The Revolution of the Celebrity Summit

We love to travel that is no lie but we were pretty darned excited to have the opportunity to be on the inaugural cruise of the newly revolutionized Celebrity Summit!

We had a bit of trouble checking in on our phone but as soon as we reached the cruise terminal in San Juan, everyone was so welcoming , we didn’t need to worry.

The Cabins

We were lucky enough to be in Concierge Class.  The cabins have been redesigned with every square inch thoughtfully planned out.  The lamps beside the bed have USB and power plugs which made His and Her phone charging a breeze!  The wardrobes are sleek and have a separate shelves for shoes.  There is a safe of course but also a nice cupboard to store things up top with a bank of drawers next to the wardrobe. The extra shelving is great because it makes it easier to find things. There seemed to be a space for everything.

The cashmere mattresses are extremely comfortable and the room colours are modern with greys and just a splash of soft muted coral. The bathrooms have corner shelving for toilettries and the shower is a good size.  The old school space tube type showers are now a thing of the past! We’ve been cruising for awhile and can remember having a shower with the shower curtain wrapping around us.  The full size shower is a welcome addition.

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They really got the travel agents engaged by using the Goose Chase App which was so much fun.  Every time we visited a cabin that was open for viewing we had to answer a question or post a photo of ourselves in a certain place. Each completed task earned points and at the end of the mission there was a draw for prizes.  We made it our goal to see everything and we did not miss a spot!

Suite Class

The suites all featured upgraded bathrooms that would rival most upscale resorts.  We were able to view all level suites and they were all quite impressive.  The penthouse with its full living room and dining area was expansive and it had two bathrooms which is nice if you really like your own space.  It does however have only one bedroom which is important to know. The wrap around balcony had a dining table for a small group, hot tub and a couple of lounge areas to sit and read or just enjoy the views.

The Royal Suite’s bathroom with double sinks and a tub did wow me a little I must say.  It also had a smaller dining area and living room that is just a nice size for a couple.  The deck had a sitting area and another area with loungers and a hot tub.

If you are in suite class you will be have use of a butler to assist you but you will also be able to dine at Luminae and enjoy the Retreat Lounge and the Retreat Sundeck. The Retreat Sun Deck had a small menu and beautiful sun lounging beds. There is great value in these extras and I suspect those in suite class will use them frequently.

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The Food

While we did not get a chance to try any of the specialty restaurants, their decor and menus look fantastic.  We visited all of the restaurants on the Summit and each one has their own character.

The Oceanview Cafe’s revolution is a winner.  The layout means shorter line ups and the food stations have so much to offer.  Of courses there is a spot to get your eggs made to order but at lunch there is also a custom made pasta bar and our favourite, the baked potatoes filled with oodles of choices and then finished off with a culinary torch to melt the cheese.

The Food

The Main Dining Room

The menu was good with a steak available every night and some lighter options too.  The dining room feels much brighter and is modernly elegant.  The show stoppers are the Porter chairs with their high backs and intimate feel, strategically located throughout the dining room.

Specialty Restaurants

Qsine with its bright pop of orange and sleek decor is home to a fun style of dining.  Your table captain (you can choose who gets this power) is in charge of ordering on a iPad. It has whimsical tapas style creations and each dish arrives at the table to be shared by all.

Tuscan Grille has a large window so you can view the kitchen.  We enjoyed watching them making pasta and it gave us an appreciation for all the hard work that goes into our meals.

Sushi on 5, the plates coming out of this kitchen are beautiful, almost too beautiful to eat.

Specialty restaurants

Relaxation and Entertainment

The ship has lots of places to sit and relax.   You can lounge with a martini or maybe a gelato or try the sun deck which doubles as a movie theatre at night.

We did not get to the American Ballet the first evening but managed to get to the show the second night and the performers were excellent for December 63, which featured the music of Frankie Valli.

