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A day in Paris

Okay so a day is really making it a short trip.

semi-overcast 25 °C

Today we leave for Rome. It is an early start, 5:30. The walk to the train is quiet and the air is fresh. The train is on time and we find seats together for our ride to Paris. Paris is a zoo. I guess it is rush hour at the Gare, but signs are well marked and we find our way on the metro to Gare Lazare where we find there is no luggage storage. We walk back one stop to Gare de Lyon and get rid of our stuff for the day.
We walk and walk and walk. We check out all the tourist sites.... the Eiffel Tower, the Champs d'elise, The Arc de Triumph, The Notre Dame Cathedral and the Obelisk. The city is preparing for the Bastille Day celebrations coming up. The one main road we walk along will be closed soon to cars and opened to walkers, bikers and rollerblades. One wonders where all those cars will go.
Traffic is entertaining. They move into the intersection as long as the light is green and then block traffic when it changes. The French use their horns way more than the Belgium’s and then are less likely to stop for pedestrians.
A lunch/breakfast in a nice little cafe sets us up for the day. We have our cheese and crusty baguette, Roger adds a bowl of tasty onion soup and both Roger and Tracy have their coffee. Without asking a carafe of warm water appears on the table. A snack along the walk back of a crepe with nutella keeps us energized. We finally find a grocery and stock up on fruit, cheese, crackers and wine for dinner on the train.
Along the Seine are many sellers of old books, movie posters, coasters, magnets and prints. Their wares are stored in great boxes that are attached to the stone railings along the river. Near to the Eiffel tower there are many sellers who are coloured. They carry their wares are have them on a cloth on the ground. Some calls Police and they grab cords that are attached to the corners of their cloths and their display becomes a bundle as the cords tighten and they walk away.
I am at times overwhelmed by the smell of urine. Washrooms are few and far between and cost 50 c. While one assumes that it is men who for the most part are peeing on the streets we also witnessed one family who had their child pee on the sidewalk.
Time to collect our bags and head to Gare De Bercy and catch our train. The door to our coach won't open, but we gain egress through the next car. It is a sleeper for three. One family must book them, and then the gender can be mixed otherwise only men or women occupy the sleeper. There is ample room for our luggage, a little cabinet with a sink and a travel pack for each passenger. It includes toilet seat covers, water, soap, and little paper slippers. Our beds are made up around 9:30 and we are quickly asleep and we sleep well.

Posted by Mari Anne 05:06 Archived in France Tagged paris train rome gare bayeux bercy Comments (0)

Rome and boarding the ship.

You can get there from here... er here from there.

sunny 28 °C

A train, a plane, a limo and a ship. We must be in Italy!!! First of all the sleep was great. We had a tier or three beds. Tracy had the top, Roger the middle and I volunteered for the bottom. It was a bit hot, but with the door closed it stayed a bit cooler. As 10am rolled round and nothing looked likea a city like Rome we finally heard that we were running a couple of hours late. Rumors of strike circulated, but nothing confirmed. A quick call to Roma cabs assured us a ride when we arrived.
On the way to the airport we learn that Joyce and Doris' first flight is late and their second one has been changed. We divert for our first real Italian Pizza. Roger had a vegetable thing that looked like Swiss chard and had a bit of heat. Tracy and I had a Margarita Pizza and it was good.
On to the airport, but they take forever to show and no luggage when they do. We send them back and wait, wait, wait. Joyce returns to tell us they almost have their luggage. We sent her back. Time kept passing. You are supposed to board 1 hour prior to sailing, it takes an hour to drive to the port and it is passed three o'clock for a five o'clock sail. Out they come. We gather up the luggage and load them in the taxi for a wild ride to the port. At times she was going 140 to 150 kph. However we do arrive in one piece. We are the last on the ship and they are packing everything up, in 5 minutes they would have been closed we passed many of port staff leaving as we came up the dock. We have the passes get on board and when we board they take our photos and they crack open a bottle of champagne. It goes without saying we tipped well.
Our luggage arrives quickly and we are unpacked and settled. We pick up the seniors and head to dinner. Ahhhhhh. A little table for six and the one seat is empty. They don't tend to have the big round tables. Lots of tables for four that can be pushed together. Our waiter is Adrian, the assistant is Paolo and our sommelier is Carlos. I have the Spanish white fish, which is tasty. We split up after dinner and Tracy and I check out the library before we join the others at the show. The first night is always a taste of the entertainment coming up for the cruise. Then we hit the dance floor and stayed until the band called it a night. A black fellow came onto the dance floor and danced working his way closer to Tracy, however when he asked who she was traveling with and she says my parents, he quietly said, oh and fairly quickly went to find another dance partner. LOL.

Posted by Mari Anne 05:03 Archived in Italy Tagged train italy roma late cabs baggage strike handlers Comments (0)

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