Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Higher and higher - to the top of Paris

We began the day by sleeping in. Then up and off we went. We found a laundry down the street so tomorrow is laundry day. Today is the day we go high.
First we headed for Montparnasse Tower. Fifty-six floors by elevator and three more by stairs. The stairs even showed how many metres you were rising. You had to go up or you couldn't see 360 degrees. Lots of pictures and ate lunch up on the observation deck. Later we came down and found an open market at the foot of it. Had fun exploring it and decided to head toward the Eiffel Tower to find a beer.
After a rest we walked down to les Invalides and walked in the gardens. I didn't care to see where Napoleon was buried so we didn't pay to go in.
Checked out the weird public toilet that washes itself between uses. The seat gets wet. But at Least it is free and clean.
Walked down the length of the Champs de Mars one of the few parks where you can walk on the grass. Kids and families having fun. Had quiche for supper at a nice restaurant where they charge .50 to use the washroom and no paper towels!
Met a couple from Port Hope going to the Eiffel tower as well. We got in line early and got up before our appointment. Took lots of pics and waited for it to light up and flash then came down and took a few more pics and headed to the hotel - tired but happy. Willpost pics on Facebook.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Versailles and Sacre Couer

This was the day we picked for Versailles and the weather has been beautiful. We found the right train station and figured out how to use the machine for the ticket. Didn't have enough change so it was credit card time. When we arrived at Versailles Rive Gauche the ticket lineup was huge. I found another ticket office around the corner - shorter line.
Versailles gives a person overload. There is too much of everything. I said I would only want a few hours and I was right. All those rooms and paintings and furniture and gold are too much.
After Versatile we grabbed a very late lunch at the best price place in town - McDonald's! Headed back into the city to check out a quilt shop near Notre Dame but it was still closed. We experienced the weirdest washroom in the country. Four black attendants yelling at the top of their lungs to each other while directing people to stalls.
Next we decided to try Sacre Coeur and the quilt shop near it. Of course I got us lost and it is not in the best neighborhood but we finally found the quilt shop and we bought some fabric. We took the funicular up to Sacre Coeur which saves about half the steps -just half. No photos allowed inside but we took lots outside. We stayed for Mass and then went souvenir hunting - which was more of the same as we did that all day too.
We stopped for dinner at La Chappe - spaghetti and beer. More tomorrow pictures on facebook

Monday, August 29, 2011

Second day in Paris

Beautiful day in Paris. We chose to go to the Louvre first thing in the morning. Huge lineup until I remembered there was another entrance. The guide said it might be just as busy but there was no lineup at all. We were even in the proper wing for the Mona Lisa. I recognized a Carvaggio. Surprised myself! Got lost trying to leave the Louvre but finally made it out.
Walked down by the river and explored the book stalls along the Seine. Next we had lunch and headed for Notre Dame. Took pictures of the rose windows and the flying buttresses outside. Off we went again to find a quilt shop. It was closed. Another hike -this time uphill to find the Pantheon. I deserved a beer for that climb! After checking out Foucault's pendulum (the pendulum doesn't sway the earth moves)we finally had that beer. We asked about wifi but the waiter didn't understand until I pointed to my iPod. In France it is called wee fee - not wifi.
After that we stopped for supper and more beer , took the subway home, bought more beer and headed the wrong way up the street. Turned around and found the hotel.
Along with the beer we got coffee for morning. I will go out for fresh buns in the morning.
Off to Versailles tomorrow.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

First Day in Paris

First day in Paris - got lost already. Got unlost and found the hotel. The problem was the stairs up, stairs down, stairs everywhere in the Metro. Had short nap and then went out. We took a long walk up the Champs Elysee - a very long walk, right to the Arc de Triumphe. Had a delicious cinnamon sugar crepe from a street vendor and headed back to the hotel. Found a grocery store to stock up on wine, bread and other necessities. Got lost again but not for long, found the most delicious bakery and headed back to the hotel. Tomorrow the Louvre, Notre Dame and a quilt shop. I bought a pair of earrings on the Champs Elysee. Lost one of my Irish ones
Goodnight will write tomorrow. Having difficulty blogging.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Three days to go and I am getting psyched!!

