So Last Weekend … [Part 3, which is now a couple of weekends ago!]
Ok, I’ll try and finish our French tale today … Where were we? Ah yes, Notre Dame.
Lotte and I got out of the Metro and I started us off by heading in the wrong direction … eventually we turned back, saw the black spire and then the queue … so took the attitude of “seen one cathedral, seen them all” and decided to do our homage instead, admiring the the Seine, the tourists and the distinct lack of tourists around the back. At this point, we gave up on completing our homage and continued onto the nearest Metro (after a much needed bottle of ice cold water and ice cream) to our next stop – the Opera:
Quick homage and a stop for me to get my last GBP turned into Euros … where the guy changing my money accuses me of pretending to not be French … turns out that the few words I do know, I seem to be saying with a perfect proper indistinguishable French accent. Turns out that even with my heavily NZ accented English, my French pronounciation is to good to be phrasebook … bugger.
With Euros in hand we head for the nearest Metro, but can’t seem to find one easily … we walk and walk and walk a bit more … and stumble upon a park …
Oh, this looks nice …
Yeah, says Lotte, that’s probably because over there is the Arc de Triomphe …
… and over that way is the Louvre.
Oh and look, there’s a bit of the Eiffel Tower.
So it is … I’m a bit monumented out right now … you?
So off on the Metro we hop back home to see our local monument, the Sacre Coeur … do you really want another photo? Oh, ok then …
And off home we head, watch a bit of French telly and sleep. This time it’s me who cannot sleep a wink and the one moment I do, I dream of earthquakes.
Now somewhere during day two, we managed to end up in a shopping mall, while looking for Chinatown. All we found was a couple of noodle shops where the food looked a little less than appetising (as in Asian food cooked for people who aren’t Asian) so we settled on a Chinese Cantonese/Thai/anything that’s vaguely south east restaurant and look at the menu with bits of French, English and Mandarin characters (if only that had Pin Yin – I may have had a fighting chance!). Now I was a couple of weeks back going to comment on the interesting chauvinisim of the English and French languages in relation to other culutres (namely that rather than Pin Yin versions next to the Mandarin characters, the dish was given new French and English titles which rendered the dishes unrecognisable to me) but really, I can’t be bothered. The food was ok, but not great. In fact I think I’ll have to live with the fact that until I find the equivalent of Eastern Sunrise, Big Thumb or the take out place (that isn’t the one selling fried chicken or Cha) on Courtenay Place (but is on the same side of the street), I’m going to have to wait until I get back to Singapore to eat well again …
Ok so bring on Day Three. Lotte and I manage to get downstairs for breakfast and check out, as well as store our bags fine (after a bit of a long wait as today’s Conceirge has gone for a wander). Sunday is flea market day, and every where we go, there are people selling their wares. It’s a lovely day to wander, but we do have one more monument left … cue Lotte …
It’s the nice quiet morning crowd, we lounge on the lawn for an hour or so and suddenly we’re surrounded by other people doing the same. Time to move, but where to? Well, we didn’t quite realise that on Sunday outside of the markets and tourist areas, everything is closed (damn capitalist programming hardwired into our brains). So after an unsuccessful jaunt into Les Halles, we head back to the tourist trap to do our last breath of shopping … but it doesn’t take long for Lotte and I to get bored. By the afternoon we’re sitting at the bottom of the Sacre Coeur, watching the world go by waiting to pick up our bags and go home.
Finally we head back to the station, pass through immigration and wait for our train back to Waterloo thinking that we may be able to have a quick kip on the way home.
Uh, no. Our adventures haven’t quite finished yet. It’s about 27C outside yes? Well, inside our train carriage, the air conditioning has broken, the train is full and the temperature is rising. It’s too hot to nap, even with the stewards going up and down the carriage refilling our plastic cups with cold water and the thought of a new Eurostar journey (free one way as compensation) doesn’t feel particularly appetising.
And finally we get to Waterloo back on the tube to our respective destinations.
As nice as it was to travel with you , says Lotte, next time I’d like to go with someone who can speak French.
And as a quick highlight of the Metro – the young couple who jumped on sharing an iPod. At first she’s dancing along and encouraging him to do the same. Later on the journey they’ve stopped noticing each other entirely, doing their own thing and both lipsynching to the words in their ears …