Saturday, April 6

Day TWO ... In Paris! Je suis une question!

We woke up to find that the apartments whose windows we had been looking in last night seemed a LOT closer when we woke up in the morning!!!  It was sort of a shock!  We took in the awesome view in the daylight and then headed down for petit déjeuner.  Croissants with Nutella were a firm favorite though I liked mine with the delicious jams they had to offer.  Millie enjoyed the yogurts and we all sampled the cheeses and ham along with delicious juices and coffee strong enough to knock your socks off!

Back in our room we noticed that Millie had sprouted two tiny teeth and I realised I had nothing to brush them with so, gathering pluck and taking Jessie along for the ride, I went to the front desk and began my conversation!!  "Bonjour, Monsieur, J'ai une question..."  As I spoke I suddenly thought for a horrifying moment that instead of saying J'ai.. I HAVE a question I had said Je Suis..... I AM a question...!!!  ... I think it went ok!  I stumbled on saying my little girl had two tiny teeth and I would like for the front desk man to draw me a map showing me how to find somewhere to buy a tiny teeth toothbrush!!  I looked at him expectantly, he took a deep breath and went "blah blah blahhhadity blah blah?".     o_O   ??   I laughed, pointed at him and in English exclaimed I KNEW you would do that!!  See, if you Do speak French they folks naturally assume you can understand them and so start talking to you, in French, at a rate of knots!!  I hadn't a clue what he said!  He looked at me askew and then e.v.e.r. s.o. s.l.o.w.l.y said "Do you want a Pharmacyeeeee????"  LOL!!!  Fine.  Yes!!  He kindly directed me, in English, to the nearest one and Jessie and I skipped off.   I felt pretty silly but at the same time proud of myself that he at least understood ME!!   I was wearing my boots with the heels and as we headed off towards the shops they clack clacked along the street.  We waited at the traffic lights until the little green man showed up to say it was safe to cross and we ran across the street.  Clack clack clackity.  Further down the road a car beeped it's horn at another driver.  Suddenly a FURIOUS French  woman whipped around to challenge Jessie and me!!!  "C'EST N'EST PAS NEW YORK!!"  she scolded "Blah blah blah blah TRAVERSER LA ROUTE!!!"   Basically "Watch out you Yanks, you'll get run over!!!"  I was gobsmacked!!  I had NOTHING to come back at her with!!!  I had done nothing wrong, the guy wasn't beeping at ME!!!  ALL I could think was "ah fermer la fenêtre you old bag!!!"  Shut the window.  That would have told her !!!! LOL!!  I said nothing of course, but I was pretty steamed at being misjudged on our first day out!!! :D Never the less, we continued on, cautiously, and finally found the famed Phar-ma-ceeee but not before stumbling upon a genuine honest to goodness bibliothèque!! (library!)  In all my French classes they were constantly in search of the bibliothèque and to find an actual one just right there on the street was like art imitating life!! ;D  AND THEN a lovely old French lady approached us ... "Excuse moi.... blah blah blah blahdiddy blah blah??"  .....  She was asking US directions!!!  She thought WE were FRENCH!!!!!  I was saddened to have to tell her "Je ne parle pas Francais, Madame... " but we were giddy at the idea that we might actually BLEND!!!

Anyhoo... we DID make it to the pharmacy, we WERE able to ask the lady, in French, for a baby toothbrush, ask how much it cost, say we did not need a "sac" and wish the proprietor a nice day so felt over all the mission had been a GREAT success!  We hustled back to our room to find that Daddy had been busy with the camera.....!

Jack on the windowsill

the view out the window!

Millie 7 months old today!

another view!

The Seine in the daylight!

Jack AND a view! :D 
So, we recounted our exciting adventure to everyone and then headed off to see the sights! ;D 

Our hotel was only a short walk from the Eiffel Tower so we set off along the Seine towards the tower....

Our hotel is the one in the middle!

It was pretty chilly so we stopped at a vendor right by the tower and picked up a hoodie for Jack and a lovely scarf for me  Millie, to keep the chill off her face.  :D

The line to climb the tower was veeeery long as it had been closed the one day they had snow so everyone who had planned to climb that day was in line today!  Also two of the pillars were closed for renovations and construction ( they are building a new platform on the first level!) As it was SO cold and the line SO long, we decided that we would wait and instead would climb the tower tomorrow.  What we needed, we thought, was a nice long bus tour!!!

Too Cold, Too Long... Tomorrow!!

We hopped on the first Big Red Bus that we found and we bought a two day pass.
We stuck in our headphones and settled in for a tour....

