Thursday, October 28, 2010

Europe 2010 - Part 3

October 10, 2010        Paris Day Two

We all woke up early but then getting ready and having Babs fed took us more time than we had originally estimated. We left the house close to ten and got into the trains hopping from one station to other changing trains. G challenged himself asking me not to take the stroller with me. He decided that it was more painful to carry the stroller up and down the station than carrying Babs. So already handicapped we reached Notre Dame.

What do I have to add to what has already been told a million times about this place? The church is spectacular from both inside as well as outside. The stained glass rose windows, paintings, and just being there was breath taking and super impressive. The place commanded respect and we gave it its due. We then walked along the Seine river to take a boat ride. We sat on the top and took in Paris from the boat getting to see Eiffel tower once again and other Parisian buildings of importance.

Babs was tired and took a nap on her father. I could not do anything to help him because I was already suffering wearing my 3" boots two days in a row. PS had to share his boat ride with an octogenarian which provided a lot of good humor to last more than a day. After the boat ride we decided to go to the Louvre. It was already 4.45pm and the lady at the ticket counter informed us that we will only have one hour of viewing time. We were glad that we had a time restriction lest we get carried away (not!). G and I focussed and walked following signs to the Mona Lisa and nothing else. We saw tons of paintings from the Christian era and Babs once again got excited about baby Jesus.

Mona Lisa was slightly bigger than I had expected her to be and yes she was not beautiful but there was something about her/him/it whatever that is. We took the appropriate photos and headed back through the Sphinx display and statues from the Roman era which were really impressive. By now my feet were hurting. I did the shameless thing of taking my boots off and walking sock-footed through the rest of Louvre. Babs and us had the most fun outside in the Plaza. The water fountains and the huge water bodies helped me keep Babs entertained while I fed her yogurt after which she tried to catch the doves that were roaming freely in the Plaza. Everyone relaxed while I stretched my feet.

Later PS asked us to go with him to meet his friend Natalis at Champs Elysees. I told PS that I could not do any more walking unless some one can detach my feet. One more train and one more splendid view as we got out of the station. Neither of us expected to be staring at Arc de Triomphe. Once again we were baffled by its beauty and majestic appearance. G, Babs and I walked to it while PS waited for his friend. We sat down below the magnificently detailed arches while Babs took our photos with our camera. She did a very decent jobs. My feet felt better but still sore. We headed back to meet Natalis who took us to a quaint little tea room where G drank beer, PS drank wine while Babs and I drank Gini (EU Lemon soda). PS wondered if I wanted to do the Champs Elysees that night but I begged out of it. To keep sanity happening we had just seen Notre Dame, walked the Seine, visited the Louvre and also the Arc de Triomphe. So really, I wanted a break. Plus I was pretty sure I had seen everything I wanted to in Paris!

We headed back home picking up some grocery on our way. We were walking along the road when we saw this weird looking guy play Sitar along side the road with the funniest expression in his face. The four of us walked a few feet away and then in a dark spot burst out laughing. We could not keep straight faces any more and we were out of the radius of decency. Then on checking out what Indian playing Sitar was doing there we realized that it was a Desi restaurant...quickly our tummy's made us enter the restaurant. We ate desi food...I think it was inevitable, we had to do it, cannot last more than two days without Indian food touching our stomach. We ate, controlled but happy. We mentally thanked the Sitar guy who obviously needed a raise for a job well done.

Then we walked up four storeys to the apartment when Babs quickly fell asleep. G and I sat down to plan  our itinerary for next day. After spending forty-five minutes in Louvre G was done with museums for the rest of his life which cut off most of Paris's attraction for us and we wanted something different to check out. We browsed books and checked the internet while fighting with G to let us browse when he wanted to watch the game Cowboys game. We finally came to a conclusion and soon enough G and PS had beers in their hands and we started chatting, till three that morning. I am glad G facilitated it to happen because PS and I got to talk after a long time about things we would never discuss with others. When I went to bed that night I felt better. G slept real peacefully after drinking two full size 12% beers.

Before we went to bed, we had a plan for Day 3 in Paris, go to Chateau de Versailles. But then not all plans go as we intend it to...

PS:

  • Things to remember when you are a tourist...read about the places you want to visit ahead of time...like what their hours are and such.
  • Walk around the city, do not take tour buses unless you are absolutely out of time. You get the feel of the city.
  • If possible befriend some locals, thanks to PS we met a lot of them and got to know a bit about their culture! It helps to get a better feel for the place. For example, in BRU it takes you an average of 1.5 hours in any restaurant. They serve very slow and rely on people drinking oodles of beer or wine!
  • Paris stinks of cigarettes...people puff on your face...and they have no consideration for their own kids.
  • Fashion in Paris...overrated and hyped.
  • No fat person in sight! Everyone is fit...even the boys are fit like girls...I mean they wear tight jeans, tight sweater and a tighter jacket, a cap and a shawl...they look like girls!
  • I wish I biked in Paris. With Babs it is not possible, maybe next time.
  • There is no A/C in most of Paris and BRU.

7 comments:

Arul John said...

* Paris stinks of cigarettes...people puff on your face...and they have no consideration for their own kids - Thanks for telling me! I should remember that.

* Fashion in Paris...overrated and hyped - Correct!

* No fat person in sight! - They smoke away their calories. Plus, they are supposed to be gym freaks.

Anu Russell said...

Ya, and they run. I wonder how healthy is it to run on the streets of Paris. You know, there is cigarette smoke, vehicular smoke...Wud you rather die of lung disease over obesity? I guess it is priorities...

Megha Bansal said...

i am impressed with your enthu to write it all out! good job.
good pointers again at the end.
did u jog there? u never told me.

i think living in Tx we think everything is bigger :D When we were in Chicago..we were just amazed at how many people where biking and running and all that in the middle of the day and how fit ppl were! Although I am sure EU is more fit

Anu Russell said...

I wanted to write it all out so Babs can read it later and try to see if she can remember a thing!

I wanted to, but since I forgot my sneakers and my feet were killing I could not run!

Ya, it is amazing to see how fit people are! Very refreshing...but then they smoke like chimney pots...see that is the only impression I got out of Paris...maybe because I have a kid now and taking her along the smoke made me feel real bad!

remabh said...

you know Anu... my friends (who dont have kids) always say that "Travel all you want now... coz once you have a kid ... it will never happen"... Visiting EU is one thing in my "Travel" List... and reading your post made travelling w/ a kid sounds lovely... well ofcoz kudos to babs for being sucha sweetheart... :)

Anu Russell said...

Remya,

I agree with most of your friends...a trip is always easier before kids...but the experiences are different...in one it is more honeymoon like and in the other it is more of a family kind. I have enjoyed both and I cannot choose between the two.

Babs has traveled quite a bit with us since she was a kid so she is used to it...when you have your baby get them used to traveling early and it will be super easy. She has barely been a reason for trouble or delay for us. In fact, we did as much as in this trip as much as we had done before and as much as our single friends have done...

Yes we could not go to Moulin Rouge or other shows but that we will do after retirement!

:)
ART

Kavita said...

Nice.. You left out a big pointer..
no matter how fashionable the city could be. don't forget your walking shoes :D