Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Europe: 2019 Trip Notes # 1

Europe: 2019 Trip Notes # 1

We're off in search of new adventures, learning experiences and fun. This time, our friends Helene and Fred will be joining us. While waiting in the lounge to board the plane, Jerry was contacted about the need to sign some documents - a notary had to be found. He was told that there is an "ICE" office in the Bradley terminal that offers notary service. In this case, "ICE" is not "Immigration Customs Enforcement - it means International Currency Exchange. It turns out that the "office" was really an ATM machine. 

Jerry Was Unable To Find A Notary

Traveling to Europe via Air Tahiti Nui is a great way to start. 

Before the flight, airlines flight attendants do the usual safety instruction "drill" - exit signs are pointed out, flight masks and buckles are demonstrated, etc. Air Tahiti used an unique approach to get the passenger's attention. All the demonstrations were shown in Tahiti rather than on the plane. The approach was funny and got our attention. 

 Luggage Goes Into The Overhead Bins (Hammock) 

 Smoking Is Not Allowed

 Oxygen Mask Demonstration 

 Yoga Position Is Used For Emergency Landings 

 Emergency Exits Drawn In Beach Sand 

 Vest Put On - Passenger Jumps Into Mountain Lagoon - Meets Girls

Passengers Decide About Flight Meals
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New plane (787 Dreamliner) offers good food and great service.  
Starting With Lobster For An Appetizer Is A Good Star
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We flew to Paris with a connecting flight to Bordeaux. Normally, it takes about five minutes (or less) to rent a car in the USA. The European rental system is horrific. This time, rather than the usual 30-60 minutes, the entire process took three hours to rent a car. We happened to use Hertz. Normally, not an issue. In this case, it was a big deal. Hertz purchased Dollar and Thrifty adding to the amount of people trying to get a car.

Finally, with paperwork in hand, we went to the parking lot to get our car. No car! We had to wait. When the car finally arrived, it was the wrong type! It was too small for the four of us and all of our luggage. With no other car available, we stuffed everything inside - luggage and bodies and off we went to try and find our apartment.

Bordeaux Apartment is fabulous. It's located in a great area. -  easy access to visit places. It's also very quiet which is a real plus. 

View From Apartment

Plenty Of Restaurants 

Large Pedestrian Zone With Good Tram System 

 Nice Size Living Room 

 Large Windows Bring In Lots Of Natural Light

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Taking a walking tour was worthwhile. Our guide (who was a real character) brought with him many maps and drawings- most historical, which gave us a good idea about the changes that took place over the last several hundred years. 

Drawing Of Opera House With The Real Opera House In Background 

Bordeaux (like many European cities) has its share of fountains and statues.

 Esplanade Des Quinconces 

Our guide was extremely helpful with his pointing out and identifying the significance of the design and each piece. 

Each Piece Was Dismantled And Hidden During WWII 

Resting For A Few Minutes 

The guide pointed out that during the times of the "Royals," the height of homes and buildings could not be higher than palaces and forts. During recent times, renovation would translate into differing building heights and styles. 

 Building Materials Came From Nearby Quarry 

Notice Building On Right. It Has Been Cleaned. Entire City Is Going Through A Cleaning Process 

Hopefully No Earthquakes 

 Wine Anyone? 

Bordeaux Is A Pretty City. Interesting Architecture 

Demographics and cleanliness in the city center area is interesting: Clean, no graffiti, very few homeless and very few minorities.

Weekend Shoppers: St. Catherine Is Busy Shopping Street

Old Shopping Area 

Hundreds of years ago, the water level/flow rose to the "city gates." 

Notice the water location and then compare it to the picture below this one.

Today, there is a paved street and a garden as well as a boardwalk behind us that keeps the water at bay. The reflection from a water system occurs about every 10 minutes and lasts (only) for 13 seconds.

The street names change according to the "politics of the times." Rue Royal was named for the king. Street was renamed "Liberte" during the revolution. "Philippart" is the current street name.

 Beautification Improves City Spirit

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