Friday was a big day, big in that we saw a lot of Paris and some highlights that we did not want to miss and that we walked over 17K steps. Starting out early with coffee and fresh croissants from the boulangerie across the street (thank you Lorraine for fetching) Lorraine and I made our way to the metro and on to the Batobus to cruise down the Seine and reach the Eiffel Tower for which we had tickets at 11:30. It was lovely boating down the Seine passing landmarks and reaching the island that Notre Dame Cathedral where we could see the absence of structure where the fire roared through. There is scaffolding all around and charred towers encased in netting. We reached our point of departure for the Eiffel Tower and went directly to the lift for our visit to the top. What a beautiful panoramic view of the city. I couldn't stop touring around and admiring the whole of the city and especially the buildings and gardens that I recognized. The weather has been sunny and clear while we are here, although warmer and more muggy than I wold have liked. We met a couple from Argentina visiting France for the first time. She is the daughter of a French mother and had taught French in high school for many years. She was absolutely choked up to be in Paris and speaking the language. While atop the Eiffel Tower she and her husband phoned their daughter back in Argentina. Marvels of technology. Lorraine and I made our way back to Peggy at our hotel for a lunch of bread and cheese bought from the local market. Then, on to the Louvre for our 5:30pm tickets. We barely scratched the Louvre, hitting the highlights. I think that I saw the Louvre is the largest museum in the world. It would take weeks to see it all and have any appreciation for what you are looking at. It was an exhausting day, so said our feet, as we met up with Peg and traveled back to the neighborhood around our hotel. We happened upon a bistro/tattoo parlor with locals having their evening meal and proceeded to share a delightful plate of charcuterie, salad and of course drinks. Beer tastes so good after a long, hot day.
This morning we boarded the train from Paris to Barcelona at the Gare de Lyon Station. We are travelling in comfort on a high speed train and expect to reach Barcelona around 4pm and transfer to reach our destination in Valencia. There, we will meet up with Jan and Rick to proceed tomorrow to Calpe. It is beautiful travelling through the French countryside admiring the small villages that we have a fleeting glimpse of. The fields are bordered by tall trees, squares cut into the countryside planted so far with corn, sunflowers and lots of grapes. The grapes cascade down the hillsides in all directions. There are many herds of white cows. Off in the distance are large wind turbines. It's beautiful to see brick farm houses and barns just as I would expect to see in the French countryside. I am so glad that it doesn't disappoint me!
We are now in Calpe. After a long day of travel we arrived at the house. First thing we all did was jump in the pool and relax. More later
Barb did a great job covering our BIG day of the Louvre and Eiffel Tower...I was constantly aware of how amazed I was to actually be in France. In the Louvre we saw many wonderful things including Venus de Milo and Mona Lisa...the real deals!
The Batobus Barb referenced was just like a Hop On Hop Off that so many cities now have, only this translates to Boatbus and went down the Sienne pulling over and stopping along the route so people could hop on and hop off at will. We purchased a 24-hour ticket and so were able to use it on both Thursday and Friday.
The train ride to Calpe was nice, very comfortable and it was faaaaaast. There was a screen that showed how fast the train was moving and Peggy calculated the kilometers per mile to miles per hour and we were zipping along about 175 mph!! Of course, we slowed down as we went through towns and even stopped occasionally, but when we were off and running we were moving!
While Lorraine and Barb were out, I did errands. I really like doing the ordinary everyday things in an extraordinary place. I went to the post office to mail some cards and then on a quest to find a particular outlet adapter. I really wanted to order it from Amazon because it was more than $40 in Paris and 10.95 from Amazon. I could look at Amazon lockers at the Gare de Lyon while my Amazon site said they didn't exist. Anyway, I had a nice day doing non-touristy things.