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High and Low in Paris

I was up somewhat late last night jotting out my own little love letter to the city of lights as regular readers saw… Having had a not so restful night (I never rest well before flights, worried I’ll miss them), I was pretty tuckered out. I know I said I slept late a few times before, but on my scale, they were nothing. Only when I had my sinus infection did I sleep past 10am.

This morning, I had a real lie-in. I’m talking past noon here. And this was with pushing myself back to sleep thru a room-mate clicking snooze, every 10 minutes for like an hour. One side of me said I could sleep in all I wanted in less than a week. The other side said shut the hell up. The verbally abusive side won.

I finally rose to meet the gray day and over lunch contemplated what I would do with my day. I thought about museums given the weather, but I would have a limited time and hated to commit to a museum with over half the day gone. Then it hit me, the catacombes! It was on my list, and a gray day wouldn’t make a whit of difference.

I got there and there was a long line. Maybe everyone was following my lead!? I stood in line anyway and was in about 10 minutes before they closed the line! Whew! Would have hated to stand there 45 minutes for nothing!

They were simply amazing, no other word for it. The catacombes were originally mines and the first bit had exhibits on the subject that a geologist would love. The vast crowd was after bones. I half read enough to get the gist of it and know that after a disease broke out near an old city cemetery that was discovered to be the source, it was decided to use the old mines as a repository of the bones and all the city cemeteries were emptied. At first they were just tossed in but later they were stacked in designs and patterns. Not quite as artful as the Capuchin church in Rome, but this place made up for it in sheer volume. I’m not even sure the tour includes it all, but I never in my life thought I would see so many of the dead up close like that. It was a ways down, around 140 steps down and 90 steps up on the way out. The tunnel was warm but damp complete with dripping water in places, quite the atmosphere, eh? The steps down were not so bad but climbing out, gravity reinforced who wins.

After, I figured I’d go up the Eiffel Tower this evening. The view with the city lights was everything I expected, but quite cold. I could only handle it for so long before I decided to call it a day. I just might go back up if there’s a particularly pretty day before I leave.

And then back to the hostel. I took a moment to get a better look at Sacre Couer, the massive moorish looking church. I’m literally staying on it’s doorstep. Really pretty lit up, but my feet said no to going further up the hill this day. Definitely on my list before I go, as is a visit inside Notre Dame.

I’m still no Paris fan, but my heart was a little less hard after a good rest. Today’s only casualty was a few instances of aggressive shop keepers grabbing me by the arm to try to get me in. I think the look of death worked. Maybe it’s a culture thing, but grabbing me crosses my lines. I’m trying really hard to remember if that ever happened in Egypt. So far, those were the most agressive verbally at least. And I know I remember being followed, but if I was grabbed, I blotted out the memory. I hope I can again!

Oh tonights humor, the two room-mates, I’ve met are from Brazil (the second set in the trip, someone trying to tell me something!? Anyway, they were previously in London, where they went to learn English. Their English is well ahead of my Portugeuse, French, and Spanish! LOL. But of course, I throw out a word here and there I need to explain. At least with these, I’ve suppressed my “y’all” moments unlike the last ones! Anyway, tonight, they informed me that I talk very fast. I busted out laughing and told them that people from the southern US have a reputation for slow talking!

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