With a Canyon Ranch spa, you can’t go wrong. The time was too short for us to try a service but I am sure if you do get a chance you will be in for a treat. Next cruise we are staying in Aqua class and we are excited because we get to enjoy a section of the spa which is call the Persian Garden.  This area has eucalyptus steam, saunas and heated tile lounges to relax and unwind. Being a foodie we are excited about the option of being able to eat at Blu which is available for all Aqua Class guests.  The gym has a lot more equipment than I remember and a separate room for classes such as yoga and spinning.  We didn’t make it to the morning meditation class up on deck but will make a point of it next time.

There are numerous bars and lounges to suit your mood.  The Sunset Bar with is spectacular views, Cellar Masters for the oenophile and the one that always seemed to be the gathering spot for all, the Martini Bar.

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The size of this ship, 2,158 passengers is perfect for people who want all the amenities but don’t want the crowds and can live without the waterslide.  The Celebrity App helped us plan our day and it was easy to look up the time of the next show or gym class. The Summit is for the person who likes a little pampering and luxury without the high price tag.

If you would like to join Kimberley and Steven from Plan A Vacation on this gorgeous ship we have great rates for group space available for February 15-22, 2020, sailing the ABC Islands.  We also plan to start the cruise early with a food and drink tour in Old San Juan on the Friday evening prior to setting sail.  It is shaping up to be a fun group and we know it is going to be a fantastic time!

Photos and story by: Kimberley Gunning, Plan A Culinary Vacation, Plan A Vacation

For travel inquiries: travelwithus@planavacation.ca or 1-877-894-7526 ext 107 www.planavacation.ca

Kimberley Gunning, Plan A Culinary Vacation and Niagara Culinary Tours

 

 

 

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Cruises: Packing Doesn’t Need to Be Difficult

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We have lots of clients getting ready to travel this month and the number one question seems to be “what do I pack for a cruise?”  Packing for a cruise does differ a bit from all inclusive travel, but cruising has evolved through the years and so has baggage limitations.

Do You Love It?

Spend an afternoon and try your clothes on.  Look at each piece with a discerning eye and ask yourself “Do I Love it?”

Yes, we’re asking you to “Marie Kondo” your travel wardrobe. Travelling sparks so much joy so why not take advantage of this and clear a few things out while you are in the spirit. On our last trip while packing I noticed a few of my favourite t-shirts with moth holes. They definitely give me less joy now than they used to, so it was time to thank them and say goodbye.

Ocean or River Cruise?

Spending time on the Danube in May requires a very different wardrobe than the same month in the Caribbean. Check the average temperature for the ports you will be stopping in.  If you have a smart phone you can add your destinations to your weather app and this can help you plan as you get closer to departure.

Always pack a couple of wraps or scarves.  You may want a sheer, lightweight one for the ocean cruise to keep your shoulders warm in the air conditioned dining room or to shade a little from the sun.  Acrylic, cotton and rayon wraps are an excellent solution for the cooler weather in the mornings and evenings on the rivers. Wraps are available in many places and have a price range of $15-$100 which is a small price for comfort and beauty. Layers help keep you comfortable on a morning stroll on deck and in an air conditioned bus or restaurant.

Pack light

Make sure you choose items that do double duty.  Pack tops that can be accessorized to be both casual and a bit more dressy when dinner time rolls around.  Pants and skirts can often be worn multiple times and create different looks.

Pack strategically and remember you can always wash things. We’ve been know to do a bit of  laundry on longer trips because some river cruise boats have convenient facilities. Check to see what is offered on your ship.

Shoes can be the most challenging when it comes to deciding what to pack  Walking shoes are a must because river or ocean you will have lots of opportunities to explore your ports of call.  Three styles of shoes, with differing heights will help your feet.  Two casual and maybe a sandal that can double for day and evening.

It can be a good idea to change your shoes a couple of times during the day to help ease tired feet. Remember though, it is a good kind of tired because you are seeing new things and living your best life while putting a bit of mileage onto your Fitbit.

The majority of cruise ships have hair dryers so you don’t need to worry.  Also do not pack an clothing iron because these are not permitted many cruise lines. Beach towels are usually provided and they add too much bulk when packing.

A Few Must Haves

These must haves are things that we find make life a bit easier. You don’t need packing cubes but once you have travelled with them you will wonder how you lived without!

