Friday, July 24, 2015

Review of the Viking Cruise from Prague to Paris

Viking Ship Idun
We booked the Cities of Light tour with Viking Cruise, leaving from Prague and arriving in Paris. The only other small boat cruise I had been on had traveled through the Inside Passage in Alaska. I was prepared for this to be more like a ‘big boat’ cruise with average facilities, food and tours that cost extra. I could have not been more incorrect or happier about my misconceptions. We were aboard the Viking Idun; we learned later that this ship is rated number three in the world for river cruising. We chose a Veranda room because I simply can’t stand to be unable to see out of a hotel room. We did use the balcony a bit, but the weather was chilly enough that we chose to sit inside and looked out through the glass doors instead. While neither the room nor the bath was huge, each was efficiently arranged so that we did have room to move around and to store luggage out of the way; we were quite comfortable. The closet was large enough for our clothes and then some. Everyone from the stewards to the waiters to the captain treated us with courtesy and respect. Our room was cleaned while we were at breakfast every
Veranda Room with Balcony
morning, but I did notice that there were several people who hung ‘Do not disturb’ signs and rose a bit later (or quite a bit later).

Food on the cruise was outstanding. I was particularly pleased when presented with a menu
Eggs Benedict
for the day each morning so that I could select my food that the chef then prepared without onions or spinach. No matter what I chose, he modified the recipe to meet my needs. I also liked the fact that I knew what we were eating before anyone else! Food was plentiful with breakfast served as a buffet; lunch and dinner salads were also served from a buffet. However, if you wanted something special at breakfast, such as eggs Benedict or pancakes, those were made to order. At lunch and dinner the entrees and desserts were ordered from the waiters. Unlike other cruises I’ve been on, any drinks served at meals whether alcoholic or soft were included at no additional charge and refilled upon request; coffee and tea were available 24 hours a day. The wait staff were well trained and very good humored. Meals were varied; we never had the same lunch or dinner choices. There was, however, a standard menu (steak, chicken, or fish) for those who didn’t like the regional dishes that were served. Desserts were spectacular and there was always a cheese plate and fruit available if you didn’t want something sweet.

Examples of Appetizers
Our Viking tour guide worked incessantly to make sure that we were entertained. If we didn’t have local talent come onto the ship, we were entertained by a keyboardist. Local talent ranged from an opera singer, French hornist, and pianist to an Oompah Band. There was
even a camera in the lounge that allowed us to see the entertainment from our room if we preferred. Our tours were handled by local guides who had been specifically selected for English speakers. For the most part our guides were wonderfully well informed and did a good job of telling stories that wove the history of the area into our tours. They all had a good sense of humor and were able to answer even the most complicated questions. We only had one guide who was not particularly good and luckily we had the best guide last, so we were left with a very positive attitude toward our tours. Tours were for not more than twenty people and we all had headphones so that our guides didn’t have to yell for us to hear exactly what was said. There was one group that was called the ‘leisure tour’; this was for folks who had difficulty walking. This group always got to see the highlights of the areas, but did not get to experience some of the charming walkways through the small towns. There were included tours every day with only three optional tours that cost extra; the costs were exceptionally reasonable. The only other additional costs were alcohol that wasn’t consumed at lunch or dinner and tips. Tips went to the local guides at a reasonable suggestion of 2 Euro per person, bus drivers at the same rate if you traveled more than just into a city, the cruise director at about 5 Euros per day per person, and the crew and wait staff at around 3 Euros per day per person. I think our total for tips was about 100 Euros for the entire 15 days. Considering the level of care and service, it’s a real bargain. My only actual complaint with the trip was that we didn’t have as much time as I would have liked to do the tours
and also explore the towns on our own. I would have done substantially more shopping if I’d have had an extra hour or two in each place.
Examples of Main Dishes
Cruising on a river is very pleasant (see Along the Rhine). There are no big waves so there is no sea-sickness. My only disappointment was that since we were on smaller rivers most of the time we couldn’t enjoy the sun deck because of low bridges and the locks. Once we got onto the Rhine River we were able to watch the world go by from the top of the ship. The breeze made it rather too cool to sit outside in the evening, but the days were lovely as long as you were in the sun.
Examples of Desserts
Was this cruise worth the apparent greater cost than a typical ocean-going cruise? Absolutely! With transportation to and from the airports, drinks and tours included and with the level of service we received this cruise was well worth the price we paid. Would we do it again? Again, absolutely! I think that Viking has gotten this sort of traveling figured out and can deliver a quality experience. My rating for this trip is…

Four and one-half Carrots

For information about my rating system, see Reading the Reviews.

