Yesterday, as we strolled down the famous Champs Elysse I found myself craving something to drink and maybe a snack.
Cynthia was somewhat befuddled about the fact that I was tickled to find a McDonald’s so I could spend 3 Euros to purchase a Royal with Cheese and a coke.
Today we did not go to the Louvre, instead we braved the Paris Metro and went to the MusÃ©e d’Orsay to walk among the best collection of impressionist art ever assembled. Monet, Latrec, Degas and many others including some more Van Gogh.
After that we walked over to Samaritain, a huge depatment store with a cafe on the roof that offers a spectacular view of Paris.
From there we went to the Cluny Museum, the home of the Unicorn Tapestries. It is an amazing museum of Medieval art and history.
From there it was back to the hotel and then out to the open air market for cheese, meats and breads so to make a little dinner.
We shoot for the Louvre tomorrow. Sunday night we take the sleeper train to Venice.
The Louvre was spectacular, especially the Italian Renaissance wing.
Saw the obligatory Mona Lisa and the Venus De Milo. Great pics coming.
I find myself thinking how much my mother would have liked Paris and wishing I could tell her about this trip.
I lit a candle for her inside of Notre Dame.
She would have liked that.
Tomorrow is the night train to Venice!
Venice Picture Gallery
The night train from Paris to Venice was an experience to say the least.
We shared a cabin with a Nigerian man who was friendly enough but seemed out of place on a train to Venice.
We made conversation and then bedded down for the night.
As the train rolled through the darkness I dosed off and dreamed of bizarre train sequences from various WWII movies. Then, at 4:00 am I was awakened by a knocking on the cabin door. We had stopped and a uniformed Italian policeman was asking us questions. He was most interested in the man from Nigeria. The conversation was mostly in Italian (which the Nigerian man spoke fluently) and the policeman searched his luggage thoroughly. After about 45 minutes he was done and he left. I fell back asleep as the train pulled out and continued us on our journey.
We arrived in Venice around 8:30 this morning.
I found my way to St. Marks and got a picture right where my grandfather stood in 1919.
One of the sites we were anxious to see was the so-called “Bridge of Sighs.” Legend has it that this bridge received it’s name because the prisoners who passed through it on their way to the prison cells on the other side would most likely see the beautiful sight of the lagoon and the island of S.Giorgio and freedom for the last time.
This is probably an apocryphal tale but it makes a great story.
William was happy to see it.
The food here is awesome and the weather is magnificent. We leave the day after tomorrow for Florence.
Cynthia’s ability to speak Spanish is helping us in many ways since the languages are very similar.
Cynthia and I have fallen in love with Venice.
Once you get past the crush of humanity in the main tourist areas you can find small streets lined with pleasant cafes and restaurants intermingled with shops.
Each turn of a corner reveals a scene more picturesque than the last.
The people here have been very kind and pleasant. You can walk the streets to all hours of the night and be completely safe. We strolled till nearly midnight last night.
The Venetian glass is truly beautiful and the masks are fantastic. As tempting as these items are, we cannot carry any souveniers back with us and the cost of shipping starts at 70 Euros and goes up. We must content ourselves with pictures and memories for the time being.
The one thing that continues to amaze me is that there are no cars, scooters, motorcycles or bicycles here. All the motorized traffice is by boat and the rest of the traffic is by foot.
Tomorrow we take the train to Florence. From all that we have heard this will prove to be equally wonderful.
Shefsatyr, look in the gallery (www.baldheretic.com/gallery) for another angle on the grandfather shot.
For the fans of William the Sheep here is a picture of him when he helped me do my laundry in Paris on our last night there. It was quite difficult following the French instructions and purchasing the correct detergent.
It was a successful (if not harrowing) experience. On the upside I have an increased reserve of clean underwear and socks!
Cynthia even composed a poem….
In Paris, France
Washing and watching
Amy, tell Arianna that William was found in Scotland when we travelled there two years ago and hope to return one day…but for now he is happy touring the world and seeing things no other wee Scottish sheepie has ever seen. His optimisim and enthusiasm is carrying the day for us when we find ourselves road weary.
Florence is a magnificnet medieval city. At the heart of the city is the Duomo.
It is a spectacular cathedral and is currently being renovated.
We wandered the streets to take it all in. We made reservations to see Michelangelo’s David at La Academia. It is a HUGE statue. For some reason I did not realize it was so big. I do recall it was sculpted with the intention of placing it at the top of the Duomo…but WOW!
We also stood in line for the Uffizi so we could see Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus” as well as several more of his masterpieces. There were also some Leonardo Da Vinci works and numerous other Renaissance pieces that were a treat to behold.
Yesterday was a day trip to Fiesole for the view of Florence from the top of the hill.
Today we took the train to Pisa to see the Leaning Tower of. Sure, it was cheesy. But when will we have this chance again?
Tomorrow we catch the train to Rome. We are beside ourselves with excitement.
On Sunday William is hoping to se Il Papa!
One and one half hours by high speed train from Florence to Rome the day before yesterday.
This place is BEAUTIFUL! The weather in Italy has been just perfect.
Here is William at the Leaning Tower of Pisa from our side trip the other day.
We had time to go to St. Peter’s Square which is right around the corner from our hotel. St. Peter’s Basillica is truly wonderous to behold. The largest church in Christendom, pictures cannot do it justice.
Today we stood in St. Peter’s square and received a blessing from the Pope. And yes, there is a picture of William and the Pope as soon as I can get it uploaded. He is now a “sacred” sheep.
Rome has been so great. I was apprehensive when we first set our sights on coming here.
The warnings of crime and hustles, the concern over the crowds and the price all added to our anxiety.
All those things aside, this is a wonderous city. The people have been kind and generous. The weather has been spectacular. The sights have been glorious and the food has been delicious.
We did witness one of the more common scams here in Rome. As we stood in line yesterday for the Vatican Museum and The Sistine Chapel some gypsies were working their way through the crowd begging for coins. As the trio swirled around us we we protected our bags. The tap you and moan and plead. It’s all a distraction. The guy in front of us lost his wallet from a zipped up fanny pack. Fortunatley the gypsy dropped it and he was able to get it back. It’s impressive how smoothly they work.
This morning it was the obligatory trek to the Trevi Fountain to toss our coins in. The legend is that if you toss a coin into Trevi Fountain you will return to Rome. I sure hope that’s true because I want to come back to this magical city again.
Cynthia and I will cherish these memories for a long, long time.