Paris, here we are!!
26 Aug 2007
|Sunday 26th August 2007-08-27 Weather:- Beautiful and sunny 25 degrees
(J) 'Oh woe is me' I had to break up our little sorjion on the balcony (Cheeses, French stick, a little light salad and a nice glass of Bordeaux Sauvignon) while I was still up to writing in my journal, sensibly that is.
We have finally arrived in Paris after a very enjoyable trip with Malaysian Airlines. Travelling economy we were expecting cattle car conditions but we were pleasantly surprised by the amount of space allotted to each passenger, also that the seats came down a little lower, without encroaching on the person behind. Herman and I both slept on the plane, me a little more than Herman. The fact that Herman was able to sleep at all is a first. As soon as the plane started moving the cold towlets came out to freshen up with, followed with juices and ice water, this procedure was a regular occurrence leaving us feeling nice and refreshed during our plane trip.
After about 3 hours flight we came over the 'Kings Cannon' Northern Territory, which we could just make out, no sign of Ayres Rock though just a very parched and arid Central Australia. Approaching Bali we were pleased to see the volcano Kintamani majestically arising above light clouds, it was very picturesque to see all the little clouds surrounding it. Not long after that darkness caught up with us so it was time for a nap.
Interesting, is that what we will call it? Our travels around Charles de Gaulle airport, planes arrive in one building, suitcases in another then on out through customs and on to the shuttle train to take us to the train station. The airport is large and spread out, but very efficient, we were out of there in no time. I was expecting a bag search in the least (because of our two empty thermo's, knives, forks and picnic gear) but with only two very quick nods and a glance at our passports we were free. The train journey into Paris took us past a lot of graffiti, a lot worse than the entry into Sydney. Also after leaving Gare du Nord and walking to our apartment we were a little disturbed by the shabbiness of the place. All the shops have dirty galvanized garage doors for security making you think "what must go on here". The closer we got to our apartment and the centre of Paris the more pleasing the streets became, much to our relief.
The apartment is in an early 19th century building in the 10e, very close to the 3e and it is on the 7th floor. Surprise!!! The lift is temporary broken! Will be fixed tomorrow! Wot Fun! Lucky we travel light...It was not too bad really. I think I was still travelling on adrenalin as it did not seem too bad at all taking my case up, luckily the case converts into a back pack. We still had time to enjoy the beautiful craftsmanship on the staircase as we trudged up. I wonder how long it took to build these lovely old buildings? On entering the apartment, I stood dumfounded, in front of us is a 180 degree panorama of the roof tops of Paris, with the centre piece being the Sacre' Coeur, can't wait for nightfall, apparently we see the sunset over the Sacre' Coeur each night. Sitting out on the balcony earlier I was trying to estimate the number of chimneys that are in Paris, they must be in the hundreds of thousands! Just imagine in the early 1900s all those chimneys spewing out smoke it must have nearly impossible to breathe.
We have already been out for a little look around the area and there are lots of nice little restaurants and bars around, also found the supermarket, prices not to bad at all so that is a pleasant surprise. People on the streets are a real 'potpourri' with a greater than normal number of abstract characters—it is going to be a fun and enjoyable week with a nice little learning curve.
(H) Just to put in my two bobs worth. I think Judy has aptly described our first part of the journey however she forgot day one i.e. Saturday 25-8-07. This was the day of our departure and began with two adrenalin pumped people waking at 3.30 am. The morning lasted three days and when Willie & Rosalie finally arrived to drive us to the airport we had been on the footpath, bags and all for an hour (Not in a hurry or anything).
After check in and ensuring with the operator that we had previously booked and been allocated our seats, we were pleasantly surprised that Leah, Gino, Claudia and Luke had arrived to say farewell and after a pleasant hour and a few drinks, we marched thru Customs. 7.5hrs later we arrived in Kuala Lumpur and during transfer we found that the operator in Adelaide had changed our seat numbers for the ongoing flight which meant that instead of having two seats by themselves against the window, we were now in the middle of the five centre seats. NOT ON. Judy, with her diplomatic skills, was able to persuade the booking clerk to revert back to our original reserved seats. I too was impressed with Malaysian Airlines and having travelled 'premium economy' similar to business class on the previous trip with another airline, I would now not spend the extra money, as with the 777 seat layout and the fact you can nominate which seats you would like when booking, makes this a much better proposition.