Where we stayed…
Four Carrots
Left: Coffee/Tea service
Right top: Hotel room
Bottom:: Bathroom
Hilton Prague (Pobřežní 1 186 00 Praha; +42-0-224-841-111) was what you’d expect from a four star hotel. Service was very good, as was the internet connection. The room was spacious, comfortable, and well appointed. There was a coffee/tea service in the room. This hotel is a rather long walk from Old Town and in a business district rather than a tourist area. Breakfast was provided in the Atrium Restaurant; the buffet was extensive with quality foods. The restaurant was lovely with good service, food and prices. This is a good place to stay if you don’t have to pay for it; this hotel was included in our tour.

Hotel du Levant (18 rue de la Harpe, 75005 Paris; +33-01-46-34-11-00) is in the Latin Quarter and a real gem. The people running it are friendly and accommodating. I called the
Top: Hotel room
Bottom L to R: Shower, WC
front desk to ask about an issue I was having with the internet and they immediately re-booted the system so that the speed was even faster. The room was very comfortable; the bathroom was split into a shower area and a toilet area. There was a small refrigerator and a coffee/tea service. There is a tiny elevator that holds two people with a bag apiece, but it works well and isn’t particularly slow. Breakfast was on the ground floor of the hotel and consisted of a buffet of meats, breads, fruits, yogurts and cereals. If you wanted a boiled egg, there was an egg boiler available. The hotel is very near Notre-Dame, so it’s within walking distance of all of the major attractions in the center of Paris. This place is well worth the price; I would stay here, again.

Three and one-half Carrots
Pullman Paris Tour Eiffel (18 Avenue De Suffren 15 Arr., 75015 Paris; +33-08-25-83-60-
L to R: Bathroom, Hotel room
60) is a nice hotel almost under the Eiffel Tower. However, it wasn’t quite what I expect from a four star hotel. The internet access was free and the speed was good. The room was wonderful, with a great balcony and a nice view of some private vegetable gardens. However, the bathroom, although roomy and nicely appointed, suffered from low water pressure and a leaky bathtub. The folks at the desk were very helpful and courteous. Breakfast was down in the basement and was okay but not up to what we expect from French cuisine; the wait staff weren’t particularly accommodating. The ground floor restaurant was very nice, with good food but spotty service. This is another hotel that we were glad that it was included in the tour rather than having to pay for it ourselves.

What we did…
The information and ratings in this section go are focused on what we did on our own.  Pictures and descriptions are in Peeking in on Prague and Pausing in Paris blogs.

Four and one-half Carrots
The Louvre (Rue de Rivoli, Paris, Île-de-France 750001) is, of course, a must see in Paris. We’ve been several times and still haven’t seen it all. This time we were focused on seeing the Etruscan exhibit; of course it was extensive and wonderful. There is also a new, at least to us, exhibit of giant statues that are absolutely wonderful. The docents all speak some level of English and are very helpful; they smilingly listened to my high school French and immediately switched to English.  Be sure to get to the museum at opening time. Even with a ‘fast pass’ you may have to stand in line to get into the pyramid. Once inside, if you have a ticket, you’ll immediately go to the one of the desks to get a map, then to any of the entrances. If you don’t have a ticket, you’ll stand in the regular line, but if you’re there early it won’t be too very long. Once inside go to the kiosk where you can pay by credit card, grab a ticket and head for a map and one of the entrances. If you want to see one of the ‘famous’ exhibits, schedule your viewing for either early in the day (right after opening) or just before closing. The Winged Victory is fairly easy to see since it’s on a pedestal at the top of some stairs, but the Mona Lisa will try your patience if you want to get up close. The Venus de Milo is also on a pedestal, but it’s not on stairs, so you have to be patient if you want to get close to it, as well. Restrooms are at a premium everywhere except by the restaurant, so be prepared to stand in line if you use one in other parts of the museum. Plan on eating at odd times if you want to stay in the museum; the restaurant can get rather crowded.

