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Trip Report Prelogue - Basingstoke's trip report, Paris, Brugge, and beyond.

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Just back last night from 40th anniversary trip with Mi Chica to Paris, Brugge, Antwerp, Haarlem and environs.

April 29th found us chilling out at JFK waiting to board our on time flight. Why JFK for a pair of Marylanders? Put that down to FF availability. People around us in the waiting area are speaking French and I even understand a few words. A good sign!

We pull away from the gate on schedule but are #21 on line to take off and I face my first crisis of decision. Do I take my ambien now or wait until dinner. I tried one the week before and it seemed to work. Always a man of compromise, I decide to take it with the beverage service.

I am told that dinner was chicken and rice. I am told that I ate it. I am told that I thought it was good. My ambien night passes quickly. Mi Chica who is keeps her body pure and does not approve of sleeping help wakes me over the English Channel and I write these notes.

An RER transfer and quick metro ride and we easily find our vacioninparis apartment building. It is apartment #176 at 95 Rue Sebastopol just steps (88, I counted them) from the Reumur Sebastopol station. The code works and we are in, happily noting the soon to be visited Monoprix in the same building. Is that convenient or what? The neighborhood looks ok and actually a bit better than I expected. Up to the sixth floor and we guess at which may be the apartment since the number was not in sight. The key fits! thus no embarassing encounter with a neighbor wondering who is fiddling with his door. We enter.

The apartment looks pretty much like the pictures. A small studio about 24'X 12' in size and clean. It has a usable kitchen, small table with 2 mismatched chairs but nice dishes and utensils including a cork screw for our welcoming bottle of wine as advertised. The bathroom is of decent size with a shower THAT HAS A DOOR. My fondest hope realized. The bed is comfortable. There are only 2 sets of towels to last 5 nights. Using the included washing machine for the towels will not be practical because there is no dryer. VacationinParis told us this in advance so we were prepared. Did we bring our own towels? You bet. Were they bulky? No. We had bought a couple of microfleece towels at the auto department at Target. Much cheaper than the ones in the camping stores, light, not bulky, and they dry very quickly. All in all, the apartment is comfortable and a great value at what had become 64 Euro per night due to the declining dollar since VinP is paid in dollars in advance. Did I mention that the apartment also had wi-fi and free local and north american phone service?

The weather is pretty cool with on and off rain but now it is nice. The first thing we want to do is find the Montorgueil Market. It is only 4 very short blocks away (under 500 steps, I counted 'em)and we love this place. Looking for a light lunch we browse the market noting the location of Stohrer's for later bread and pastry indulgence. There are lots of food shops of every kind, restaurants, cafes, etc. We notice a small place that seems popular with a 7-9 euro buffet with lots of salads that perfectly suit Mi almost vegetarian Chica. She has a vegetable soup and nice salad. I have a bowl of a lovely pea soup and salad. Everything was fresh and excellent. Total expenditure, 14 Euro for lunch, not too bad.

Off we go exploring.
Next, 5 days in Paris starting off freezing, ending up frying.

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