Day 16–29th Sept Cruise (Hamburg)

Early morning start, meeting everyone for disembarkment at 9am. It was a cold morning, around 4 degrees, forecast max of 14 degrees!

Hamburg Morning view

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All out of the ship by 9:15am, touring Hamburg ourselves, first to find Taxi’s to get to the miniature world which was not too far from our ship and on the way to the city centre. The ship had issued an advisory to allow extra time to return back as there were some protests that may delay transport, ok will factor that in, time to get the taxi’s.
A lot of Taxi’s outside, language a bit of a challenge but nothing too difficult with a few pointers from google maps!

Arriving at Miniature world, the tickets to the morning entries were all gone, we decided to book the 3:30pm slot for the afternoon, that would give us enough time to see Hamburg city centre.

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The City centre was a 15 minute walk from where we were, herded the troops and off we went in the direction that Google maps took us!. Walking is soo much easier when the weather is cold, it was a very pleasant stroll passing some good sights. Along the way, spotted a Starbucks and kids were “STOP!!! We need Starbucks”. Good pit-stop for all. Whilst there we asked the Indian cashier for some good Indian restaurants recommendations, we so needed some good indian food! He recommended Dostana, not too far from the City centre –that was noted!

Walking continued, we ended in a very nice street with super nice ($$) stores good for window shopping only!

Ladies found a kitchen store, where some did buy some German pots, Nita was interested in the knifes, not sure if the ship would allow that, decided to leave that for now. Walking further, we reached the central city centre (I think), overlooking the Alster Fountains. A beautiful lake or what looked like a lake atleast. Weather was clearing up nicely, lots of people around enjoying the cold sunny day.

We were in the Square opposite the Townhall, the crowd was getting heavy by the minute, it was some protests that were attracting a lot of people. No point us hanging around there, trying to make our way of there and Balia gets stopped by TV crew to ask him about the sign he was holding!!!!

It took him a bit of translating but in the end we got the message across and they agreed to broadcast the invitation to all of the German khatri’s Winking smile!!! German Khatri soccer team, you are invited to Brisbane 2020!.

Time for some shopping, ladies had identified a large centre close by, all decided to waste an hour there. Pooja located a Pandora store which just happened to have a 20% discount on almost everything…..time to collect more charms. Shopping all done, and kids had got some McDonalds in them, time for us all to make our way to Dostana indian restaurant. Walk to the restaurant was not more than 15 minutes, some more nice streets we passed.

Got to Dostana Indian, the place smelled good, finally some spice in the air! We were seated upstairs, am glad they were able to accommodate the 16 of us. Time to order some food, and we ordered a lot of varieties. We have had better indian but it must have been all that BLAND food we had been getting on board that we loved this change!! Tummies filled, time to hit the road, next stop was the Miniature world, for that we need Taxi’s and it seemed like a challenge here! The restaurant guy assisted and said he had ordered us 4 cabs, and we were to wait on the next corner. Did that for 10-15 minutes and no one came, made our way towards the main street and soon after Doc got lucky with one Cab. I started hailing cabs that were going past, but almost all were full Sad smile. Balia suggested we all walk to the train station where more taxi’s would be available. Just as we started walking, I made a last effort to hail another Taxi and got lucky! Yelled to Vik and Balia to meet up at Miniature world and we were off.

Arriving at miniature world, no sign of Doc, waited for a bit outside hoping Balia and Vik would turn up soon, not to be, turns out they were still struggling to find a Taxi, no one wanted to come this way due to the protests!! I rang Doc, he was already in the theme park, however his review was really bad, the miniature world was not that great. Calling Vik again to tell him of the bad review, Vik and Balia by then had decided to head direct to the Ship and miss this, they did not want to risk missing the ship incase of the protest blocking roads further. We decided to do the same and headed to the ship. Taxi was just around the corner, hopped in and headed for the ship. After only 5 minutes or less of drive time, we were in pretty much a standstill traffic jam. Another 15 minutes of very slow movement until we reached the road block from where the protesters had taken over the entire street. The driver indicated to me that it would be easier for me to walk THRU the roadblock and get to the ship, according to Google it was a fair walk – about 40 minutes, but he was like, only short walk!!! I was trying to explain to him to take a detour and go the long way, weird the guy just refused and asked us to walk.

