French authority is final … ‘’Non’’

It’s happened for the first time on this trip, the French definitive word ‘’Non’’.

Pity really as I’ve enjoyed my time in Paris, but when you come up against it in France, then there’s no way around it. Well I’d allowed myself plenty of time to get a cab to the airport early so as not to get caught in the notorious Paris traffic, and as expected we did get caught up in a traffic jam on the peripherique, and it took extra time to get there than normal. No problem I thought, as I’d allowed for that eventuality or should I say ‘’certainty’’.

Anyhow, I arrived at CDG  and all was good until … ‘’Non Monsieur, you cannot check in your baggage more than two (2) hours before your flight’’. That was it, no further discussions, debate, pleading was going to get me anywhere, it was ‘’Non’’ and that was it!

So here I am now, renewing my acquaintance with the CDG seating, waiting for another two (2) hours before I can check my bags in and go to the BA lounge.

‘’Can I take an earlier flight to Heathrow, which means I can check my bags in now?’’

I don’t know why, but I felt that might work.

‘’Non Monsieur, your flight is later in the day and you must wait for that flight’’

‘’But can you check if there’s any spare seats on an earlier flight, and if so, can I change my flight?’’

‘’Non Monsieur, your flight is already booked on BA323’’

Sometimes you just have to give in to the authority of an airline check in person.

It’s hard to remain calm when the turkeys are cackling all around you, so I had to admit defeat and sneak away to sulk in a corner just out of sight of Enregistrement 3, the check in counter.

Petulance is something usually reserved for the young, but well I felt that again today … maybe that means I’m younger that I thought!

Now comes the quandary, it’s 1.40 pm, I’ve another one hour twenty minutes to wait until I can check in, so how do I go about getting a cafe? Should be easy enough, except that I need to take Miss Bianchi, my suitcase, and my back pack with me. In some way I feel almost like Mr Livingstone heading into the African jungle …. It’s really a jungle here at CDG today!

The alternative is that I might starve if I don’t get lunch … or maybe not.

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Les photos

These are links to some photos, and yes I’ve only just figured out how to upload the photos to Flickr. It proved beyond my capabilities to upload the photos in my blog, disappointing, but anyhow here my photos are, unedited.

This is the  link to David Armstrong’s photos – Rome to Torino

http://www.flickr.com/photos/83639224@N06/sets/72157630775869476/

This is the link to my random collection of photos – they are a bit ‘’all over the place’’ and I’ll need to do the editing etc in due course.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/83851430@N02/

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Well here goes with the washing theme again …

Do you know how much it costs at my hotel to wash a shirt … E7,35, and a pair of socks …E2,90, and a pair of jocks … E4,00. I think I could buy a washing machine for the price of getting my laundry done at my hotel.

Well you see I’ve been ‘’storing’’ my clothes in the vain hope of having enough clean clothes to get me home, but it was not to be. So then I started to look for a ‘’automatic lavange’’, and yes there is one only a few kilometres from my hotel.

Why does it have to be so expensive to get clothes washed at the hotel, and why does the nearest laundry mat need to be so far away? It’s just not fair!

So driven by my apparent fetish for clean clothes, I’m back into the bathroom over the wash basin again, following my usual ‘’clothes washing routine’’.

Just as well that I’m blessed with a wonderful and exhaustive sense of humour, but … only half an hour later, less than what it would have taken to get to the laundry mat, cést fini.

For the rest of my life I think I’m destined to associate holidays with…les vêtements lavage

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Comparisons are odious

I’ve always thought this was a phrase created by Shakespeare, but it appears not so. I went to the source of all knowledge in modern times, Goggle, and I find the following;

The earliest recorded use of this phrase appears to be by John Lydgate in his Debate between the horse, goose, and sheep, circa 1440:

“Odyous of olde been comparisonis, And of comparisonis engendyrd is haterede.”

It was used by several authors later, notably Cervantes, Christopher Marlowe and John Donne.

