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Glover’s winter trip to Europe

Old Jan 6th, 2020, 11:05 AM
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Glover’s winter trip to Europe

This is a different sort of winter trip for Mr Glover and me. For the past many winters since we’ve retired, we’ve traveled for all of January and a February somewhere warmer than home in DC, usually focusing on nature/wildlife. But this winter is a big bday for me, so we decided to go to UK/Europe, where we hadn’t been for many, many years, revisiting some old favorites (London and Paris) and checking out new spots, Amsterdam and Spain.

Our itin is: London, Amsterdam, Paris, Barcelona, Valencia, Granada, Córdoba, Cadiz, Seville, Toledo, and Madrid. We are spending a little more than 3 weeks in Seville, and 2- 6 nights in other stops. Mostly training in between. I’ll try to report as we go. Will make this post about our first stop and add to it along the way.

DC departure. Watched flight prices for some time before choosing one that departed Dulles on New Years Day at 8:30am. Much prefer day flights across Atlantic since we never manage to sleep on overnights. Decided to spend night before at airport hotel for ease of morning departure. Hence our NYE was an exciting burger in hotel cafe followed by more binge watching of West Wing on Netflix. Flight next am was blessedly uneventful (amused self by watching all available episodes of Big Little Lies), and we arrived awake and alert at Heathrow. Enough so to procure Oyster cards for tube trip into city - about 40 mins or so to our Earls Court station. Tube was packed.

London - we were pleased with our simple newish boutique hotel The Rockwell in one of those lovely Regency style? Townhouses right on Cromwell Road just a few minutes walk around corner from Earls Court tube stop. We were initially skeptical when shown to our room on the first floor directly next to the small lobby. But the room was quite spacious with very high ceilings and enormous bay window looking out on Cromwell. Once we closed our big heavy drapes and turned out the light, we heard nothing from either the street or the hotel elsewhere. Everything was closed or closing food wise by almost 11 on Jan 1 eve, but we managed a beer at local pub before its last call.

Adjusting to time difference, we stayed up late and slept late the next morning, big then headed out in search of late breakfast. Enticing spots we’d researched were naturally full to max, so we ended up at a Costa for decent coffee, fruit and croissant. Our sole goal for Day 1 was just a long walk around and a stop at Victoria and Albert Museum, which neither of us could remember visiting in past. We passed by the Royal Albert Hall, but no entry or tours available that day. Admired that beautiful building, as well as those surrounding. Walked through Kensington garden, park, and past palace. Not a bad day for a walk, dry, mid 40s, with occasional wind/sun. Came upon a woman feeding the park’s resident parrots, which interested us as birders. She was hand feeding them with an assortment of nuts. This London park’s escapee parrots are beautiful ring necked ones, Like some we had seen in India. Most in US are Monk Parakeets as far as we know. Continued walking here and there veering off as signs interested us. Took a look at Lady Di’s fountain, an interesting circle of bubbling water that changes direction. Spent most of rest of daylight and beyond at Victoria and Albert Museum, a beautiful building inside and out.

Back in our hotel nabe, we had a very good early dinner at neighborhood Indian, Masala Zone - had some delicious street snack apps, chicken and seafood entrees, and the ever irresistible Naan. Stopped in nearby pub on way back to hotel. Ended up hanging out for awhile watching Liverpool vs Sheffield football on screen.

Got another late start on day 2. Our ultimate goal for the day was to end up at a chamber music concert at St Martin in the Fields church that I had read about earlier. We did our usual walking/wandering along the way. Stopped for nice breakfast at Kensington Creperie for maple waffle (me) and ham/egg like crepe for Mr.G. Nice that most Christmas decorations were still up everywhere. We thought many tourists and locals were still on holiday, as most central spots were mobbed. Line outside Natural History Museum was blocks and blocks. Lots of folks waiting to iceskate as well. What a spectacular building this museum is - and we saw only the outside! Wandered In and around Harrods Dept Store, sending most time, of course, in food hall. Admiring, not eating/buying. Passed by Buckingham for a few photos, Parliament, 10 Downing. Remembered being able to see 10 Downing easily before big security fence. Admired various ducks and pelicans !? in queen’s ponds.

