Friday, 19 March 2010

The traveller's breakfast (Πρωϊνό για τους ταξιδιώτες)

This post forms part of the series of our culinary adventures from our recent trip to Paris and London.

After searching the various online hotel booking sites and reading the reviews of the super-cheap hotels that I intended to book my family into, I did not expect much from the budget accommodation that we eventually checked into. What lured me to both my Paris and London hotels was the price on both counts, with the added bonus that breakfast was included in the price of the room. When travelling in cold countries with young children, it's really important for them to find a warm meal to start the day off. We stayed in one four-bedded room in each city for four nights. I'm running on Greek euro: it looks the same as the rest of Europe's euros, but Greeks are supposed to have some of the lowest salaries in the EU. I couldn't afford to spend much more than the cheapest hotels I found in each city: 100 euro per night (breakfast included) in Paris, and 68 pounds (approx. 76 euro) per night (breakfast included) in London.

I came prepared...

I had read that the rooms were small, so we took only two suitcases. I had also read that the breakfast was 'only tea/coffee and bread/butter' so I packed some paximadia and a few clementine oranges in our bags in case we got peckish. I had nightmares about the 'filthy' bathrooms and 'dirty' floors and bedding. One of the hotels had even managed to make it into the 'top most dirtiest' in the UK. I had been warned, so I came prepared. I couldn't afford to be fussy - I only wanted a warm bed for the night, a place to keep myself clean, and a bite to munch on in the morning, and we all know the saying that 'beggars can't be choosers'.

breakfast in paris
If I had to choose which one was better between the two, I'd say that in my breakfasts in Paris (above) were of higher quality with more atmosphere than those of London (below).
breakfast in london

To our pleasant surprise, the rooms in both hotels were always warm, the bathrooms were spacious (in contrast to the previous London hotel I stayed in), there was no mould or bed bugs as promised by other reviewers of the same hotels, and I would gladly stay again in either of them. The staff were also very polite, and responded to all our requests. The breakfasts were basically the same in both of them: juice, tea/coffee/milk, cornflakes, butter and jam to spread on your bread. The only difference was in the quality of the bread - in London, hotel bread is always a thin square sponge that is palatable when toasted, while in Paris, it's a crusty petit pain and/or a buttery croissant.

Hotel breakfasts are a part of the international cuisine: you know what to expect of them. Funnily enough, the French don't actually butter their baguettes, preferring them plain. We saw many people munching on them in Paris as they walked along the street in the afternoons, without any filling; far more healthy than the McDonalds packed meals people often seemed to be buying in London just as soon as they stepped on or off the tube. The weight difference between Parisians and Londoners was highly evident.

aegean air breakfast
Bacon and eggs, fresh fruit, a muesli bar, bread rolls with butter 'n jam, and a hot drink: Aegean Airlines' answer to the traditional English breakfast.

And since we had an early morning start on the first day of our travel, we also got a chance to experience the flying world's answer to breakfast - more international fare.

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