Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Europe this week

It's been quite a week. I've not posted since last weekend only because I've been too busy. After my sightseeing, my week turned to work. Running a workshop that I've done dozens of times not shouldn't take so much of my time, but it always seems to. In addition to that, just finding food and sleep in a strange, time-shifted land makes time extremely short.

But I finished that up on Thursday afternoon and it was nearly time to let the fun begin. I drove to Frankfurt to be close to the airport (top speed - 185 kph). I had an early morning flight out. Before dawn broke, I had checked out of the hotel, dropped off the rental car and found my way to the proper desk at the airport.

My flight was on Lufthansa. This marked the first time I've flown from one foreign airport to another. It was also the first time I've flown on an airliner where the first announcement or instruction was not in English. I thought it politically interesting that the order of languages on Lufthansa as German, English, and then French. Maybe it's nothing.

We got to CDG airport in Paris on time and my bag was the first out of the chute. I love it when that happens. I go to the cab stand and just point to my hotel's name and address. We were probably half-way there before the driver knew I was American. I've worked pretty hard to do that as much as possible on this trip. Advice that I got about staying quiet has proven to be good. The cab ride with tip came to €40 with a tip for what should have been a 20 minute ride. My hotel room was ready (it was still only 10 am), so I dropped my bags, got organized and hit the road.

I got a 3 day pass for the Metro and the next thing you know I'm emerging on the Champs-Élysées. Another good piece of advice that I got before leaving was to get a ticket for the double-decker tour bus. I got a Red Bus ticket and spent the rest of the day touring and taking pictures. I managed to get to the Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, and many points in between. Here are some pictures from Day 1 in Paris.

 

Arc de Triomphe

 Charles de Gaule Airport

 Notre Dame

 Eiffel Tower

 Eiffel Tower Detail

 Eiffel Tower

 Joan (Jeanne) of Arc

 Eiffel Tower

 Eiffel Tower

You notice that I made my way back to the Eiffel Tower for a night shot. It was definitely worth it. Day 2 was much simpler, just as exciting and more exhausting. Two word: The Louvre. I purchased a walking tour before leaving the states. I had heard that the lines were terribly long, but I never saw them except for the main entrance near the pyramid.

This tour took a couple hours and was a good start and introduction to the highlights of the museum. After lunch, a nice lady gave me her electronic tour guide and I was off on tour number two, the history of the museum. I got through this tour and part of the antiquities tour when my e-guide and legs died. Here are some pictures from the day.

 

Louvre

 Under the Pyramid at the Louvre

 Coronation of Napoleon

 Venus de Milo

 Winged Victory at the Louvre

 Some Painting by Leonardo

 DSC_0103  at the Louvre

So it is now 0230 on Sunday morning. The weather for tomorrow doesn't look great, so I'm likely to head back to the Louvre for the rest of what I can see. There is a station that will drop me right in the museum. I may stroll the Champs-Élysées if the weather turns good. Either way, I leave for home Monday morning for a 6:45 flight to Frankfurt and an 1145 connection to Charlotte. It's been a great trip and it will be great to get home.

1 comment:

briangre said...

great pictures! kind of reinforces my long-term goal of heading to Paris sometime.. :)