  • Packing cubes
  • A dirty laundry bag
  • Motion sickness wrist bands
  • Tiny fold up rain poncho and/or umbrella
  • power bar with USB plugs if you have multiple devices. The newest ships are providing numerous plugs and USBs so ask your agent about what is available.
  • A travel first aid kit
  • Moist antibacterial travel wipes. Wipe door handles, light switches, yourself etc.
  • Zip lock bags. These are great for packing a snack or two whether coming back from shore or going out for the day.
  • A stainless steel insulated water bottle. Airports now have water bottle filling stations but remember to empty it before going through security. If you fill your bottle before getting off the ship on port days, it will keep cold for hours.
  • Waterproof bags, a bag for your phone or other electronics and a bag to take to the beach that will keep your clothes dry
  • Compact shopping bag, this is one of those fold up bags that can go in your purse or backpack and can be used for shopping or wet bathing suits
  • A hat, this is great for sun or just bad hair days
  • Your medications. Travel with any prescriptions in their prescription bottle with your name on it.

Some Resources

Plan A Vacation Pinterest Page

Celebrity Cruises: Cruise Planning and Packing Tips 101

Forbes: 7 Packing Tips To Make Your European River Cruise Hassle Free

Cruise Critic – This is a fantastic place to find tips on cruising, learn about your ship and discover things to do in each of your ports.  If you like people, you can also add yourself to the CC Role Call for your sailing and get invited to a meet up on board during your cruise.

Travel Tips

As always, I like to end with something I have learned the hard way.  Travel with a handheld luggage scale and weigh both your carry on and your checked bag before heading to the airport.  Airlines are serious about their size and weight restrictions. We were once seen unpacking and repacking in the Cancun airport, trying to fix what we could have figured out before we left our resort!

Photos and story by: Kimberley Gunning, Plan A Culinary Vacation, Plan A Vacation

For travel inquiries: travelwithus@planavacation.ca or 1-877-894-7526 ext 107 www.planavacation.ca

Kimberley Gunning, Plan A Culinary Vacation and Niagara Culinary Tours

 

 

Do You Know The Way To Santa Fe?

DoYouKnowtheWaytoSantaFeI found myself in New Mexico for a conference in Albuquerque, so it only made sense to make the 1.5 hour trip to Santa Fe.

Travelling by train

The RailRunner was a delightful way to travel.  For $10 US one way you can be in the heart of Santa Fe in 90 minutes.  It was comfortable and a bit quirky with the roadrunner “beep beep” being heard as the doors closed at each stop. It was relaxing watching the landscape sweep by and not having to worry about traffic.

Where to stay

There normally are an extensive variety of options but I was there during the National Governor’s Association meeting so many places were already full.  The town was filled with SUVs and body guards but it made things interesting trying to name people as I came across them.  One female governor went for a brisk morning walk through town with her security, who had to work hard to keep up with her!

I was lucky to find a room at Las Palomas Inn. My room was decorated in Santa Fe style with tile floors and local artwork on the walls.  It even had a fireplace which wasn’t really needed in the heat of July but a nice touch. Breakfast was included and it was far more than expected.  House made muffins, fresh fruit and omelettes with a selection of morning beverages. The location was within walking distance of the square and a short Uber ride from the market.  The Uber drivers were mainly retirees and were a wealth of information on where to go and what to do.

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The Farmer’s Market

I had only two days to explore this iconic town so I hit the ground running and after check in made my way over to the Santa Fe Farmers Market, a market that found its roots with farmers selling from the backs of their trucks in the 60s.  This market has been listed as one of the top 10 markets and I’m glad I made time for it.

Flying really cramps one’s style when it comes to food travel.  The fresh produce was so tempting but unfortunately I had to stick to things that are legal to transport and that I could pack in my suitcase.  The tortillas they were cooking found their way into my belly but not my luggage.

Take A Food Tour

Just after mid day I hopped in an Uber to meet up with my group for Wander New Mexico‘s Santa Fe Historic Plaza Food tour. Not only are food tours a great way to discover a new destination’s culinary hot spots, they are perfect for solo travellers as the groups are small and more personal.