In Much Ado About Nothing, Shakespeare gave Dogberry the line ‘comparisons are odorous’. It seems that he was using this ironically, knowing it to be a misuse of what would have been a well known phrase by 1599 when the play was written

Well it shows that every day there’s something new that you can learn.

When our two (2) daughters were at school I used ask most every day, “ … what did you learn today”. Despite sending the girls to what we felt was a good school, the answer every day was the same “… nothing much’’. Needless to say, I eventually came to accept this was probably one of their core subjects, and perhaps I just did not understand the school curriculum.

So that brings me back to ‘’comparisons are odious’’

Over the past few weeks I’ve wondered about the way I was feeling and thinking during my cycling trip, and how I seemed to have a very different and somewhat hollow feeling. This puzzled me immensely, and I see it clearly in the difference between my travel notes [blog] in 2010 and this current blog. I wanted to understand why I’m feeling so different, and so I went back to re-read my Europe 2010 [Planet Ranger] blog – this is the link – http://www.planetranger.com/johnwilliams/index.shtml

The difference has nothing to do with the actual trip, the people, what I did or what I saw, it is totally and selfishly about how I’m thinking and feeling. It’s not about being tired, or rested, it’s not about which museums and art galleries I’ve visited, it’s not about my sense of achievement in mastering the Paris metro …  it’s unashamedly all about me.

The words of the Moving Pictures 1980’s song are poignant.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OzQKECQgjW8

 

“What About Me”

Well there’s a little boy waiting at the counter of a corner shop
He’s been waiting down there, waiting half the day
They never ever see him from the top
He gets pushed around, knocked to the ground
He gets to his feet and he says

[CHORUS:]
What about me, it isn’t fair
I’ve had enough now I want my share
Can’t you see I wanna live
But you just take more than you give

Well there’s a pretty girl serving at the counter of the corner shop
She’s been waiting back there, waiting for her dreams
Her dreams walk in and out they never stop
Well she’s not too proud to cry out loud
She runs to the street and she screams

[CHORUS]

So take a step back and see the little people
They may be young but they’re the ones
That make the big people big
So listen, as they whisper
What about me

And now I’m standing on the corner all the world’s gone home
Nobody’s changed, nobody’s been saved
And I’m feeling cold and alone
I guess I’m lucky, I smile a lot
But sometimes I wish for more than I’ve got

 

So what do I do about it … something [more] to think about.

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Culture, art, history, Paris, and … the Olympics, Friday, 27 July

It seems everything on TV is about the Olympics but for me today, it’s about catching up with Fraussie, aka Rosemarie Kniepp, a thirty year expatriate from Townsville, and then the Musee dÓrsay.

We had coffee in a lovely small arcade near Palais Royal where Rosemary lives, and talked about our families, living in France and about her blog – http://www.aussieinfrance.com/author/kneipp/

Time for more walking, and so I set off across the Pont de Carousel to the Left Bank and the Musee dÓrsay. It was yet another hot day in Paris, and I was very glad to get inside the air-conditioned musee. This is a link – http://www.musee-orsay.fr/en/home.html

I love the dÓrsay, as it fuels my sense of France and French culture and style, and I spent the afternoon surrounded by Monet, Renoir, Rodin, Picasso, Gauguin, Degas, Manet, Van Gogh, Cézanne, Sisley, Pissarro, Toulouse-Lautrec, Henri Rousseau, and on it goes. My lasting impression is that I want to learn and appreciate even more about France and the French culture.

… and now, time for more walking and another magical mystery tour on a Paris bus!

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Culture, art and history … Paris, Thursday, 26 July

A full plan for today; Grand Palais, Petit Palais, and the Jardin du Luxembourg, and of course… walking, walking and some more walking.

The Grand Palais is a beautiful building but I was disappointed to see that it’s mostly just a huge empty open space building for large scale exhibitions. Unfortunately there were no exhibitions and the interior, which was closed to the public, was simply full of various renovation activities.

