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When I started my retirement travels - the first of which was my solo overseas trip to Italy in 2009 - I wanted a way to share it with family and friends as it happened. Hence, "My Travel Journal". However I realized I wouldn't always be on a trip and wondered what to do with the blog in between times. My daughter pointed out, wisely, that travels can also include trips to the kitchen to try a new recipe, trips to visit family, trips to my neighborhood Starbucks, or a fun day trip with a friend. You're welcome to join me on any of these journeys!

P.S. I've set up separate pages for each of my major trips (see tabs above).

I recently added an "Italian Word a Day" thingie which shows up at the bottom of every page. You see the word and can click to hear it pronounced. I've been enjoying it and I think my accent is improving as time goes by.

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May 22, 2012

And here's Sunday, still on Tuesday! pant, pant...

I don't know that I'll finish this tonight cause I do have to pack.  To start, I mentioned our Saturday night dinner.  We ended up eating at a place right next to the hotel called "Lipp" and it wasn't til at some point after we were seated (without a reservation which at first bothered the maitre d') that I suddenly remembered reading reviews of it on line.  Some quite good, others fairly awful.  It's a really old, been here forever place and has slowly, I think, become a tourist restaurant.  Although we only had French speaking people sitting around us, but I've decided a lot of the people I'm seeing both in Nice and Paris that speak French are still tourists.  Anyway, waiter got put out with us cause we dithered about our wine.  That's another thing I've discovered...if you just say an item on the menu, you've ordered it.  At any rate, we didn't see him again for a while and when we did, we just ordered.  I order "pied du porc avec lentilles" which I knew would be pork and I knew would be lentils, both of which are fine with me.  Heather ordered what she knew would be salmon.  When I ordered it, the waiter said "pork fruit" I thought and after he left I was worrying about what fruit was in connection with pork.  Heather thought he was saying pork foot and it suddenly dawned on me it pied porc would be pig foot!!  I did not want a pig's foot so up I jumped and the maitre d', who I think by now was kind of tickled with us, rushed to see what was the matter, I tried to explain to him and he either changed the order or told me that it was the shank.  I could live with the shank.  So we sat and sat and sat and finally here came our plates.  Mine was the entire plate surface covered with lentils (good lentils, I'll admit) and the biggest, whitest, most basically disgusting ham hock I've ever seen!  It would have been embarrassing if not for the fact that everyone seemed to be getting some version of it.  They're an Alsatian restaurant which is an area of France on the German border so their cuisines mingle.  Three little old ladies sitting next to us all got enormous ham hocks and devoured them.  Mine was good, just really kind of revolting to look at.  Poor Heather's salmon was a cold dish with a gelatin coating on top of the salmon and some sort of pea/mayonnaise side dish to use with the salmon, we decided.  But we got through all that and for some strange reason, bravely decided we'd get dessert.  After all, the three little ladies next to us had ordered one (and all three split it - again voraciously).  But we each ordered one - I don't even remember what mine was, but Heather decided she would try the baba au rhum.  I told her what I knew about it and she ordered it.  Well, here it came and it was like a big light brown log.  What I've seen has usually been a bunch of little round balls stacked up.  This was, again, just sort of gross looking.  She gamely took a bite, the little old ladies surreptitiously watching and about choked.  There were some smiles at the next table.  I took a bite and it was raw rum we were putting in our mouths.  Phew!!! I said and then great mirth at both our tables.  We had a little chat with the three little old ladies - they were up from Spain, which with the way they were digging into their ham hocks and kraut kind of surprised me.  But all in all, for such a sort of horrifying meal, it was quite a pleasant evening and took forever.  Got back to our room at midnight!

And that short post about dinner went a lot longer than I expected.  I apologize. :)

So, now it's Sunday I'm talking about, correct?  We had a plan for Sunday.  Heather was adamant that she had to get to Paris's biggest flea market which was way up on the northern outskirts of town.  I wanted us to go to the D'Orsay.  I told her we'd do that first cause I knew once we got to the flea market, she'd stay til they kicked her out.  And I was adamant that we would also take the metro from the hotel to where my apartment is going to be so I could hopefully get some idea that maybe I could get around on the metro.  And as a P.S. to that - the idea we both got after all was said and done was that yes, there's a good possibility I'll survive using the metro, but also yes, I'll take a cab from the hotel to the apartment cause I'll have my luggage.

Well, we got to the D'Orsay  probably no later than 10 or 10:30 and on a Sunday for Pete's sake, and there was this huge throng of people outside waiting to get in.  We agreed nuts to that cause we had decided that after we saw it and took the metro to the apartment, we would then get some lunch around the apt. and head on up to the flea market.  Had we waited forever to get into the museum, it's hard telling when we would have gotten to the apartment.  So we came back to the hotel as our starting point and found the metro stop and off we went.  It was pretty harrowing and hopeless feeling at first and I imagine that the first time I do it by myself I'll feel about as harrowed and hopeless, but we did get there.  I just wish my hip wasn't bothering me so much because just like any metro, you go up and down stairs every 3 minutes.  But by the time we came back home from the flea market, I was pretty much able to be telling Heather "we go here, right?" and being right.  I still say give me Florence, though, ,where you can see everything there is to see with nice long walks.  They don't have a metro or even buses in the historic center.  But Paris is vast, really vast!

