May 6, 2015
There's No Place Like Home!
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I am finally home from my trip -- I say finally since we took a taxi to Orly and then waited. And waited. And waited. Our small plane flight was very late (ritarde said the sign!). When it arrived, it was a much bigger plane and during the flight, our attendant said that we were missing our London to Vancouver flight. After landing, we had to be bussed into the main airport. We checked in as requested, and were sent to a hotel for the night, given receipts for dinner and breakfast, and a cute little package with a large T shirt, and a bunch of little items such as toothbrush and paste, razor, shampoo, etc. We were tired from sitting around in the airport all morning, so it was lovely to be in London where we could enjoy watching television in English once again. Actually, Barb and I got pretty good at French game shows which were on in our hotel lounge without sound. But, the only channel we could enjoy late at night was BBC and, believe me, you don't want to watch BBC two days before the election of the new prime minister. We did get to see pictures of Charlotte, the new royal baby with the rest of the world.
For some reason beyond our understanding, we were placed on Air Canada the next morning. I was delighted. After going to England on British Air, I can tell you that Air Canada is a step up (a long one). The electronics are far better, screens and sound clearer, selections more interesting, and the amenities better. Barb and I had paid to preorder our seats on British Air, so we were frustrated until we saw that we were going to share three seats because the plane wasn't full. Yea!!! Finally, we got much better food -- full lunch and treats or snacks every few hours -- ice cream, cookies, etc. etc.
Now I'm trying to readjust to another time zone. The first day I went to bed around 9:00, was awake at midnight and finally dozed until about 3:00 a.m. when I just gave up and got up. I made it until 9:30 last night and slept (mostly) until 6:30 this morning, so I'm making progress. It is beautiful here, so that lifts the spirits! The final few days in Paris were mostly rainy.
It is lovely to be home. It was an adventure and a fun vacation. Barb Storms is the easiest person in the world to be with. She is unflappable -- and a good and fun companion. She kindly spent time with my relatives and we have long known that we compliment each other since I'm right brained and she is left brained. She found things that I lost and I always have a sense of the larger picture. We've done enough traveling together (grad school, Maine, yearly to Ashland) that we are comfortable together. And, since we agree on most things political and religious, we can laugh at the same jokes!
How very lovely to be home!
May 2, 2015
The Left Bank
Today we took our second walking tour -- this time of the artists and writers of the Left Bank. The tour guide was originally from California and went to Paris with a software company and never left. He was quite knowledgeable and very enjoyable. We wandered through the streets, Le Jardin Luxenbourg in the middle of the area, and by the Senat and the mint. We saw where many of the artists lived, heard stories about Gertrude Stein and her siblings who were art collectors, saw where the popular drinking areas were and the original store for Shakespeare and Company which was evacuated quickly when the Nazi's got mad at the owner and were coming back to ruin her store. We heard story after story and the time flew by very quickly as we walked for the two hours.
Barb and I hopped the Metro back to our hotel, caught a second breath and headed for Rue Cler where we shopped for some souvenirs and sat and drank some coffee. Well, mine was a chocolate and coffee with a big cup of whipped cream. It was quite decadent. Then we meandered back to the hotel where I plan to print out our boarding passes for tomorrow. Tonight our group is going out to dinner.
We've had a great deal of time on our own. Although we have chosen to eat dinner several nights with others, we have had enough free time for the two of us to meander here and there. I finally feel like I have a sense of the place we are staying and the area around it. I have just a small sense of other places -- but that is what happens when you find yourself in another country. It just takes time to get oriented.
Tomorrow we head for home.
May 1, 2015
A Rainy Day in Monet's Garden
Just got back from Monet's Garden in Giverny. It was a lovely experience even in the rain. Second day of continuous rain didn't slow us down. The gardens were lovely and just a tad droopy in places -- mostly not affected at all by the rain. The house was fascinating and the water gardens beautiful also. Afterwards, we had coffee and tea in the restaurant behind the house and I had a lovely tart tatin. Our group had a chartered bus, and went into Vernon afterwards and sought out various restaurants. I had an omelet and frites. It's May 1st so most businesses were closed for the holiday except for the flower shops that were doing good business for May Day.
Now, back at the hotel with our feet up. Not sure what tonight will hold but I know I'm not too hungry at the moment. Tomorrow morning we are going on a walking tour of Hemingway's Paris. We'll have a free afternoon and get ready to depart on Sunday.
It's been lots of fun to get to know Paris.
Monet's Garden in the Rain