Well time to walk through the protest. The good part, it was not a violent protest, more like a street party, with a LOT of people, it was slow moving, making sure we held each others hands as not to separate away too far. Passing through a lot of load music, people drinking and dancing in the streets, yelling on microphones, all a bit intimidating for Neha and Pooja, and for us as well. Stayed to on side and kept on walking.
Must have been around 1.5 km, until the protests finished and we could see cars and Taxi’s again. Grabbed the next Taxi and to the ship we headed. Drive from there was still a further 10 minutes! It was just after 5:30pm we made it onboard the ship, wow one crazy day.

All met up at Deck 13, in the pool area, time for some drinks and to relieve the crazy afternoon session we all have had. For dinner, we remained at the pool area and simply brought a few trays of finger foods from the buffet matched with a never ending supply of cocktails and beer. It was a good JUNK food night. No need to have an early night, tomorrow was a day at sea, we could all sleep in. Stayed there for a few more hours before we called it a night.

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Day 15–28th Sept Cruise (at Sea)

Relaxed morning today, at Sea till tomorrow morning – time to chillex and enjoy the ship facilities a bit.

Finally a chance to have breakfast without the rush and watch the ship sailing out of Amsterdam to the sea. Did not realise how far in the port had been, took us close to 2 hours to reach the open seas.

Breakfast done, than the gang were down to the swimming pool area, some of the girls were heading to the pool, whilst the boys were taking part in the table tennis comp, followed by Salsa dance classes in another bar area – all this before lunch!

Table tennis comp was not that great for me, Dian and Prashil, we all got knocked out! The good news though, Doc won the comp!!

Next at Tiger Bar for the Salsa dance classes, time to learn some Salsa moves! Neha & Pooja had a  great time in that class, coming to midday, they announced Bingo was happening next, had not played that in ages, plus the added incentive – first prize of 25,000 EURO!! Bought three tickets, Neha, Pooja and Priya were managing my tickets, pity though, we missed first price by two numbers Sad smile.

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Around lunch time we realised the other families were missing, unable to find them, headed to lunch at non-buffet restaurant, food was so so, however they did have good desserts!
Something that is very frustrating is the inability for us to contact others! Unless you subscribed to the onboard wifi, there really was no chance of communications !! Next time we should bring in walkie talkies!!

Time for all my girls to head to the beauty section, hair time!

Whilst ladies were getting pampered, I headed to the pool desk to locate the others, found them at the rear of the ship on the top deck playing futsal! It was super windy and COLD! Joined in, in less than 15 minutes I was super stuffed! Post that I was walking around rather than running (my normal gameWinking smile).

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It was dress up night again tonight, all back to the rooms and decided to meet in the lounge, then heading to the Oriental restaurant for dinner at 8pm.

A few drinks waiting to get portraits done with the professionals, and did we all get a lot of pics!

 

Pics done, time for Dinner at the Oriental. This place was amazing and had great dishes. Everyone enjoyed this immensely after the last few nights of bland food! Made a point of coming here again before the cruise finished.

A few more drinks at the bar and then calling it a night.
Tomorrow morning was Hamburg, we all wanted to be out of the ship by 9am.

 

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Day 14-27th Sept Cruise (Amsterdam)

Another early morning for all, it was Amsterdam today, however not a planned excursion, we were doing it on our own.

Did the same thing as yesterday, headed up to see the morning sunrise and Amsterdam!Reaching deck 14, it was cold but not as cold as the prior day. The ship was slowly making its way to the port.

 

 

All disembarked the cruise just past 9am. Balia and Vik were selecting the best hop-on-hop-off bus/cruise option, got that for all, and then it was down to the canal awaiting our hop-on-hop-off boat.