Wander New Mexico

Wander New Mexico’s Downtown Plaza Sip and Savor Food Tour.

Santa Fee Cooking School

We all have to eat so I booked myself into an evening class at Santa Fe Cooking School where chose a class on traditional Southwest cooking we learned about hatch peppers and posole.  This demo class was fun and we got to eat what they cooked. There is a beautiful kitchen store filled with spices, high quality pots and cookbooks.   I left full, with a new cookbook and some Southwest spices, inspired to try a few new things in my kitchen.

Non Food Related but Oh So Worth It!

My Sunday was a day set aside for a little rest and relaxation.  I stayed within walking distance of the square and also the Georgia O’Keefe Museum. The museum opened early so I was able to wander through before the after brunch crowd filled the space.  The museum provided more perspective on her life and works and it was nice to be right there in New Mexico the place that provided her creative inspiration.

A dear artist friend told me that if there is anything that I need to do, it is go to Ten Thousand Waves Spa.  I took this to heart and felt it was my duty to check this out.  I spent my last afternoon in absolute bliss.  This place was unlike anywhere I had ever been.  I have been to spas but this was so much more that that.  Available are outdoor baths and my private outdoor suite Ichiban had everything I needed to relax.  It had two ceramic outdoor tubs, a sauna, a cooling berth and one of those high tech Japanese toilets that did everything except wipe! I ended my evening early with gyozas to go from their onsite restaurant Izanami . My solo trip to Santa Fe was an astounding success as I realized that travelling alone was actually kind of nice and I returned home feeling refreshed and restored.

Travel Tips

I always like to end with something I have learned in my travels.  If you are travelling as a single person it can be a bit daunting.  If you don’t like to eat alone, choose activities like a food tour or a cooking class.  This is provides you with education, culture, food and the opportunity to meet some new people.

Photos and story by: Kimberley Gunning, Plan A Culinary Vacation

For travel inquiries: travelwithus@planavacation.ca or 1-877-894-7526 ext 107

Kimberley Gunning, Plan A Culinary Vacation and Niagara Culinary Tours

 

Looking back on 2018

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Wine Country Niagara

2018 was quite a year for travel.  I found myself in too many countries to count and the travel bug bit me hard.  As a travel professional it is important to know what is out there and experience as much as you can.

So 2018 started off with snowshoeing in the vineyard of Westcott winery in Jordan with friends. It was cold but it was so much fun and there was wine and a fire pit after our trek.  They are offering it again this year if you want to try something new.  January in the Niagara region is all about wine.  There is the Twenty Valley Winter Wine Festival and the Niagara Icewine Festival with winter offerings for wine lovers.

BuffaloShuffle Off to Buffalo

In February we found ourselves living the life of luxury in Buffalo.  For those that know me they would not be surprised, but for those who don’t…I love Buffalo.  Buffalo offers history, art, culture and food!  We make it an annual trip to spend a weekend at the Mansion on Delaware where they treat you so well you will never want to go home.  First we sipped tea by the fire and then we headed off to the Buffalo Harbour to check out the ice rink.  We celebrated a birthday with friends at 100 Acres located in the Hotel Henry where we dined and danced and enjoyed the laid back vibe in style.

In the past we have gone antiquing on Hertel Avenue and to buy kombucha at Bootleg Bucha. This year we are thinking about dining in a rooftop igloo with a view of the Buffalo skyline. The butler from MOD will be happy to provide roundtrip transportation so we can enjoy an evening out without driving.  In the morning we will have a beautiful breakfast and regal in our stories of the night before.  Like I said, I love Buffalo.

Planning A Vacation

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I worked hard learning about travel and dreaming about all the places people could go.  It was a nice way to spend the winter. #YouDreamWePlan

I took online courses and attended seminars.  We were up to our eyeballs in training and we learned a great deal while sipping tea out of this mug! Who doesn’t want to Eat Well and Travel Often!

Mexico

It finally happened, spring came.  With it was an incredible opportunity to go on a FAM tour to The Grand at Moon Palace in Cancun.  While there we worked tirelessly visiting Palace Resorts in Playa Del Carmen, Cancun and Isla Mujeres.  They were all unique and gave me a whole new appreciation for all inclusive resorts.  Living the Palace Life was an quite an experience!

