Sunday, August 28, 2016

BJ's diary: Final Days of Paris

BJ's final days of journaling our trip to Paris. 

Day 8 (check list day):

We started the morning off going to the Luxembourg Gardens,  where Sarah took a 3 mile run and I took some photos and watched the kids sail boats in the fountain pool.  


 (That's Sarah running up those stairs)











We walked back to the hotel and Sarah was excited to find a juice bar where got some great “to-go” lunches for a picnic and beet detox juice for her. 

We decided to go to the palace of Versailles.  It was on a check list to do and I am glad to say we had a nice picnic in the gardens. We did not go inside, it is too massive and almost vulgar in its opulence.  I appreciate the beauty but just the walk through the gardens showed me why the statement “let them eat cake” set off a revolution of the common man to say "we are not paying for this anymore."

We took the train back to the city and walked along the Siene for another experience on the list: a boat ride.  It was very nice to see the city from a different angle.  

Scenes Along The Seine 1 from Sarah King on Vimeo.


We walked back to the hotel.  We stopped at the Highlander bar right next to our hotel (a local Scottish/English bar.  Seated next to us in Paris France was a guy that was attending Mary Washington College in Fredericksburg, Va.  He was an interesting dude that was hitting on my wife (I cant blame him, but he was a Trump person so not completely all together)


Dinner was at a French restaurant where I had 12 snails as and appetizer and lovely lamb chops for the main course.  Sarah had a salmon salad, then scallops as the main course.  The music was american pop so it was a little odd but another great meal non the less.

Day 9: Our last full day and 27500 steps ahead and we are off!

We had been wanting to see St. Chapelle and finally got there.  As we walked in we were like “ok, this is nice but what is the big deal?”  Then I noticed some stairs and we walked up.  Holy beautiful stain glass windows!!!  This church was built in 20 years and sits on the current grounds of the French supreme court; it is a magical place.  Huge windows with biblical stories adorn the walls.  I am so glad we made it.  














Back to the Lourve.  This was an extremely special experience for me.  My wife is way smarter than I am when it comes to history and information I often decry as less useful. . .like ancient information.  But then days like today happen and I see the joy it brings her,  and I realize it is very useful.  

We spent two hours in the near eastern rooms of the Lourve with such items as Hammurabi’s Code and artifacts of the earliest civilizations.  (It is weird these artifacts are in Paris but at least these treasures are safe from vandals)













To see Sarah light up and listen to her explain the earliest history of the world and to be so exited for the “in person” visual versus a text book was worth the flight across the ocean.    
Now to the part where Sarah tried to kill me (or collect life insurance as I think)  We ventured down the Champs Elysee and saw the Rodeo drive of paris. Including Ferraris  for rent for $80 euros for 20 minutes.  Then we get to the Arch de Triump with its 8 lane traffic circle around it.  I was like how do we get across and to quote sarah “rick steves says you just run across,  so we did and survived along with another embecile couple she convinced too.  We were quickly greeted by some french police that said no no (as they might have been thinking "dumb americans"; there is an underground walk way right over there.)  This is why I planned the trip .  But I will always remember the Arch de Triumph.



My Movie from Sarah King on Vimeo.

We witnessed a beautiful daily ritual at the tomb of the unknown soldier at the arch.  30 or so older vets presented flower and the colors, then broke into singing The French National anthem to honor their fallen soldiers.  A similar ceremony occurs everyday.  

We took the subway back to our hotel (at this point we are experts), met a nice family -- he works for the Israeli embassy and chatted until our stop, and came back to the Left Bank to enjoy our last evening in Paris. 


 We  took a few pictures at another "lock bridge."




 We enjoyed dinner next door to the oldest cafe in Paris. 

In 1686, it opened its doors and has been a hangout for the  the likes of Voltaire, Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin,  and Robespierre -- the list goes on.  We had great pizza and pasta, and of course, wine.   

Day 10: saying goodbye to Paris. 

We slept in a little, Sarah did a quick run down the Siene and I enjoyed people watching.  





We packed our bags and caught our ride to the airport.  


This was my one big oversight.  I did not want to pack wine in the suitcase for fear of it breaking so I had 2 gifted bottles from the wine makers where we shipped wine home in my book bag.  We made it through customs, but not security and they had to be thrown away.  Sarah wanted to cry.  She felt better with the complimentary Clarins spa treatments in the Air France business class lounge.  

This trip has been a life changing, eye-opening experience to share with the love of my life.  


I waited to do this, not intentionally,  but I let life get in the way.  Once life changed with my diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease, I have been better about not letting life get in the way of living it. 

 My lesson from Paris is: You must come and see what Paris has to offer with the history, beauty, museums, people and love.  But most of all, you must live and not just go through life.  Don’t wait for life to change to have life-changing experiences,  but live it everyday, recognize all that is available, and live it.  

"Don't wait for life to change to have the life-changing experiences." - BJ King