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The boat arrived after about 10 minutes, BUT, it only had space for 14 and we were 16!! ARRGGGHHHHHH!!!
Waited for the next boat, which was a further 20 minutes away. We could have walked to the city centre in that time Sad smile. Nevertheless, we did all board the boat this time! Then it was cruising through the Amsterdam canals!

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All got off at the stop closest to the city centre, now to explore on foot – always an interesting challenge to herd 16 around streets whilst ensuring we were out of the way of cyclists who were on every street & corner!

 

 

So far of what we had seen, a very beautiful city! Lots cycles, small streets, lots of canals, and just cute streets! Entered a street with a lot of stores leading to the main square. Time for us to see stores selling Marijuana infused products! Neha, Pooja had no idea what that was, a bit of explaining and they were like, OMG they are selling drugs Disappointed smile.

This was a very slow walk, Balia and Vik were super interested in these shops, not for the weed but for the smoking apparatus that was being sold openly, in Oz that was illegal Sad smile. Balia was great though, he was visiting every store, but all along giving a great commentary tour to Priya and Neha – they both were enjoying it!.

We reached the Grand Dam Square, this was like the centre of Amsterdam – well I think so?

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In the square, towards one end, were a lot of pigeons – and they were a LOT! There was a guy selling bird seeds for one euro each! We missed Pigeon feeding at Trafalgar Square in London, maybe this was faith, the opportunity was here now! Pooja and Nita were YES we want to feed the pigeons. Pooja was loving it, and had a few rounds of feeding!

 

 

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It was time to find a lunch place, and then we would all split our ways, leading from the square, was a pedestrian only open mall street – hoping there would be some restaurants there. Time to explore.

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After a bit of walking found an Italian place, and a plus they could accommodate all of us!

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A good lunch of Pizza & Pasta, now to hit the road again. We all split up from here, and agreed to meet at the ship by 6:30pm, plan was feed the kids on the ship, leave them on board and then couples head out for a night in Amsterdam!

Lots of walking around the place and a bit of shopping as well. Pooja wanted Pandora, could not say no to my baby!

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It was then a walk thru the red light district, Neha was telling me that Bhavik kaka (my bro not Doc) had told her NOT to go there, Neha was “so what was it?”. No explaining but lets walk through.

Walking thru that lane was an OMG moment for them!

It was 5pm and Neha, Pooja were both getting tired, decided to head back, Taxi to the ship.

The others were all slowly showing up, Balia was the last to come aboard. Dinner was in the buffet, enough of L’Edera! Kids all done, for the couples we did eat from the Buffet, but instead of eating there, we headed next door to the indoor pool area, this place had lots of tables where we could all sit together and there was a bar close by! Drinks kept flowing and a couple of us kept heading to the buffet to refill finger foods! By the end of it, we had a good lot of plates on our table!

Neha was not feeling too well she decided to hit the bed early, for the other kids, we put Priya incharge, and they were happy to stay in the lounge next to the kids area. There were a few activities for them all, plan for them was to play till they were bored then head to the cabins. Most probably they would end up in the one cabin and cause havoc there!

Kids sorted, now we could get off the ship again to enjoy the Amsterdam night life.

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Out of the seaport, called an UBER van, when it arrived, it was then we were told only 6 could fit Sad smile and unlike Taxi’s, UBER drivers were very strict with the number of passengers they carried. Asked the driver where the best place to try space cakes were, agreed on an address, then Doc and I went in the VAN, Vik and Balia took a nearby Taxi to the same location.

The place we were recommended was Bulldog! Walking around the streets, we seemed to get to the right area, but there were 4 Bulldog cafes. Got into one! Lots of people around. Got to the bar to get the cakes and some beers/wine, the guy behind the counter was like – NO ALCOHOL HERE, only coffees or Tea!!! I was like, what da, you are serving cannabis cakes yet no alcohol!! Well that was to be, espresso’s with some special chocolate cake – this I was looking forward to!