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Santa Fe and Albuquerque

Summer came and I had a chance to go to New Mexico.  First stop was Albuquerque where we found the most unexpected gems.  The Hotel Andaluz was one of the original Hiltons constructed by New Mexico native, Conrad Hilton in 1939.  It has been restored in all its splendour.

The second place we found was Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Farm.  Pulling up the long drive with lavender fields and alpacas I honestly felt giddy with joy! It was so gorgeous and beyond what I expected I wanted to hold on to every moment we spent there.  This property will most definitely be up there in my top 5 of all time.  I wandered the grounds with my camera saying “wow” every time I turned a corner.  The farm shop was darling and the food in the restaurant was a true treat for this foodie.

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Since I was so close to Santa Fe I couldn’t give up the opportunity to make a road trip. I hopped on board the Rail Runner in Albuqurque for a speedy trip. Train travel is common in Europe but we use it less in North America.  I will save all the particulars for a blog that will follow later this month but I can say Santa Fe was worth the visit.

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Danube River Cruise

My travels ended this year with a magical European river cruise experience.  We packed in as much as we could since we were flying all the way there anyway.  We started our travel journey in Paris and ended in Lisbon.  The points in between were incredible and gave us a much larger understanding of what is possible and why a river cruise is a perfect way to see Europe.

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Photos and story by: Kimberley Gunning, Plan A Culinary Vacation

For travel inquiries: travelwithus@planavacation.ca or 1-877-894-7526 ext 107

Kimberley Gunning, Plan A Culinary Vacation and Niagara Culinary Tours

 

 

 

Cruising the Danube with U by Uniworld

Last month we had an epic holiday cruising the Danube with U by Uniworld.  Originally this cruise line was launched for the 18 to 45 crowd but for those of us who aren’t ready to sit back and let the kids have all the fun it is a perfect fit.

The Ship

The ship itself is very sleek and modern looking for a river cruise ship.  We sailed on “the  A” and we loved the cool vibe it gave off as soon as we saw her.  Black and white with touches of chrome and glass in the interior and just a tiny bit of neon just for good measure.  We arrived a bit later than we expected so we dumped our bags and headed off to the dining room to have a quick bite before they whisked away the food.  In retrospect that was the worst thing that happened on our cruise so it was pretty close to being perfect.

TheA

The Food

For us it is all about the food. Honestly as food tour owners we travel to eat so this is really important.  The thing that drew us to U was that they offered two meals instead of three. The first was a later breakfast/brunch and the second was dinner.  I have been on ocean cruises where it is an all you can eat situation and the mentality of many is that you need to eat as much as you can and you shouldn’t miss a meal because you paid for it.  The days of rushing back to the ship for lunch in the middle of exploring a new destination are over. It was fantastic having the opportunity to eat in place.

In Vienna we found ourselves eating with our new shipboard friends at the market.  In Budapest we went on a fabulous, leisurely food tour. In Bratislava we found a gorgeous sidewalk cafe and watched the world go by. We would enjoy our day and then return to the ship to eat dinner a little later.

For U cruises, alcoholic drinks are not included.  That of course did not deter me from having a glass of wine with dinner or enjoying a mojito or Aperol spritz on the rooftop deck. There is juice with breakfast, water poured constantly and there is a coffee/tea station called “Mugs” that is on the lower deck and is self serve and available 24/7. I had withdrawals when we got home and I could no longer have an Earl Grey latte every night.  Our bar bill was significantly less than our previous ocean cruises so we were pretty pleased with that.

Dinners were not quite what we had expected.  The original marketing suggested we would have family style and tapas type dining with table mates but there was a buffet every night but one.  The food was excellent but we would have preferred the original dining concept over the dinner buffets.  I imagine that they will tweak things as this is a new cruise line and they may mix it up a bit.  The staff were attentive but fun and it felt more informal which made us feel very at ease and relaxed, just like a cruise should be.