Notre-Dame Cathedral (6 Parvis Notre-Dame, Place Jean-Paul II, Paris 75004) lives up to its billing. This is an amazing place with wonderful stained glass windows, chapels, alters, markers and icons. Entrance to the Cathedral is free; the line to get in looks intimidating, but it moves very quickly. Your bags are scanned and that’s want slows down entrance. If you are lucky enough to be in the cathedral when there is singing, you’ll thoroughly enjoy how the acoustics affect the sound. There is a charge if you want to climb the tower; I did that years ago and it allows for wonderful views. The grounds out behind the cathedral have plantings of shade trees, roses and seasonal wildflowers. Evidently it is a popular place for wedding portraits since we saw several couples posing with the flying buttresses in the background. There is also an area for children to play and some benches from which folks were feeding pigeons.

Sainte-Chapelle (8 Boulevard du Palais, 75001 Paris) has the most amazing stained glass windows I have seen. There are literally walls and walls of windows. Since their restoration, the colors are vibrant and the light coming in makes the alter area seems to glow. This is still an operating church with an active congregation, so visitors are asked to be very quiet. The Crown of Thorns relic is supposed to be presented with other relics to the believers for veneration on the first Friday of each month, every Friday during Lent at 3 pm, and on Good Friday from 10 am to 5 pm. However, the Crown of Thorns may not be among the relics at every presentation. There is a cost for entrance to the church; the ticket is bundled with the ticket for the Conciergerie.
Four Carrots
Église de Saint-Germain-des-Prés (3 Place Saint-Germain des Prés 75006 Paris) is one of the oldest churches in Paris. It also has great stained glass windows in a very small alter area. What I really like about the windows is the distinctively different, rather more primitive, art they show. Like Sainte-Chapelle, this is an active church so visitors must be mindful of services and members of the congregation who are worshiping. There is a small garden with some interesting sculptures around the side of the church; it also has some small flying buttresses. Entrance is free.

Jardin des Plantes (rue Cuvier, rue Buffon, rue Geoffroy-Saint-Hilaire, place Valhubert, 75005 Paris; +33- 01-40-79-56-01) is a lovely botanical garden that has walking trails, shade trees, formal plantings, huge greenhouses, and a series of beds for specific plant species. The variety of plants in each of these beds shows the range of leaf shape and blooms a species can attain. Within this garden is the Menagerie du Jardin des Plantes. While the Paris Zoo fits into the ‘modern’ zoo framework, the Menagerie is a much smaller offering. The animals kept here are small to medium in size and are not what you’d expect to see. We particularly enjoyed the Asian Furry Donkeys who seemed intent on checking out visitors for handouts. There was a well-appointed monkey house, exotic cat area, aviary, herpetarium, and pens with natural landscaping for llamas, and mountain goats. There is a fee for the menagerie, but not for the botanical garden. There are plenty of places to eat around the gardens and you can bring food into the parks.

The Petite Palais (Avenue Winston Churchill, Paris 75008) has one of the most eclectic art collections in Paris. It was surprising to be walking along the hall looking at an old master, then to come face-to-face with a sculpture or a painting from the last five to ten years. Since this was built as a palace, the building has wide, sweeping staircases and long, wide halls. The building, itself, is a work of art. Its exhibits range from furniture to paintings to sculptures to jewelry. There is an inner garden that is quite pretty and a small restaurant. Evidently local Parisians like the area for lunch since we saw several groups with their sack lunches sitting in the garden. Entrance to the Petite Palais is free, except for the traveling exhibit that may be in residence when you visit. The Petite Palais is just off the Champs Elysees, so there are lots of green areas that are decorated with interesting statues very close.

Three and one-half Carrots
Conciergerie (2 Boulevard du Palais, 75001 Paris) is one of those odd places that you’re not sure what you’re seeing. The first time I visited I thought I was in the hall of one of the kings of France because of its size. Then I was told that I was in a horse barn; this didn’t seem right because there was a spiral staircase and huge fire places. On this visit the historic society of Paris had been at work so there are now informational signs in several languages, along with a couple of films that talk about the building and its construction. The entry area was actually the guards’ room; whether they brought their horses in with them was never quite clear. The rest of the building was given over to housing for prisoners. There is a reconstruction of the cell that held Marie Antoinette, along with information about the queen and her children. At one time there were several well-known women in this area; they were allowed to walk in a very small garden. This garden has been replanted with typical vegetation. There is a cost for entrance to the Conciergerie; the ticket is bundled with the ticket for Sainte-Chapelle. The restrooms are actually in the Palais de Justice, so you’ll meet some of the folks who have business in that building.

