We are heading to Paris soon with my cousin Toni and her husband Hugh. We will try to keep everyone up to date.
Well, after 3 or 4 days of nothing, here is our final blog before we head home to SUNNY CALIFORNIA.
During the last few days we have had rain. In fact, it has rained every day except one or two days, when it was cloudy. I did, didn’t I tell you about our trip to Normandy? Not a happy place, seeing all those graves. Looking over the cliffs from above it is absolutely amazing that anything was successful.
On this day after Memorial day, it is worthwhile to think about all the young men, on both sides that died on June 6th nearly 70 years ago. Take a look at the pictures of Normandy on the Picasa website. Very moving. I was encouraged when we went to the museum and saw group after group of young French kids going over the panoramas of the battles, being reminded of the shared sacrifice of both French and American and British, and Canadian and Australian young men.
But on to happier things. While the weather has been a downer, we have stilled walking and walking and walking around Paris.
We walked from our hotel to the Eifel tower, to Arch de Triumph, to the Opera House from the Louvre, to everywhere. I would im0press you with the mileage, but I left my pedometer home. Suffice it to say I am impressed.
We did find a bus or two. We had heard that we should stay out of the metro because of wandering gangs of team-pick pockets. Not Mom’s favorite anyway.
We still did encounter several “pick=pocket” types, with there typical scams. We had read about all of them in Rick Steves Paris, book, but it comes a shock to have just be accosted, and not know it.
The first one we encountered is the “found ring” ploy. Mom and I were standing on one of the ponts (bridges) looking at the snarling Seine. This young girl (maybe 20 or so) says “Misuser, there is a ring, I just found.” as she points to a beautiful gold ring just sitting on the bridge floor. She picks it up, and tries it on her gloved finger (I am suddenly reminded of “If it don’t fit, you have to acquit.”) Anyway, then she says “Too big for me. Perhaps you would like it.” I see this shinny ring, think some jerk lost a valuable ring and I am the better for it. I thank her, she moves in hugs me, and off she goes, like I just gave her something.
Well, naturally nothing actually happened. I knew of the ring ploy, and told her, harshly, NO!, and walked off. She was there to pick my pocket, and leave me with a 1/2 euro brass ring.
The next scam was two young girls (again late teens, early 20ies) ………………
Sorry it is late here, and we are leaving in the morning. So I will finish this when I get home. Maybe. POP
Today was the day we were suppose to go to Normandy. It got moved until tomorrow, so instead, we went over to where Mathew, Melette and Luc and Sophie will be on June 9th for a couple of weeks.
Looking at the map, and the weather we decided to take the bus. It was a very simple trip. Just one bus: #63 took us from about a few blocks from our place to about 6 blocks from Matt’s place.
The instructions about where Matt lived were clear but we never actually found the exact place. Did find the park across the street, and actually walked by is place unbeknownst to us.
We did find his office, and talked to a few of the people there . On the Picasa site there are 4 pictures of the area…none of his house but near, We did stop at the bakery he talks about (imagine that…couldn’t find his place, but did find th4e bakery. )
Had a coup of coffee and some wonderful eclares. (sp).
Came back by the same #63 bus, and went to rue clare and hit the cheese house and bakery there for dinner. Came back to the hotel, had a great nap, and ate dinner around our dining table around 8:30…very French.
It is about 10 ish now and I am ready for bed. Up tomorrow at 6 to get to Normandy, I will tell you all about that tomorrow night though I don’t think it will be uplifting.
Monday in Paris. We had planned to go to Normandy tomorrow, but the tour group cancelled until Wednesday. No problem for us. We had gone our earlier today and had planned to go to rue clare to the bakery to get some cookies for the trip tomorrow. But everything was closed. Not sure if it was just a Monday, or because if was a National holiday, which it was. But not only was it raining windy and cold, everything, well most things were closed, including “our” bakery. The name of the bakery is Artisan Boulangere Patissier on rue clare. So we were sort of out of luck for the cookies for tomorrow.
