Sunday, August 30, 2009

Back!

Oh my...so very much to catch you up on...

For starters, we are back on time (well, after adding two days to our trip) and without any travel incidents. Apparently we missed two hurricanes, both of which turned out to be much-ado-about-nothing.

The trip was absolutely awesome on a whole bunch of levels. Frenchie's family was super great to us, and his mother and sister could possibly have bigger crushes on Munchkin than he does:-). His mother is super-sweet, his little sister is cute as a button and they both hung out and kept me company plenty over the course of our visit.

First, Paris, which seems so remarkably long ago! I spent most of an entire day at the Louvre, which made me feel really artsy and sophisticated. I went on Monday to avoid the weekend crowds, and because it is closed on Tuesdays, I am told;-). Mostly I just wandered around kinda aimlessly and looked at all the pretty pictures and sculptures and things. Did not see the Mona Lisa, because...um...I already know what that looks like! I actually liked the sculpture rooms best...for some reason, that just strikes me as more amazing than painting. I can't do either, but the three-dimensional nature of sculpture just seems harder to me...lol. Of course, those crazy cats like DaVinci would just whip out a painting on Monday, sculpt some marble on Wednesday, and then invent a flying machine on the weekend.

Missed the Musee d'Orsay because it is closed on Mondays, but I did get to see the other big things like the Arch de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower (the trip to the top is, not surprisingly, cooler than the top of the one in Las Vegas:-P). Notre Dame is ridiculously beautiful, and the 7 Euro to go up into the tower was well worth it. Actually did that stuff with Munchkin, Frenchie and his parents, which was a very nice day.

I feel like I am leaving all sorts of stuff out, but I am sure that a lot of you have been, and other than having the locals pick out all of the restaurants, it was probably a pretty standard tourist trip.

Oh, except I found out that sports bars, it turns out, are International...in fact, this was probably the most unique part of my trip. On our first Saturday there, Frenchie had a thing for him and Munchkin to do with a bunch of his friends...which was a good chance for her to meet them all, which she was very much looking forward to. His sister had something else to do, and the original plan was for the father to take her, and the mother was gonna either entertain me or take me wherever I felt like going.

That made me feel sort of like a burden, which I definitely didn't want. And some further conversation uncovered that, on Saturday afternoons, Frenchie's father (and usually Frenchie, too) very often meets his friends to watch the soccer team that they are all unhealthily attached to. So, they were all sort of changing their plans to accommodate me.

Hey...I like bars. And I like making new friends. And I am guessing that old guys like American girls, right? Well, that gives me an idea! So yes, I hung out with a bunch of liquored up French soccer fans (it dawned on me later that I had no idea who we were rooting for). I also observed that people's second language skills deteriorate rapidly as the excitement level and blood alcohol level rises...lol. Overall, though, they made a pretty big effort to speak a lot of English, which was appreciated:-).

One more observation...I was told before I left that the easiest way to find Americans in any foreign country is to wear something that says New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox. I can add my own bit of supportive evidence to that, as my #15 Red Sox T-Shirt definitely flushed out the two students (one from Virginia, one from St. Louis) in the place very quickly!

OK...I am way off track already.

After Paris, we took the train to Nice, which was really cool. I have never actually been on a passenger train for any distance, so that was kinda fun. OK, it would have been just as fun if it took about three hours less;-), but it still made me feel very European. I think that the train (as opposed to flying or driving) was picked partially because it is sort of a French-thing, and they thought it would be fun for me and Munchkin. Definitely was:-)

I am going to have to leave this for tomorrow, because I am tired, and this is already long:-). Anyway, we are back, the trip was fantastic, and I will report further when I wake up tomorrow:-D

5 comments:

Rachel H. said...

Sounds like a great trip so far...can't wait to read more updates!

A said...

Welcome home!

Becky said...

What a great trip! Any pictures of Paris?

Katie said...

Oh, I'm so jealous of your trip!! Glad yall had a good time.

Ezekiel said...

Most of the A to B motorways in France are toll roads. Driving around France quickly becomes expensive. The trains are much better if you're not transporting anything major.

At least that's been my experience there.

So glad you got to go and cannot wait to hear about the rest of the trip.