Kiddle Family - November 2012

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

February 9

Day 40

Goodbye London England.
Hello Paris France.

We started out the day by taking a high-speed Eurostar train from London to Paris.
As usual, we navigated the underground metro to get to our hotel.  It's a good thing Cam was with me, cause it was a maze of tunnels and different train stations.  I don't know how Cam can navigate his way around without ever getting lost.... it's almost like he lives in these places with how well he gets around.
First thing I noticed about Paris and using the public transit.... the metro stations are not as clean as the ones in England.  And there's a lot of homeless living in the underground station stops.
But, there are garbages.  I know, you must think that I strange comment, but we couldn't find a single garbage can anywhere in England and it was annoying if we bought lunch on the run and couldn't find a garbage to put stuff in.

We loved our hotel in Paris.  Though it was still tiny in size, the staff was extremely friendly and helpful.  And our hotel room was cozy (and tiny).   Just how tiny? Well, for example, the toilet in the bathroom... you had to sit on it sideways cause there was no leg room with the sink being there.   And below is a picture of the hallway to our room.   I didn't take a picture, but they also had the tiniest elevators.   When I claimed that I couldn't fit in it with Cam and our little bit of luggage, the woman at the front desk said "get inside, it's romantic".   I've never known an elevator to be "romantic".
is it possible to have a smaller hallway??
our tiny bathroom

Our first stop in Paris?  A bakery just a couple doors down from our hotel.  It became quite obvious to us that it was a bakery that tourists don't normally go in because no one spoke english.  We did manage to get something to eat.  Croissants in France are.... amazing.   Nothing like the ones they make back home.   I think I ate a croissant every day for the first week we were in Europe.  Mmmm.

After a quick bite to eat, we hopped on the metro and made our way to the Louvre.   That museum is ridiculously big.  You could spend days and days in there.   In fact, we got lost in there trying to find our way around.  We enjoyed seeing the Mona Lisa, the statue of Venus, paintings by famous artists like Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Raphael.
The entrance.   Under the glass pyramid.
A lot of statues. Most were nude.  It's a good thing my kids weren't with us, I could just imagine what they'd be saying...
Beautiful ceilings in every room.
The Mona Lisa.  A must-see.  This is as close as you can get to her.
The size of  a lot of the paintings.   So big.  Cam's so small in comparison.
Another must-see.   The statue of Venus.
Fireplace.  I wish the camera could adequately capture the detail.  Still amazing regardless.

The Louvre is SO BIG.  All of this is the Louvre.

A short walk on the other side of the Louvre, we found a geocache beside a really old church called Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois Church.   Of course we had to go inside and take a look.  

More beautiful detail
Holding the geocache and trying not to draw any attention from nearby people

We walked back around the Louvre.  It was at this point, that my feet were starting to really ache.    So much walking and we were only a couple of days into our trip.   I recall sitting outside the Louvre, looking into the far distance and being able to see the outline of the Eiffel Tower and hearing Cam say that he plans for us to walk all the way there still and my response was "why do you want to torture me?!"   So, we decided to walk and find a metro station (still blocks away) and take the train (thankfully!).
The Eiffel Tower in the far distance.  I don't want to walk all the way there!
Taking the underground train.  This one was different.  An old double-decker train.
As it turned out, it was a good thing we didn't walk all the way to the Eiffel Tower.   It was late afternoon when we left the Louvre and little did we realize at that time, that it would be a 3 hour wait to get to the top of the Eiffel Tower.   That's right, 3 hours in the end.  I'm so glad it's not summer time, cause I can't imagine how long the line up would be then!  February is supposed to be the slowest month of the year!   But, it really was worth the wait.  We got to enjoy it in the daylight and at night.   Sweet.

View from the second viewing platform, while we waited in another line to go up to the top.
View from the very top of the tower

Before calling it a night, we managed to find a restaurant that was still open.   Although we had a waiter that could speak a bit of english, we still ended up ordering a dinner that we didn't know what it was.   I really can't tell you what we ate.   No idea.   I'm pretty sure it was meat of some kind.  But it had a texture like jello.  Ew.  Cam on the other hand liked it, me not so much.   Dessert was really good though.  Sorry, no pictures of dinner (too bad, maybe someone could have told me what I ate!)

February 8

Day 39

Our day started early.   We met Cam's parents at the train station.   It was ridiculously BUSY!   I learned another lesson about England... no one walks at a normal pace.  Everyone is either speed walking or running.   The English have places to go and they need to get there fast.  Also, there's rules about things like riding on an escalator.  Stand on the right, walk up on the left.   Don't even think about standing side by side... I'm sure they'd run you over!
First stop was to find a geocache.   I must admit that I absolutely loved the little park that it took us to.  I would have liked to have more time to look around and read.  Little hidden gems like this park is why I love geocaching....
Nothing extraordinary about the cache.  It was all about the location.
Old tombstones lined the walls of this little park.
An unexpected find.  A memorial to heroic self sacrifice
The wall.   I must admit, I shed a tear reading through some of these.
I wish I could share all of the stories with you.

Next stop.... St. Paul's cathedral.   It was amazing.   Unfortunately, photos inside were not permitted.
St Paul's Cathedral.  The sheer size of these buildings is amazing.

Details.   That's what makes them so interesting.

Let's keep going.   After a quick lunch, we went for a walk and we went to the Tower of London.
Inside we saw the "Tower of terror" that told about torture.  We saw lots of armor, shields, cannons, etc.   We saw the Crown Jewels (too bad we couldn't take pictures of those!  They were impressive!)
The outside of the Tower of London.   It would have been cool if it still had water in it's mote.

Lots of armor from different royalty to look at.  See the little tiny one there?
This dragon was cool.  Made from cannons, rifles, shields, bolts, etc.
Kind Henry VIII's armor.  I couldn't stop laughing.  Oh my.
A view of the Tower of London with the Tower Bridge in the background.
Moving along.  We went out onto the walkway to look at the Tower Bridge better.  Very cool.

 We decided to take the public transportation boats and head up river towards the Parliament buildings.  It was fun to go for a ride on the boat.  Once there, we went for a long walk and we spent some time sight-seeing....  see the below pictures....
Our boat we went on
London Eye
Parliament Buildings and Big Ben
Big Ben.  That's another thing.... all the bells ringing from different churches in Europe.
A geocache inside a phone booth.
Westminster Abbey.  No time to go inside unfortunately.
Cool park.  Loved the little cottage.
Trafalgar Square
National Gallery museum.  A short walk through.   Lots of nude pictures which made our missionary parents uncomfortable.  Ha!
St.Martins in the Field
Beautiful inside for this small church.  We sat and listened to the small orchestra rehearsing for their Bach performance for later that night.

Phew!   We're almost done.   It's crazy to see all the things we did in one day.   To finish off the day, we enjoyed a broadway musical..... Phantom of the Opera.   When Cam mentioned that maybe we could see a musical, I said "if you want to make me really happy, you'll take me to see Phantom."   I've always wanted to go.  And it did not disappoint.   A really fabulous way to end off our day in London.

Wow!  What a great day in London!