Shakespeare and Company bookstore (37 rue de la Bûcherie. 75005 Paris; +33-01-43-25-40-93) is a used book store with a rare book store attached to it. The used book area looks and smells like every old library I’ve ever been in. There are several floors to the store and you can get lost between the stacks, but you may find someone playing an old piano or a cat asleep on an antique couch. Most of the books appeared to be in English, but there were groups of books in other languages with the preponderance of those being in French (of course). There are benches outside for people to sit and read. We found several interesting books that didn’t make it into our bags simply because those bags were already stuffed with other goodies. That didn’t stop us from writing down the titles!

Wenceslas Square (Prague, Czech Republic) was not a jammed with tourists as it was the last time I was there. This is a good place to watch people, as well as see a lovely statue dedicated to Saint Wenceslas. Looming up behind the statue is the National Museum with its neo-renaissance façade; I still haven’t had time to go inside. There are other several buildings in the area designed in the Art Nouveau style. There are also several that are decorated inside with Alphonse Mucha’s art. There are many al fresco restaurants and bars in this area along with several nifty little shops to poke around in; there’s also a very nice bookstore and a chocolate shop. It’s a good space for a walk and to grab a bite to eat.

Pink flowers
What we ate…
I can honestly say that the food on this trip was outstanding. We never had a meal that wasn’t above average. Service ranged from excellent to inefficient, but all the wait staff were pleasant. Also, I have never eaten as much good cheese as I did on this jaunt.

Four Carrots
Bistro St-Dominique (131 rue Saint-Dominique, 75007, Paris; +33-01-45-55-80-42) is
Top L to R: Steak, Dave with wine
Bottom L to R: Menu, Mac and cheese
located on a back street near the Eiffel Tower. It’s one of the few restaurants that is open 24 hours a day. We just happened to discover it as we walked back from one of our adventures. The building is about a hundred years old and has a tiny spiral staircase in one corner that takes you up to the restrooms. If you are tall, part of you is on one turn of the staircase while your feet are on another. The owner had purchased the building just after World War II and had been in the restaurant business for years. There was a nice outdoor seating area that was crowded with a mixed age group; inside was air conditioned and very comfortable. We started with a nice bottle of German wine; it was light and not too sweet. Dave had bifteck et pommes frites (steak and fried potatoes); I had macaroni au gratin (basically macaroni and cheese) that was laced with four types of cheese and topped with 
Parmesan. This was comfort food for us both and it was very good! While the waiters were kind enough to endure my French, they were quite willing to converse with us in English.

Brasserie du Cercle (2a, rue des Capucins, L-1313 Luxembourg; +35-2-47-45-12) is a small restaurant on the main square. The people who run it are very friendly and are most
L to R: Tomato soup, Menu
willing to accommodate your needs. We only had a short time for lunch and ask the waitress what would be appropriate to order. She suggested the soup and bread; this was a great choice. The tomato soup was thick and almost sweet with the pulp of the tomatoes. The surprise in the bottom of the bowl was a thick round of goat cheese. I was in heaven, Dave wasn’t nearly as excited. The bread was fresh, crusty and served with butter. The wine went well with the meal. I wish we had had time to have an entire lunch in this restaurant. Although Luxembourg is said to be one of the most expensive places in Europe, we thought that the prices on the menu were in line with other restaurants in Germany.

Cafe & Bistro in Hilton Prague (Pobřežní 1 186 00 Praha; +42-0-224-841-111) is a casual
Left T to B: Salad, Caprese
Center T to B: Schnitzel, Lamb
Right T to B: Cheese, Asparagus, Sout
eatery that caters to tourists. Food is varied and rather good; however, you won’t find much local fare on the menu. Simply because of jet lag one day and walking our feet off the next, we ate in this restaurant twice. We had a delicious cheese plate that did have some of the local cheeses. The little crusty bagels were a nice counterpart to the creamy goat cheese. The tomato soup with goat cheese toast was creamy, peppery and very tasty. Dave had a rack of lamb topped with pesto and a side of potatoes. The sauce served with it was spicy and a nice contrast to the meat and potatoes. The caprese salad dressing was a bit sharper than I expected because of the small amount of mustard they used, but the cheese was good and the tomatoes were fresh. They also had green and white asparagus in a hollandaise sauce that was very good. Along with that I had a salad with quail eggs, very salty bacon and mixed greens. Dave tried a traditional schnitzel with a mustard sauce that he thought was a bit dry. Prices were very reasonable, especially for a hotel restaurant.

