Sunday, June 30, 2013

We're back!!

We are finally back to Alaska! Yay! Can't wait to go to bed, by the way this blog is written by Kavin the coolest, oh! I forgot these are pics of the pole that I took, take a look.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Another two days that we've had to spend in Paris - poor us...

Monday night there were rumors all over town (including online at the Paris Events site) that there would be a fireworks extravaganza on Ile de Saint Louis, so off we went - Sandy, Josephine from Australia and her 5-month-old Tex, Kavin and I - and headed down to Quai Saint-Bernard to watch and wait... and wait... and wait... until 11:30 and no fireworks. But it was all fun anyway, as there were lots of other people, music, and boats on the Seine. Best of all was an incredibly huge full moon that rose as it got dark. Didn't get a good picture - iPhone just doesn't do night very well. You can see how big the moon is - just pretend it's a Monet painting.

Tuesday morning I awoke with a cold and we were both pretty tired from our late night, so it was a very slow day for us. Kavin had bought a wind-up bird and had only flown it out of the apartment window (really!) so we went over to Luxembourg Gardens, just a few minutes away. The bird flew, and there was another family flying theirs as well. I have some video of it, but I can't seem to get those videos into the blog. At the park we had the worst meal we've had since we've been here, and the only bad food I've ever had in Paris. But, as usual, it was fun to watch (and feed) the ducks in the pond and watch the pigeons and the people.

Here's a guy living the good Paris life. He was actually asleep.

Today, after a much-needed rest (I slept for 10 hours!), we were ready for the Eiffel Tower! I always think its better to wait and not go see it right away, as you get peeks of it from all over town and the anticipation builds. When you get off the Metro at Trocadero and turn the corner - there it is! It's never a disappointment. 

We had already decided not to go up - looking at it is the spectacular part - so when we got there and saw this, we just had to laugh -

There are constant strikes and demonstrations. We've seen an anti-gay marriage demonstration (when the law legalizing it in all of France has already passed) and one with the farmers' union protesting the price of livestock feed.

Here are a couple of shots from underneath 

And a couple of shots of the surrounding area and Kavin playing tree-man.

As we came back through the Trocedaro, these guys were dancing. They put on a great show, and (again) I have video but can't get it here. There are plenty of street musicians and Metro musicians, too, but these guys were the best. I also appreciated (with Euros) a guy in the Metro singing James Taylor's Sweet Baby James.

Tonight was the second time we went out for pizza and didn't have pizza - something else on the menu always looks better. This time it was a calzone as a calzone should be - simply a folded over pizza. Delicious. Bought more pastries on the way home - the best was the cafe (coffee) half of a chocolat/cafe duo.

Forgot this before: One day went to MacDonalds (really!) and it had this Easy Order machine. Place your order and pay and get a number and collect your food - so 21st century!

And, finally, here's Kavin looking out the stairwell window - our apartment is next door with the flowers.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Three Very Full Days - Make that Four

Friday: Notre Dame and the Conciergerie and Fete de Musique

Notre Dame

Locks of Love on the Pont (Bridge) to Notre Dame - many more then what you see here

Fete de Musique - free music all over the city all night for the solstice

Philippe, Sandy, and Kavin

Kavin and Mulan (Sandy and Philippe's dog)

Saturday: Chateau Versailles -the excesses of Louis the 14th

Dinner at Cafe de Contrescarpe - risotto and shrimp for Margaret, cod and potatoes for Kavin

But best of all, dessert - chocolate cake with molten chocolate inside, kumquat on top

Sunday: brunch with Sandy and Philippe and friends
Musee d'Orsay, Musee Rodin, Les Invalides

Musee d'Orsay

Musee Rodin

Les Invalides - Napoleon's Tomb

Monday: Arc de Triomphe and Saint Chapelle

View from the top - worth the climb!

Looking down Champs Elysees and toward our Paris home

Saint Chapelle

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Finally Paris!

No pictures from the first two days because we forgot our cameras on day 1 and the next day Kavin used his but we can't download from his camera. :-(

It's been terribly hot here for us Kodiakans - into the 80s. That and the fact that we had to deal with jet lag and lack of sleep, not to mention the thunder and lightning storms, keep us pretty low for those first two days. We went to Jardin des Plantes both days, one day to the natural history and dinosaur museums and the next day to the zoo. Also explored our little neighborhood, including the ancient Roman arena and lots of shops and patisseries - Kavin has discovered French pastries and is trying to survive on them! Results of one shopping expedition below:

Yesterday we visited George Pompidou - the Pompidou Center, that is, the building with the insides on  the outside - the escalators and all of the electrical and circulation stuff and so in is in big colored tubes on the side of the building. Kavin made a new discovery - he hates modern art! (He's certainly not alone with that.) We really liked a couple of pieces - one that used magnetism and two hanging pieces of metal to make music on strings. Got that? Impossible to describe. Best of all were two guys who dove from a very high spiral staircase onto a huge air-filled pillow - lots of oohs and ahs  from the crowd for that!
Starting his dive - see him swan-diving near the top?

From there we went to the Musee de Arts et Metiers - all about inventions. Lots of old cars stacked up and airplanes hanging from the ceiling (including one that looks like a giant bat) and bicycles, as well as original engines of all kinds and fascinating mechanical devices. We had crepes for lunch and later dinner out with my friend Sandy. Of course, the food is just as good as ever!

Much cooler today - feels good! We went to the Louvre and started with the Medieval Louvre, a fortress buried right inside the present building. Spent quite a bit of time with the Egyptions, then strolled through the Greeks and Romans, the Italians, the Spanish, and Michaelangelo's statues of David and friends. Took a peek at the Mona Lisa, of course. 

Great Sphinx:

Louvre new and old:

Kavin does the Louvre:

Then we went into the Jardin des Tuileries, a park that begins with this Arc du Carrousel with a horse-drawn chariot on top.

We ate lunch at an outside cafe in the park, right next to this pond where the statue had lots of pigeon friends. Crepe for Kavin, quiche for Grandma.

Today was the first day Kavin didn't buy pastries (not that we didn't eat any; we have a good supply now), but we did drink a lot of "the glace peche" (peach iced tea). Today we also learned the puzzling procedures of the French laundromat. Tricky, but we have clean clothes!

Bonnie nuit!