My experience of the cake, it was super moist and one of the best chocolate cakes I have had. No real effect or maybe I was just enjoying it and did not realise anything. Spent a good amount of time here just chatting and lots n lots n lots of laughing ….. were the space cakes the reason ?????

Next was walking the red light area, had to show that to our ladies – Nita had already seen it, but the others had not!.
There was more fun and laughter that is best not shared online Winking smile.

It was way past 1 am, time for some dessert, unfortunately the “real coffee” shops (not the ones that sell cannabis) were closing or already closed!
No luck there with dessert, decided to head back to the ship, grabbed a Taxi van and got lucky, driver was prepared to take 8 of us. It had been a great night with some amazing Amsterdam experiences and memories, tomorrow was a sleep-in day, we would be at sea all day & night.

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Day 13–26th Sept Cruise (Belgium)

First morning in cruise! Today we were docking at Zeebrugge, Belgium, our excursion was departing at 9:15am.
Was up since 6am unable to sleep in, decided to go out for a walk to see the sunrise. On to level 14, the cold crisp morning welcomed me on the deck, with a great dawn view!
Could see mainland in the distance, still a fair bit of time before we would dock!

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Good morning Belgium!

Back in the room, time to wake up Neha & Pooja, they were still very sleepy. Managed to get them out of their comfortable beds, time for them to get ready.

Off to breakfast at Sahara Buffet. The place was big, lots of variety but also a LOT of people, it was very crowded. Finding a table was a challenge, finally managed to get one, told Pooja to sit there whilst we got our meals. The food spread was nice and adequate, am glad they also did omelettes, my go to station for the next 6 mornings! Pooja liked the Pancakes and chocolate pastries!!

Breakfast done, back to our cabin to collect our bags and stuff for the excursion, then it was to the Theatre to be guided in the right buses.
At the Theatre, Doc & Balia were already there. Minutes passed and still no sign of Vik, called him, he said he was running late and would catchup with us. We got out tickets and followed our guide out of the ship.
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Down the ramp to the waiting buses, which there were a few off. Getting on the bus told the guide we were waiting on one more family. It was then we noticed Vik & family coming down the ramp, however they were guided to another bus, tried to change but it was not to be! Sad smile

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The drive to Brussels was long, took us over 1.5 hours to reach the outskirts of the city. First stop was the Atomium, a steel sculpture representing … you guessed it, an atom! This was a 10 minute stop, chance to take a few pics.

 

Back on the bus, touring us around the city…. heading towards the inner city where we would finally have a few hours to roam about.

Off the bus, the guide led us around the city to the Manneken Pis – apparently a very famous sight!

Finally made it to the Manneken Pis, it was a SMALL status of a little boy pissing!! From here the guide left us on our own, we had 3 hours to roam about. First it was time for some Belgium Waffles!

The freshly made waffles, with ice cream and melted Belgium chocolate was simply amazing! Now to walk back to the central square and look for a place for lunch! On the way to the Market square, ran into Vik’s group, they were on the way to the pissing man!

We made it to the market square, a bit more roaming about to find a good spot for lunch.

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Lunch in Brussels

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Lunch in Brussels

Settled on a Belgium Bistro, ordered a variety of dishes, Pasta, Salmon, Calamari, all very good!

Lunch done, now back at the market square, we had half n hour to buy some Belgium chocolates and then it was heading back to the Bus. Long ride back to the cruise ship, most of us took a bit of a nap.

Got back to the cruise ship, and right behind us was Vik & family, all decided to meet at L’Edera just after 6pm, all dressed up for the semi-formal night!
Food at L’Edera was again a flop! Was not enjoying food in this alacarte restaurant!! Steaming mad

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Dinner done, with not the best food but lots of drinks – the liquid diet was fun for the guys!

Headed to Tiger bar, apparently it was Horror night, the crew were dressed up in Halloween style attire!