Found the tiny Italian cafe where we were aiming to have dinner, The Rosetta, literally just 4 tables. Had beer, wine, gnocchi, salads, and soup. Good bread! Went on toward St Martins. With some time to kill in that area we ended up stopping in both the National Gallery and the Portrait Gallery - both easily pierceable and free. Schmoozed the Christmas market in front of museum, not much.

The concert was one of St Martin’s Mozart and Moonlight candlelight concert series. Featured London’s Belmont (chamber) Ensemble and a pianist. Surprisingly the ensemble of a dozen or so was all women with one exception. Music was quite good, most familiar. Moonlight Sonata by pianist, Marriage of Figaro, Pachelbel Canon, some Handel. Lovely sanctuary, hard pews. Took tube back to hotel.

Highlight of next day was to be a matinee performance of Ian McKellen’s one man show at Harold Pinter Theater. We got our usual late start, this time heading out in search of a place called Duck and Waffle for late breakfast/brunch before 1 pm show. This time tubed over to the theater area. Alas, despite phone maps and Mr Gs excellent navigational skills, we didn’t find it and ended up at yet another Costa for coffee, fruit, pastry. It was a wonderful show, so glad I read about it weeks ago and managed to get tickets, we both loved it. McKellen was so engaging. Told stories about his career as an actor, boyhood, and being Gandalf in Lord of the Rings, and he performed bits of his numerous Shakespearean roles. Such energy for an 80 year old. This matinee performance was being filmed also, so even that made for some entertaining redos. This was the definite highlight of our London days.

After the show we thought we might stop for a drink and the first place we saw was The Duck and Waffle! Somehow we had managed to walk right past it earlier, possibly because we were expecting a quaint hole in wall, rather than a glitzy bar/restaurant. We settled in for a drink and post show rehash. Tubed back to our nabe and had dinner at neighborhood Lebanese restaurant. Super nice server. Ordered a collection of small things: Kibbeh, tabouleh, green beans, mostly tasty. Since this was a restaurant and bake shop, we got to watch a big piece of equipment through window in restaurant dispensing freshly made Lebanese style breads down a chute for packaging and delivery by employee.

Started late again on Sunday am, lazily showing up before closing of own hotel’s buffet. Nice little restaurant area,as well as patio for warmer weather. Great coffee and the usual hot and cold breakfast buffet items. All good enough, but probably not worth the 16 pounds each . . .By this time, husband has come down with bad cold and neither of us has been sleeping well. So we’re a lite tired. No fault of bed or hotel, just....?...... time difference....Age.... ? So we plan to do some low key wandering. ... perhaps toward St Pauls and/or a City of London Museum. On way make spontaneous decision to check level of crowds at British Museum,and are surprised that there is immediate entry. Mr G had never been there, so we ended up spending a few hours. Easily saw Rosetta Stone. Spent quite some time with Elgin’s marbles. Also enjoyed more Egypt and Islamic rooms. Were intrigued by textile like exhibit in center court Life and Death - depicting all the drugs/pills/injections taken in a single lifetime (14,000 on average!)

Emerged in near darkness. Sought out Old Bailey, just to see it, then went on to St Paul’s. An organ recital was about to begin so we went with it for free view of cathedral. Music selected wasn’t very appealing, but it was nice for while to sit and contemplate the magnificent surroundings. After the concert we tubed back to our nabe, both tired and not all that hungry. Decided to just stop in at pub for beer and some pub food. Local football game had just ended, so very large security guys stood in front of all pubs. And beer served only in plastic cups at such a time. A bit of British football culture, who knew? For some strange reason we both decided we needed to try “the roast” promoted for Sunday on menu. Lamb for me, beef for Mr G. Accompanying vegetables were passable (potatoes, carrots, broccoli, Brussels). Could have done without gravy though. And the meat.... MrG pronounced his stringy, though he managed to eat it all. Mine was two very large slabs of shoe leather, of which I managed 4 bites or so. We tasted each other’s and couldn’t tell which was beef and which was lamb. Same color, same lack of flavor. Ah well. There may be a delicious roast experience somewhere in UK, but this was not it. Some fun pub conversations though with locals.

