I sit in front of a computer screen wondering where to start. At the beginning, when we caught a bus to Seattle, then a non-stop international flight to London? At the fourth day of our trip when I started getting sick? At the day before Christmas Eve in Paris where we had to find a doctor? Maybe Christmas day when I finally got a prescription for antibiotics filled.
|The Rosetta Stone; a good symbol |
for this trip
It almost seems incompatible to say how much I enjoyed the trip, given how sick I got. G has been to Paris before, but neither of us had been to London and we greatly anticipated this trip. Those first few days were really great. I mean, we lost an entire day in travel, but the London Eye, the Tate Museum, the National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, and high tea were great. That was just the first day. There was the Trafalgar Square,Tower of London, the British Museum, and an incredibly yummy meal at a place called Dishoom. At Dishoom, they added some magic, a black olive and green tea
|This is all he packed|
|Along the Queens Walk, Thames|
|A Barbados Lion (extinct) in Trafalgar Square|
|A View from the Eye|
|This was a County Administration building. Now it's an aquarium|
|Guards at a government building|
|This is how you enter the Ministry of Magic|
|I took this in St. Peter's before I realized that no photos were allowed|
|A View from the top of St. Peters|
|Evening in London|
|Isn't it beautiful?|
|That was quite a climb|
We took the Eurostar to Paris, from St. Pancras International to Paris Gare de Nord. The trip was just over 2 hours since the train goes under the water and travels at an average rate of about 215 miles per hour.
Let me pause here to say that not everything was peachy keen. I got sick, but I also have a different travel style than G. He's a planner, thank goodness. He does research and plans meals and activities. He'd even planned a day where we visited Shakespeare's Globe Theater and took a boat to Greenwich for some shopping. We didn't get to do that day because I got sick. He even makes lists of possible yummy places to eat. This is for the most part the reason our trip was so fun. He doesn't like shopping for trinkets; I do. My travel style is much different from his. I'm a "not planner". That's a polite way to say "squirrel on crack". I like to go see what we feel like doing that day and then do it. I like vague plans. The advantage is that two people can give input and then decide from there. The disadvantage is that it's impossible to make reservations. Let me reiterate: I didn't buy a museum pass for Paris in advance. The downside is that we spent almost 2 hours waiting in line, outside in the cold, while I had bronchitis and G had a slight fever, just waiting to get inside to buy the museum pass. The upside of that is that since we had both gotten sick, we wouldn't have been able to use a 4-day pass and saved a lot of money. It took some doing for us to get used to each other's style. I mean, we're in our 40s, and neither of us really wants to change that much since we've purposely evolved our styles. I appreciate the value of what he does and I know he derives pleasure from planning. I derive pleasure from discovering along the way. One of the many things we have in common, however, is our mutual love for and fascination with museums. We were like "Hello Europe. We've come to look at your dusty old stuff". This really united us in our travel excursions and made for an exciting trip. I think wandering around the Louvre and discovering all the beauty inherent with G was one of the best things I've done in a long time.
In Paris, instead of the 7 days we thought we'd have, we both got sick and we ended up with 3 pretty good days at the end. I learned how to navigate Paris pharmacies and even to talk to medical professionals in French. One of my Facebook friends remarked that if I had to get really sick, there were worse places to be. In some ways I agree; it was only 23€ to see a doctor and the pharmacist didn't need to see my prescription for the cough medicine in order to give me a refill. And the cough medicine- sans sucre (without sugar)- tasted like cake batter. Liquid cake batter. On the other hand, my french speaking doctor didn't understand about my history of bronchitis and was reluctant to give me an antibiotic, so I suffered an extra two days. When you're in a hotel room in Paris, nobody brings you food or water. We ended up going next door to the bed and breakfast in the mornings to the Starbucks for two liters of Evian, some yogurt, and coffee. I also ended up way over-taking the antibiotic. As in I doubled the dosage because I don't actually speak french and she didn't write anything down.
|One of the fellows from Easter Island|
|This is an optical illusion. From the front he has two legs, from the side- 4. In total, he has 5 legs!|
|Unrealistic beauty standards|
|By the British Museum. Marx used to drink here after a day|
of writing in the Reading Room at the Museum.
