Day 1: We Take Paris

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This vacation has gotten off to a great start. Our flight on Air France left and arrived on time. Even though we were in Economy, we were relatively comfortable, enjoying adjoining aisle seats. I watched the ESPN “30 for 30” on Jimmy Valavano, entitled “Survive and Advance” on my iPad NC State’s championship year was my senior year at Duke, so I remember it well. Film brought tears to my eyes, tracing the paths of that season and Jimmy V’s cancer fight.

We arrived in Paris around 8:30am local time on Sunday. Passport control was easy. We waited awhile for out luggage, at which time we found that my phone was working with Verizon Global Data, but Ellen’s wasn’t. That wouldn’t work out well. So a quick Skype call to tech support got that straightened out by the time our luggage came out. Viking took care of our transfer, so we hopped on their bus to our ship.

The ship is docked just a 10 minute walk south oft the Eiffel Tower. Our room was ready when we arrived. We ate a light lunch in the lounge, and then spirited off the ship to get going. An advantage of all our travel is we can hit the ground running. We don’t have the “stranger in a strange place” feeling anymore, so we just pinch ourselves that we are in Paris and try to take advantage of it.

First stop was Musee D’orsey, which we got to via a 3 stop ride on the Metro. It is housed in a train station built in 1900 for the World’s Fair and houses the best impressionist collection anywhere.

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One of the brilliant things Ellen did to plan this trip was to buy a 2 day Paris museum pass and have it delivered at home before we left. That way we completely skipped an hour long line and went straight in. Time is your most precious commodity when traveling, so getting to do more and not waste time in line is terrific.

We enjoyed the Monets, Renoirs, Van Goghs etc. We then walked along the Seine and had a snack at a pastry shop on the left bank. I need to get my baguettes in before Passover starts.

Next we walked to Sainte Chapelle. The stained glass in the church is just breathtaking.

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Last destination of the day is Ellen’s favorite place on earth, Notre Dame Cathedral. She says she feels a spirituality there unlike anywhere else. Palm Sunday services were going on, so it took about 20 minutes to get in, but it was worth the wait. It appeared to be the Cardinal giving the sermon.

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We each got tokens from Notre Dame, for 2€, commemorating the church’s 850th year this year. Pretty amazing, right?

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We took the Metro back to the ship, arriving back around 6pm. We had originally intended to go out to a restaurant for dinner, but not having napped at all, we were too tired to have enjoyed that. So we ate on the ship, enjoying a great steak in beer dish that was quite tasty. We were joined by a couple currently living in Mexico, but perhaps moving soon to Ashville, NC. We had an interesting conversation.

We are now ready to collapse. We have a full day in Paris tomorrow and have lots to accomplish. We hear there may be sun tomorrow, so maybe the pictures won’t all be so gloomy.

One technical note for those who get email notification of new blog entires: the ship features free WiFi, which is wonderful. The speeds however are not. So I have to upload in pieces, especially the pictures. So wait an hour after you get the email, and then come looking.

Good night!

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2 responses to “Day 1: We Take Paris

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