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Host Bonjour

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About Host Bonjour

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    Cruise Critic Host

About Me

  • Location
    NYC Metro Area
  • Interests
    Travel, photography, cinema, mixed-media painting, chocolate
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Love new places, returning to favorite places, & going home.

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  1. Kia Ora, Cheers, Hello: I so needed to start with a different greeting, maybe to at least feel like I am someplace else than where I was when I wrote the first post six months ago which feels like–way more than six months ago. I am someplace else, a block away in a café with a mask slung below my chin since no one is within six feet of me while I type. And I thought of everyone on these boards while I was on a ferry boat across Long Island Sound yesterday for a one-hour ride from Port Jefferson to Bridgeport on a pretty day. It wasn't me on the Bounty in Sydney Harbour, or on the Bateau (one of) Mouches on the Seine, but it was a boat going somewhere! So that's our new reality and the progress, local and slow. Someone on these boards posted pictures from South Island and so I got to see Tasman, Cook, Franz Josef and Fox (which I climbed, still don't know how!) and I thank whomever it was for the post and memories for this cranky Brooklynite who was enchanted and forever changed by an amazing island and incomparable continent. I now even have a Sydney colleague, we don't get many Aussie expats here (I get why!) but I'm thrilled when we do. That's what makes this place great, always has, always will. Our first How's Everything Where You Are Thread was a great journal of stories by CC members in the first stage of dry dock. It seemed like a good time to start a new series as the seasons are changing in our respective hemispheres, and continue our chronicles here together while we continue to work on staying well, keep informed, remember what's good, and that we've gotten through challenging things before, this is the hard part and you know what? We are doing OK. You can revisit any of the posts you have made in the previous topics, these conversations are an important record of this time. As a reminder, please always keep in mind Cruise Critic's member guidelines concerning posts and in the spirit of keeping yourself and others well, have a thought for each other when responding to posts. You are neighbors here, we are first and always a community, it's been heartwarming to see the kindness exchanged among everyone for birthdays, anniversaries, and even losses. We already knew there were bonds but I think we've seen things elevated to new levels and it's been special. I know part of that is because of the culture and traditions of New Zealand and Australia, there's truly no place like it on earth; I know the other part of it is because of Cruise Critic–there's no other community like it online. Thank you, we love you. Colleen 🤗🥰
  2. By REUTERS and SARAH HOLT FOR MAILONLINE December 2019 Thanks Terry!
  3. By Anna Momigliano, December 2019 Thanks Terry!
  4. by Ben Groundwater Thanks Terry!
  5. by Jason Horowitz, June 2020 Thanks Terry!
  6. Reporting by Giselda Vagnoni; Editing by Toby Chopra, May 2020 Thanks Terry.
  7. author: Rebecca Ann Hughes, for FORBES, May 2020 Thanks Terry!
  8. Oh this made me smile.....thinking about Italian sunshine (and heat 😩) the vistas, food, wine...history, people. Take a pass on the driving...spend enough time in traffic around here, and it's not ITALY! 🤣 (no gelato when the traffic clears...) It gets better. I don't know when, but it will. Then there will be traffic to/from airports and at the security lines....well, make sure your pre ✅ is current. The hassles will be worth it when the time comes and you're back there 🥰
  9. I liked Zurich but then I'm from NYC so I'm into cities, however Zurich does not look like New York. For me, that's always a thing. Also, the poshness of it is unparalleled, although Causeway Bay, Central and a small bit of Kowloon (at the time) in Hong Kong were also posh, but it's different. I did not sleep in Zurich, I stayed down the lake in Rapperswil, it was recommended to me by a frequent traveler who visited often for business and it had charm, a little 12th century castle, not to mention a short train ride into Zurich (they really are AMAZING 😳 ) market days, cultural flavor, scenic) so that combo of city/charming Rapperswil/short, wonderful train made Zurich great for me. I did go to Liechtenstein and part of what made that interesting was getting there. No train stopped there so we had to take the train to...I think across the border into Austria and catch a postal bus that then went to Vaduz. It's a neat looking castle (and it's chilly in Liechtenstein, even in mid-June!) pretty town, I went for a walk and found a scenic secluded creek, I don't know where I was. It was one of my favorite photos from the entire 16 day journey in 3 (well 4) countries and 1 principality. BTW, I don't rent cars abroad, (that's why the schlep to Liechtenstein) mostly because I can't drive stick (not very well...) and don't want to deal with all the stuff I deal with at home and owning a car. Definitely know Lucerne is a winner, a family member went and loved it, you can't go wrong with that either. Train ride from Zurich to where I was going, down into the lakes, was unbelievable....the long tunnels, the alps, the crystalline streams, pastures. Changing trains in Milan was close, but it was an ambitious schedule on my part because of course the Swiss train was right on time, there simply wasn't a lot of wiggle room before the Italian train left so I had to haul down to the track with my luggage; not recommended but I made it. Whatever you decide, it will be unforgettable. I can still see it and feel it... 😚 Enjoy planning.
  10. 😍 I feel like walking across the street for one now... except...just realized, they close awfully early. 😪 (Its's the small things these days)