So, really, as Heather pointed out at the end of the day, all we did, essentially, was metro around Paris.  But we got to her flea market even after getting off at the final stop and Heather asking three policemen which way to go when we left the subway who then admonished us to be very, very careful - dangerous territory, purses across body, hold on to them, don't stop for panhandlers.  It was kind of dear, really - that they should take such efforts to caution us.  And discuss between themselves what would be the best way for us to get there, etc.  But get there we did with no mishaps and really no one paying any attention to us.  Did a lot of browsing and for me a very little buying.  Heather bought three nice "treasures" - from a very little one to a really gorgeous one - a necklace by an apparently somewhat famous jewelry designer from the 20's.  She is thrilled with it and it is lovely.

Sunday night we ended up having a very nice dinner.  We were tired, hungry, and a little cranky when we got back to the hotel and if I remember right, it was a little drizzly.  We debated about where to eat and finally decided once again we'd look at a few menus.  Oh, I remember one of the problems - we had made reservations at some point to eat at this restaurant we passed on a walk that claimed to be the oldest cafe in the world, not just Paris.  The more I thought about the more I really didn't want to - sounded like another tourist lure to me.  And when we stopped in to make the reservation, it was very crowded, very noisy, etc.  So I think Heather was kind of disappointed about that but kindly agreed to look elsewhere but "let's DO it!"  We happened upon a restaurant that looked pretty through the windows, what we could understand of the menu looked inviting and so we went in and what a really delightful experience it was.  The food was very good for one thing, but our waiter was what made it delightful.  He was young, spoke quite good English, just broken enough to be interesting, and very willing to visit now and then.  Only problem there was we ate way more than we should and that late at night, it can be fairly uncomfortable.  I don't know how the people here do it.  Because, again, we got back probably around 11:30 and all the cafes on the street were still packed with people.

And very few pictures taken on Sunday since we were mostly in the metro and the flea market!  But here's one shot of where we had dinner - all pillars were covered in beautiful ceramic Art Nouveau style art.  This picture has too much glare on it but it's the best I could do.

These two night pictures were taken from our hotel window.  In the first one, if you look to the right of the church, in the distance you'll see the tops of the lit-up towers of Notre Dame.

And these last two of our sweet little room.  The walls are covered in a beige on beige striped fabric which I'm amazed they can keep looking decent.  And I love having a pretty statue on the chest. :)
 The bathroom was quite strange and I took a picture but it doesn't show the reason why.  The reason why is because it's a fairly large area as you come in the door.  Sort of entrance hall/commode "closet"/vanity area/tub and shower area.  And the only part that's closed off is the commode closet and it really feels like you're in a closet when you're in there!  The tub has no shower curtain, no shower door, no nothing.  But there's about  a wall as deep as the vanity that is between the tub and vanity.  So when you're in the tub, the overhead shower spray is in that cubbyhole behind the wall.  Then there's a handheld one in the center of the tub area that you use very carefully so it doesn't spray all over the bathroom.  Can't imagine why they didn't just put in a shower door...  But a very nice room all in all, and a very nice hotel too.

And you know what?  This is Sunday done, and as I've already reported, Monday was a stay home in the rain day and I don't think there's much else to say about that, which brings me to today!!  Hooray!!!  And I should be able to do that tomorrow from my new abode.  So, until then,

Au revoir!


Christopher said...

Glad the dinner saga ended (at another meal) on a high note! And that in fact, despite the police warnings, you weren't mugged :) AND that you got some exposure to the metro---do all the station entrances have reproductions of "that" famous Art Nouveau iron archway that says Metro? Your hotel room does look wonderfully Parisian somehow... very nice!
Take care, and I hope you have an easy trek to the next apartment---I think a taxi is the best idea.

Jamie said...

Love the hotel rOom and night views! It all sounds a little overwhelming with the walking walking walking and searching and warnings - but worth it when I see the photos. So glad you got to share some of it with heather. Continue to be safe and listen to the warnings. Can't wait to hear about your apartment and the next stage of the adventure.

Mary Lynne said...

When we walked to the flea market, we walked arm in arm - I told Heather it made us look more European. :)

I'm noticing typos here and there in my blogs as I go back and look at them and I apologize for that. Part of it is being in a rush to get them done and deciding I'm too tired to proofread them and part of it is getting used to the keyboard on my new netbook.

Love to both of you,

Sarah said...

Mary Lynne,

PLEASE take some cabs! All that going up and down the metro stairs will kill you if you're hurting already! Don't do it. Just suck it up and pay for the cabs---it is WORTH every cent!
I've been in the position you describe-- metros go OFF the radar. I flag down cabs and it is SO GREAT!
Think about it:) (I think that was a line from Midnight in Paris.)

Chinch said...

Sorry I haven't been commenting but I'm just now catching up with your past couple of posts and glad you had Heather with you to get off to a good start in Paris. Will be eager to hear about the new apartment and hope it's a gem -- also hope that you get comfortable with the Metro and probably you will because you sound like you're off to a good start. We have company and I'm just up after a 9-hour sleep which was definitely needed. So onward & upward for both of us!! xoxo

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