Back to hotel for last restless night in London and next day’s late am train to Amsterdam.










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Old Jan 7th, 2020, 01:46 AM
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Great report, I’m full of admiration for your energy! Wish I could walk so far and so often. London is a wonderful walking city.
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Old Jan 8th, 2020, 01:10 PM
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<<This London park’s escapee parrots are beautiful ring necked ones, Like some we had seen in India. >>

That's because that's where they originated, glover. These ring-necked parakeets were probably released from captivity here and are potentially a real pest, particularly if the keep breeding and spreading as they are now. Yes they look lovely but they can do a lot of damage.

<< Local football game had just ended, so very large security guys stood in front of all pubs. And beer served only in plastic cups at such a time. A bit of British football culture, who knew? For some strange reason we both decided we needed to try “the roast” promoted for Sunday on menu. Lamb for me, beef for Mr G. Accompanying vegetables were passable (potatoes, carrots, broccoli, Brussels). Could have done without gravy though.>>

Not just football matches, Glover - At my local rugby club they use only non breakable glasses while the match is in progress, though that's not to stop fans glassing each other but in case we trip over getting to our seats. Shame you eschewed the gravy as that's probably where all the flavour from the meat went. Sorry it wasn't up to scratch.

looking forward to Amsterdam.
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Old Jan 10th, 2020, 04:43 AM
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Amsterdam We enjoyed the train trip from London to Amsterdam. I passed the time writing my London trip report. Our first time through the Chunnel! Just 20 minutes, so they say, under water. There were some nice pastoral scenes then in France for awhile.



We arrived in Amsterdam just about 20 minutes later than scheduled

and took taxi to our Airbnb in Pijp neighborhood in city. Owner/landlord was there to greet us. We loved the digs, an open space studio of 600 sq feet or so, really high ceilings, with floor to ceiling windows looking out on street below. There’s even a small balcony big enough for a table and chairs “in case you want to sunbathe” our host says ...ha ha if only. The building ( circa 1800) is the childhood home of our host, who lives on the top two floors. We were on the second up a tortuously narrow winding staircase. Host gave us the lay of the land, made a couple restaurant recommendations and also suggested we take canal cruise to see Amsterdam’s Canal Light Festival, a 6 week or so exhibit of 25 lighting installations along the canal with the theme of “Disrupt.” Host actually has a boat he runs in canals, but charges 200 E regardless of number of people driven, so he suggested big tour boat for us instead at 19E each.



We settled into our apt and then went directly across what was our pretty quiet block or two long street to a Liedl grocery story to get some breakfast supplies. Experience some culture shock as we try to figure out various descriptions in Dutch and how to retrieve enclosed pastries using long utensil provided. Finally we watch a local and get it. Duh, use the utensil to push pastry to side lane where it is then retrievable.



Next stop: dinner. It’s Monday night, so several of the restaurants we check out on line are closed. We decide on Enoteca Pepenero

a reasonable walk from home. It turned out to be a good choice, they gave us a nice table in back of cozy room. We split an excellent arugula salad. I had pacheri (a long fat noodle new to me) with sausage, Mr G had tagliatelle with shrimp. Both were excellent.

Service was attentive. We were pleasantly surprised by low prices of wine and beer in Amsterdam! Walk back was probably our coldest moment in Amsterdam. Temp probably never dipped much below 40F during our stay, but there was usually some wind and dampness. I was happy to be wearing almost every day my Lands End puffy jacket, scarf, gloves, and Uniglo fleece lined black pants.