This is a link to information on the Grand Palais http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Palais

There was though a Helmut Newton photographic exhibition in a side pavilion, so I went into see that. Interesting is how I’d describe the photographs of mostly nude models … at least all the brochures said the photographs were very artistic.

This is a link to Helmut Newton – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helmuileries, ut_Newton

… and then across the Avenue Winston Churchill to le Petit Palais. The Petit Palais is certainly a lovely building, with an interesting collection of art and artefacts, and I spent several hours there including a nice lunch in the interior jardin.

This is a lank to the Petit Palais – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petit_Palais

Time to move on and I took the metro to the Jardin du Luxembourg to see the beautiful gardens and public park space. It was lovely walking through the gardens, with the fountain and sailing boats on the pond and people everywhere either under the trees, on the green chairs, or lying about on the lovely lawns. It was interesting to see there was one large lawn area which was crowded with young people  all lying in the sun, having a picnic lunch with their bottle of wine beside them, or just talking. This is clearly a meeting area. The use of public parks in Paris never ceases o amaze me, especially how people sit in the sun and just burn.

This is a link to the Jardin du Luxembourg – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jardin_du_Luxembourg

Then it was on to a bus with no fixed destination, for me the ‘’bus to anywhere’’, and  I ended up back at the Ile de la Cite and got out where I saw the sign for La Sainte – Chapelle. This is a beautiful two level church, which is now enclosed within the Palais du Justice, and is world renowned for its stained glass windows. Truly beautiful and incredible.

This is a link to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sainte-Chapelle

… and then on a bus again to the hotel. Not so quickly though as I totally miscalculated the get off stop and well I had to walk and walk and walk again.  But no problem, it’s an opportunity to see even more areas of Paris.

But you know, it all starts to look the same after a while, which gets me thinking it’s time for me to be thinking about going home. What awaits me there though, an interesting, vibrant and enjoyable life, or more of the same … that’s up to me.

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Culture, art and history … Paris, Wednesday, 25 July

Today I … forget totally what I did other than … walk, walk, and then walk some more.

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Culture, art and history … Paris, Tuesday, 24 July

Another day, and out and about again; Madeleine, Galleries Lafayette [a beautiful building full of every conceivable fashion item], and walking, and walking, and walking…

I was more than happy just to go back to the hotel, have something simple for dinner, and go to bed.

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Changing hotels, becoming the tourist … le ‘’open top bus’’, Paris, Monday 23 July

So it was time to move on from the Rome to Paris trip and continue my exploration of France and the French.

I moved hotels from the lovely boutique, West End Hotel near the Avenue des Champs Elysees, to the Mecure Çusset on Rue Richelieu, near the Paris Opera.

Now I did this with some trepidation as I’d read the reviews on Trip Advisor, after I had paid for the hotel booking, and to say the least the reviews were not complimentary. But as can happen so often in life, what others think or say is not always necessarily what I think. The Mecure Cusse turned out to be a simple hotel, clean and very well located. Its fine and I think I have a responsibility to lodge a positive review on Trip Advisor.

Anyhow, after I had checked in, I spent the rest of the day out and about in Paris on the ‘’Open top bus’’ with the thousands of other tourists. It was hot and busy, but we had a good time just travelling around seeing Sacre Coeur, Tour Eiffel, and lunch at my favourite spot in Paris, under the trees at Jardin des Tuileries

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Sunday, 22 July, arrivee of le tour de France

I imagine most everyone with an interest in cycling watched the arrivee either on the Avenue Des Champs Elysees or on TV,  so there’s not much for me to say.

I spent the day in a hospitality tent at the 150 m mark across from the finish line, and enjoyed a day of French wine and food, along of course with the eight (8)  circuits the rides did to race to the finish. We were on the edge of our seats and screaming encouragement as Matt Goss surged for the line alongside Cavendish, but it was not to be.

A n enjoyable day, including meeting up with Greg Morton, Roger Morton’s son who had just finished a tour with Pietro at Lago di Como, and John Arvier, dentist and Rotarian from Brisbane who was on a Bikestyle tour.

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