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The Cruise

The Danube Flow goes from Regensburg, Germany to Budapest, Hungary or in reverse on certain dates.   Each port has something different to offer.  In Regensburg there is the oldest wurst house where we enjoyed some Bratwurst and a pint while sitting along the Danube. In Budapest we spent time in Pest on a food tour and then went to Buda to the castle district. In Austria we spent a steamy evening sipping wine and eating gourmet appetizers in a vineyard in the Wachau Valley. There was also a morning spent wandering the streets of Bratislava, one of the smallest capital cities in Europe.

The greatest thing about a river cruise is that you dock in the centre of it all.  You walk off the ship and there it all is just waiting for you to discover!  On U there are included excursions available that are often walks with the U Hosts with a bit of history and lots of suggestions about where to go and what to do for the day.  We did a few paid excursions because the bus ride sure beat the walk up the hill to Melk Abbey.  We also had a guided tour in Vienna which was worth every penny and we love wine so in Wachau Valley we spent time exploring a local vineyard.

If you cycle there are bikes to borrow or you can head out with the group on a paid excursion on the trail beside the Danube. Everyone works hard on the ship and pitches in. At the end of a cycling trip they hand the bikes back up onto the ship. We got a great shot of the captain riding one of the bikes back to its storage spot on the top deck.

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We never ran out of things to do on the ship because there were onboard activities too.  There was yoga in the morning on the top deck, a beer mixology class and drumming lessons in the Ice Bar.  I managed to fit in a couple of reflexology treatments to sooth my aching feet.  My fitness tracker tells me we walked 200 km in 2 weeks and my feet appreciated the treatments!

The Cruise

If I were to talk about the highlight of the cruise I would have to say it was the evening we sailed into Budapest with the sounds of a jazz saxophonist and a dj.  In the dark night passing under the first bridge, only the sounds of awe and wonderment could be heard as we saw the spectacular lights of the Parliament buildings and the chain bridge.  I have seen Paris at night too but Budapest surprised me with its old world beauty and charm.  We didn’t know where to look as we were surrounded on both sides with an incredible light show.

Lightshow

I could talk about this cruise forever because there were so many high points. In short I would do this all again in a heartbeat and so Niagara Culinary Tours and Plan a Culinary Vacation are planning a return trip as we escort a group on the Danube Flow in May 2019.  If you would like to join us spots are still available.

TRAVEL TIP

On this blog I make it my mission to share a tip that I have learned the hard way. Think before you pack!  It always seems like a good idea to have outfits for dinner and alternatives in case it gets cold.  Everything adds to the weight in your suitcase so you have to be selective. This trip I used a rolling rack and created outfit pairings.  If it couldn’t create more than one look then it was gone.  I still ended up with too much but at least I didn’t have to pay a luggage overage fee this time!

Photos and story by: Kimberley Gunning, Plan A Culinary Vacation

For travel inquiries: kimberley@planavacation.ca or 1-905-353-5343

Kimberley Gunning, Plan A Culinary Vacation and Niagara Culinary Tours

 

Paris in only 36 hours

The first thing to say is that 36 hours is just not enough time for Paris. The second is, if it’s all you’ve got, then make the most of it!

We found ourselves in Paris enroute to Germany to catch a river cruise.

Choose your hotel wisely

If you want to be in the centre of it all, it can be costly. Save a little and use the metro or Uber to get around and discover a new neighbourhood. Our hotel the Phileas was just slightly off the beaten track located in the 9th arrondissement of Paris, but we were able to get to where we wanted to go within 10-15 minutes using various modes of transportation.

Do a food tour.

We are both foodies and food tour owners so this is something we do every time we travel. It is a fantastic way to learn about a new destination and have some lunch while doing it. We chose Secret Food Tour’s , Paris Montmartre tour. Our guide Claire took us to places that we would not have seen or experienced if we were on our own.  The group size was perfect and we covered a lot of ground.

Chocolates from a world class class chef, macarons without the ridiculous line ups, crepes from a tiny store front we would have missed and cheese well there was so much cheese…it made my knees weak.  Of course there is the secret part but we can’t share that but it was delightful.