Next day dawned grayish, but turned sunny off and on. We had tickets for 10am entry to Ann Frank house. Google told us it was about a 40 minute walk from home, and we found that was pretty much on the money. Of course we expected bikes, but still were stunned by how MANY. What a wonderful thing. We were immediately taken by this city. There were plenty of people on our tour, but we were organized into groups of 15 or so. It all works like clockwork. A good thing since the house is visited by about 4,000 people !! a day they said. We had a good guide who did a great job of providing a lot of information in her 30 minute presentation before

we moved on through the rooms. Though the history and Ann’s story are of course not new to us, we still found it quite affecting. What a service Ann and her father did for the world by personalizing

this single story of the Holocaust and making it so accessible.

If I knew I had forgotten that the Franks were on the last train out to the concentration camps. It was even sadder to reflect on how close they came to being freed.



After our tour we were desperate for more coffee, so went directly to the museum cafe. It was delicious coffee too, accompanied by a huge apple pie/strudel thing with whipped cream for mr g and a small sandwich for me. We had a great seat looking out floor to ceiling window on canal and passing Amsterdam life. Took lots of pictures. Spent quite some time just taking in that scene.



Walked over to the Rijks Museum, took a look at time and map and decided to save it for another day. Spent some time watching ice skaters on the large rink behind The Rijks. Rather than the little penguins we sometimes see at rinks, chairs are held and pushed around here by those skaters feeling insecure. A footbridge over the rink provides a really nice view of the skaters with the beautiful museum in background. Nice photo op. I love to skate and might have considered it had we not had 7 more weeks left in our trip to remain whole. After all, I managed to tool around a rink in DC last year with granddaughter and lived to tell the tale. Walked back home. We were trying to conserve some energy. Mr G, never a complainer in bad health, had come down with a bad cold, and he had a meeting next day.



We walked back home through the Albert Cuyp Street market. Our apt was located on an extension of same street at end of market.

I always enjoy a market schmooze, though didn’t find anything new here. Reminded me of some in NY.



We reviewed the neighborhood restaurant possibilities for dinner and settled on The Lion’s Head Gastropub, run by a German and South African couple. It was a very limited menu, so we both chose peri peri chicken, which was tender and delicious and accompanied by fab fries and a nice arugula salad.



That night I realized I would not, after all, escape the malady that had befallen Mr G. Am feeling fairly wretched next am after only a few hours sleep. Enjoy minor breakfast at home with mr g and then set off on own on foot, intent on Van Gogh Museum and/or Rijks. Nice walk straight down canal street from near our nabe. Half hour or less. Decide to start with Van Gogh. I take my time and do it all bottom to top. Pause and sit from time to time due to reduced health. Enjoyed special exhibit about Millet and his influence on

Van Gogh and others. Emerged from VG 2 or 3 hours later. Rijks beckoned, but I lacked more Museum energy. Started thinking of dinner options as I was thinking mr g’s meeting would go into dinner.

Decided to check out the Food Hallen. This was billed as about half hour walking from museum in opposite way of home, but what the heck. Followed phone map and managed to find it. Got a glimpse of the famed Vondelpark along the way. I cruise the food hallen and am tempted in a few different directions, but decide what I really crave in my reduced condition is a hot bowl of pho (had seen a few of these places already). No pho at Foodhallen, though nearly every other cuisine - including Vietnamese - was on offer there.



Began walking back toward home. Found a Pho 91 resto in the Albert Cuyp market area. I was first customer to arrive at this casual spot, but it soon became quite busy. Ordered meat eaters pho, a summer roll, and a Saigon beer. All quite delicious, though rather expensive pho at 16 E for the bowl. Texted mr g and found him home so offered to bring him soup as well. He was delighted. We caught up on our days and tried mostly unsuccessfully to crash early.



