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Vimy 2017 Day 10

Day 10 kids and guess what? You probably guessed wrong, so I’ll tell you…I’m sick. Ugh, I knew this would happen. You get rundown physically, your immune system can’t keep up and bam! My throat is a bit sore and I can feel it in my lungs. It’s okay, I’ll tough it out (really, what else am I going to do). It’s the Dadistel way right?

Today is our last full day on tour…it’s very fitting that it’s Good Friday, the most solemn day in the Christian calendar. I think there are a lot of mixed emotions; it’s sad to be on the last day of the tour, but I think for a lot of us maybe it’s time to start thinking about home. I know that I miss my wife and my kids and it would be nice to see them again. Our agenda this morning starts with a bus tour of the city of Paris, followed by a pizza lunch, the Louvre and then whatever we have time for.

The bus tour was great as always. Our tour guide was Stephanie, who was very knowledgable about the sites. After about an hour of driving, we stopped at Les Invalides for a break and a photo op. From there we drove to Place de Trocadero, which is “the” place to get photos of the Eiffel Tower. Back on the bus, our final stop was the Arc di Triomphe on the Champs-Élysées. Leaving Stephanie and the bus behind, we got an up-close view of this amazing landmark before leaving for lunch.

Les Invalides selfie, April 2017.

Eiffel Tower selfie, April 2017.

Arc de Triomphe, April 2017.

Lunch today was covered by EF and was at a place we had eaten on previous tours, Flamme’s. I didn’t realize it was a chain, and the location we ate at was not the one we’ve visited before. Flamme’s is short for Flammekueche, which is an Alascian style pizza. It has a very thin crust, and is topped with some form of white sauce and various meats and veggies (bacon, onions and mushrooms). It’s all you can eat, which I know the kids appreciated. It was finished off with caramel, chocolate and apple desert flammekueche, which was delicious.

Flammekueche, April 2017.

Flammekueche, April 2017.

After lunch we walked the two kilometres or so from the restaurant to the Louvre. It’s was very pretty in the warm temperatures and vibrant colours of spring through the Tuileries Garden. Unfortunately our visit to the Louvre was extremely brief; two hours is only enough time to see a few things in the enormous museum. Since I was there twice already, I followed Ms. Caza on her mandatory journey to see the Mona Lisa.

Louvre, April 2017.

Louvre, April 2017.

We’re on the bus heading away from Paris…it’s always sad on the last day leaving the city. It was a nice end to the day. From the Louvre, we walked a short distance to Notre Dame Basilica. It is such a beautiful church, which made a big impression on the kids. I’ve been there on two other occasions and I’m still struck every time. The only thing that has changed is the security around the basilica, with police checkpoints and armed military patrols in the square. It’s a sad reality of the times we live in.

Notre Dame Basilica, April 2017.

Charlemagne, April 2017.

From Notre Dame we hopped the Metro to our restaurant for dinner. This by far was our most stressful ride. It was packed, and more people kept coming on the car my group of 9 were in. When we got to our station, Gard du Nord, we had to push our way out of the car; the kids followed my instructions to a tee-polite and aggressive. Dinner tonight was at L’Orange Vert, a short distance from the Metro station. It was okay; salad, carrots and a type of Sheperd’s Pie. After dinner we walked to our pick up point for the bus transfer back to the hotel.

It was a long, but productive day. According to those wearing Fitbits, we did upwards of 23,000 steps. My legs, ankles and feet are killing me! I guess I’ll have lots of time to rest them on our flights back home tomorrow. On that note, I better turn in. I still feel crappy and it will be another long day. I’ll be blogging the whole way home so I’ll be back tomorrow night with all final news. Until then…

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Posted by on April 14, 2017 in History, Travel

 

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Europe 2014 Day 9

If you read the Day 8 post, you know why this is delayed.

Day nine, our last day in Europe 😦 Man, the time has just flown by. I guess as they say that’s what happens when you’re having fun right? We’ll have to make the most of today and enjoy every moment.

So the internet (or as they say here the “wefe”) is still down, so I still cannot post yesterday’s blog. Hopefully it will be working by the time we return today so I can catch up and everyone knows we’re still alive. It’s amazing how we come to depend on it…first world problems right?

Anyway, we will be leaving the hotel at just after 8:00 so we can start a sightseeing tour of Paris. Should be interesting and give us a good sense of the city (well, maybe the kids since I’ve seen it before). Not quite clear on this afternoon’s agenda, but I know a lot of them wanted to go up the Eiffel Tower. Great, more stairs!

Well, I’m sitting here at the north gate of the Hotel des Invalides as the kids work through the museum with Mr. Cappello and Ms. Borgo. Normally I wouldn’t pass up a chance to visit a military museum, but I just wanted to sit for a bit and while I did that I could work on the blog. I figure it’s going to be another late night and I have two blogs to post.

I’m resting in the shade as it is probably well over 20C outside…it is absolutely gorgeous! I’m going to be sad to leave this behind for the snow and cold of Thunder Bay. I do miss the boys though and I guess it is time to head back to realty.

So the day has been great so far. A bus picked us up at the hotel and brought us into the centre of Paris where we met up with our guide for the morning. Corine would take us around the major sites in the city to give us a bit of sense of what Paris is like. We made a few stops along the way, the last of which was at the Place du Trocadero, which gives a good view of the Eiffel Tower. Unfortunately there is a lot of pollution in the air, which made the view less than ideal.

Place du Trocadero, March 2014.

Place du Trocadero, March 2014.

