|Friday 31st August 2007 Weather:- cloudy/sunny 19 degrees
(J) Apart from celebrating Herman's' birthday today it is going to be a bit of a domestic day. Tomorrow, weather permitting we want to spend the day at Versailles. As we have already been there in 1997 we will only go if the weather is fine. The main purpose, apart from another look inside, is to visit 'Petit Trianon' and to see all the fountains in action. We hope to leave our apartment at about 8am on Sunday to pick up the car at the airport for our further travels. That leaves today as the last chance for the next 16 days for a big wash, dry and iron. We are lucky as this apartment has a washing machine and in the Laundromat opposite this building we can dry the clothes.
The situation with writing this journal has worked out alright as well. I can write the text on my laptop at home at my leisure, Herman can edit his photos we then load it on a chip and take it around the corner to an internet café and we are out of there in about 15 min. It is just as well that we can do that as the French keyboard has the letters and numbers all mounted in a different order, also there are a lot more symbols that we do not have on our keyboards. When I do add something to what we have already written I have to search for the letters that I need. Life is interesting. There is always something new.
We had lunch in 'Cafe Pierre' in the Place de la Republique. Pate de foi gras and onion soup were the go for me and Herman settled for a lovely chicken dish, some wine was in order for the celebration after which we were well sated. Desert was an objective but impossible for lunch, so we decided that on the way home we would stop by the 'patisserie' and take some home for tonight. The cakes and pastries are in a world apart here (as they are in Nederland) The variety and delicateness we just don't see at home and on top of that, the prices are about half of what we pay in Australia. Bananas, Vine grown tomatoes, Cheese, Salami and Biscuits are half price to what we pay, of course the lack of water has something to do with that. Bottles of wine are also very inexpensive. I learned my lesson last time when we came. I wanted to bring some nice Australian wine to my Uncle Wim as he enjoyed his wine very much, we carried our allotted quota of wine all the way from Australia to Nederland only to find that they sold it in the local supermarket over there and cheaper than what we paid for it in Adelaide. Saying all that entrees and main courses in any little cafe or restaurant are about double the price to what we pay and we been a little disappointed in what actually came to the table, in that respect we are spoilt in Adelaide.
(H) Have just woken up, falling asleep on the lounge after a rather large and filling lunch. The wine helped. As Judy mentioned above, today has been a domestic type day and I think we both need to give our legs a break. It's not the walking that is the problem, it is the up and down of the Metro stairs that affect you. Although some Metro stations have escalators, others do not. The one at Strasbourg-St Denis (our stop) only has an escalator for the last 5 metres, the other 20 metres in height , are steps
Thanks to all of you for your Birthday wishes and although we are on the other side of the world I still feel close to home, thanks to the internet. Further celebrations are on order when we return home.
To finish of my 65th birthday this evening we are off for a nice romantic walk along the River Seine , a light jumper and jacket may be in order as it starting to get a bit chilly.
(J) Hustle, Bustle----It's Friday night----All going Home----Push bikes, scooters, motor bikes and mini cars and to top it all off----roller-bladers weaving in and out----keeping up with the traffic.
We took the metro to the Isle de la Cite' tonight and walked across Ponte St Michelle onto the Rive Gauge (left bank). The surroundings and atmosphere is a lot classier and more conducive of a nice walk (hike). The "Light Boats' were out early but most of them were at least half empty. Still it was lovely just to take our time and study the architecture and to see all the Parisians hustling to get home or just having a leisurely meal and a drink. On reaching the Alexandre 111 Bridge at 9pm we were perturbed to find that the lights still had not been turned on (also not the street lights)so wait we must. When they were turned on is was extra special, special because it was dark, if they had been turned on earlier it would have lost some of the magic. The Eiffel Tower was also lit up like a Christmas tree and with the many coloured lights of the boats it was a magnificent sight. Object achieved it was time to go home, arriving there at 11:15pm, a late night for the Wynands!!