Next day had coffee, scrambled egg, sausage, and chocolate croissant breakfast at home . “Feed a cold, starve a fever” you know. Decided most either of us felt like doing that day was a very early evening canal lights tour followed by dinner. Did a little boat research and spent rest of afternoon in repose. Walked all way to Stromma (big tourist boat) dock for 5pm trip. Always nice to cruise down urban waterways. Weather was fairly wretched cool and rainy. The 25 “disrupt” light installations were interesting to see and hear about, and it was fun to get a look at some of the city by night from canals. Made me wish we’d had more time for a nice day cruise focusing on history and architecture - a la Chicago.



After the 90 minute cruise we went walking in rain looking for an Indonesian rijsttafel. We had targeted one nearby called Aneka Rasa and finally stumbled upon it. We ordered the meat lovers rijsttafel and managed to polish off most of it - fried and regular rice, a beef dish, several chicken, including kebabs, vegetable “salad”, mixed vegetables, pickled veggies, cake, and more. Not spectacular, but fit the bill. Mr g was most fond of the beef dish and I the pickled veggies. Had nice conversation re Indonesia with Indonesian hostess (owner?). Called an a Uber to get home from nearby Barbizon Hotel. App said we were in Red Light District, but must have been on edge as we passed no evidence. We never made it there otherwise and didn’t feel deprived.



Hacked, sneezed, and sniffled our way through another night. Hope owner will fumigate our apt today after our departure. Drank coffee, packed up, and said sad goodbye to our lovely apt. Sorry we didn’t have more time (not to mention better health) in Amsterdam, which we loved. Ubered to train station. Amsterdam has some nice Ubers. Last night’s was a fancy Volvo and today’s a Mercedes. Central train station is huge but very well organized and signed. We’re thrilled that our long ago arranged train to Paris leaves on time.

We’ll see what awaits us in Paris on strike. . Should be even fewer crowds. Have already heard from host of a concert that we signed on for that he was cancelling for first time ever, due to reduced bookings.



Next up: 5 nights in Paris
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Old Jan 10th, 2020, 05:16 AM
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Thanks for the London report. Thinking about what we want to see when there this June. Did you enjoy the Victoria and Albert Museum? I wish we had a day flight.
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Old Jan 10th, 2020, 03:37 PM
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Love your writing style, glover. Am with you to Paris.
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Old Jan 10th, 2020, 11:23 PM
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Can’t wait for the next!
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Old Jan 11th, 2020, 03:20 AM
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oh dear, Glover, it's dreadful being ill when you're on holiday isn' it? My first 4 days in DC in September were blighted by the awful cold I had caught just before I left home. It didn't stop me but it certainly slowed me down. i hope you recover soon and that it doesn't impede you too much in Paris.
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Old Jan 11th, 2020, 05:21 AM
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Glover, so delighted to share in your, and Mr. Glover's, trip to Europe this winter...and so sorry about your Colds. I hope you're both doing better for navigating the transit system in Paris and enjoying all of your travels. Looking forward to reading about them.
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Old Jan 11th, 2020, 05:46 AM
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Enjoying your report glover. Hope you're both feeling better.
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Old Jan 11th, 2020, 06:15 AM
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Good-spirited report. Let me chime in by commenting that not all Sunday roasts are created equal. My favorite is at the Hereford Arms near Gloucester Road Tube station. Look for the appropriate cow on the sign. Vast quantities of food, not all of it traditional, and anyone who can consume a full serving should plan on a post-gourmand nap. Reservations recommended, which indicates the level of quality. While traditionalists moan about chains taking over, the corporations in general have raised the level of pub dining.
https://www.herefordarms.co.uk/
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Old Jan 11th, 2020, 10:09 AM
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Thanks for following along, all. Appreciate the sympathy! In Paris now and thinking/hoping health is looking up.

macross: yes, definitely do Victoria and Albert in London.
Dudette: nice to have you along. Fun talking to you at DC GTG!
Annhig: wouldn’t have guessed you were flagging at DC GTG, you looked pretty chipper. Yeah, those parrots cause problems where they are in US also, they’re aggressive and build huge nests. There’s a movie, forget its name, about the ones in San Francisco. On feeling poorly on travel: On our long two month trips it almost always happens to one or the other of us. Brings back some memories in itself.
marniedc: Hi there! Glad to have you along! Are you two in Argentina? Should I be checking for reports?
Melnq8: we are mere slackers next to high powered trip with niece
southam: Figured there were good roasts elsewhere in UK. WIll need to wait till next London trip to try your recs!

