The Great Walkabout 2015 travel blog

Anish Kapoor sculpture in Versailles Palace Gardens

Another Anish Kapoor dubbed the Queen's Vagina by the French Media


After five days of nonstop activities around the wedding, plus flying from Jackson to Paris, it's time for a down day.

The night of the wedding, a bus was supposed to come at 1:00am, 2:30, and 4:00am to pick up people and deliver them to the Trianon Palace Hotel in Versailles and also to Paris. Well, the one o'clockers were waiting, and waiting and waiting. no bus. So we were able to rouse a Uber car to show up at the remote location at 2:15. I and three others got in, drove down the road a ways, and there is the bus! Neither the Uber driver nor the bus driver spoke English so I was reaching deep into my rusty French to get the car driver to stop, and ask what the bus driver the hell he was doing. He had been waiting at the church (the village is about population 100 plus a 15th century church). The party had moved down the street about 10 minutes right after the wedding to an old, rural venue Le Grand Maison).

The driver was sitting in the bus reading a paper. What I wanted to say and was thinking is what the hell are you doing here if there is nobody around and all is dark? Don't you think you should have been looking around for a large group of people? But that was a lot of French, it was after 2 in the morning and there were lots of people waiting, so I just told him where they were.

Got to bed at 3:00am, and with the accumulation of everything else am still paying the price. Got up late along with everyone else, went to the Versailles Palace and gardens, then off to the the bride's parents house for a small gathering. 8 generations of family history in Versailles, a few immediate family members and close friends of the family, and an incredible art collection made for a great evening. It's a rare and treasured occasion when you can get invited to someone's home in a foreign country.

Now it's Tuesday. Sitting poolside along the Bosphorus at a hotel that used to be a palace. A lazy day, recharging at a small oasis in a city of 13 million. I feel like Rich Ofstein's standard has rubbed off on me, and that the prices would make Tommie W lose sleep but tell stories ever after.

4:30 pm and the Muslim call to prayer has started from Mosques in all directions. Turkish flag flying, calls to prayer, looking across the Bosphorus to Asia, and exotic foods. Time to drop the western culture and get absorb ed into the new. Tomorrow, dive into the bazaars.

(Swimming across the Bosphorus is one of the top 10 open water swims in the world. 6.5K with current. But you can only do it at certain times when the huge amount of boat traffic is controlled).

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