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Horror night dressup

There were a few photographers around to capture these moments, made the most of that, time for portraits..

Of course there had to be a boys pic…

us gang!

All done with photos! Now to head to another bar and try out at acting “Gallan goodiyaan” song. It was more of a comedy that followed, we had absolutely no planning or script, and as for music, we could hardly hear the song from the mobile phone speakers. Neha did her best to make us clowns look good in her vlogs! Sorry but no mater how much editing you did, the acting could not be improved!
Few more drinks followed taking us close to midnight. It was time to call it a night, tomorrow was Amsterdam!

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Neha’s vlog

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Day 12–25th Sept Cruise time (Paris–La Havre)

It was d’day for the cruise, today we were transferring to La Havre port to board the MSC Magnifica on our 7 night cruise of the north seas. En route to La Havre, we had arranged for a quick stop at Versailles, to visit the Palace of Versailles. Our transport was picking us at 9:15am.

Early morning start for Nita and I, we wanted to get another load of laundry done, so first up I was off to Laundromat, whilst Nita was organising the luggage and getting girls ready. With the ship cabins being small, we decided to leave 3 pieces of luggages at the hotel, no need to carry excess stuff on the ship, Nita was sorting that out.

I made the most of being at the Laundromat, another morning run of espresso (standing at the bar with a few frenchmen), and some freshly baked almond croissants!! By the time I got back to the hotel, it was around 8:30am, as planned Nita and girls had finished their breakfast, now all that remained was finalising the luggage and heading down.
All downstairs with the luggage, it was then I first met Balia & family in this trip, and did I get a good rubbing, where had I been last night & early morning, why were the kids down for breaky alone and where were you two then – lots of good laughs!!

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Ready for the cruise

Everyone had checked out of their rooms and excess bags stored in the secured storage area, now it was a wait for the transport, minutes ticked over and it was around 9:30am, still no sign and we were not able to call him – phone was not going through. Then just like that, the concierge brings this guy to us and checks if we were waiting for transport to La Havre – YES!!! So our driver who could NOT speak a word of English, was waiting in the lobby for what may have been a good 5-10 minutes for us!! Well atleast he was here, lets go, not yet, where was the mini BUS??? No where to be seen. Translating via the concierge, apparently the bus was too big to come in our street and it was on the main road, which was a couple of blocks away!! It was strange and we were like, look outside there are delivery trucks all around, surely you can come in. After some convincing, he agreed but we had to walk a bit further up the street,  atleast it was only a minutes walk.
Turning the corner, we could not believe our eyes and finally understood why he was soo hesitant, this was not a mini bus but a COACH, with capacity for 50+ passengers!!! Damn we could fit all three of our soccer teams in here!!

Time to load the coach…

 

All loaded and in the coach, time to move. The driver was saying something in French which we had no idea, so all we could say is, “yes lets go ahead” and kept pointing in front. We had only moved one block when the bus stopped, the guy was pointing ahead, finally realised, No Entry ahead and a very sharp left turn into a small alley which the bus could not make nor enter the alley. Now what, the guy talking to us in french and a lot of hand signals, finally figured it out, we had to reverse the bus but for that we needed to stop the traffic behind it!

Doc and I got off the bus, and went behind the bus to stop the traffic, wow, in Paris and we were controlling traffic. A few drivers were giving us the look but no one actually got angry!

Short video footage of the drama

After about 15 minutes of traffic control we were finally through, time to get on board, high 5’s with the driver, time to head out Smile. This is one experience we will all remember for a very long time!

It was just over an hour before we reached Versailles, lots of coaches parked around – this was a major tourist stop! Had no idea how big this was!

The queues were massive to get in, it would be atleast a good hour before we got into the palace if we queued, unfortunately we did not have that much time! Made the most of the views we had from where we were…

 

Time to move, back on the bus and heading to La Havre.
With sign language Doc was able to tell the driver that we should stop over for food and washroom break when possible! Was amazing how we communicated with each other, he did not understand english and we had the same trouble with french, still somehow we managed!!