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Old Jan 11th, 2020, 10:29 AM
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What a lovely Amsterdam trip report. Looking forward to Paris.
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Old Jan 12th, 2020, 11:34 AM
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Happy to find this, glover. I’ve wondered how you were liking your European winter. Sounds like its going swimmingly minus the colds. Interesting that tourism is down that much in Paris. Maybe less crowds for you, but feel badly for all the commercial places. Enjoy my fav city.
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Old Jan 12th, 2020, 12:19 PM
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<<Annhig: wouldn’t have guessed you were flagging at DC GTG, you looked pretty chipper. Yeah, those parrots cause problems where they are in US also, they’re aggressive and build huge nests. There’s a movie, forget its name, about the ones in San Francisco. On feeling poorly on travel: On our long two month trips it almost always happens to one or the other of us. Brings back some memories in itself. >>

I was feeling a bit better by then, Glover, and I was well dosed up. And then there was the terrific company to help me forget my woes!
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Old Jan 15th, 2020, 04:44 PM
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glover, thanks for the Amsterdam portion of the trip report. I am headed there with a friend in April and it seems that we will be staying near where you did from the places you mentioned.
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Old Jan 15th, 2020, 11:05 PM
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Paris! Said sad goodbye to Amsterdam and our cool apt.

Ubered to train station. Found platform and train with no problem. Train left reasonably on time, but ultimately was an hour late arriving in Paris due to unplanned stops here and there en route. Used the time to create Amsterdam report and occasionally admire scenery.



Arrive at the busy Gare du Nord Station and try for an Uber. Many others already waiting at off site Uber pick up point. Wait to see if Uber is going to work within our lifetime. Decide not. Not seeing any available taxis either. Decide to just hoof it. We each just have small rollaboards and small bag slung over shoulder, so it’s doable. Power walk the 30 mins or so from station to our Air Bnb apt in the 3rd, Haut Marais. We manage the 3 or 4 coded doors and tiny lift into our top 6th floor apt. It is just as described. 55 sq m, nice sized living/dining room and bedroom, hallway and teeny kitchen and bathroom. Shabby chic Parisian decor. Art books, gild framed old photos, retro and modern furniture, high ceilings, big window looking out over Paris roofs. 2 nonworking fireplaces. Tres charmante. We are very pleased. Building has just 3 apts per floor connected by lovely winding staircase and 2 person lift. Our neighbor on 6th floor has 2 bikes outside his/her door. We can’t imagine how they get downstairs. Seems it would only be possible to stand them on end somehow in tiny lift.



We are on rather quiet Rue Notre-Dame de Nazareth, just off busy area near République Metro. (Not that THAT ever did us any good during the strike.) our street is mostly lined with small galleries and other biz, along with other old entry doors to buildings like ours above. We walk a block or so to the Monoprix grocery store to procure some breakfast and other supplies for our 5 nights here.

While there decide to just buy some food for easy at home dinner. End up with salad fixings and giant slice of quiche Lorraine from deli. I manage to parse the French instructions for the combo micro/convection/grill oven and warm quiche without explosion/breakage.



Get settled, do some research, attempt early sleep. Manage to at least sleep late in am as apt is very quiet, dark, and sun doesn’t rise till after 8. First action must be laundry as there is tiny 3kg washer in apt but no dryer. 2 nice foldout drying racks though. Get machine running- though it takes long time to kick-in and very long time to complete cycles- using less water. Meanwhile we drink lots of French press coffee and eat fruit and croissants. Finally set out walking, Mr G navigating using phone from time to time. Weather about same as Amsterdam, temps in 40s, but feeling a little cooler, Occasional glimmers of sun. We are enjoying just taking in our surroundings. Last time either of us was in Paris was 15 years ago.



