Monday, April 19

Not stuck in Paris yet!

You heard about the volcano in Iceland that's shut down European airports since last Thursday? My folks flew in just a half hour before airports began grounding flights and stranding thousands of people. Crazy!

We didn't think much of it because we were heading to Paris by train. Once here, we began hearing all sorts of things, especially at church. The Paris ward had lots of study abroad students, faculty and families, businessmen, and vacationers waiting in limbo as the airlines cancelled their flights and said to try again in SIX days. Oh what a hassle for all these stranded people and the expense!!! Ryan said he saw images online of people sleeping on cots at the Frankfurt airport! Argh!

I'm almost ashamed to report all the fun we're having seeing the Parisian sights and EATS, becoming accustomed to traveling together. Ryan's inner GPS has come to the rescue too many times to count! What would we do without him?! It truly is amazing! I learned a new story about him this trip. He can trace this inner GPS talent to a time when he was 6 or so and a neighborhood playground was moved to a nearby town. He'd been able to ride along as the stuff was moved once, and later that day was able to lead his parents there, turn by turn! They had thought it'd been moved down the street so weren't they a bit stunned and impressed! My parents and I are too, although I'm sure we should do more thanking in the moment. Since Ryan's never lost, he likes to wander. I'm not so good at being a wanderer follower even if I know he'll get us there every time. Ryan, your patience astounds me!

On another note, Ryan's enduring a bit of ribbing. He woke up feeling under the weather on Sunday real early and took a long shower and bath. When he got done, there was still hot water he thought but the rest of us got cold showers without knowing why. He 'fessed up later in the day at dinner and won't hear the end of it now!

Dad buys and writes post cards anytime we stop it seems. I have always loved his letters and post cards over the years so it's been fun to watch him do this. So many people he thinks of and loves! If only we could find an open post office to send them off! 

We also have gotten a kick out of Dad excitedly sharing how this or that was built - like the Eiffel Tower's use of rivets. He's such a big kid at heart! He's getting used to his camera and gave us all a good laugh at the Eiffel Tower. He and Ryan had climbed it just before dusk, waving excitedly and doing The Wave to Mom and I below. Us boring women had contentedly opted to read and people watch in the park resting our weary bones on a bench.

Anyhow, once the boys rejoined us, we were hanging around for the lights of the Eiffel Tower to go on. Dad was trying to get his camera ready to catch the lighting because it is lit level by level. As it began lighting up, Dad missed it and hollered, "Oh Crap!", as he fumbled with his camera. Then Eiffel began it's dazzling flash bulb display and Dad hollered another exasperated "Oh Crap!" Ryan came to his rescue with the camera, but it sure got us laughing real hard with likely derivatives rolling off the tongue - now it's "Oh Crepe!" (Note to self: Mom and Dad have yet to try one. I should be shot, what's more Parisian?! Oh yes, bakeries . . . no problem there, we've got them well covered!)

Another fave moment of mine was when we were on the tour bus heading into the Louvre. Tour bus and a very narrow road passage into the castle = Tight squeeze! Dad was able to reach out and touch the castle door over mom's shoulder! Anyhow, he squealed with delight and I caught it on camera! That's my dad! It was as if we were on a roller coaster in the good ol' days!

Mom and I are up for just about anything until our walking legs are done. Mom got to browse the fabric district a bit today and is keeping an eye out for just the right gift ideas. Beyond being very happy with me and Ryan's historic walk today, I feel like I'm best equipped to publish a "Where's the WC?" edition of me as Where's Waldo in various European cities. UC + travel = less than interesting blog material . . . yet useful. Maybe I've found my blogging niche?! Uh, no thanks, I'll pass.

It's past midnight of day two in Paris and we're all dog tired and ready for bed! We've done Notre Dame and the historic area walking tour, a hop-on/off bus tour, shopped and strolled the Champs Elysees, the Louvre, and the Sacre Couer / Montmarte areas just to name a few. Still so much to see but the heat is on tomorrow --  the Paris Crypt, Musee d'Orsay, Rodin, and Versailles. And it will be fun darn it! Now hussle! HUSSLE! Ryan and Dad are now being asked to find a job in Paris for a year so we can all live here and attempt to see it all at "our leisure"! I don't think I'd ever run out of things to see and explore here!

By the way I am now a fervent Rick Steve's book fan and wish we'd gotten acquainted a good 17 months ago when my European adventure began! Oh the grief he would have saved this here traveling woman! The audio tours could use some work but are fun and useful in conjunction with other guides and maps, especially in the Louvre we've found!

Wednesday we head to Rome if there's no French train worker strike again between Paris and Germany and the airlines let us fly to Rome as planned. Our airline begins letting flights leave at 1pm and ours is at 4pm - how's that for a close shave?! Wish us luck!