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Paris Beneath My Feet

Oh me, my feet are telling me it’s time to take a load off for a day or three, but somehow I’ll press on. There’s plenty of time to sit on those flights home Thursday. Here’s hoping, I don’t need the poop out wagon at the airport to go between gates.

Had a not so restful sleep last night. Whoever is in the bed above me has a real chain saw snore. I also suspect sleep apneia (sp?) based on the abrupt cessation of snoring followed by stirring and the restarting the snoring. I typicallly sleep like a rock, but that’s if I get to sleep before the offender starts which was not my luck last night.

Still, I got up at a decent hour this morning and it was a lovely partly sunny day as the weather forecast had predicted! Not just plain old sunny, but sunny with massive giants of clouds, full of texture – perfect for photos. The sun came and went as the clouds passed, but I made the most of it.

I first visited Sacre Couer, the massive moorish domed basillica whose doorstep I am calling home for the next few days. Quite a climb, but worth it. You can ride a train up, but then you miss the photo ops! I went inside and it was quite gorgeous. No photos allowed, so just take my word for it or go yourself.

I would have climbed the dome, as I’m want to do visiting massive old churches, particularly ones that are already sitting high above the city. But the ticket machine wanted exact change and I didn’t have it. I decided this was easy enough to return to it’s so nearby so moved on. In retrospect, I’m kind of glad I couldn’t go up. Not sure my body would have made it through the rest of the day!

Next stop was Notre-Dame Cathedral. It was bathed in sunlight and I examined ever inch of it as I wandered down the river side. And then I went inside… Wow! I’m still partial to Westminster Abbey, but this is definitely it’s Parisian cousin. Fantastique!

I had a quick lunch in the square in front and then put on my walking shoes mentally and stood in line to ascend the towers. Oh my, I was NOT prepared. Up and up and up those spiral stairs that never seemed to end. Gasping for air, I finally exited…. Mon dieu! The view was worth it. I know it’s terribly cliché, but I had to do the whole gargoyle overlooking the city picture with multiple subjects and angles. I’ve seen those photos plenty of times, but no one else in the group I ascended with took a one until they saw me doing it. I guess they missed the memo in the list of things to do at Notre-Dame?!

From there. I steeled myself. I felt I had to repeat my walk along the Seine from the evening I arrived. This time sun would be striking those lovely buildings! It was exhausting after all the added walking, but well worth it. Again, I walled from Notre-Dame to the Eiffel Tower. And if that wasn’t enough, I then made my way over to the Champs Elysee and checked out the triumphal arch. Again well worth it, but I had sincerely reached the limit of my walking, pretty much around 5 hours,including the ascent at Notre-Dame. At least. I lost track, so I’m not 100%.

I took the metro back to Montmartre and then found an Internet shop. I have two hard drives with me. One is to copy all my camera cards over to rather than buy a million cards. The other is a backup of that. Both have card readers built in so I can just plug in a card and copy it straight over. The “backup” drive has two partitions and I can only access the smaller partition with the card reader. I need a pc to move files off to the second partition. I had a chance in Connemara to move off some of it, but it was painfully slow, I’m guessing because their PC was Linux and my hard-drives are formatted for windows. Anyway, long way of saying, I spent over an hour and 5€ to get things squared away. I’d done the math today and figured out even if I filled all the cards with me and that drive, I’d either run out of space or have to rely on having only one copy of some of my photos before I left. Yikes! Anyway, all good now!

And now for the odds and ends section. Number of people who roused my ire today by grabbing my arms to try to stop me, three. One was clearly some sort of street scam, the others were shop keeps. The number of magic “golden” rings that appeared at my feet, two!

The first one I had on my nice face. I try not to be unapproachable which gets me a lot of moments with homeless preople and scammers, but the alternative is to be sealed to the world, not acceptable. Anyway, this guy approaching me appeared to find a gold ring in my path. He reaches down and picks it up to offer me and asks if I speak English. What do you say when you don’t know what languages they speak? I knew something was up but no one else around so he wasn’t distracting me from someone else’s actions. He then proceeds to tell me he thinks it’s real gold but it was in my path so my luck. I keep trying to push it back at him but finally take it and start to walk off. Of course, he then asks if I can spare some change so he can eat. Sigh… No… I said I had nothing on me which would be more fair than to say all I have is a 50€ on me… There were several attempts finally I manage to get him to take his ring and his luck with him and move on. An hour later, the same story starts with a woman approaching me. This time I clearly see her putting the ring down as quickly as she picked it up. Literally street magic! You had to be wise to it to see it. I didn’t give this one a chance to continue, just held up a hand as I sped past and said “non!”

And the last of my funny moments. And this one is on me. While walking along the waters edge taking photos of the Eiffel Tower, I met a guy who appeared to live in the house boats moored there. Keep in mind, I’d been walking around four hours. Instead of bonjour what do I hear erupt from my lips?! Not hello or hi, oh no. “Hola!”. Oh my… I would have said that at home anyday without thinking, but I was personally mortified as neither do I look like I might be from Spain or Mexico, nor am I in either of those places. Oy vey!

Ah two more days to fill. One must be museum day, but it looks like both will be nice days. Tomorrow appears to be a repeat of today while Wednesday will be clear and sunny. Torture! Museum days are always selected by rain! Le sigh! I’ll make do somehow! LOL

Until next time!

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