Stop at Notre Dame and view the surrounding wall/exhibits re the terrible fire and possible reconstruction. Stumble upon the Deportation Monument and end up spending some time viewing its grim and affecting pictures and descriptions. The monument/museum was dedicated in the de Gaulle years to the 200,000 who were deported from Vichy France to various Nazi concentration camps. Passed Pompidou Center but did not go in. Walked and walked and walked some more, conserving just enough energy to get selves back home by sunset, where we decide once more to just eat quiche and salad at home. Still hacking and snorting some.



Next day was more of same. Set out on foot late with goal of Sacre Coeur. Went inside but not to top, which we had done previously. Took photos of city below, however gray. Meandered down hill, past Moulin de la Galette, which reminds me of the Lapin Agile and the fun Steve Martin play “Picasso at the Lapin Agile.” Stop briefly for outdoor cafe sit down : Hot chocolate for me, small sandwich for Mr G. Walking, walking, walking, we cruise by Place Vendome, Opera, and Louvre, just admiring the beautiful architecture. End up at Restaurant Camille back in Marais where I had made us a very early rez. Camille is a cozy friendly reasonably priced joint I’d seen a few recs for. It was just what we needed. Mr G had what he declared to be a very good beer and I had a glass of red. Neither of us could resist ordering the classic steak frites. Split a very good salad, chowed down on that wonderful French bread. Walked home, collapsed.



Next day (Monday) we had decided we at least wanted to tour the Opera, which neither of us could remember doing before. As a precaution we bought online tickets. There was just a line then for security when we arrived, which we were through in just a few minutes. The Opera house, of course, is spectacular, outside and in. Took lots of pix. So glad we got to see it! Loved seeing the various theatre and ballet costumes on display there as well. After the Opera House, it was on to Sainte Chapelle to view all the beautiful stained glass, with or without sun streaming through it. We had not bought an online ticket, but nevertheless we’re fairly quickly through ticket purchase and security. No sun for us that afternoon☹️ . Nevertheless the chapel and windows did not disappoint. We sat for awhile and just enjoyed the space. Then went on to the Conciergerie and Palace of Justice, which at one point was a prison of the Revolution, most famously detaining Marie Antoinette. Focus of exhibit on Marie was her treatment by public and media over the years. She came to symbolize many different things to people of various persuasions. Enjoyed seeing some of the clothing and artifacts, her last letters,

Clips from various movies about her over the years. After Marie exhibit we walked back home, stopping on way to procure cheese, bread, charcuterie and wine for another small dinner chez nous. Is there a better dinner?



Tried but failed to get out a little earlier on Tuesday am, as the plan was to visit Musee D’Orsay, and advice was that crowds would be thinner just after opening. Having done lots of walking previous days, we decided to Uber over to the Museum, if only to practice for a ride to train station next day. We had purchased tix on line the night before, so skipped that line and entered pretty quickly thru security. Grabbed a map and beat it up to the fifth floor, where the Impressionists and Neo-Impressionists are concentrated. We enjoyed some elbow room up there initially, but as predicted, rooms were soon pretty full. Not unbearable, but certainly plenty crowded. Made more annoying by people who insist on having several photos/selfies taken next to paintings. Eventually that sort of thing will ruin the experience for everyone. We were amazed to see a long controlled line of visitors waiting to take their pix next to museum’s iconic clock that frames a view of Sacre Coeur. Really? Spent at least an hour or more on fifth floor admiring old favs and learning of some painters new to us. Also really enjoyed Art Nouveau furniture exhibit on lower floor. Wandered through the special Degas exhibit, but only quickly because by then the crowds had become unpleasantly thick. Wandered through first floor sculpture, in and out of museum shop, and finally back out to light. It’s a great building, though I still remember fondly seeing so many of those paintings in the Jeu de Paume museum years ago (30!) before they were moved to D’Orsay.



