David and Kathy

Greetings from Dave and Kathy!

Here you can follow Dave's travels to London, Paris, and Bordeaux from October 8 to 27, 2017. The name of this trip is "Dégustation*." Dave will be joined by his brother, Robert Ferre, famous labyrinth maker who is Dave's tour guide in Paris and Bordeaux. But just before joining Robert, Dave will be in London for a week to attend concerts and see friends.

While Dave is away, Kathy will be in California visiting her brother, Craig, with plans to stay in, and enjoy, La Jolla, CA.

Oct 8

The first day was all travel with a direct flight Tucson > Denver, on United Airlines (Economy Comfort or you pay for your carry-on bags) and then direct to Heathrow Airport via Denver > London on British Airways, arriving the next day. This pix is from a previous visit to a travel lounge. Because I had 7 hours to wait in Denver, I went to the United Airlines Sky Lounge. If you like carrot sticks, this is the place for you. Entry is $59.

Oct 9

Everything went well with the air travel and I arrived at my airbnb right on time at 2 pm. My hostess was terrific and passed along food, wine, chocolate, fresh-cut flowers, and keys to the place. After a rest, then out to explore the neighborhood, finding a great coffee shop, Caffè Nero, and a Pret A Manger (Ready to Eat) bakery and sandwich shop. Dinner was at Byron Hamburger, then home for a long sleep

Oct 10

First, a croissant breakfast and coffee at Pret A Manger, then some exploring and food shopping and later, lunch with my friend Eve (pix) at Punjab. I also went to Eve's flat in Hackney Central and we spent a long time talking and looking at her archive of Andre Tchaikowsky items. This continued right up to darkness, after which I took Bus 55 back to Central London and home via the Tube. I also managed to break the toilet set in my flat. Umm.

Oct 11

Once again Pret A Manger in the morning, then off on the great toilet seat hunt. Success! A store in Hammersmith had just what I needed for $30. Then a late lunch with Anastasia Belina (a biographer of Andre Tchaikowsky) at the Polish Club, going with her to Heathrow Airport for her flight to Japan. After a rest, out for a late supper with Liz Smith of Entertaining:TV, dining at the Ivy Brasserie in Kensington. Ben Ben, call Daddy (pix).

Oct 12

First, a visit to Josef Weinberger music publisher to meet with Sean Gray and Lewis Mitchell. Next, lunch at Wigmore Hall with Judy and Michael Arnold, then the Terry Harrison Memorial Concert featuring pianists András Schiff and Radu Lupu (pix). Many famous musicians at the concert including Steven Kovacavich, Steven Isserlis, Norma Fisher and many more. Dinner was with Gerald Kingsley, a student of Edwin Fischer, at Spaghetti House.

Oct 13

Took a train to Ipswich, Suffolk to see my longtime friend Michael Riddall (pix). Mike knew Andre Tchaikowsky in the early days (1960s) and had plenty of stories. Mike is also featured in the Andre documentary, Rebel of the Keys. Now retired, he and his lovely wife, Liz, live in an attractive retirement center. We also had a great hour together, reading Mike's poetry. Our lunch at the Mariner's Restaurant was superb.

Oct 14

Laundry today. This airbnb machine does wash and dry, all in one machine, but it takes time. I opted for the 5-hour cycle; 2 hours wash, 3 hours dry. Then off to Camden Passage Saturday market (pix) to find Kathy a vintage 1930s silver bracelet. Success! Lunch at the Ivy Brasserie. Home again to pack and in the evening, off to the Southbank Poetry International Festival to hear a poetry reading by Caroline Bergvall.

Oct 15

Off to Paris today by the Eurostar train from London. It's just a 2-hour trip and you go under the English Channel. Robert was there at Gare du Nord, waiting for me. After checking in to my airbnb, it was off to Place d'Italie (pix) for a snack. Next, an organ concert at Église Saint-Eustache given by organist Baptiste-Florian Marle-Ouvrard. With perfect weather (sunny, 76 degrees), we found our dinner place, La Bocca. Love Paris!

Oct 16

Our Sudoku contest started at the Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève (pix). Since non-students can only visit from 9 am to 10 am, we had to finish the first and second puzzles elsewhere. Score... doesn't matter. Lunch was at L'As du Fallafel and coffee at Place des Vosges. More strolling Paris (sunny, 76 degrees), then home for a rest. Dinner was at Auberge Pyrenees Cevennes with my friend, Paris musicologist Frédéric Gaussin.

Oct 17

The day started with Robert taking me to a special Paris breakfast place, which was called NoGlu(ten), but it was actually pretty good. Then to the train station for a 2-hour TGV train (200 mph) to Bordeaux in Southern France. Our airbnb was spectacular and after checking in, we went exploring and bought tram/bus/boat passes (pix), which cost $13 a week for seniors. Dinner was at Comptoir Cuisine, a small menu but great wines.

Oct 18

(Kathy's pix: Queen Califia's Magical Circle in Escondido, CA, a work of artist, Niki de Saint Phalle.) A bit of rain today, breakfast was at the Opera Cafe (next door), then an escorted tour of the city by electric Tuk Tuk. Next, a tour of our own, taking Tram B to the end and, Lo, Le Bistrot de l'Alouette for lunch. Coming back, Bus 4. After a rest, we continued to explore Bordeaux on foot into the night ending with dinner at Chai deZ' Amis.