 Como Restaurant (Václavské náměstí 818/45 110 00 Praha 1; +48-0-222-247-240) is right on Wenceslas Square. You can opt to sit outside or in; we chose indoors since it was much
Left: Como Restaurant
Right T to B: Chicken, Fish
quieter and less crowded. The food was spectacular. Dave had chicken breast pin-wheeled with bacon and spinach, presented on a bed of butter mashed potatoes with barbecue sauce on the side. He said it had a lovely fragrance and taste; it was quite a pretty presentation. I had Mahi Mahi grilled with pineapple; sweet, slightly salty, crusty, and firm flavors and textures mingled together to create a wonderful meal. We each had a nice glass of white wine that complemented both dishes. The waitress was attentive and helpful, making sure that we both got what we wanted prepared to our specifications. This is an up-scale restaurant that makes an extra effort to have a wide price range for their varied patrons. We saw business people having a working lunch as well as young people obviously on vacation and families with children. The price for the food and service is very good.
La Harpe (16 Rue de la Harpe Paris; +33-01-43-29-43-48) is just one of the many
Left T to B: Steak, Dessert
Center T to B: Salad, Chicken, Dessert
Right T to B: Soup, Dave with Menu
restaurants just up the street from Hotel du Levant. As we walked by the maître d' told us about the evening’s specials and offered us a free glass of wine to come inside. This was one of the many places that had a ‘set menu’. You can have two courses (appetizer and main or main and dessert) or three courses for a set price. These menus are usually a good deal and this one certainly was. We obliged him and got a good seat overlooking the street. Dave started with a bowl of French onion soup; he said it was delicious. I began with a salad that was mixed greens topped with a piece of toast and two rounds of goat cheese; that could have been my entire meal since it was filling a very good. Dave’s main was a traditional coq au vin (chicken in wine). Mine was a steak with fried potatoes and green beans. We both were very happy with our meals. The chicken, with its sauce, was a delight; the steak was tender and had a wonderful mushroom sauce with it. Desserts were chocolate mousse and creme brulee; both were well prepared and very tasty.

Les Parisiennes (17 Avenue de la Motte Piquet, 75007 Paris; +33-01-47-05-07-37) is a really delightful place to eat. Our waitress was full of energy and fun. She knew just how to
Top to Bottom: Salad, Logo, Sandwich
handle Dave’s silliness, so we laughed through the entire meal. Dave had a club sandwich with a large salad. He said that the cold cuts were tasty and that the chicken was roasted; the greens were very fresh. My salade Niçoise was full of tomatoes, tuna, hard-boiled eggs, Niçoise olives, and anchovies, and dressed with vinaigrette. The tuna was just as I like it, seared on the outside and rare on the inside. The house wine was slightly sweet and went well with our lunch. The price for lunch was extremely reasonable.

Three and one-half Carrots
Atrium Restaurant in Hilton Prague (Pobřežní 1 186 00 Praha; +42-0-224-841-111) is one of three restaurants inside the Hilton Prague; the breakfast they provided was included with the room rate. This buffet included fruit, cheese, cold meats, salad, sushi, cereals, yogurts and breads along with scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon and made-to-order omelets. Wait staff brought coffee, but juices and tea were available.

Bratwurst Roslein Restaurant (Rathausplatz 6 | 90403 Nurnberg, 90403 Nuremberg, Bavaria, Germany; +49 911 214860) was our first experience with German food on this trip.
Left T to B: Dave with beer, Menu
Right T to B: Sausages, Cheese plate
We were told by our tour guide to asks for the check as soon as our food was delivered. It is a tradition in Europe that the bill is presented only when you ask for it rather than delivering it as diners finish their meals. I had a cheese plate with local cheeses and a basket of bread. I was a bit disappointed in that I couldn’t identify the cheeses; their flavors were very similar. Dave had some very good sausages and mashed potatoes. He said that the sausages were well prepared and flavorful. The beer he ordered was huge; my water was of a normal size. The price for the food was within reason, but service was a bit inattentive. Others in our party who sat outside complained that service was so slow that they didn’t get enough time to finish their meals. Inside there were fewer people, which is probably why the service we had was okay.