Millie wanted to play "Secret Agent...!"  :D

Beautiful architecture!

One thing that really struck us about Paris was how CLEAN it is!!  It's beautifully clean!

Along the Champs Elysees.....

The beautiful Opera building!  It has an entrance around the back large enough for Napolean to drive his carriage in...!  And the GOLD on the tops of everything... shining so brightly!

A lovely street...!

The Love Locks Bridge...!

Booksellers and artists lined the Seine....!

Well look.... ANOTHER street scene!  

Millie had fallen asleep here...!

Such a lot for little eyes to take in! :D 

Notre Dame, people!! :D 

The Thinker's Backside... in The Rodin Museum Garden....!

This bridge, Pont Alexander III. is featured in all sorts of movies including the James Bond movie, a View to a Kill and Adele's music video for Someone Like You too!  It's such a pretty bridge!

OH!  She waked up!! :D

Doesn't my her scarf suit her?!?! :D She got SO many compliments on our trip! Quite the celebrity, she was!

And just really.... So much going on here!!!  This is the Place de la Concorde and the Obelisk you see is the Luxor Obelisk.  I had to put a link in here because there is SO much fascinating history that you really MUST quickly read it! :D During the revolution, for instance, this is where many a head was "snicked off"....!!  

.....  So..... as you can see.... there's a lot to take in!!! And it's not even lunch time!!  I'm going to stop here and tomorrow will present you with Day Two, part two!! :D 

Goodnight for now! :D 

Friday, April 5

Day Une Continued!! Nous Sommes Arrives!

So, we last left our heroes arriving at Heathrow airport where my Mum was there to greet us.  We were to travel on the underground from there to St Pancras where we would pick up the Eurostar and ride through the Chunnel to Paris... but.... there was a problem....

The first thing after Hello that Mum said to us was "Your train has been cancelled......"  "Le what?!?!?"   Apparently Paris had been hit by a LOT of snow a day or so prior to our arrival and trains, planes and what not had all been disrupted.  The cancellation of our train was going to be a HUGE hassle as we had already booked our hotel and we were only going to BE in Paris for three days and so on and so on and so on.... BUT.... not to worry... turns out, of all the trains that WERE cancelled ours was among the one or two still running!  (Le Phew!!... (Don't worry!  I won't do this all the way through...!!) ) So we hopped aboard the underground and headed to St Pancras.  ....

(Mind the gap....)

Here's Jessica (in a tunnel, which is why is it dark outside already!) snickering at the announcement that "This train terminates at Cockfosters".   Snicker.  I suggested that we call it "willyFosters" in order to be a little more polite!!

Tee hee.... Willy Fosters....!!  :P

Jack was worn out and used his Garry's arm to sleep on for a while.  The ride on the underground was over an hour long and we had not had a lot of sleep but adrenaline kept us Grown Ups awake! 

Here is St Pancras.  It's a BEAUTIFUL terminal.  So well maintained.   It was built in 1868 and has so many original features.  It's lovely!  And now, with Eurostar, it's known as London St Pancras International!!  Whoo hoo!! ;P

THIS was the crowd of folks waiting for our train.  Rather a lot, eh?! 

The board showing our train was indeed still running..!

All aboard the Eurostar!  This beautiful and LOOONG train runs at almost 200 mph but we were told that, due to the snow in France, we would be going a little slower once we reached Calais.  

Millie is always thrilled to see her little friend who accompanies her on any journey when there is a reflection!! :D 

The ride was very smooth and comfortable and the service was very nice.  As our trip began in England all announcements were made first in English, then again in French.  My Mum had provided us with a huge bag FULL of sandwiches, snacks, crisps, drinks, cookies, fruit, everything we could possibly have needed for the next few weeks  days, so we settled in and chowed down.

The actual journey was perhaps nearly three hours long with the "going slow" and all that, certainly over two hours.  All my peeps eventually drifted off to sleep.....

The fellas......

 And my girls.....

They missed the whole "Being Under the Sea" part completely, but finally, guess what?!?!  We arrived in Paris!!!  A La Gare Du Nord!!  It was spectacular!!  

Nous sommes Arrives! :D 

A kind passer~by offered to take a picture of all of us!!  Do we look as if we have just travelled 4541.3 miles?!!

So, we were on our way! :D 

Here is the outside of the Gare Du Nord station!  impressive eh?!  It was about 7 pm local time when we arrived and already quite dark.  We had to get ourselves a taxi ( which was easy, they had an incredibly efficient taxi rank system.)  We explained that with the five of us and luggage we would need a "Maxi Taxi" and that was swiftly arranged.  Now I was on the hook.  Rex gestured to me and said... "Tell the driver where we need to go!!"  Hah hah!!  Between us we managed to explain where we needed to be and the lovely driver took us around and was so polite about my French Terrible..!!  