Had thought to Uber back home, but price looked double what we had paid on way, so just decided to walk again. Wanted a little time to finish off bread/cheese etc as appetizer for later “last Paris dinner.” Collapsed on arrival and chowed down on appetizer. Got organized for am train departure to Barcelona. Crank up clothing style a degree or 2 and walk virtually around corner for our 7pm reservation at Restaurant Pramil, where we of course are the very first diners in this cozy spot. Had read a few stellar reviews of this restaurant, and since it was in the nabe, decided to make it our last night in Paris dinner. Turned out to be a great choice.

We were seated by a handsome and charming young waiter, quite happy to speak with us in French or English as we chose. He was very knowledgeable about the menu and later handled a very full room nearly on his own with efficiency and good cheer. The owner Alain Parmil came and went occasionally from next door, where he has another restaurant called Alain, which serves a number of couscous dishes,as well as a la carte French standards. At Parmil we both chose the 3 course / 33 E meal. I had cauliflower cake with peppery jam, sea bass with small eggplant, and raspberry and apple tart. Mr G had cream of pumpkin/chesnut soup with foil gras “ice cream”, veal, mashed potatoes, and dark chocolate ice cream over a bit of passion fruit. It was ALL FABULOUS. Cauliflower cake was so delicious and inventive. Stumbled home.



Packed up for next am departure. We’re somewhat concerned about getting transport to a Gare de Lyon next am (because of strike). Apps for Uber and G7 taxi would not allow me to reserve car in advance. Decided we would allow ourselves plenty of time to walk if need be for our 10:15 train.



Called Uber next day just before 9. Finally connected with one that would arrive in 14 minutes and charge 27E for the 22 min ride to train station. More than we wanted to pay of course, but didn’t really relish walking either. Ah well, c’est la greve. Driver was nice, bemoaned the difficult strike (mais plus d’argent pour lui, n’est-ce pas?), and got us thru traffic to station in plenty of time for ON TIME train!



Next up: Barcelona!



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glover is offline  
Old Jan 16th, 2020, 02:44 AM
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<<It’s a great building, though I still remember fondly seeing so many of those paintings in the Jeu de Paume museum years ago (30!) before they were moved to D’Orsay.>>

Me too, glover, and so far as I can remember, no crowds! We also saw a Manet exhibition at the Grand Palais at the same time [this must be 35 years ago or so] and again, there were nothing like the crowds at the Monet exhibition 30 years later; the only saving grace was that there was no room for anyone to take their wretched selfies with the pictures.

[I just checked - the Manet exhibition was 1983 - the year my DH worked in Paris for about 6 months so we got to see a lot that year. Your report has brought back some good memories - thanks]
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Old Jan 16th, 2020, 08:16 AM
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Made more annoying by people who insist on having several photos/selfies taken next to paintings. Eventually that sort of thing will ruin the experience for everyone. We were amazed to see a long controlled line of visitors waiting to take their pix next to museum’s iconic clock that frames a view of Sacre Coeur. Really?

I love that so many people can afford to travel, I love that with my digital camera I can take a million pictures without worrying about the cost of film, and I love that there are so many online resources to help plan a great trip, but you've identified the negative side of each one of these things. There are pros and cons to everything I guess.

Someday I really need to return to Paris, but there are so many place I haven't visit yet! I'm still waiting on the appearance of a (hypothetical) rich uncle that will fund me to travel multiple times per year.

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Old Jan 17th, 2020, 12:56 PM
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Chez Camille is one of our fav lunchtime places. Generally its our first meal in Paris. We also ate at Pramhil a visit or 2 back. I remember it as being excellent. Winter is finally cming to DC. We left Thursday morning and colder, wintry weather was in the forecast.
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