Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Paris - The City of Lines

Lines, lines, everywhere are lines!

You were expecting perhaps . . .  Versailles? Or maybe Notre Dame?  Oh yes, there were lines in those places, but our first line was waiting for a taxi to our motel after arriving in Paris, for over an hour!  I didn't think to take a photo earlier, when the line was still inside the rail station.  This is on the "home stretch" when we had managed to get from the inside, to the outside, then up one side of the covered walkway (we estimate about 40 yards long) and finally, down to the waiting taxis! The ride was about 20 minutes, and I have no idea if that was the long way or the short way, but at least we were back to driving on the right side of the road!

Chilling in the London hotel room
London was, well, London.  It was pretty fantastic, except for the hotel room, which was minuscule! The photo doesn't really do it justice, as there was about six inches between the end of the bed and the wall, half of which was a sliding door into a bathroom with the skinniest tub I've ever seen. The other half was an in-the-wall cubby, quite inconveniently located,  holding an electric tea kettle with instant decafe coffee and tea!

Breakfast, however, was quite good, and very hearty!  Much needed, as touring London took huge amounts of energy!  Westminster Abbey was breathtaking, and of course Buckingham Palace grand. But, my favorite photos are not the expected, so here are a few!
This business discourages loitering . . . recommended that you don't sit here!

This is what surrounds Buckingham Palace.  Serious looking spikes, under barbed wire fencing! 

 I absolutely loved London!  The people were so apologetic: "So sorry!" if someone bumped into you, and "Mind the gap" as a warning when stepping from the train.  Nearly every sentence seemed to be asked as a question, as if they really cared what you thought! The hotel wait staff bent over backwards to attend to our every desire when dining at breakfast. You almost forgave them for their outrageous prices! I was a little sad to leave England and catch the train for Paris.

Paris . . . the city of lines.  I know, it's also the city of lights, and the city of love, but mostly, it's no matter what you are doing.  The only place we didn't wait in a line today was the Louvre . . . and that's because it was closed!  We plan to get an early start tomorrow.  We visited Notre Dame today, and attempted to view Musee d'Orsay, but the lines were incredibly long, or so we thought.  Instead we boarded the train for Versailles, and realized we didn't really know what long lines were! We waited well over an hour, but, it was unbelievably opulent, almost over the top by the time we had finished viewing.

We also spent about 30 minutes in line, waiting to use a "free" street toilet.  I'd had two cups of exceptionally good coffee at breakfast, and restrooms are not easy to come by in Paris.  
 Nick, Kailyn and David, waiting for me, as I wait my turn for the "free" street toilet.
 There were only four or five people ahead of me, but the system went like this: when occupied, you wait.  When a person exited, then it automatically "cleaned" itself by spraying water inside, and drying (supposedly) and of course, you waited for it to sanitize itself.  Then the light would turn blue, and you could push the button to open the door. My only consolation was that after I finished, there were about ten more people in line, many asking why it was so slow, and I got to "explain" the system to them!
A small portion of the line waiting to enter Versailles . . . multiply by, oh, about 10, or maybe 20!

Today was another eight mile day, and it seems like half of those miles were steps up and down to enter and change the metro trains. Both London and Paris have the trains down to a science.  They were a fast, really fast, way to get around the city, and not that difficult to figure out.  I don't think we waited more than five minutes for a train to any of our destinations since arriving in Europe. Due to the long train ride, and losing an hour, I only logged three miles yesterday.  We have one more full day in Paris, and plan to meet with Nick's parents for dinner. (Nick and Kailyn have helped us immensely to figure out trains and basically navigate our way around Paris.)   On Thursday, we take our lives in our own hands and are renting a car for a Normandy road tour, four days of David behind the wheel, and three women telling him where to go! I'm sure he can hardly wait!


  1. I am so glad you all are having such a good time. I am enjoying the pictures immensely!

  2. Dear Sandi, this is all so exciting! I'm glad you are sharing the ups and downs and delights of your trip. Enjoy Normandy. I'd so like to go there and see the five beaches were the English and American troops landed on D-Day. Peace.

  3. Bonjour! (probably spelled wrong!) I get tired just reading about all that walking and waiting...but then you get to see all those amazing places that we dream about! Have a great week and atleast David won't have to ask for directions..unless he speaks french?

  4. What an adventure! I'd don't think I'd survive the toilet situation--LOL! But what an adventure, to be sure! :)

  5. As Rita said, what an adventure Sandi!! It sounds like you may get to lose a few pounds with all of that walking as long as you don't test to many local treats!!
    I hope your knee is doing well.I think the hotel room sounded cozy! Have fun, can't wait to see more!
    Love Di ♥

  6. Your knee seems to be holding up very well. I am amazed by those lines in Paris! And it's not even August, when it's the highest tourist season, right? Oh my, what an adventure you've got ahead. Actually DRIVING.

  7. Hmm. Not sure I'd enjoy the lines or stairs or walking!

  8. You sound like you're having so much fun! I love the pictures and your view of all that's happening to you. I hope your driving tour is wonderful.

    This is our last day at Table Rock. We head to Hopkins tomorrow and hopefully there we'll have internet access that allows me to blog or answer emails. This has been the most amazing experience of our lives. I can hardly wait to start telling the stories.

    Are you guys already planning your next adventure? We are. Africa. That's how much we love this jungle experience.

  9. The tight security around Buckingham Palace was to ward of Queen Elizabeth's stalkers. I believe she had plenty of them. I fact one particular stalker were able to freely roams inside the palace without being noticed. - Ed Butowsky

  10. Ah yes that bring back memories. The narrow roads are just such a treasure to travel on.
    London-Paris, great adventures. I do like your sense of what is important to show us! rather unique lol

  11. Loved your post because you captured so much of the total experience. We can read about the spots you visited on tourism sites, but you gave us an up close and personal view of how much stamina it takes to do this trip. I hope the road trip is great fun.

  12. Great to hear of your fun in London and Paris and your observations of it all- lovely to see it from your fresh pair of eyes as so much has been written before ;-)


Thank you for visiting my blog. I enjoy the connections made with others, and welcome feedback! I make every effort to read and comment on the blogs of all who visit my site. Seek the light!