Friday, February 1, 2013

Ooo La La!

Friday Feb. 1, 2013

It's Paris Day!!!

We woke up super early to get ready and a taxi picked us up at 6:20 am!  We made it to the train station in plenty of time.  We grabbed some breakfast at the station to eat on the train.  (A good suggestion by our friend and neighbor Johanna!  Who also set up the taxi for us!!)  Here we are when we arrived:
Early.  Too early!
Here we are on the train!
Lea was singing into her mic

We had 4 seats together and one across the aisle where Grandma sat.

We took the high speed train with only a few stops.  The ride was about 5 1/2 hours.  The train is a double decker...we were on the top level.  Here is a train like ours:

Hard to's the red thing over there!
It got up to 304 Km/h which is 189 MPH!  Fast.
The ride was not too bad, we all had stuff to do and it went by fast.  It was a great way to travel, especially for Brad because he didn't have to drive!

So we arrived and couldn't find a taxi big enough for 5 people so we had to take 2.  A pain and twice as much but in hindsight (since we have now ridden the Metro train here) this was the best way to get to our apartment.  We have 2 apartments while here...1 the first night and 1 for the other 2 nights.  We are in the 14th district.  (Sorry, not many French words will show up here like German!  I don't know any French!)  Our apartment is a bit small, but not too bad.  It is much bigger than a hotel room!!
Master bedroom

2nd bedroom

Looking towards the living on the right

Living room with sofabed

Our neighborhood
We found a nice little restaurant for lunch.  Italian, though.  Even in Germany, Italian restaurants are the most common!  It was a nice place and the owner has his puppy there.
His name was Chupy.  Not sure how you spell it.  Adorable and wiggly and sweet!
We had some good food.  As usual!!  We shared some stuff.
Pasta carbonara

Pizza with ham and olives.
Here is a hilarious thing:  Grandma, Lainie and I had to use the bathroom before we left.  We followed the signs and it led us farther back in the restaurant, past a cozy little room with comfy chairs and coffee tables like a coffee shop.  So quaint.  So we opened the door to the "WC" and holy sh**!!!!  We were outside.  The bathroom is outside.  You have to walk (in the rain!) in this tiny alley into a metal shed which is the bathroom!  We were cracking up!  It was actually quite creepy.  Dripping rain, air conditioning thingy that vibrates the entire shed while you are in it.  They tried to make it nice by adding a little cover over the equipment.
A bamboo screen covering up the pipes, the shed/bathroom door is on the left.  Note the blue will be important later.
See the daylight?  We are outside.

If you stand under the ductwork you can stay dry.
So I missed all the fun when it was my turn in the shed!  I came out and these 2 were laughing so hard they were crying!  I was like, "What happened?  What's going on?"  Neither of them could even talk to tell me what was up!!!  We made it back to the table and it took a few minutes for them to stop laughing!  Turns out Lainie was by the blue door, that she didn't realize was a door, and a kitchen dude busted through it!!  It scared her to death!  It's really creepy back in there and she was sooo startled!!  Grandma was getting ready to take another pic of her standing there when it happened, so here is the result.
Lainie is a blur and she tried to run for her life!  Notice the dude's hand!
It had us laughing for a long time.  So funny!!!  Laughter is medicine for the soul, or something like that.  It felt good!

It was kinda rainy so we decided to go to the Louvre since it's inside.  The cheapest way is to take the Metro which is the subway.  That was interesting to say the least.  Let me just say that if you have a kid with a disability who doesn't walk long distances very well, and a Grandma, this may not be the best way to go!  So many steps.  So.  Many.  Steps.  This was definitely more noticeable on our way home when we were already exhausted!  The good thing is the Metro stops right inside the museum building.

Lainie was free since she is a kid, Lea was free because of her disability and Brad was free as her caregiver! So we only had to pay for 2 people.  Quite a good deal!

It is hard for me to write about the museum.  I really like art and art museums and the Louvre is so very huge with so much to see, I was overwhelmed.  To the point of tears a couple of times!  (Ok more than a couple of times.)  I could have sobbed, I am not exaggerating.  I can't really describe my emotions.  I am tearing up as I write this just thinking back on today!!  I didn't know what to see, what not to miss.  I had a few musts for myself and I hit those. But I know someone will say, "Did you see the X painting/sculpture?"  And I will say, "Uh, no, is that there?"  And someone will say, "Duh!  Can't believe you missed it!"  Don't be that someone.  It was hard, People.  We didn't see MOST of the museum!  But we saw some of the greatest stuff ever!  Some highlights:

Lea enjoying the audiotour


Beautiful.  Truly.
So the Mona Lisa is small, as I had heard.  And there are billions of people around her and it's crazy.  But you know what?  It was still 100% amazing to me to see her.  A memory I will have for a lifetime!

Much of the museum was not very well lit, in my opinion.  Many of my pics didn't turn out as I knew they wouldn't, but I kept taking them anyway.  So that is my excuse for crappy pics.
This one was huge.  The Wedding Feast At Cana.  By Veronese.

Even the surroundings are incredible!!  It is a palace, after all.

Another, less famous, DaVinci

Cool fruit.  I mean cool dude.

Cool tree.  I mean cool dude.

A great spot to rest!  Priceless art on one side, priceless views on the other.

I really like Pieta pieces.  (A pieta is a piece showing Mary cradling the crucified Jesus.)
The audiotour was on a DS game console thing.  Lea loved it!

Winged Victory.  Cool.  It was cooler in person, the light hit it just right.

Venus de Milo.  Wow.

Priceless statue.

Lainie took this one...guy looking for a signal on his cell phone.

Crown jewels

One of many gorgeous chandeliers in Napoleon's apartment
Our first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower!!  All lit up.  Bad pic through a window, but it was exciting to see

I am a fan of Vermeer.  This is a knockout, in my opinion!!  The Lacemaker.  It's so tiny!  But amazing.

Even the frame was pretty!  

The Astronomer, Vermeer
I was really happy to get to see the Vermeers.  I was lucky enough to see Woman Holding A Balance when it visited the DIA last summer.  Aaaahhh.   I love the way he portrays these everyday moments.  I don't really know much about art, but I know it soothes my soul <3

It's after 11 pm here now, the landlady just came by to collect the rent and we are exhausted!  So much walking today, I can't even tell you how bad my feet are feeling.

Have I mentioned this before?  We are so blessed.  Wow!!!

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