Our first trip to Europe

Old Mar 15th, 2015, 02:24 PM
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Elizzie - I didn't put a lock there or advocate putting locks there. i don't need to do any research. I think the OP is now well aware of the issues and perhaps she will buy some bolt cutters and go back and cut it off.

But I think that some people need to get a sense of proportion.
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Old Mar 15th, 2015, 03:50 PM
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I just hope Kwaussie doesnt throw up her hands with all this bickering and leave us.

I'm loving this report.
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Old Mar 16th, 2015, 02:59 AM
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I had not heard of love locks until reading about it on a forum, so enough said now, others will read and learn, too.
(I bought items from children in Vietnam and my husband bought milk powder for a baby in Cambodia; we did not realise we were contributing to a problem at the time.)
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Old Mar 16th, 2015, 11:40 AM
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Enjoying your trip report, Kwaussie. My mother and I were in Paris with my 12-yo daughter and 11-yo niece last June and you're bringing back some lovely memories.

Things the girls loved were playing with French and expat and tourist children at the playground at Jardin De Luxembourg (2.50 Euro for your son; 1.50 Euro per adult, but we just paid for the girls and watched them from the convenient chairs outside the fence), and the Grande Galerie de l’Évolution.

One girl spent hours looking at Impressionist art in the Musee d'Orsay, while the other spent hours exploring modern art at the Pompidou. Neither particularly enjoyed our slog through the Louvre. The Vedettes du Pont Neuf Seine river cruise was also a hit.

Have fun - I'll enjoy reading the rest of your trip report!
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Old Mar 16th, 2015, 12:29 PM
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Thanks Adelaidean, I think enough has been said about the love locks. Forums like this are supposed to be helpful so hopefully my experience will help inform others - and I didn't need bolt cutters annhig because we'd kept the keys ;-) so the problem was easily removed.
Alyson- thanks for the playground suggestion. We leave Paris tomorrow but our train doesn't go till 4 so we have most of the day to fill.

Day 5
Paris may be the city of love but it is also the city of museums. As our bike guide explained yesterday, when the initial purpose of a building becomes redundant, the Parisians turn it into a museum.

Because this trip only allows us time to have a 'tea towel' look at Paris, we chose the mother of all museums, The Louvre, for our only museum visit this time. A delayed onset tummy bug ( courtesy of our gorgeous twin grandsons at home) meant that we didn't need to linger over our breakfast this morning. Instead we opted for some hydrolyte and an early arrival at the Louvre. We were rewarded for this effort by being at the head of the line when the doors opened at 9am. We also beat the crowds to the 'must sees', the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo and The Winged Victory of Samothrace.

I'm not an art buff AT ALL. In fact, I'll be totally honest and say I don't get the excitement about any of these works, except that they are very famous and I'm glad I've seen them in person. The Mona Lisa is much smaller than you imagine it will be and the statues are broken ;-) The Louvre itself though is AMAZING. It's like a city within a city and you could easily spend days there. It's like the Disneyland of the world's art treasures and just like Disney, you need plenty of hydration, a game plan for the bits you want to see and good walking shoes!

Because we only had one day, we each chose a favourite part of the museum and worked out a plan from there. Starting with the Mona Lisa gave us an opportunity to check out the Renaissance paintings, incredible in their size and detail. We spent ages looking at 'The Wedding Feast of Cana', discovering minute details in every corner and discussing the relationships between the different characters. Taine wanted to see the Greek Gods and this gallery led to a fascinating conversation about body shapes and image. I wanted to see Napoleon's Apartments and this part of the museum was definitely the highlight for me. How incredible to be able to see the grandeur of his dining room and the salon and the not so intimate bed chambers. The other highlight was the Medieval section of the Louvre, the remaining original structures of the moat and the dungeon from the time when the building was a fortress for Philip 11 back in the 12th century. The 12th C!! Australians of European heritage like us can only goggle in wonder at structures from that long ago.

Until today, no shopping has occurred on this trip so we rectified that with a quick trip to the Galleries Lafayette, (for those who are playing at home, kind of a French version of Chadstone). It was worth the trip just to ogle the inside of the building, another gorgeous Paris ceiling! We also checked out the food hall - a destination in itself. From Lafayette we popped back to the Champs Elysee's to pick up a 21st birthday present at the Paris Saint Germaine merchandise shop.

After a breather back at the hotel we did a bit more Metro hopping to visit the Eiffel after dark. This was well worth the trip. Watching the tower sparkling was a fitting end to another special day in this enchanting city.

http://demansersintheusa.blogspot.fr...le-louvre.html
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Old Mar 16th, 2015, 12:47 PM
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<i>I wanted to see Napoleon's Apartments and this part of the museum was definitely the highlight for me. </i>

Apartments of Napoleon III, not Napoleon I.
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Old Mar 16th, 2015, 01:01 PM
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Quick question - Our train leaves for Zurich at 4pm tomorrow. Do we have time for a trip to Versailles & back before that?
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Old Mar 16th, 2015, 01:18 PM
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No.
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Old Mar 16th, 2015, 02:41 PM
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In my opinion Versailles is not worth the effort. The crowds are just too unbearable to enjoy it.

