monday morning update, april 13, 2009

paristhe weekend that was: what a weekend! liesl and i are in paris for 6 days, and that’s a pretty hard weekend to beat. we arrived on friday mid-morning, and found our way to our hotel via trains and the metro (the subway). we had a little confusion at one point, because the train into paris was free on that day for some reason, but you need a ticket to exit the train station; so when we got to the station where we had to transfer to the metro, we walked up and down stairs several times (pulling our luggage) trying to figure out how to get out to where we could buy a ticket for the rest of the way (and we couldn’t seem to find any workers who spoke any english).

our hotel is not the ritz. in fact, it’s kinda dumpy. but it’s a great location, steps from a metro station and a short walk to the eiffel tower. after unpacking, and a quick lunch at a cafe, we took a short nap, then walked over to the eiffel. it was a mob scene (which it has been the two other times we went back), with lines that looked to be about three hours long. so we still haven’t gone up it. we wandered over to the sienne river, and decided to hop on a river cruise thing. pretty touristy, but that’s what we are! liesl needed her re-charge time (she’s not a power-through-the-day tourist like i am in places like this). so we walked over to rue cler (a great walking street about two blocks from our hotel) and found another cafe for dinner.

saturday we got going at the crack of 9:30, and made our way (stopping for fresh pastries, of course) to sacre coeur, the beautiful basilica at the top of the hill in montmartre. we were supposed to meet a friend of a friend who lives here, but never did find each other. after touring the basilica with a thousand friends (!), we walked around montmartre, stopping for a crepe, and checking out all the artists working in the street. then we headed down to the louvre. we bought a paris “museum pass”, as our guidebook suggested, and it’s been the single best find of the whole trip. not only is it a good deal, price-wise, it has enabled us to skip the waiting line at every museum, and plenty of other locations, and walk right in. we hit the highlights at the louvre, then went outside and laid on the lawn for a while (it was a gorgeous day, and there were hundreds of people laying around). we made our way down to the musee l’orangerie, a small museum that’s focused on impressionism, and has two large oval-shaped rooms with huge monet water lilly paintings 360-degrees around you. it’s one of my happiest places on earth.

sunday we hit the other two museums on our list: musee d’orsay, and one i’d not been to before, musee rodin. that one was stunning: mostly an outside garden, perfectly manicured, with dozens of rodin’s sculptures all over it (like “the thinker” and “the kiss”). we took a break at the hotel and liesl got some homework done. then we took a long metro ride to a street liesl had memorized a poem about in her french class: rue des gobelins. it was a pretty street, but we found a little restaurant where our waiter talked me into the best burger i’ve ever had in my life (“not an american burger, this is a FRENCH hamburger!”). i couldn’t help thinking of steve martin’s character in the pink panther, trying to learn how to say hamburger (which, i also realized, was funny since hamburgers are on the menu of every cafe we’ve gone to). we’re back at our hotel as i type, and liesl has just gone to bed. our room is on the fifth floor, and has a little balcony on it; so i’m sitting outside enjoying the night while i type.

tomorrow, notre-dame and sainte-chapelle, plus another shot at the eiffel, or maybe the champs elysee and the arc de triomphe. tuesday: versailles. we fly home wednesday.

where i am at the moment: in paris, baby!

on my to-do list this week: enjoy paris with my daughter, fly home, then dive into two days at ys at the end of the week.

procrastinating about: nothing i care to even think about at the moment!

book i’m in the midst of: finished pete gall’s learning my name (i’ll post a review at some point), and still reading the other two i was in the midst of (what would google do, and a richard rohr thing on the enneagram).

music that seemed to catch my attention this past week: nothing really, although liesl and i have both had “sugar, sugar” (that 60s cartoon song) and “we are the grapes of wrath” (from veggie tales) in our heads all weekend. the first is unexplainable, and the second is because liesl’s reading the grapes of wrath for school right now.

next trip: i don’t know, and i don’t care.

how i’m feeling about this week: i don’t know, and i don’t care.

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