Secret Food Tours Paris

Go for a walk

Pick a neighbourhood or district and go for a walk. We chose the 6 th arrondissement of Paris, home to the beautiful Jardins du Luxembourg .  As soon as we stepped out of the Uber we saw cafes, so many perfectly French sidewalk cafes that it was hard to choose. We chose based entirely on aesthetics and it did not disappoint. Our breakfast was exactly what we needed after a long day of travel the day before. A little protein, a little carbs and something healthy. The juice of the day that accompanied our French breakfast was spicy carrot juice. The orange carrot gave it a depth of colour and the flavours were of carrot, pepper and ginger. The cafe itself was picture perfect and the staff very helpful.  It is a new cafe and does not have a website yet, so look for 13 Au Jardins on Rue de Medisis.

Sit and watch the world go by.

We kind of wish we had listened to this one. We found ourselves wanting to soak up every moment and managed to get in over 30,000 steps in 36 hours but we were pretty exhausted. The late Anthony Bourdain had the right idea when he said when in Paris, eat, drink, sit in a park and eat and drink some more. There are parks everywhere and it is easy to find a spot to perch and enjoy that pain au chocolat.

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Avoid line ups

We just didn’t have time for line ups so we took our own advice on this one. Ironically, we had already made the decision that we wouldn’t go up the Eiffel Tower because it would take too much time but when we got there they were on strike so any temptation to do it anyway was taken away.  There are other places in Paris that have views and they are less hectic. We chose the rooftop view from Printemps department store. We had a birds eye view of Paris and we stopped at their restaurant one floor down for a burger and frites. It was exactly how we wanted to end our trip to Paris. Our walk back to collect our bags gave us a chance to pick up that much desired pain au chocolate. We packed a lot in but we both agree we can’t wait to do it again. We are already thinking about our group river cruise in May 2019 and hoping we can pass through this beautiful city once again.

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Travel Tip

On this blog I make it my mission to share a tip that I have learned the hard way. Check your travel adaptors. Make sure they are current. Sometimes countries change and France is apparently one of them. Our fancy Coach adaptor just didn’t cut it so we had to rely on the kindness of front desk so we could charge our phones.

Photos and story by: Kimberley Gunning, Plan A Culinary Vacation

For travel inquiries: kimberley@planavacation.ca

www.planavacation.ca

Kimberley Gunning, Plan A Culinary Vacation and Niagara Culinary Tours

#NOTYOURMOTHERSCRUISE

Now let’s be honest, a number of months ago when I was clicking through my email newsletters and I saw this ship I was more than a tiny bit jealous. I was thinking how incredibly unfair it was that this gorgeous sleek river cruise vessel was only for the under 45!

Fast forward to this spring and U by Uniworld has actually lifted their age limit to include those of us with a few more miles on us but certainly we are still young at heart. I want the morning yoga, the drumming, the mixology class, the silent disco, paint and wine class and the interesting culinary options. I love the fact that alcohol is by choice and not included in package or that brunch and dinner are your meals for the day, leaving you to wander and explore new destinations and taste in place.

I don’t know what could beat eating chicken paprikash or goulash right in the heart of Budapest or street food lunch of currywurst in a village in Germany. As a foodie traveller I plan my vacations around food and this new river cruise option really hits the mark for me. I look forward to sharing my experiences and will share with you my travel stories as my Aussie wine geek better half and I celebrate a special milestone together on this summer adventure.

We have planned a layover in Paris and Lisbon with a food tour in Montmartre on the bucket list. Searching for luggage and working on packing tips. I am excited and determined that this bucket list trip will be amazing.

Travelling tips

Trip lesson, number one learned. Always check luggage fees before booking a flight. A total rookie mistake was made when I booked our flights less than 60 days out and found the prices very high and the options diminished. I pieced together what I thought was the perfect itinerary but sadly for our flight from Budapest to Toronto the luggage fee is $112 per bag. Never assume that distance is an indicator for free baggage inclusion. I will definitely ensure due diligence in the future!

If you are are looking to book travel or have any questions please contact me at kimberley@planavacation.ca

written by: Kimberley Gunning of Plan A Culinary Vacation / Plan A Vacation