Paris and home
Sunday was my last day in Paris. Fortunately there isn’t another tenant in the apartment until Monday, so I can leave my bags until going to the airport. I did my dishes and tidied up, and braved the basement to take out the trash and recycling, then headed out. The forecast said 100% chance of rain today, but the sky was clear this morning. Nevertheless I took my umbrella and headed for the Metro. Unlike yesterday, it was fairly deserted this morning, and an easy ride to the Concorde stop for the Orangerie museum.
The Orangerie was originally for greenhouse storage of the orange trees in the Tuilieres gardens, and later was used as an exhibition and meeting place. In the early 1900’s, there was an arrangement with Monet to do a planned exhibit of his work. He wanted to bring the peace and beauty of his gardens in Giverney to busy Paris. The main floor has one small plain room after entry to pause and leave the city behind, and then two oval rooms each lined with four canvases with scenes of the gardens all painted in the last 12 years of his life. It is a lovely setting to relax and enjoy.
The lower level contains the collection of an art dealer from the early 1900’s, and provided a wide sampling of artists of his time—Monet among them.
Emerging from the museum, I encountered the 100% chance—it was a bit drizzly. I was going to walk to the Orsay Museum, just down the river and across a bridge. I walked past a pedi-cab and looked at it out of curiosity. The price list said it was $15, and I said ‘je marche’ (I’ll walk). Suddenly it was down to $10, and I took them up on it. It was a fun ride along the river past the Louvre, over the bridge and delivered to the entry of the Orsay. I had a ticket, so I got to skip one line, but still had to go through the security line. The Orsay was originally a train station, but it is an amazing museum, starting with art from about 1850 (the Louvre has the older artwork). I headed to the top floor to dive into the impressionist gallery. It is an amazing and bountiful collection, and I only got through part of it before taking a lunch break in the cafe behind the huge clock of the former station. Then I made my way through the rest of the impressionists, finishing with Van Gogh.
Outside the sun was out again, and I had a final Nutella crepe for the road and walked along the river a little before catching a taxi back to the apartment to get my bags and taxi over to the airport bus. Now I’m in my airport hotel getting ready for an early departure and the long trip home
Monday I was up at 5:00 and off on the shuttle train from the hotel to the airport. Check in, and a short line at security, and a breakfast snack while I waited. Pretty straightforward, which was good, because I’m not sure how awake I was! It was a three hour flight to Reykjavik, and after four weeks without TV, those old Big Bang reruns looked pretty good!
I had a wait for my bus to the Blue Lagoon. Now that they are one winter transportation schedule, I didn’t have much time there, but still a nice break even if there wasn’t time for a massage. It was clear blue sky and about 48 degrees, so it was nice to be in the hot water. I used both the white silica and green algae facial masks, so I’m sure I will look much younger when I get home! If I come this way again, I think I will go for a 1-2 day layover so I’m not rushed.
It has been interesting to have conversations again, now that most of the people around me are speaking English. I talked with a lady from Washington DC who was with a group visiting cathedrals (she works at the National Cathedral). In the course of the conversation, she told me about a book called ‘Stitching Up Paris’ that gives information on all the fabric, yarn, and related shops in Paris….I was thinking I might not be back there, but you never know! Guess I’d better renew my passport.
I got lucky on the flight to Seattle with an empty seat next to me, and managed a couple of hours of sleep, enough to get me home awake. Aloha and Linda were on the spot to pick me up (so much nicer than the shuttle). It was a pretty day in Seattle, and there was a great view of Mt Ranier to welcome me home.
It is great to be here in my own house, and I lasted until about 8:30 before enjoying my own bed (and waking about 3:30). Today I will putter and unpack, and enjoy a quiet day with no lines to stand in, or long treks with varying amounts of baggage!
The four weeks went quickly, as I realized when I got on the bus to go back to the airport in Paris at the same spot where I arrived, and drove past that little hotel I stayed the first night. When I look back at my pictures, however, I realize the extent of what I saw and did, even with my relaxed pace of travel. The next trip is a visit to Hawaii in March, and after that, who knows?