Lunch break was at a highway roadhouse with a McDonalds. Time to refuel all of us, good 45 minute break, than it was back on the bus.

Another 45 minutes of driving, it was about 3pm we got in at La Havre. He got to the port however was not able to find a way of getting to the wharf where the ship was docked!! The signage to the wharf was for cars or small trucks only, it had a height restriction – bus was too high Sad smile. After two attempts of finding an alternate way, he told us the only way was to walk to the ship!! We could see the ship, but it was still a good 20-30 minutes walk, plus we had our luggage!! More debating and in the end we had no choice but to start unloading. Tried to find an UBER – damn no UBER in La Havre, taxi’s – none around! Frustrated we were almost set to walk, when the driver came back to us and informed us he had found another way, reload into the coach!! Phew!

Went around the corner and into a street that came to a gate for the British ferry, ahhhh not our ship?? Ok so it was a wrong turn, but instead of making a 3 point turn to get the bus out of there, he decided to reverse again. So how do you reverse on to a round about, simple, you get Doc and Dharma to get off and stop the traffic Disappointed smile, it was traffic control duties again, a few minutes of holding off traffic at the round about and then we were on our way. Finally made the right turn and it was at the departure point for MSC cruises!!YAY we were there. This was a big ship, well big for us anyways! Unloaded our luggage and into the departure building – which really was a large shed! All checked in and luggage processed, went through the photo area to take our pics with the ship wheel and then a lot of selfies with the ship, everyone was excited to board!

Boarding the ship was easy and painless, I guess we were boarding from a small port, the number of new guests were not many and hence there was no waiting and we were soon in our rooms getting settled. The cabins were nice, infact they were better than I expected and included a lot of storage. Nita unpacked most of the bags into the cupboards and hangers, this way we did not have to worry about opening the bags during the cruise!
Our dinner was booked at 6:45pm, so had a couple of hours to wonder the ship.
Whilst doing a bit of wondering, it was announced all new guests had to come with their life jackets to the theatre for the evacuation briefing.

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Emergency drills

Briefing done, time to drop off life jackets back in the room and we met the gang for dinner at L’Edera (This was a a-la-carte style restaurant.) Seated on two big round 8 seaters, kids on one, adults on the other. Now to get the drinks flowing!! The drinks package we all had was brilliant, no need to look at prices etc, just order what we wanted and keep staying hydrated Winking smile. Whilst the drinks and wine were brilliant, the food was not the best, very bland Sad smile. For the adults it was not a massive problem but was an issue for our kids!
Decided to head to the buffet post dinner, it would have more variety for kids.

Post dinner we headed to the top deck, above the buffet restaurant. It was good timing, sun going down and the ship had just started moving – good opportunity for more pics…

 

Was getting very cold in the open, time to come down to the buffet, kids wanted some snacks.
It was then off to the evening show, a dance musical. Nice musical, now to level 13 indoor pool area, this place had a good bar and lots of seating, plus it was enclosed – very important in the cold weather!

But first we took advantage of the many photographers around the place, lets take some portraits…and we had not even changed!

Now to join in with the gang on level 13,
It was time for more drinks and cocktails.

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Cocktail time

All sat around just going through the very eventful day, somehow with all the hiccups, we still made it to the cruise – wow!!
Around 11pm we decided to call it a night, tomorrow was the Belgium tour, we needed to be ready to go at 9am!

In the room, Pooja and Neha were super excited to be sleeping in their bunk beds. Pooja also found a small nook near the cabin window.

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Pooja enjoying her private nook

 

 

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Neha’s VLOG

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Day 11 – 24th Sept Paris (Disneyland)

Today was not a sleepin for the girls, it was time for the favourite – DISNEYLAND!! My second visit, 1998 was my first! Nita was not coming with us today, she was not too keen on the theme parks and wanted to spend the day roaming about in Paris.