  11. I've always drank coffee (and brewed it) made by immigrants in my neighborhoods using either the pot highlighted in yellow for brown coffee (illy, Lavazza, Medaglia d'Oro, or at times, a supermarket brand, depending upon the budget of the household; this was pre-gourmet coffee era) and the espresso or caffe maker, for the black coffee, (also, illy, Lavazza, Medaglia d'Oro; more options there now too, just no supermarket brands) and in some other households, you may have had Bustelo being used where the Lavazza or Illy was used. GREAT COFFEE!! Also, it comes down to, as you know, what's coffee (big cup) versus café (little cup) as often the word coffee will be used by many around the world to mean little cup (aka black coffee, aka espresso), not big cup coffee. And now, we have the popularity of beverages that use black coffee in larger cup drinks (coffee drinks??) like lattes, cappuccinos, macchiatos, etc. It's just a matter of what suits your palette and what's available. But I've read and read and read about it and other than the percolator, the french press (I think this might be the one I have or similar) is my go to. Stainless steel, double or triple walled, works for me. I sort of blend my own (and sometimes grind my own beans) because my tastes change and I like medium roasts but hanker for the taste of a darker roast blended in. I have no limits this way. I've had my grinder for years and when you get the hang of it you can grind to the coarseness of whatever maker you are using. Commercial is either over or under ground. I couldn't stand reading about drinking not great coffee and while I can't help with a lot from far away, maybe this can help a little. Also, hit me up next you're in the states; there are definitely cafés where you can sit and while away; not so much in Midtown Manhattan where it's almost definitely grab and go although some have a few seats (there's one on 40th and Broadway that has a good amount of seating, it's just LOUD. We don't always have the terraces like Paris, but cafés are a thing....actually everything is outside now but even before that, it had taken hold awhile ago. And this is a place too where you can make anywhere your own outdoor café and no one will care. Grab a coffee, sit down, watch people, chill out. I'll find them for you anywhere. Hang in there, everyone. It's hard but little comforts matter a lot now, so make good coffee. If you're a customer at a cafe, maybe they'll sell you some of what they use that you can keep at home as a secret stash for comfort if it's not easy to order privately. You never know. Hugs from another hemisphere and I miss it there so much but one of my bosses is from NSW so I get to hear her lovely voice often 🙂
  12. That's what a family member reported; her first-ever European trip and she was there on a per-diem that was based on the government rate because she worked for a contractor. And she's super frugal, so....a particular challenge! She did buy one of those....what do you call the furry hats with the flaps, I know there's a name for it. Came in handy for another work trip to Moscow, the money went farther there! It wasn't too difficult to find somewhat affordable things in Switzerland, but I was ready for it to be a bit more expensive than the other countries I was visiting on my first-ever European trip. Don't know if I was ready for what the shopping looked like because it made Paris and NYC look...well....nice effort. I don't know, if there aren't diamonds everywhere I look, and watches with difficult to pronounce names, and lots of chocolate, I don't know how keen I am on over-paying for coffee and tea. And yet, only last weekend I spent some time in the Bronx talking with someone who could NOT stop telling me how much she and her ex loved visiting Norway. There may be no escaping it.... 😉
  13. Good times. 😉 I do recommend the Quarantine Station (aka Q Station) as an itinerary stop for those with pre/post cruise or land-only visits. Fascinating historical details, not to mention some wonderful vistas. These places always did seem to be not too far from the sea, though one definitely was not getting a room with a view.
  14. I'm with you there, Hank, knowing full well where I'm typing right now. I don't know how much most ships and boats weigh (or most modes of transit aside from cars because it's typically printed on the registration, otherwise.....) but I'm not against boats or smaller ships and seeing Venice from the sea. The canal should be UNESCO'd too, if possible (by extension to Venice) in order to preserve it. Seriously: since the city is more or less "paved" with canals, not streets, and the water flows in/out daily from the sea, makes sense that preservation of the terrain is directly connected to what's around it. Plenty of ways to see Venice from the water and keep the sea water and canals safe and clean, or other ways to arrive into Venice. The arrival by train is quite iconic too, it's shown in many films and television shows and quite something to seem to be traveling for quite awhile with water all around. You KNOW where you're going to be very soon and it's a unique place in the world. As to the seemy, novelistic vision...this happens with every place. Almost every place in the world has an "icky" spot (cities, can't count remaining natural, unspoiled places) and one can LOVE love love where they come from (I do) and know it has icky spots (I could never deny it anyway) or truths. Perhaps the guide was only worried that other traveler's ideas of dreamy Venice would be spoiled if people were to realize that yes, even Venice had a dark corner, even if it were only uno, due....some tourists (tourists, not travelers) only want the fairytale, not reality. Disney Venice, not actual Venice, which is wonderful, but like many places, complex. The Bridge of Sighs history is rather dark! On my way to the Blue Mountains in Sydney I asked a local about a book I'd read (popular at the time) written by a woman who'd said she'd spent a long time with aborigines, it was fascinating. Some Aussies weren't so sure about its veracity because, and it's true, aborigines do not typically bring outsiders into their company. Can't recall the circumstances of how she said she got with them, and it was incredibly descriptive, detailed. Who knows. It wasn't written as fiction so hopefully the aboriginal details were authentic and none of that was being discounted, and I wasn't about to challenge as a visitor! I'd already been told I couldn't immigrate when I said how much I loved Australia, which was absolutely true, but I hadn't meant it as a declaration of intent to relocate. So I caught on about when to stay quiet about thoughts and feelings.... 😉 Maybe I'll look for those Donna Leon books. She'd have a tough time finding seedy places in Switzerland 🤣 (Well, it is there, less seedy in the traditional sense, more of a hidden underbelly, looks a lot prettier 😱 )
  15. It's quite a patchwork of openings, and it sounds like it will be a know-before-you-go for EU/non-EU continent residents, maybe harkening back to times when there were borders or other eras when moving around was different for the time being. The New York Times article summarizes which countries are open to which and when, what if any quarantine periods there are, and the few countries that are open to international (US) travelers (not many without a 14 day self quarantine period). Europe's Patchwork Reopening The New York Times I won't link to the article about Venice; locals chatted about an eagerness to reclaim it for themselves, and artists, students, and entrepreneurs. There's acknowledgment in the piece about the improbability (or challenge) of that happening 😉
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