Okay, we have been able to catch our breaths….

A little taste of Monmartre

That's us being upstaged by someone's idea of an erector set

That's us being upstaged by the place where Lon Chaney and Charles Laughton lived.

Hall of Mirrors at Versailles -- George Clemenceau and Lloyd George hammered out the terms of a treaty ending WWI that would inevitably lead to WWII.

Mon diu, she just hangs there and stares at you...

Waiting on line at the Louvre to go through security

It was our plan to post a blog daily, setting forth our great adventures and uploading our even greater photos. There has just been too much going on (and a lot of my ineptitude) such that we (I) haven’t gotten around to posting yet. But here goes:

First the bad news: several things have conspired against us so as to make internet use a bit of a hassle. These include.: the wifi that we paid for in our room didn’t work (both hotel’s servers – they both use “Ibahn” – have been having problems, the most recent being that our room tonight is out of the range of the wifi system! They offered to move our room, but that’s just too much of a hassle. too as well; second, my new laptop (the MacBook Air) has no way to connect directly to the internet via an ethernet slot (there is n such slot). There have been other technical problems, but why bore you with those (when I can bore you just as well with my brief synopsis of our first four days).

Sunday we flew out of MIA and arrived at CDG after a pleasant flight (but neither of us could get any sleep). The drive from CDG to the hotel (Marriott Rive Gauche) was long but also most pleasant (we got to see the better part of the industrial heart of Paris — make sure you don’t miss this!).

As we were determined to stay up to try and “catch up” to the jet lag (to our bodies it was about 3:00 AM whereas to the Europeans it was about 9:00AM). And so, off we went to the Louvre (via the Paris underground) to see the Mona Lisa, etc. The Louvre is the largest museum in the world, and you could spend many months in just seeing the regular exhibits. We did it in about two hours, including the thirty minutes we waiting to get through the outside security check line). You see what you can do when you are determined (and zonked out). And its damn hard to get to see the Mona Lisa; they have it behind a plastic barrier and set away perhaps fifteen or twenty feet away from the visitor rail (some jerk deliberately damaged it a few years ago). And the crowds around the rail were difficult to get through. The rest of the museum was easy to navigate. The only drawback was the lack of air conditioning (it was about 32 degrees Monday — that centigrade).

After the Louvre (it was now about one o’clock (seven o’clock to us), we walked the length of the Jardin Touleries — a long planted park that stretched from the Louvre to the Arc de Triumph. Here we had a lunch consisting of crepes and a scoop of ice cream. Then we went back to the hotel via a long walk and the underground and finished unpacking. Then we had dinner in a great Italian restaurant next to the hotel (best spaghetti a la bolognese and best fresh baked bread ever).

We probably did some other things Monday, but right now I can’t recall them…

Tuesday early AM we took the train to Versailles and toured the palace. We saw the King Louis XVI’s bed chambers, Marie Antoinette’s bedchambers, the Hall of Mirrors, the gardens, etc. Unfortunately (1) none of the fountains were working and (2) nothing as air conditioned in Versailles, and it was again in the 30’s (centigrade, of course). Les again injured her foot on the uneven cobblestones at the palace, so she can barely walk. We had a lunch in the town of Versailles (best fresh baked bread ever), then took the train back to old town.

We also saw Notre Dame, the Champs Elyses, the Eiffel Tower, and all the usual obligatory sites one sees in Paris.

Yesterday was sort of a high point, as we went to Monmartre (the highest hill section of Paris), where we went into the Basillica (the Church of the Sacred Heart), wandered about the street and then had a fabulous meal at Moulin de (or du) la Gallette. Then it was dark, so we had the taxi take us around Paris to see the sights of Paris at night (Paris a nuit). This is because Paris is the “City of Light.”

We also had by now joined the Celebrity short tour f Paris whereby we met our tour group (of twelve folks — more about them at another time). We took a boat tour along the Seine. That was great.

Then today we got up at some ungodly hour and took the high speed train to Amsterdam, where we wandered around the canals and the red light district. Amsterdam is a great city. Great little shops and restaurants and a great red light district. Also, Amsterdam has a lot of young, rich and English-speaking people and a thriving red light district. Tonight we had dinner in a house where they secreted a Jewish family in the attic during WWII. After dinner, we watched as they returned to the attic, and we came back to our hotel. And oh yes, I forgot to mention the wonderful red light district.

We already have had a few adventures, but because we have to be up really early tomorrow to go see the Anne Frank house and then board our ship, I will save for another time…..did I mention that Amsterdam has legalized prostitution?

Signing off for these past three days…..I’m going to try and download a few photos now.


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