessarily inexpensive but might be less expensive than a standard TP cruise on a passenger cruise ship. Found these two: https://www.freighterexpeditions.com.au/to-from-asia https://www.langsamreisen.de/en/freightertravel/ Unfortunately, the Aranui, which is quite well known among South Pacific travelers, Paul Theroux even sailed on it and wrote of it in The Happy Isles of Oceania well, they only do the islands and don't go up to Japan. And it isn't necessarily inexpensive either. Years ago I was a subscriber to www.transitionsabroad.com which was loaded with all sorts of alternative travel information, links, resources. It was how I was able to find courier companies through which I was able to take two very inexpensive long haul journeys (reduced airfare in exchange for giving up my checked baggage allowance) on commercial airlines. Can't do that anymore but it was a great resource and still seems to be the case now. I hope you find something that suits your needs so everyone can safely get to Japan. And back. Let us know how things proceed.
  11. What JB said, as usual 😉 Central really does get quiet after business hours but...that is also why there are quite a number of luxurious hotels there, it's convenient for business people. I had high tea at the Mandarin in Central, kind of just chose it at random with a friend. I stayed in Causeway Bay which I loved but I was visiting a former colleague and stayed in their flat while they traveled to Singapore on business. I wouldn't say it's exactly dead on HK island though, there's Victoria Peak and Causeway Bay was buzzing, you can hop on the trams to get around easy. I went back and forth between Kowloon and HK on different nights, exploring different places, you can't get bored here. I also visited Stanley via bus, went to Macau via the fast boat, I stayed over night as a treat at a seaside resort. Went to Lantau for the big buddha which I enjoyed, and at the time, Tai-O was included with that, but unstructured. One day I just got on the MTR, someone had recommended a shrine to me way up into Kowloon, now I have to dig into my journal for the name so as not to mess it up...probably if you research it you can figure out which one it is. I had extra time so that's why I did it. And there's a tea museum in Central that was amazing....I didn't expect it to be which showed me/taught me; don't assume. As JB and others have said, it is quite quick and easy to get from the island to Kowloon and TST via MTR or Star Ferry. Whatever you do, definitely make a point of taking at least one ferry trip; it's essential to get a ride out on the harbour and the ferry is quite an easy, inexpensive (and utilitarian) means to accomplish this. Nice breeze too if it's a balmy day, as it often can be. I didn't do a HoHo bus either; I think there are some destinations that are more HoHo friendly, and where it can be helpful. I don't think it's needed here. It's truly very easy to get around and the things to see/do are varied, it's a different experience altogether that I'm not sure HK fits the HoHo model, though there's absolutely nothing at all wrong with having a HoHo experience in HK...especially if it enables one to get around when that isn't so easy to do. Have an amazing trip, get ready. HK hits all your senses from the moment you arrive, it will be an unforgettable experience. 🙂
  12. Thanks so much for posting this here as well Den! It's always great to get trip reports here, we don't see as much after as we do before which is OK, since everyone gets busy once they are home. It's just sometimes nice to hear how things worked out and for folks getting ready to go, to hear other's experiences and see photos. It's especially cool when folks visit places we don't always see written about, like jaw-dropping roundabouts! Part of the fun of being in different places and having experiences altogether different than our own. Hampshire is a beautiful region, I have been around this countryside quite a bit and loved it. Would looooove to see Cornwall, haven't yet had the delight, that would be a journey to stay only there, I believe. Seems it warrants an exclusive trip of its own. Thanks again for sharing your adventures with us here!!
  13. Ummmm......what? Oh I know......no wait the second bump.....is someone/thing maybe buried in the smaller Isles of Scilly that they couldn't dig up to let the A307 pass directly through? Who or what's a Scilly? 🤔
  14. 🧐🤫🤯😳🍷 Only wine can follow those faces. Where's the emergency exit. No really. Upon reaching this I'd have just gotten out of the car and left it there, immediately fixing to find a pub. A roundabout inside a roundabout? Goodness, I thought it was such a civilized, welcoming place.... 😉
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