Café le Petite Cluny (19, bd. St. Michel, 75005 Paris; +33-01-43-29-98-51) is a café near
Left T to B: Cheese plate, Shrimp salad
Right: Dave with menu
Hotel du Levant. As with most of the others it has inside and outside seating with non-smoking within the café. For this meal we decided on something light rather than two or three courses. Dave and I split a cheese plate and a shrimp and avocado salad. With wine and bread, these two dishes were plenty to eat. The cheese plate was a nice mix of creamy and pungent; the butter was just a decadent addition. The salad was yummy. The shrimp tasted fresh and were an almost sweet counterpoint to the smooth avocado. The crusty bread was a good carrier for all of the foods. The mustard dressing on the greens was a bit sharp; Dave really enjoyed it but I’d have preferred something a bit milder.

Café le Poliveau (46 rue Poliveau 75005 Paris; +33-09-53-20-25-34) is very near the Jardin des Plantes. It is one of those places that does a brisk lunch business with the locals. We
Left: Salad
Right T to B: Steak, Chicken
had a good time with the waitress and her interesting English combined with my interesting French. Eventually we all were happy with our orders leaving Dave and I to relax with our drinks. Unfortunately, the chef had lots of chives and used them liberally. We began with a caprese salad that was lovely except for the mustard dressing. Dave had a nice steak and some fried potatoes that we thought were going to be greasy, but were, in fact, quite enjoyable. His gravy had lots of mushrooms in it, as well as a nice amount of cream. My chicken kabob was very well prepared; the bell pepper was a sweet contrast to the crusty meat. The sauce was full of tomato flavor. This was a set menu at a good price.

Café Relais Odeon (132, Boulevard Saint-Germain, 75006 Paris, France; +33-01-43-29-
Top: Cheese and salad
Bottom: Burger
81-80) was an okay place to eat lunch. Dave had a very nice burger with fried potatoes and I had a cheese, tomato, and apple salad; both were well prepared. Dave really enjoyed his sandwich, particularly because the meat was cooked to his liking and the bread was homemade. The cheese was very good, but the salad dressing had too much mustard and detracted from some of the delicate flavors. When we visited, they were doing a brisk business with almost every table both inside and out full, as well as the bar. Service was not as slow as we expected. The prices were a higher than other places we’d eaten, although the food, while good, was not noticeably better.

Glocke Weingut und Hotel (Plonlein 1, 91541 Rothenburg, Bavaria, Germany; +49-0-9861-958990) was a part of one of our tours. They prepared a special schnitzel for me and
Top L to R: Schnitzel, Soup
Bottom L to R: Strudel, Sausages
sausage, potatoes and sauerkraut for everyone else. I also got a delicate carrot soup while others got a vegetable soup. All the foods were well prepared but were a bit bland. Dessert was a very nice apple strudel with a cream sauce. The restaurant was a part of a hotel of half-beam construction. The furnishings were traditional as were the costumes of the wait staff. The staff did a pretty good job of serving about 60 people; they were pleasant but didn’t have time to interact with us individually.

L’Annexe (13 Rue des Trois Treres, 75018 Paris, France; +33-01-46-06-12-48) is located
Left: Menu
Right T to B: Ham and Cheese, Croque-Madam
very near the Palais de Justice and as a result had its share of business people having lunch at the sidewalk tables. Since there is no smoking inside, we opted to sit at a table indoors in front of the large windows. This place was hopping, but the service was a bit slower than we thought warranted. I had a nice ham and cheese on a French loaf. Dave had a Croque-Madame; this was grilled ham and cheese sandwich, topped with béchamel and a fried egg. The food was good, but not outstanding, and the price was reasonable.

Three Carrots
Fame Restaurant in Pullman Paris Tour Eiffel (18 Avenue De Suffren 15 Arr., 75015 Paris;
Flat-bread, Cheese plate and wine
+33-08-25-83-60-60) has a great patio to sit and stare at the Eiffel Tower. The atmosphere inside is very nice, including a rather casual bar and an upscale restaurant. They also have a wide variety of drinks and a fairly extensive menu. We opted for a couple of glasses of wine, a flat-bread type pizza, and a cheese plate. While everything had great flavors and were well prepared, we had very poor service. The food and wine were over-priced for what we received and for the service.

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