Thanks for all the welcomes back in the Picture section. Here's the info you were asking for and more. :blush: Just in case anyone is planning to go to Paris or wants to do so vicariously.
The photos don't even capture how wonderful Paris was. :w00t: A few things...as you know I won the trip in the Open Skies sweepstakes...RT Bus class. Well I felt like I went from the luckiest to the unluckiest, to the luckiest to the unluckiest person on this trip. Lucky winning the trip, unlucky because of the volcano blowing its stack and postponing for a week. Luckiest because the weather was far better the week we went (under the things happen for a reason category). Unluckiest with a three hour delay, lucky= Paris, unlucky= 5 HOUR FLIGHT DELAY coming home. Once we were in the sky, Open Skies was great - comfortable, decent food, great crew but the delays on both ends were huge and totally not communicated to us...at all. No text, no call, no e-mail and we checked in at the counter (internat'l you can't print boarding tix) and they said NOTHING. Went back to the lounge where they told us about delay which kept getting longer and no reason why. Same exact thing coming home -- just longer :w00t::w00t:so with our two hour ahead arrival we spent 7 hours in the airport and then an 8 hour flight :smpullhair::smpullhair: Thank goodness Tyler wasn't with us! And no apologies until on the plane. I guess I got what I paid for.:blush: BTW, it's definitely a dog's life in Paris -- dogs were everywhere just on their leashes - metro, restaurants, stores. Not in carriers, just out there. Chien heaven.:innocent:
Home Exchange -- I can't rave about it enough. THE nicest couple and their daughter. Totally a joy to deal with setting it all up, and in spite of the volcano and insanity of trying to get info on both sides of the pond, we constantly e-mailed back and forth and were all flexible. So we all agreed on delaying the flights a week and it was perfect. Funny story - when our flight out of NYC was delayed I had DH text French couple since we were to pick up their keys at the super's apt. Well thank goodness we told them that. We were on the plane and right before we landed a flight attendant came to me and said in part French "The captain has a message for you. He said the clef is with the baker's wife." I said, "Huh?" and she went back to the pilot. She came back saying, "The key is with the baker's wife. Is this an American joke?" I then explained we were staying at friend's apt and said it made sense. My DH got the text when we landed that the super isn't there in the afternoon and he left the key at the patisserie a block away and she'd have it in my name in the register. Of course we didn't know which bakery and went to the wrong one first (crazy Americans!!!) but then got to the right one.
The apartment was fabulous. Really big, sprawling 2 bedroom plus home office in great residential neighborhood and immaculate. Located about 2 blocks from the RER regional train (took it to connect to Versailles) and the Metro. We couldn't have asked for better and when the couple e-mailed us they said how thrilled they were with our beautiful apartment in such a perfect neighborhood.The couple had left us info on everything - neighborhood, transportation, restaurants and even 20 page's of restaurant reviews from their friends -- this was invaluable. So as far as Home Exchange goes, I'm a huge fan. We ate fresh croissants every morning (pain au chocolat for me :brownbag
, had internet connections so we could keep up with the world and work, and saw how Parisians live.
Paris is totally enchanting and it was as romantic this time as it was in 1986. Our hair was just grayer.
They've lit many more sites now than back then and we loved the sparkling display on the Eiffel tower every hour on the hour at night. The city was very clean and we traveled everywhere by Metro, bus, foot and Bato Boat which is a hop on/hop off bateau. Great to get water view. We never felt unsafe at all (hey, we're from NYC) except outside Notre Dame where gypsy women would come up to you. We gave them an icy stare and they took off. Otherwise, in no way saw stereotype of surly French. They were all helpful, nice and welcoming. We tried to speak French and they tried to speak English. :thumbsup: The food was delicious, though more expensive than NYC. The wines were superb and cheaper than here for good wine.
We got a museum pass for two days that included Versailles and we loved it there. The endless hedges and green gardens in my pix were taken there. The land seemed to go to infinity. Got there by train, about a 40 minute trip. I thought it was out in the country but you get into the little town, make a right and a left and voila...at the end of the block is ....the Palace. Of course behind the palace is the pastoral countryside, beyond the commoners reach. We picnicked on the grounds.
We went to the Musee D'Orsay with lots of Impressionist works as well as the Orangerie, which has Monet's Water Lily works. Then the next day we rented a car to drive to Giverny where I took all the pix of the flowers, pond, bridges. It was breathtaking and a must see. There is a train but not many a day and you have to connect with a bus. But so worthwhile.
So the trip on a 1 to 10 scale was about a 20!! Except for the flight delays in both directions everything was seamless.
Now for Tyler. I think he was pretty happy having Peter, the other Maltese to play with. However I think Peter gave him some instruction on bad puppy 101, since Tyler came back and suddenly decided to become :bysmilie::bysmilie: a sock thief!!! A couple of other new behaviors but pretty benign. Now when I took care of Peter he had long hair but is now shaven down. His mom obviously is thrilled not to do the grooming but says she brushed Tyler every night, with Peter looking on (probably thinking "Sucka!!!") but he came back to me badly matted. :smpullhair: and tear stained. :smpullhair::smpullhair: After I had finally gotten both of those things down to nearly none, the battle is on again. Got most of his coat mat free, but need his belly shaved I think, and his eyes still look like raccoons. He did seem none the worse for wear and happy, but it was disheartening for me. The young woman and her boyfriend took Tyler everywhere and played with him a lot, and he slept on the end of their bed, while Peter had the primo pillow space, but Tyler got that he was second dog there. So I'd rather him matted and loved, than boarded somewhere where he was in a small area or cage. He's not letting us out of his sight though.
And I'm so happy to be back with my little love bug. I can't believe I'm leaving again on Thursday.
So that's my long story. Hope I didn't bore you too much. I'm still really tired and trying to adjust to the time here. Then on a plane to Atlanta (luckily same time zone) for work and the Nationals.:chili::chili: Can't wait to meet everyone who's coming. Well, it's back to work.
Thanks for reading.