Saturday, October 24, 2015

Au Revoir!

Can't believe it's over!  The week absolutely flew by.  I know I'm still off continuing my vacation...actually sitting here on the ninth deck of the Splendour of the Seas sailing towards Croatia as I write this...but Paris was all that I wanted and more.  I was stationed at Aviano Air Base from 2001 to 2004 and did lots of traveling, but also had lots of frustration with the culture clashes and the language barriers.  I had a bit of that on my mind when planning this European adventure, but am delighted at the lack of issues I had this week.  Somehow, the many lessons that Madam Bowman, my high school French teacher, planted in my brain created a more stable foundation for both my actual ability to read signs and menus as well as my perceived confidence in just figuring things out!  It probably helps that I'm a little bit older and wiser.  haaaaaaa  Heck, I'm flipping retired!  That's so crazy and awesome.  I wake up thankful for new, fun opportunities everyday.
I spent my last day in Paris just touring--well, there was a little shopping since I needed a new piece of luggage to manage everything.  I teamed up with my new friend from Australia, Sam, and we ventured out to several sights and got ourselves on one of those big open-topped tour buses.  So fun!

We started our day at l'Arc de Triomphe in the center of the Place de l'Etoile.  Such an iconic structure and a symbol of honour, it was an indescribable feeling to be there beneath it.  The traffic that flows around it was absolutely crazy and it was interesting to see folks just going about their days, nearly crushing one another with no semblance of lanes while this monument stands proudly and calm.

Sam saw people up at the top of the momument and just looked at me with a "what do you say" kind of look.  I'm not a big fan of heights, but figured it's something we just had to do.  So, we ended up in a nice short line, paid our fee, and started up 284 steps.  I really needed a toilette, and wasn't sure I'd be able to spend much more than a minute up there before wandering back down to find one, but, to my amazement, about two-thirds of the way up, there's an exhibit space with shop and some nice WCs.  Whew.

Every step was worthwhile to see this breathtaking view.  I immediately got tears in my eyes, and not from the chilly breeze blowing.  Just so amazing.
Although my fear of heights kept me from spending too much time near the edge, I still managed to get a couple of great pics.
Got a little panoramic action going...just love it.
As we rode the bus along and around their various routes, I declared that I would never drive a car in this city.  Too crazy.  But, although traffic was a constant, I still enjoyed seeing various corners and buildings and skylines and wrought iron accents that I hope will all find their way into my work...
We jumped off the bus at the Trocadero to get a closer look at the Eiffel Tower from below it.  I broke out my Hipstamatic app on the phone and started playing a bit to really highlight the perspective.

Back on the bus, we passed the Church of the Dome, which we recognized from earlier in the week...more fun with filters on the camera.

We also drove across the Pont du Neuf on our roundabout route to Notre Dame, where we got off to get some lunch, shop the booksellers along the riverbank, and take some photos of the cathedral.

We just picked the bistro right on the corner with a view of the cathedral and the was tourist-focused and postively delicious!  I had a stewy, yummy beef bourguignon that was perfect to warm up since it got a little chilly riding up on top of the bus.

Here's just one of the many pics I took at Notre Dame.  This one is from across the Seine.

Needed a little sweet snack after lunch, so had one of these giant chocolate meringues.  Perfectly sticky and yummy.

Spent the evening in a not-so-dramatic way doing some laundry at a little coin-operated place down the street and then had Thai food at a place just across the way.  The fact that we were able to figure out how to get the machine to work--and even get some soap in it, was a true victory!  So, it ended up being a suitable way for me to finish off the week.  After jamming everything into my two suitcases (up from one at the start of the trip) I was ready for my 0400 wakeup the next day.  And, then on to new now I need to get ready to go on a dune buggy ride in Dubrovnik!  haaaaaaaa

1 comment:

  1. I think you are one, blessed Rocker. Enjoy the ride!


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Charleston, SC, United States
I'm a retiree/artist/student who makes things. It's a nice kind of lifestyle!

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