Afterwards the bus dropped us off near the Tower. The original plan was for most of the kids to go up the Tower, but the poor visibility and long lines made us change our minds. Instead we would head east toward the Hotel des Invalides, stopping for lunch along the way. Here we would split up, with St. Ignatius remaining at the museum and St. Pats heading toward the Champs des Élysées after a short visit. So here I sit…

Eiffel Tower, March 2014.

Eiffel Tower, March 2014.

Sigh. I’m sitting again, this time outside a perfume museum just north of the Paris Opera. I’m tired…exhausted would probably be a more apt term. It’s been a long day!

So after the Hotel des Invalides, we headed north across the Seine to the Champs des Élysées. The kids had a little time to look around before we were off again, this time to the Opera and a rendezvous with Felicity and the St. Ignatius crew. We walked the short distance to the perfume place and soon we’re off to dinner.

Alexandre III Bridge, March 2014.

Alexandre III Bridge, March 2014.

Paris Flowers, March 2014.

Paris Flowers, March 2014.

I’m beat! My feet are killing me! It has been a very long day. We are waiting for the bus to come and take us back to the hotel. I can’t wait to go there and put my feet up. I’m sad that we leave tomorrow (especially since we have to be on the bus at 7:30), but we’ve had a great trip.

Dinner tonight was at a place called “L’Arlequin Cafe,” which was quite a distance from the Opera. That made for an interesting ride on the Metro in which we were packed into the cars like sardines. Dinner was some sort of beef stew with carrots and potatoes, which was okay. Dessert was fruit salad.

Our night would conclude with a visit to the Louvre, which involved another packed ride on the Metro back in the direction of the Opera. A lot of the kids were excited to visit this fantastic museum. We didn’t have a lot of time, so our little band did the Mona Lisa, Venus di Milo and Hammurabi’s Code.

The Louvre, March 2014.

The Louvre, March 2014.

Hammurabi's Code, March 2014.

Hammurabi’s Code, March 2014.

Anyway, I better go. I need some sleep and morning will come way too soon. The bus leaves at 7:30 for the airport. Until then…

 
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Posted by on March 15, 2014 in History, Travel, Writing

 

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Vimy Day Three

Ok, it’s 7:15 and I’m here in the lobby waiting for breakfast. It’s amazing how good a decent night’s sleep feels; hopefully by tomorrow I’ll be caught up. The bed felt great, and the hotel is pretty nice. We’ll see how breakie measures up! Today we’re going to be on a tour of the city, and whatever else comes up.

Well, I’m sitting on the bus back to the hotel trying to type with frozen fingers; I’ll explain later. Today was another busy but exciting day. I have a lot to tell about so hopefully I warm up in the process.

After we left the hotel and drove downtown again. We picked up a local guide and did a driving tour of Paris. We saw somethings we didn’t see on our walking tour. After that ended, the bus left us near the Eiffel Tower.

We spent some time taking photos at the Trocadero Esplanade before heading down to near the tower itself. We stopped for a bite to eat and this time I actually had something resembling French cuisine, though I’m not sure a panini “Italien” qualifies-it was good, but only wops know how to slice prosciutto! After we ate it was time to visit the tower.

The line to take the lift up was about two hours long, so we decided to walk up to the first level. 5€00 to walk up a few hundred feet…my fear of heights loved that. It was quite the view, but unfortunately the sun disappeared and it got very hazy. It also became very cold; I dressed for 14C it was supposed to be. Therefore the short-sleeved shirt I was wearing and just my Vimy jacket left me rather chilly! Actually I was more like frozen.

I even ventured to the second level, which did almost make me nauseous. Some of the kids took the elevator to the third level and said it was great experience…I’ll take their word for it! When the clock ended our visit, we still had free time left, so we had to figure out what to do next. Hugo had given us Metro passes, so the plan was to try and get to the catacombs before dinner.

This wasn’t my first time on a Subway, but Toronto is a bit different from Paris. Trying to navigate around with 7 kids in tow is a bit of a challenge as well (St. Ignatius has 18 kids, so we were one big caravan). We took the number 6 subway to the catacombs, but got there at 4:00, just as it was closing! So we had go back on to the subway and take the B line to our next destination.

After being frustrated in our initial quest, we thought we would head to Notre Dame again, which was near our meeting place. Some of us (me included) were too tired yesterday to stand in line to get in, so we thought this time would be better. Well, our luck held, so the line was ten times longer than the last time! Some of the kids did a bit of shopping while a few of waited near the cathedral. At 5:30 our trudge to dinner began.

Today we ate at a place called “Flam’s.” I was a bit worried when the hostess led us past the tables and into the basement. Down a few windey staircases led us into a series of very Gothic looking rooms, which was a rather interesting dining experience. They served us Flammekueche style pizza, which is made with a very thin, stone baked crust, something like alredo sauce, cheese and either bacon/onion or bacon/mushroom topping. Along with some plain salad, it was a very good meal. Desert was the same crust with either apples or chocolate on it. Yum!

Eiffel Tower at night, April 5, 2012.

We decided in the morning that since dinner was early, we would take a boat ride on the Seine at night. We had to go back on the subway, taking the number 1, then the number 6 again to Bir-Hakim station. It was a bit crazy since it was rush hour, but we made it okay. From there we walked to close to the Eiffel Tower again, and boarded the boat. It was busy, so we didn’t get good seats and the boat had glass sides and roof, but it was interesting nonetheless. I think I got some good video. The best part was when we got back and the tower was all lit up-wow! I got some great shots…you’ll have to make due with one from the Playbook!


It was freezing cold again, and my finger were borderline numb, so I guess now things make sense. Anyway, I need to get to bed since we’re up at 6:00 to head off to Dieppe, Rouen and a new hotel.

Until then…
 
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Posted by on April 5, 2012 in Miscellaneous, Travel, Writing

 

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