I think my other favorite part of London was the Tower of London. We spent all day there. I'll post a ton of photos, but one I didn't get was of the crisps (potato chips) in the coffee shop. They were called Real brand, and the salt and vinegar was the best I've ever had. G concurs.
|A Beefeater at the Traitor's Gate|
|Amazing tour guide and royal guard|
at the palace
|Tower and the Tower Bridge|
|Three queens were beheaded on this spot|
|Graffiti from the prison|
|Check out the date on that|
|Pretty intricate graffiti|
|I guess when you have time on your hands..|
|One of the original walls in 1100.|
|The Tower Bridge|
|Outside of the Traitor's Gate|
|One of the 8 royal ravens. For good luck.|
|The original tower, the White Tower|
|Part of the outer walls|
|One of the guarded entrances|
|The blue door on the right is the chaplain; the left is the village doctor|
|Inner structures. We walked the entire wall|
|Some goofy person|
|The Crown Jewels are kept at the Tower. Here is a guard|
|This hasn't been used in 150 years|
|Another shot of the White Tower|
|A schematic of the Tower|
In Paris, one of the first things we were able to do was to visit Les Deux Magots.
|Best Chocolat Chaud in Paris!|
We hit up the Eiffel Tower:
|Paris is HUGE|
|It's a long way down|
|This is the Seine|
|Another of the Seine|
|The wait was closer to 2 hours|
|Do you hear the people singing?|
|Crossing the Seine on the way|
|Part of the palace|
|An older part, I think|
|It's a big place|
|Over by the pyramid. In that building is a|
cafe called Cafe Marly; good food
|Cat worship was for the Assyrians too!|
|The Flying Victorie|
|The pyramid at night|
|Under the great pyramid!|
|Venus de Milo|
|The Code of Hammurabi|
|Even ancient kitties didn't want to be petted|
and the Cathedral of Notre Dame.
|An alcove dedicated to the Pope|
|I do love this pope|
|One of the Rose windows|
|I love this photo|
|A View from the South|
Finally, the day before we were to leave, we hit a restaurant on Gs Great Paris Restaurants list. Angelinas is supposed to rival LaDuree for macaroons. We ate macaroons from LaDuree. There is no contest so we didn't even try! Angelinas is amazing though. Since we had week-long Navigo passes (the metro system in Paris), we just hopped along for brunch on Sunday. It was amazing. I was too tired to even really try to order in French; the server kindly switched to flawless English and delivered one of the best meals I've eaten in a year. There was hot chocolate too, though not quite as perfect as Les Deux Magots. Every other restaurant we'd been to didn't bring us water. In fact, you have to ask for and often pay for water at restaurants. At Angelinas, I know it's a small thing, but there was water at the table for us. Perhaps the silliest realization I had from this whole trip is that I have a favorite restaurant in Paris.
|Thank you very much; I'll be back!|
Now, I'm sure I've complained about airline service before. American Airlines is on my list of companies never to patronize again. But Delta, on the other hand, was awesome for international flights. I didn't even need the customary Dramamine in order to fly with them. Comfy seats and lots and lots of beverage service. Their partner from Paris to Seattle is AirFrance and that was a fantastic flight too. We ended up at Seattle in good time and caught the shuttle bus two hours home within 2 hours of landing. I was so tired from not having slept in 22 hours that when we were dropped off at Starbucks in Ellensburg, I ordered a coffee like I had been doing for the last week at the Starbucks in Paris- and had to stop myself from using the french words. It was an odd linguistic situation. In an American company in France I had to come up with new words to get what I needed; in the same company at home I had trouble switching back.
I know what you're thinking, and what you've probably been thinking all along: what about the cat?
Eleanor went to stay with my friend Joy and her husband and little girl. She did great; she loved them and they cared for her so well. Eleanor even put on a little weight when we were gone and I'm glad for it. I'm so grateful to have friends whom I can trust to pill her twice daily and
I'm glad to be home. G went to work the day after we got back, and we passed a very quiet New Year's Eve at home last night. I still have jet lag; I'm tired but I have to stay up a few more hours, else I'll wake up halfway through the night.
|Not ready to come home|
On the other hand, I feel ready for a new quarter at the university. I love the bracing winter winds, the snow, the shortened daylight hours. Once my lungs recover, in about a month, I'll be back to running. This next year, 2015, will be a good one. That's my only real prediction. I know I'll spend time in front of a computer screen, wondering what to reveal and what how to reconcile the life I think I live in my head with what I know is probably closer to reality. Thanks for staying around while I sort it out.