Thanks to the internet and facetime on my ipod, I do not have a huge telephone bill.  Peggy and I are burning up the computer lines though as we plan more and more of this trip. It is hard to believe it is getting so close.

We booked a visit to Buckingham Palace and a time for going up to the second level of the Eiffel Tower. We would have to book a month ahead to get to the top of the tower. Second level is fine for me. I have been scoping out restaurants around the area we are in and trying to match up tourist attractions so we do them in bunches. I have to find all my tour books as I packed them somewhere, but where?  I'm not sure anymore. I need a vacation from this vacation haha!

We are going into Palace overload. Buckingham Palace, Hampton Court, Kew Palace, Windsor Castle, Tower of London, Kensington Palace.  Walk past Clarence House maybe. Visit Westminster Abbey and Westminster Cathedral. Piccadilly Circle and Trafalgar Square here we come.  Of course before that we will be enjoying Paris. The Eiffel Tower, Sacre Coeur, Louvre, Arc de Triumphe, Notre Dame, and Versaille to hit the highlights.  We are also going to Vimy Ridge.

This is a really packed vacation.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Countdown: Four more days and we are off

It is looking like a mad dash is in the works for this week. I found the umbrella in case of rain, and sleep mask for the plane. The packing is almost done but I have to pull out and repack to make sure I have it all in. Still have to decide what I'm wearing and if I will buy a hat, and what goes in my oversize purse. I decided I will drive to Toronto and park there as the shuttle connections aren't good coming home.
I have been pulling information off the internet for each of the site we want to visit in Paris and next I have to do the same for London. Mostly the way to get there, a map of the site, hours of operation etc. Peggy has helped a lot by working out who is closed which days etc.
The house needs a good cleaning. I'm always afraid that if something happens while I'm away people will see my dirty house. I'm glad I have Friday afternoon off to get everything under control. Of course in the middle of all this I am going to Stratford for Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor on Thursday night and there is a reception at the hospital on Friday at noon. I am also going down to Toronto early to meet Peggy as her flight comes in away ahead of time. Knock on wood (rap, rap) I have a good drive down with no tow trucks involved.
I have the office trailer half packed (we are moving to a new jobsite while I am away) and the job relatively under control. We will move anything we don't need on Thursday.  No I'm not too busy --- No I'm not going crazy!!  Just a little.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Countdown to Paris and London.

In one week I will be leaving with my sister for Paris.  It is coming up so close I can't believe it is happening. 

In France we are visiting Vimy Ridge and Versaille as well as all the spots in Paris that we want to see. In England we have booked a day trip that includes Windsor Castle, Oxford University and Stonehenge at sunset. One of the men at work says it is the best time to go.  We will be reporting daily on what we are doing and how much fun we are having.

Monday, August 1, 2011

I graduated!!

I haven't posted lately so I will bring you uptodate.
The first weekend in June I drove to Toronto to catch a flight to Sudbury (free - used my airmiles).  Along the way I had a traffic accident and wrecked my car.  No ticket no injuries. The towtruck driver drove me to the airport and I just caught the flight.
This is Aline Chretien - wife of the former Prime Minister and Dominic Giroux , President of Laurentian University and of course me.
Picked up my gown that night and graduation was after lunch on Saturday. I wanted Carole who we met on the trip to Spain to come but her daughter picked that day to have a baby. Luckily the baby was born early and she and her husband Gerry joined us for dinner at a very nice restaurant.
The next day we went site seeing in Sudbury and saw the Big Nickel.
When I got back from Graduation I had to deal with the car accident. After the insurance company settled, I decided to buy a truck. 2008 Chevy Colorado. Only has 20,000 kilometers on it and it was a great buy. I am now a trucker.

Now that Graduation is over I have to concentrate on the trip to Paris and London that Peggy and I are taking later this year. We want to go to Vimy Ridge in France and Stonehenge in England. We have booked an apartment near the Bois de Vincenne in Paris and an inexpensive hotel in the heart of London.
Sandwiched in between Graduation and Paris are a couple of visits to Stratford (Twelfth Night, Camelot and the Merry Wives of Windsor) and the quarterfinals of the Canadian Open Tennis championship and a Legends tennis match with Jim Courier and Micheal Chang.