The city glowed around us and then suddenly we spotted THIS.....!!

The BEAUTIFUL tower!  Glimmering in the distance!   

And then, we were right THERE!!  A blurry shot out the taxi window as we sped by! Our driver pointed out such BEAUTIFUL glowing buildings, The Opera house was STUNNING... we were just amazed and so very excited by it all!  I kept trying to speak French and then would slip into English and then back into some French.... The taxi ride alone was worth all that traveling! 

We soon arrived at our hotel and all piled inside trying not to be TOO big and loud and touristy!  The staff were so friendly despite our concerns that they may be "aloof" !  We tried to speak French but they very kindly spoke English to us for the most part!! 

We headed to our room ..... ON THE 28th floor and THIS was our view!!!  We had giant windows with a huge window sill, perfect for sitting on and just gaping and gaping!!

And what could be seen, reflected in the windows of the apartments across the street?!?!  There she is again!!  Every hour at night the tower SHIMMERS with lights that sparkle and twinkle for about 10 minutes!  I can't describe how pretty it is!!  

Another view, this time you can see the lights along the Seine below us!!  What a cool place to stay!

So there we are, friends!  We have arrived in Paris!  After a quick bite to eat and an hour or so of marveling at our lovely suite and the fabulous view we finally called it a night and settled in to sleep.

To be continued, bien sur!

Bon Nuit!

Thursday, April 4

Jour Une !! :D Et c'est une LONG une !!! :D LOL!!

Oh you guys!!!  I thought, I know, I'll just make a quick little post about our first day of traveling.  Just the one day, no biggie....  Ahem.  It's taken my 25 minutes thus far SIMPLY TO CHOOSE THE PHOTOS!!!  OF THE FIRST DAY!!!  That's just GETTING THERE people!! :D

I'll press on, eh!? :D

So, here we are at Lincoln airport... this photo was taken by Jack on his "brand new, makes cool sounds, bought specially for the trip" camera, which, as you know if you have any sense of foreboding, broke on the day we arrived.  :(  Le boo.

 And here's the cameraman with said swanky new, now busted camera! :D

 Our petite plane to take us to Minnesota...!!

 And here we are... off on Millie's first flight!!  Jess, the seasoned traveller, had to sit next to a stranger, who, if you know Jess you know, was not a stranger after a moment or two of chatting!

Millie was wonderful on the flight.... I was worried only about her ears popping so took along a bag of organic lollipops for her to suck on as we ascended.  She was quite happy and promptly fell asleep no sooner were we airborne!

THIS is Minneapolis International Airport!  HOLY SCHMOLEY!!   Can you see all those little rectangles???  ALL iPads!!  You sit at your little table and can order food and what not right from the iPad!  Your dish will arrive within about 10 minutes!!  How swanky is that?!?!   We had a while to wait so Jess and I toured the shops... and there were TONS of shops!  It was an amazing airport!!!

iPads iPads everywhere.....

And then finally it was on to our BIG flight.  This time we sat two in front, Rex and Jack with an empty seat between them and Jess, Millie and I behind them.  There was tons of leg room, in fact, there was tons of ROOM... on the ENTIRE FLIGHT there were only 77 people!!!!  In fact they had had to move us earlier to distribute the weight evenly over the plane!!  As we got flying Jess was able to take over a couple of seats and lay down to sleep.  

Jess ready to go!
Jack, safety first!

 The flight was so comfortable and relatively event free apart from Jack.  And Jack's lunch. Which made a repeat showing.  In the tiny bathroom.  Up the walls.  And the door.  In the hinges, on the floor....Yah.  I donned some British Grit and cleaned it all up spotless.  The steward was all over me with appreciation... "apparently most people would just leave it there...!"How could someone DO that ?!  Anyway, other than that... I would definitely fly Delta again, they were great.  Now, the landing into Heathrow.... not so great.  It was a bit BUMPY to say the least and I always find landing rather wracking on the nerves.  This one was pretty bouncy and I heard the steward behind me say "Yup, one wheel at a time....!!"  eeep.

So... we landed at Heathrow where my Mum was there to greet us!!  Next stop ... The underground to St. Pancras where we would pick up the Eurostar and take the Chunnel to Paris ... but.... there was a problem.....

***to be continued tomorrow!!   Sorry folks!  Millie needs to go to bed!!***