I’m alive! I haven’t flown international in almost nine years. The flightfrom Seattle to Paris took off almost 45 minutes late, but we still got to Paris at 11:00, when it was an ETA of 11:32 a.m. Unfortunately, I couldn’t sleep a wink, so I worked really hard to stay awake, and succeeded. I stayed up until almost midnight.
When we got to the gate, a friend of ours greeted us just outside of the airport. It turns out the trains were all running for free because of pollution. The idea being that since the air quality is bad, the government would like for you to please use public or alternative transportation instead of using your car. So we rode the train for free all day.
The train ride into Paris and to our apartment was super easy. There was a bit of a delay just before we needed to transfer to another line, so rather than wait for things to happen, we walked to the connecting stop and found the Metro line we needed.
We found the apartment in no time and were greeted by the woman from whom we are renting. I had some serious jet lag, but her excitement about meeting us was great. She showed us how to access the building and gave us the arm’s length tour of the place. It’s definitely smaller than a hotel, but it has a full kitchen and full bath and space for a full size bed and kitchen table for two. It was asvertised as a Romantic getaway. She set us up with a bottle of wine, baguettes, croissants and some cheese and jam in the fridge. I was feeling reallyo out of sorts by the end of our meet-n-greet. After we parted ways, we dove into the bread and cheese and wine. At this point it was 2:00 p.m.local time. We got settled and I took a much needed shower.
After some organization, we headed off to Montmarte to walk around the cobble stoned streets with cute shops and café after café. My favorite part wax seeing artists selling paintings in a square. They had their easels and painted as tourists perused their works. But before all of this, we visited the basilica of the Sacre Coeur (Sacred Heart). There were tons of people here. Admittedly, it was a bit off putting, but we were all there for the same reason: great views and to watch dusk settle over the city. There were also a handful of scam artists trying to get you to buy friendship bracelets. Our Rick Steve’s guide warned us about this ahead of time, so we were prepared to just walk on by. Not that it wasn’t ibvious that they were just trying to scam you. There were about five of them trying to get the bracelet on you.
When we got to the top, we entered the cathedral. It was indeed grand with a rope line around the pews taking you past statues of Mary, information about the murals on the wall, and rows of candles where for 2 or 10 Euro you could light one. We lit one and thought our thoughts about those who have departed. Our friend N is quite the history buff and speaks French, so he gave us some background on the mosaic mural at the dome of the cathedral. He also translated some text on a wall about how the church was built to ask forgiveness for the revolution.
We exited and walked through the streets, past the artists, past the metallic painted street performer with elf ears playing a lute, and came to a hill where we could see the Eifel Tower as Parisian teens chatted, one playing a guitar and singing a tune. It was here where N wanted to show us a statue of a man who had something to do with gree thought and had a quote from Votaire inscribed on the bottom. It was also here where we saw a pigeon house that had food in it that made the pigeons infertile for the sake of population control.
We headed down the hill to find some cheese and salad as we were meeting N’s girlfriend for dinner at her place. We walked into a fromagerie and bought a couple of small bricks not knowing what kind of cheeses they were, only that from the illustrations, one was made from cow’s milk and the other from sheep. We actually chose one because it was shaped as a star and thought that was cute. We found a grocerty store for some packaged mixed greens and it was off to meet M. Her apartment was on the 5th (America’s 6th) floor. No elevator, we winded up the wooden staircase where conversation on many topics ensued, wine was poured, cheese, an au gratin dish, and flat bread was had. With N deciding to stay over, A and I took the trains back almost not finding the place. But we did, and I pretty much just fell onto the bed and passed out, waking at some point in the night to brush my teeth and feeling a wave of serious time adjustment and alcohol pulse through my body. But I woke up pretty early today and despite the hoarse throat, am fine. I tookna nice shower and ate a banana from the plane and am off to the bakery next door for some fresh bread and coffee.