Week 12 - Paris
August 28 - September 3
We have arrived in France… our home for the next 7-1/2 months. After the comfortable environment of our summer in England, we stepped into a more dramatically different culture and the challenges of operating in a different language. We enjoyed our first week in Paris, despite the problems we encountered related to our long-stay visas. We especially enjoyed our day-trip to Giverny… and the fact that we have another whole week to experience this wonderful city of light.
Saturday, August 28
Our beds in Bruges were so comfortable, and it was really hard to get up this morning. But we were excited about heading to Paris—and our seven-and-a-half months in France—and we needed to re-pack our bags for the train trip. Kelly’s turquoise bag is enormously heavy with all of her books. We went ahead and carried the bags downstairs when we went down to breakfast—Charley was sweating when he sat down to eat after maneuvering the three big bags down the two twisty flights of steps. Benno and Frieda served another bountiful breakfast… they are such nice people. Charley had the eggs today, and even Kelly ate a good breakfast for a change. We shared our table with two women from California, perhaps a bit younger than me. I was sorry we just had the one meal to share with them, as we had a lot to talk about. One of the women works for Nestle and is on a temporary assignment in Switzerland. Now that’s the kind of assignment I need! She gets to fly home every six weeks or they pay for someone come to see her. She said she’s had a hard time getting family members to come, so this one friend has been able to come several times. Nestle has just told her that her assignment’s ending, so now she’s trying to do a lot of traveling that she wishes she’d done before. They were very interested in hearing about our trip… especially my dropping out of the corporate world to do this. I liked them both a lot.
We hated to say goodbye to Benno and Frieda… they are great hosts and this is really the best place we’ve stayed since our trip began. Benno wrote on our bill, “You are lovely people,” and I would say the same about them! I think the price was also very reasonable for our enormous two-story suite… we paid 115 euro per night, including the breakfast. When I corresponded with Benno by e-mail to inquire about availability, he suggested that we could take one of their double rooms, which would be big enough to include a cot for Kelly… it would have been somewhat cheaper. We peeked in one of their other rooms and it was very very nice, but nothing like our giant suite. I’m glad I paid the extra amount for the loft room—we deserved a reward after our walk across England. We really liked being able to spread out after sharing small rooms for 19 nights.