Wednesday, December 22, 2010

275. Travel stories - Paris

Thurs, Dec 23, 2010
Novotel Paris Est
6.34am (Paris), 1.22 pm (Singapore)

I left Singapore on Dec 14, 2010 on a 13-day Switzerland-Italy-France tour. Stayed in hotels in Rome, Milan, Turin, Interlaken, Lucerne (2 nights) and now Paris (lst of 2 nights).

COACH.
1. Leg space practically nil for most seats in European coaches provided by a European company. Stop-over at 2-3 hours enables one to walk stiffly. Free and easy tours will be better but will cost more. Less hectic and see more.

HOTEL QUALITY. Mainly 4-stars but quality of heating and bathroom vary considerably.
Novotel Hotel chain sets a very high standard. So far, stayed in two of the Novotel chain. Excellent variety and quality of breakfast in the first Novotel in Venice. Now in Novotel Paris, the hotel provides a long writing table.

KETTLE
On the table, you get a kettle, tea and coffee bags, and two convenient power points in the two Novotel chain I stayed. A kettle is much appreciated by guests. According to the tour manager, some tourists boil their socks in the kettle. This should not be done.

COMPUTER KEYBOARD
In Paris and Switzerland, the computer keyboard of Apple does not use the same letter layout as those in Singapore and UK. This means you waste several minutes correcting your typing and soon your time is up. It costs 5 Euros or S$6.30 for 30 minutes in Italy. So, you have to be fast.

FREE INTERNET ACCESS FOR 6 HOURS. This is really generous of Novotel Paris. The one in Venice gives free access for 20 minutes. It will be difficult for the other hotels to match this offer and also provides a variety and good breakfast, a kettle and warmth in the room when the guest opens the door.

BACON
As I had studied bacon production as a vet student in Glasgow Univ and stayed there for 5 years, the quality of bacon is defined as less fat. This will be more expensive. So far, only the Novotel chain in Venice passed my test. I expect Novotel Paris Est when I go down for breakfast at 7 am will pass the test too. Fatty oily bacon strips indicate that the hotel management is cutting down costs by buying the fatty streaky ones. I asked a Chinese student what "bacon" is in Mandarin Language. His mum who is a Chinese National says it is "the 3-layered pork belly meat." Bacon is essentially part of British breakfast. Maybe the French, Italians and Swiss do not eat it?

CLEANLINESS APPEARANCE.
Both Novotel chains in Venice and Paris are around 4 years old and have the high standards of cleanliness and pastel colours of curtains and white wall paint.

EAT
It is risky for health to travel in a packaged tour in Europe. I tend to eat more hamburgers, sausages, scrambled egg and fatty bacon. Sphaggeti in tomato sauce is my choice as I deem it less high-cholesterol filling. Salad and fruits. It seems most Singaporean tourists in my 50-person tour group shun them. They dislike eating European cornflakes, bread, milk and the same scrambled eggs, canned fruits and salami for breakfast every morning.

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