Oct 19

Bordeaux is all about wine so it's fitting that they should have a special showcase building and here it is, The City of Wine (pix). We arrived by boat to the 'la cité du vin" and did our own walking tour of the various levels, including a very fine restaurant at the 7th level and a panoramic viewing of Bordeaux city at the 8th level.


One stop was the top floor wine tasting room (pix) that had a ceiling of 5,000 wine bottles hung in perfectly curved rows. We didn't do any tasting here because this was actually the last stop of one of the more expensive wine tours, and there was no food available as well. The tours were not recommended so we skipped them.


Another stop was the wine store (pix) that had over 1,800 bottles to choose from. This was a round room, with floor to ceiling wine choices and an inner circle of more wines. It wasn't only French wines, but, selected quality wines from other countries as well, including the USA. Prices ranged from doable to, "are you kidding?"


We took luncheon at Latitude20, a brasserie-wine bar, which was adjacent to the wine store. Robert ate lightly but I had the satisfying meat plate (pix), and also indulged in a wine from appellation Saint-Julien, a 2009 Chateau Lagrange prize winning red wine at $21 a glass. Later, Robert had the Scandinavian plate at Koeben.

Oct 20

Robert and I took off in different directions today. My day was chasing down used CD shops for Andre Tchaikowsky CDs (no luck), visiting the massive Mollat bookshop, trying to find a cafe for a baba au rhum (no luck), visiting the Grand Hommes complex, and then home for a rest. Along the way I noted these cooks (pix) preparing a Bordeaux specialty, Canelés. Dinner at Au Bouchon des Chartrons. Excellent!

Oct 21

Another big wine day, this time via our rental car. The first stop was the ancient village of Saint-Émilion (pix), which goes back to prehistoric times with picturesque steep and narrow streets. There is a wine route around the village that has no less than 26 wineries you can visit. No tasting was being offered, however, because it's too late in the tourist season, and more than a few châteaux gates were closed.


For lunch , we headed out of town to Chateau la Dominique and it's restaurant La Terrasse Rouge. The restaurant is on the 2nd floor, providing stunning views of the surrounding vineyards (pix). The meal was spectacular and the wine pairings were perfect. We also bought a 2010 Pomerol from nearby Château Fayat. This area of wineries is called the Right Bank because they are to the right of the Gironde River.


Staying in the Right Bank, we turned north towards the wine area, Côtes de Bourg and its many châteaux. We found that the wonderful Château de la Rivière (pix) was open but, again, no tasting. But we did buy a bottle of 2014 Fronsac to take back home. Driving further towards Bourg, we came to Château La Croix de Pawlowski where we bought their prize-winning Château la Croix-Violet, an organic wine from 2015. A great day!

Oct 22

Off to the Left Bank wineries today, passing through an historic wine area like Château Palmer, which is close to a golf course but no relation to the golfer. Lunch at Château Cordeillan-Bages (pix), taking the fixed-price menu ($75) with wine pairings; a Château Turcan Blanc white wine (2015) and a Chateau Lynch-Bages "Inspiration" red wine (2011). Then back home to turn in the car and enjoy a baba au rhum at Comptoir Cuisine.

Oct 23

Off to The Museum of Contemporary Art... closed on Monday. OK, my favorite cafe... closed on Monday. OK, to an amusement park (pix) for a crepe. This amusement park is setup on the Place Des Quinconces and the fountain honors the Girondins, a group that was massacred during the French Revolution (1790s). Dinner was a bit disappointing at Le Bistrot d'Edouard because service was too fast, but the snails were good.

Oct 24

Just a quick train to Paris and then lunch at Ma grand-mère m'a dit (My grandmother told me), a vegetarian restaurant. Then we checked into our hotel, the St. Charles, in the Paris Butte-aux-Cailles area. After a rest, we were off again to the Irish Cultural Center chapel (pix) for a concert of alternative folk, with two Irish groups, Inni-K & Cry Monster Cry. Time didn't allow a late dinner at Chez Gladines. Crepes instead!

Oct 25

Breakfast in Paris then off to London by train. After checking in to my hotel, Premier Inn Bankside, it was time for a real meal at Pizza Express Bankside. Next, was a stroll through the neighborhood, including the Borough Market, then a short rest before heading to St. Paul's Cathedral for Evensong. Then on to the Royal Festival Hall for a concert by the London Philharmonic, Andrés Orozco-Estrada conducting. Just wonderful.

Oct 26

Breakfast in London at Gails Bankside, featuring Halloween "Fingers" (pix). Ummm! Then some repacking for my flight to Denver on British Airways. With a bit of time left before heading to the airport, I went for a walking tour of the Tate Modern museum area. Then the 9-hour flight went well, arriving in Denver at about 6 pm local time. Rather than push on to Tucson, I spent the night at Hampton Inn by the airport.

Oct 27

Due to a non-functioning WiFi system at the Hampton Inn, it was necessary to use their Business Center, which actually worked pretty well, but I missed the window of opportunity to get an early boarding pass for my Southwest flight, direct Denver to Tucson, and ended up in a center seat. This Hampton should be avoided because it's just an Airport Hotel. Kathy sent me today's pix, so I know what's waiting for me!

* Dégustation is the careful, appreciative tasting of various foods and wines, focusing on
the gustatory system, the senses, high culinary art, and good company.