Anyway the tour company change the tour to Wednesday, so we will have time tomorrow to get the cookies for the trip.
Today, because it was raining, although not that much, we had planned to do our laundry. The laundrymat is about 3 blocks from our hotel, so that seemed reasonable. However, after looking at the weather, we opted to stay in the room, read, sleep and wash a few unmentionables. Hanging them around this gaudy room completed the impression of the…. well, never mind.
For lunch we did buy some crackers and most of the rest of the cheese we bought the other day. We also bought some Orangana drinks. We have one little table in the hotel room. I call it our dining room table because we also have one table in our house at home, a dining room table, albeit 2 to 3 times bigger that this little thing, which as a phone, lamp with a 10 watt bulb and a 23″ tv on it. Not much room to eat, but that is what we have.
While we were having coffee this morning at the brassier next door this morning, I was trying to figure out if I could tell we were in Paris (or at least not in America) by looking outside the window. Mom and I came up with a number of things. First of all it was raining, so you couldn’t see the clothes people were wearing, so that was out, but would have been a big indicator.
We came up with: tons of people smoking; strange shoes; little cars, mostly French spoken, lack of good coffee (no take away other than Starbucks) very expensive food – we ended up spending 90 euro last night for dinner; beautiful produce presented; rental bikes; parked cars jammed bumper to bumper; no ice for drinks.
These are not necessarily negative. Just different. People seem to be nice, and helpful. Most are very patient when explaining in partial English. Everyone’s English is better than my French.
Slept in today, Sunday and left the hotel around 10 am. We went to a new bakery the gal at the desk told us about that served good pastries, and coffee, I have attempted to put a picture of it in the blog but I think it is too big to insert The picture did come in, so there. The program that reduces that in size does not work. It has died about 6 times so I have given up.
Anyway, from there we walked to the Eifel tower. There were literally hundreds of people there in line to go up. We gave up. We walked back via the Seine River, and got back about 4 hours later.
Then we did our usual, take a nap. Mom had coffee earlier, and couldn’t sleep, but I did just fine. Her leg is really bothering her, so pray for her leg. Not sure what the problem is, but it still hurts and has slowed us down considerably,
We left the apartment again around 8 and went next door to dinner, Had a wonderful dinner of French Onion Soup (I know, too cool) and a dinner of chicken and fries. Capachino to top it off. Back in the room now, It is about 11 PM. It rained a lot while I was sleeping, but only drizzling now.
I am sort of caught up now. I need to go back to the three days in Moscow, and flesh that out, but otherwise we are current.
Today was our first full day in Paris. Grounded at a hotel we have stayed at two (or three) other times, we found ourselves quite at home in Paris. There is definitely a contrast from Moscow and or St Petersburg, In Moscow there were officious police everywhere, tons of paddy wagons, and dior looking people everywhere.
However, my impression of long lines for bread, babushkas begging in the streets, dark painted buildings, poverty everywhere certainly wasn’t the case. Other than the everpresent police, it looked like an upscale Paris. Fancy department stores (some pictures on my Picasa site) people dressed to the nines.
We saw almost no begging. Not much grafetti. Elegant cars, MBW’S Mercedes, and American named cars like Ford (probably made in Russia) Land Rovers etc. And crazy drivers. I told you about the kid who got hit by a car right in front of us, He was drunk, and the car ended up more damaged than he was.
But on to this day, Saturday. We walked to the Rue Clare area where there was a open air market going on (Saturdays and Wednesdays) and saw everything you can imagine for sale. The open air part was individual tents, with sliver, china, furniture, clothing, antiques etc for sale.
We stopped at a produce market, took some pictures, (on the web now) and at a cheese shop, and at a bakery where we got bread, cheese, drinks and water for the night.
On Picasa, I have posted our tabletop dinner we had with the baguette (called traditional) the three kinds of cheeses, some cherries and some salami, along with a large bottle of sparkling water we had, Great fun.
We also read a lot
Moscow by night