However, if you do have a few hours I mentioned before about Saint Chapelle. I guess it is often overlooked because most people go to see Notre Dame nearby but the stained glass on the second level is absolutely stunning! Not sure if the link below for a picture will come through.

https://sp.yimg.com/ib/th?id=HN.6080...=1&w=179&h=119
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Old Mar 16th, 2015, 02:46 PM
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Another great if you have the time is Musee de Orsay not only for its impressionist wonders inside but for the architecture of the building itself. It was an old railway station converted to a museum!
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Old Mar 16th, 2015, 02:50 PM
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Have a good trip to Switzerland! You will probably be passing through my city (Basel) around 7 pm, so I will think of you early tomorrow evening.
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Old Mar 16th, 2015, 05:04 PM
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Enjoyed your report and looking forward to more.
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Old Mar 16th, 2015, 05:42 PM
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Enjoying this wonderful TR on my favorite city. Um, could the TR police please cease and desist. Not in the least interested in your comments. Kwaussie, keep it coming please!
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Old Mar 16th, 2015, 11:54 PM
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Versailles will not be crowded today, but you don't have time. D'Orsay is lovely with a good cafe.
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Old Mar 17th, 2015, 03:01 AM
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Bon Voyage, Kwaussie; looking forward to the next instalment. [and glad that bolt cutters weren't needed!]
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Old Mar 17th, 2015, 08:11 AM
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The musée d'Orsay is big and often has long lines just to get in. It might be better to visit a smaller venue such as the Marmottan if you like Monet, or Nissim de Camondo if you like 18th cent. art and furniture.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/mksfca/4354290945
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Old Mar 18th, 2015, 01:11 PM
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WeisserTee, I hope you saw me wave from the train ;-)

With blue skies and a balmy 17C, we chose to spend our last morning in Paris in Saint Germain and the Jardins du Luxembourg.

Spread over 23 acres, the gardens are a special corner of calm and tranquility in the middle of a bustling city. There are no hawkers, scammers or beggars here, just hundreds of Parisians, ex pats and tourists, sun baking, reading or conversing quietly in the many green metal chairs scattered throughout the park.

At one end is a children's playground where Taine spent a happy hour joining in the games with the local kids. How intriguing to hear hide and seek being counted down; un, deux, trois, quatre, cinq!

On the way back to the Metro we browsed the many bookshops lining the streets near the Odeon before catching our last 2 connections back to Gare de Lyon to get on the train the Zurich.

The TVG fast train travels at 300 km per hour and is way more comfortable than any plane I've ever been on. We whizzed through the French countryside and into Switzerland in just 4 hours!

Last year we were lucky enough to have three wonderful exchange students at our school. When we mentioned to them that we were traveling to Europe this year, Pascale, our Swiss student, quipped, 'Well, if you're traveling to Paris, why wouldn't you come and visit me in Zurich?' When she said that I'm not sure that any of us believed it to be a possibility and yet, less than 12 months later, there she was waiting for us on the platform when we arrived.

Visiting Switzerland was always going to be a highlight of this trip, but doing so while being hosted by an amazingly friendly and welcoming family like the Toblers has turned it into something very special.

Today we traveled to Engelberg, a stunning Swiss alpine village at the base of Mount Titlis in the Swiss Alps. Taine became the owner of his very first Swiss army knife, courtesy of his Swiss hosts and Geoff found himself a beautiful new carving knife. We made a quick visit to the old Benedictine Abbey, finding ourselves awestruck ( once again) at the magnificence of the paintings, the pipe organ and the sheer magnitude of the interior. The local cheese factory gave us the chance to see how the milk from the alpine cows is turned into the finest cheese in the world.

Then it was time to make our mountain ascent. This took place in 3 stages. From ground level (1000 metres) we took a small 6 seat gondola to the middle level. Then we transferred to another cable car, a large box type structure that held about 20 people standing up. Just when I thought we couldn't go any higher, we moved once again to another gondola, this time one that rotated and had a 360 degree view of the ski runs below and the Alps spreading out as far as the eye can see. And then we were on top of the world!

Titlis is 3020 metres high. That's 800 metres higher than the highest point in Australia! For an acrophobic like me just getting to the top was a pretty big challenge but the best was yet to come. A suspension bridge at the very top of the mountain allows you to walk across the chasm below. Yikes. Not only did I walk across, I made it back again. It was a day of surreal experiences, including a walk through a glacier cave.

On the way home we stopped in Lucerne. We walked over the Chapel Bridge and wandered through streets filled with buildings covered in beautiful murals that were first erected in the 1400s. Overwhelming history overload!

For dinner we ate a kind of Swiss BBQ meets fondue. It's cooked in an oven called a raclette and involves all sorts of yumminess on top of swiss cheese, melted and poured over potatoes. Oh, it was delicious.
I think we're in love with Switzerland.
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Old Mar 18th, 2015, 01:16 PM
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What a lovely day you had
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Old Mar 18th, 2015, 01:48 PM
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Marvelous!
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Old Mar 18th, 2015, 01:54 PM
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What a fabulous day!

You can get a raclette fix when you get to London http://www.kappacasein.com/
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