Monday, October 26, 2015

Day 4:Parisian for an Afternoon

Yesterday was a wonderful, exciting, exhausting day in Paris. Today was a recovery day. We slept in, preparing for a night on a bus tonight, and had a slow start to a day of wandering.

Finally, getting out of our hotel around noon, our first destination was - believe it or not - a grocery store!  It was a really great grocery store, and we met the most generous cheese-monger who gave us a large sample of brie cheese with truffle filling.  This divine cheese was 60 euros per kilogram! We bought cheese (that cost a lot less than 60 euros per kilo), bread, and fruit, preparing for a picnic lunch in the Tuileries gardens.

Modern art installations generally don't make a lot of sense to me, but Mindy was even less impressed, and gave this one the finger...

The warm sun was shining and making everything look grand.

...and still we did not go into the Louvre...

Some tourists bring toys for photos.  Some tourists try to "press against" the Leaning Tower of Pisa, or "pick up" the pyramid of the Louvre.  This youth tried over and over again to land a skateboard trick off the top of these Louvre stairs.  We watched for several minutes, until he finally landed one. His brother caught the whole thing on camera.

From the Louvre, we meandered through the city.  We stopped by the Opera House to capture our visit, as camera batteries were dead the first evening in Paris.

Finally, we found ourselves in front of the imposing facade of the Notre Dame de Paris cathedral. Stunning from afar, the intricacy of the artisanship both in and outside of the church make the whole thing one large piece of art.

Tired out from a couple days of aggressive tourism, we spent the afternoon more or less the way a Parisian might - sitting in a cafe with an espresso, chatting with the waiters and watching people. Of course, we weren't exactly like locals...

For our final dinner in Paris, we opted for traditional French - crepes and French (hard) cider. (This seemed more accessible than, say traditional French steak tartare...)

Tonight will be an adventure unto itself.  We picked up our luggage and made our way to a metro station on the outskirts of Paris to catch a Eurolines overnight bus to Amsterdam! The "adventurousness" of this overnight bus quickly lost its lustre as "adventure" turned to "frustration" when the guys in the seats beside us WOULDN'T STOP TALKING.  I can't blame them, as the bus driver, himself, set an awkward precedent by talking non-stop to his co-driver.  Two hours into the ride (around 1am), the bus pulled into a gas station and the driver turned on the cabin lights, telling everyone to get up and stretch their legs. Huh?  An overnight bus??!! Eventually this driver was replaced by a much quieter but more aggressive driver who brought us to our destination 45 minutes early.

It got the job done.

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