Cadiz, an ancient port

Last night we had a delicious dinner in Jacques, the French restaurant on Marina. Onion soup and Dover sole for me and escargot and fillets of John Dory for David. He managed to fit dessert in as well – an amazing Mille feuille. I pinched a couple of mouthful.

The sommelier convinced David that we should have a Premier Cru Chablis from Burgundy and it was most enjoyable. They put your cabin number on it and bring it to you at the next restaurant you dine at. It will probably take the rest of the cruise for us to finish it. We don’t drink much at all these days.

Today we arrived at Cadiz a little late as we had to turn back to Lisbon last night to put off a person having a medical emergency. I felt for them. I know what it is like to leave a cruise ship on a stretcher and miss the rest of your cruise.

Today we took it easy in Cadiz. You can walk into town from the ship and we just wandered down the main shopping street for a little retail therapy.

As in all Spanish towns, we found some lovely green squares.

I don’t know why there is a padlock in the middle of this roundabout? Very peculiar!

We could have visited Gibraltar from here but we decided that a restful day was preferable. It was most pleasant.

Polo Grill Delights

Last night it was our turn to dine in the Polo Grill on Marina and we dined very well indeed. We had asked to share our table with others as we love meeting new people over dinner. Unfortunately the people who were meant to share with us must have been late back on board and didn’t turn up. The night before we shared with two other couples and the conversation was excellent. One man was a retired FBI agent and the other had worked on the Voyager space program.

Nevertheless we did enjoy our dinner. Check it out: onion soup, whole lobster and hand made marshmallows in three different sauces for me; Tomato and onion salad, steak and apple crumble for David.

As you can see, dinner was delicious.

Today we were meant to be at Biarritz and having a tour of Biarritz and the Basque Coast but the weather was too rough for us to be able to be taken ashore by tender so we bypassed Biarritz and are now in Bilbao, Spain where we will have an extra day. We are off exploring now.

The secrets of The Marais, the old Jewish Quarter

We’ve wandered the old Jewish quarters of quite a few European cities and we always find them interesting. Today we did a walking tour with a young man named Emmanuel who grew up in a Jewish Family but is not a practicing Jew. His grandparents managed to escape Paris to America in 1942 because he was a physicist. Emanuel is a film maker & photographer and he personalised the tour by talking about specific people. It was very interesting.

Firstly we noticed the beautiful cakes in the window of the shop where we met. There a family from San Francisco joined us for the tour. We returned to this shop at the end of the tour to catch our metro but, of course, we took home some goodies to have with our cup of tea when we got home.

There are many beautiful old buildings in this area. Originally Dukes & wealthy people lived in them but during the revolution many escaped or were killed, leaving their homes empty and they became neglected and dilapidated making them cheap to rent. Jews migrating from Eastern Europe came to France as it had a policy of freedom of religion and they took up residence here.

The plaque above is a Memorial to the family who lived in this house in 1942 but were deported and exterminated because they were Jewish.

We were permitted to enter this synagogue which was used by Jewish people during World War II when they were not allowed to worship under the Occupation of the Nazis. It was a secret synagogue and is still used today. A young man was there studying the Torah.

It was lunch time and there were long queues at some shops which all sold kosher food.

During the occupation this was a Jewish school but the students were not taught any traditional Jewish learnings. One of the teachers was Joseph Migneret who assisted 252 of his pupils to escape from the Nazis and this plaque honours him. I think that number is right but I could be wrong.

The street below had its name changed to honour non Jewish French citizens who assisted Jews to escape the Holocaust and did this without any prospect of payment. As you can see there are many names on the wall of the street which honours them. It is the Street of The Just.

Emmanuel had planned to finish the tour at Notre Dame but all the streets are closed off. I imagine this is to allow investigation of the fire and to begin the clean up and rescue of whatever can be saved. David and I went as close as we could to get the following photo

And I’m very happy to report that I found a very delicious, traditional onion soup and now I feel we can leave Paris happy tomorrow. We’ve been to Giverny to see those spectacular gardens of Monet. We’ve seen his wonderful work in Musée de L’Orangerie and his work as well as that of the other impressionists in the Museé D’Orsay and at the Foundation Louis Vuitton. We’ve had our incredible day in the Somme with Myriam discovering the story of our family members who fought in WWI.

We’ve bought and eaten delicious food from the markets and restaurants. We’ve wandered some interesting streets and laneways. We’ve loved our cute little apartment and tomorrow it is time to move on. Will we ever return to Paris? Who knows. But I can tell you that I love Paris in the Spring time – in fact anytime!

Neighbours & Fauchon

Today was a quiet day. An easy morning with just a short walk to the local Carrefour to buy some coffee pods to refill the jar waiting here for us when we arrived. Of course, we had to have a coffee on the way. No one has soy here so I’m having to drink my coffee black so I’m just having espresso. We flew over on Etihad and they had no dairy alternatives on board. Pretty slack of them, I reckon.

We live in a complex with 34 units. Would you believe that two other couples from that complex in Australia are in Paris at the moment too. We all met up on the Pont Neuf today & wandered up the street to find a restaurant. Unfortunately we didn’t pick too well. I have very pleasant memories of a wonderful bowl of onion soup that I had here in 2013. Even though my digestive system doesn’t cope well with onions or garlic now, I had onion soup for lunch but it was so disappointing. Nothing like I remembered. And I suffered after so definitely not worth it.

However it was good to meet up, have a chat and compare travel stories and the waitress was excellent which always makes for a pleasant experience.

Then David and I walked to a shop full of goodies, Fauchon – chocolates, desserts, pates, cheeses, jamon, wine etc. We bought just a few jellies and a couple of small chocolate bars but we did go to their cafe for a pot of tea & Mille feuille.

So a quiet but good day.