By 8.30am, we had all left the hotel for the subway – it was a cold morning – around 12 degrees. Tickets purchased, then to the platform to catch our direct train to Disney – so lucky we were staying next to the best train line! In ‘98, I remember having to change two trains to get to Disney.

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Train journey was just over 45 minutes (Disney was the last stop on the line!), kids were super excited getting through the security gates of Disney! Walking through security, we could see the main entrance to the Disney park, on the other side was the entrance to Walt Disney Studios park, that we were doing later in the day, aim in the morning were to finish off most of the Disneyland thrill rides.

 

Through the gates and we were in the magical world of Disney, so true, this is the HAPPIEST PLACE!! Just love the Disney feel, am soo in love with the Disney Parks! Grabbed the park map and then it was time to attack the rides! We all agreed to split up, every family had different priorities, for us it was simply getting the major thrill rides done.

First the Hyperspace mountain – this is the old Space mountain, now renamed to align with Stars Wars! Lots of Star Wars themed attractions – love it!

 

 

The Hyperspace mountain was brilliant, flying in the dark dodging tie fighters! They have enhanced the space mountain coaster with Star Wars themes so well.

From here we went across to Adventure Land, where we ran into in with Vik and Dian, hung around with them for a few more rides.

The Indian Jones coaster was lots of fun. Next we decided to head to the Walt Disney Studio Park, time to finish the key rides there.

What a great entry, the Cars theme! Would have loved to spend more time here, but we only had one day to cover lots, time to quickly move to the rides…
Next ride was the Hollywood Tower of Terror, Pooja was sitting this out Sad smile.

Lots of screaming in this one, the 4 of us got the front row of the lifts !!! YAY!

 

 

Then it was the Nemo ride and Rock ‘n’ Roller coaster, a bit of roaming about and back to the Disneyland Park for a late lunch, finish off Big Thunder Mountain (final ride), and then some shopping for the girls!

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Lunch was at Hakuna Matata, good food there, Pooja and Neha enjoyed it!

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Roaming about the park, making our way to the Tea Cup ride, this was a simple but fun ride, still remember my baby Pooja having sooo much fun in this on at her first Disney in Hongkong.

It was then Star Wars shopping for me and kids!!

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(Pooja’s new Star Wars jacket)

Star Wars shopping done, it was time to head out of the park – wanted to avoid the Parade, the rush post that would be big! On the way out, one last stop at the Disney Pandora to pick up a Disney themed charm!!

Then it was time to say good bye to Disney… messaged the others that we were out of the park (the others left after about an hour or so).

Got the train back, Pooja was super tired and nodded off on the way. Reaching back at the hotel, Pooja was too tired to head out again for dinner and was super happy chillin in the room, she was like, “just get me some takeaway”!. Nita, Neha & I headed out for dinner @ Bollynan Indian – it was in the same street as La Perla – this place had good reviews on yelp and google. The place was small, more geared towards takeaway! Got butter chicken, palak paneer, fish curry, naan & a Elachi Beer!
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Food whilst not mind blowing was good. Discussing Nita’s day, she had been busy, roaming about Louvre museum and the mall underneath it & the Les Halles streets. For lunch it was Hippopotamus again, Nita was in love with their Chicken Burgers and mashed potatoes!
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(Nita’s lunch @ Hippopotamus)

She was however most happy with the green detox juice she found at an organic shop near our hotel! (Yes this may be very healthy, but definitely not for me Sad smile)
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(Nita’s green detox juice)

Dinner done, got a butter chicken and rice takeaway for Pooja and headed back. Stopped by a Gelato place for a dessert fix – yumm!!

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Back at the hotel, Pooja enjoyed her butter chicken. Vik called me soon after, he was with Balia, Doc & family at Hippopotamus –wow that place was a hit amongst us. We were all too tired to head out again, time to get some sleep and start fresh tomorrow.
Last night in Paris before our cruise.

