Finally, I'm on the last leg my travelogue. Gino tells me, what about this and that and this and that? OK, I will try to cover as much of this and that in this article. I can't believe it took me this long to write these stories... lerryblossoms, finish this already before you get on another plane to Tuscany!! Yes, I'm dreaming to go back to Tuscany--for free! In fact, I've started working on it. I joined an online olive oil contest, haha. Long shot, but there's no harm trying...
Back to my stories.
There's one other item I should've included under The Bad in my entry "Memories of Avignon, The Good, The Bad and the Ugh". It was the news of an impending train strike that was going to happen on the day of my flight back to Canada. "Mom, you won't be able to go to the airport on Tuesday. There will be a train strike," Gino scared me. I tell you, I had nightmares about this ever since I heard about it. What if the strike starts before I could leave Avignon? How am I going back to Paris? Oh Lord please don't let me get stranded here... I was relieved when we left for Paris as scheduled.
In Paris, we stayed at the Three Ducks hostel. Apparently, this was very popular with backpackers and young people. First, it was cheap. You could get a bed in a dorm-type room for 17 euros per person per night, including breakfast. Second, it had English speaking staff. Third, the front desk and receiving area turned into a bar at night where lots of people hang out. I was not very impressed with this hostel unlike the one we stayed at in Florence. I did not like the atmosphere there at night and especially the smell of cigarettes in the lobby and courtyard. That's what you get for 17 euros. Well, you can't have everything.
We shared a dorm-type room with 5 other people, male and female. Each room had 3 bunk beds. Gino's bed was above that of a Dutch female backpacker who coughed and coughed at night. I was on the bed nearest hers. I was terrified. She sounded like she had consumption aka TB. I was reminded of this American guy who traveled to Europe when he knew he had a drug resistant strain of TB. US health authorities tracked him down, all right, but not before he had come in contact with so many strangers along the way. I prayed and prayed, "Oh God, I hope we don't catch her germs..."
Trying to be friendly and compassionate, I tried to make conversation with the coughing lady when I woke up the next morning. She knew very little English and was hard of hearing so every time I spoke, she would bring her face very close to mine. Oh pleease don't cough, I thought to myself.
Three Ducks is very close to shops and to a Metro train station. Not very far for the Eiffel Tower too. It had a good location. But because we arrived on Armistice Day, a Sunday, most of the shops were closed. There was one open Chinese restaurant that Gino and I ate at--to our BIG regret. It cost us about 25 euros to eat something that was not even French nor as good as the Chinese food we've had in BC. Just a tip, check if the price tag on restaurant food says "per 100 grams". A serving is usually more than 100 grams and you might be surprised how little 100 grams is especially when you're hungry.
Still fretting over our expensive lunch, we went to the Louvre Museum. You can check out the pictures I've posted in a slide show. The Louvre is HUGE. I don't think you can see the whole museum in a day. With my very sore feet and legs, I just made sure I saw the most famous paintings and sculptures like Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo. All the rest were a bonus.
When we went out of the Louvre, it started raining. We never had rain in Italy or Southern France. Just sunshine. This is like transitioning to BC weather, I thought. We were walking to Arc de Triomphe when the rain poured so hard and we had no umbrellas. Gino didn't even have a water-repellant jacket. We spent a long time in several shops along the ritzy Champs-Élysées, one of the most famous and prestigious streets in the world, drying ourselves.
Monday was Gino's birthday. We went to the Eiffel Tower and lingered a while underneath it. There was a very long line of people waiting to go up the Eiffel Tower. That was not in our plan nor budget, and I think it wasn't really a must-do in Paris. But the Eiffel Tower is a MUST-SEE.
From here we went to Versailles. This one is one of the highlights of our trip. I'll tell you about it in my next blog. I think it deserves an entry on its own so I'll leave my impressions of Versailles for another time. Then I'm done my travelogue. Back to my normal blog!!