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Neha’s Disney VLOG

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Day 10–23rd Sept Paris (Eiffel Tower @ Sunrise )

Early morning start, wanted to be at Trocadero before sunrise to capture Eiffel pics. Were up at 6am, and out of the hotel before 7am. Sunrise was at 7:30am, by the time we got to Trocadero, sun was just breaking the horizon, not that we could see that, it had been a wet night and morning, as a result a lot of cloud cover, atleast there was no rain for the time being. A big big bonus, the cranes that were there a couple of days back were now gone!! Woohoo!! I thought we may be the only crazy ones there this early, was surprised to see 2 brides there for photo shoots and many other photo shoots taking place!! We were not the only crazy ones to wake up early for this Smile.

Time to setup my tripod to snap away, creating memories to mark being in Paris after 20 years, last time we were both here was in Sept’98!

 

Trocadero done, ordered a UBER to Rue de Universite, the street with amazing views of Eiffel! Nita had identified the street through her instagram followings. The weather was playing games with us, light drizzle than stopped and than start again…. somehow we got lucky with a few pics.

Back to the hotel, it was past 9am by the time we got there, Neha & Pooja were still asleep, time for them to get up and get ready for breakfast. Plan now was to get to Galleries Lafayette – a massive department store in Paris, similar to Selfridges but bigger.

Asking the concierge for directions, he recommended the easiest and fastest way was the subway which was just opposite our hotel. Headed that way, first the tickets and then a bit of walk to get to the correct platform. Unlike London, subway stations here are not as clean – well it looked clean but smelled bad, smell of urine!! Also a few homeless people sleeping on the benches. Pooja was definitely not enjoying this and wanted to get out asap. Luckily the train came in the next minute and we were in that. The trains here were bigger but again not as clean. Got to our stop in no time, and were at the entrance to Galleries Lafayette – concierge was correct, this was soo efficient. Time to enter shoppers paradise!

Nita and Neha were having a ball at Galleries Lafayette – lots of ladies stuff there, me and Pooja were looking around, to be honest I was a bit over the place, there was only soo much window shopping I could do. Pooja located a Macaroons counter, why not, lets get that in us.

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Roaming about in the mens department, we ran into Vik & Dian, decided to all visit Angelina – a famous dessert place. They had a store in Galleries Lafayette! Vik also mentioned the amazing views from the top level, you could see Eiffel tower. Me and Pooja headed there, Nita had already been there….

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Next was Angelina, the entry counter  had the best cakes and macaroons …IMG_7286IMG_7291

Got seated, ordered a club sandwich, couple of cakes and chocolate drinks for all. Apparently their hot chocolates  is supposed to be the best, ladies skipped their mocha’s and also got hot chocolates. Drinks and food came soon, whilst the food was good, the drinks were all below par! Infact it was not worth drinking, all the hot chocolates and ice chocolates remained untouched. The chocolate tasted as if it had been watered down!!
Told the wait staff how very disappointed we were with the chocolate drinks, they were gracious enough to take this off our bill.
Time to head back to the hotel, stepping out, the rain was heavy!! Quickly got into the waiting cabs and off we went. Me and Vik decided to have an early dinner, it was just past 4pm, and since we all had skipped lunch, early dinner was looking like a good option.

We headed back to La Perla italian near our hotel, we had such an amazing experience on the first night, we were ready for a second round! Nita, Meeta, Vik and I all ordered the same dish – Gamberi Pesto Prawns – the best dish!! Kids had a mix of pasta and pizza, finished it off with a nice Tiramisu.

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Markus at La Perla must have enjoyed us visiting him again, he gave us all a round of Limoncello shots! This is the best drink I have had in a while, soo refreshing!!

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By 6pm, we were all done and there was still soo much daylight. Kids were all more than happy to get to the hotel by themselves, the four of us took off for a stroll along the market street.

Stopped by a cafe for some espresso and more chit chat.

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We may have been there for more than 30 minutes just chatting, than it was time to head back to the hotel. Time for an early night, tomorrow was an early start heading to Disneyland Paris!


Neha’s vlog

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