Monday, October 26, 2009

Trip to Paris - Day 1 - October 18

We have wanted to visit Paris for a while and since the kid’s school had a two week fall break this presented the perfect opportunity. We took an overnight train from Berlin to Paris for which the travel time was about 12 hours; add on another 3 hours from Dresden to Berlin (2 trains; via the schönes wochenende family special; 37 Euros for a day’s worth of travel on the slower regional trains); which made for a long day of travel. Being this was an overnight train we reserved a berth for 4. We managed to sleep pretty well and woke up a few times due to an occasional hard turn or change of directions. David even managed to sleep some; David never sleeps while traveling. I actually enjoyed the overnight train (I don’t know if I want to do it for every trip) and thought it was a fun experience for our family.

David planned out the way from the train station to our rented apartment flat via the Metro. We got to the metro stop perfect and were able to find our flat with only one wrong turn; which is a record for us. The transitions are always the most difficult; coming out of an underground subway right in the middle of a foreign/unfamiliar city is hard to do. It is difficult getting your bearings; street signs are always different; in Paris, like Prague, they on small signs pasted to the walls of buildings not always were you would expect them. It is also difficult to get familiar with the naming conventions of the streets.

We arrived at our destination a few hours early (before check in time), being that we were renting from a person not a hotel and we had a bunch of luggage in tow (and 4 laptops) we had to find a place to wait. We ate a long lunch and went to a nearby park. After this it was close enough to check in time so we headed to the flat and waited for the person to let us in. 15 minutes after our check in time we started to get nervous, talking about what to do if they didn’t show. After some quick thinking we remembered the flat had wireless internet and we were given the codes. So from the hallway we were able to connect, and after a few emails (Melissa reading an article on the New Times, using the last of her battery), and a Skype call in broken English, we had someone there to let us in.

After a bit of rest we decided to walk around a bit and see some sights; starting at the Louvre Museum (an easy Metro trip away) and walk to the Arc de Triomphe; which is not a short walk but doable. We had a great afternoon and walked by a lot of the sights which we would visit later. Melissa has been to Paris before and David has dreamed about coming here for a while so they both knew their way around and we had a great day.

David has had 3 years of French so he is a valuable asset as he was able to translate for our family. He had a little difficulty at first because he has been working on his German in Dresden and would mix in a few German words once in a while. English is fairly well understood at restaurants and tourist locations and we find that sometimes they will just answer in English to David’s French. It is interesting listening to the French from David then they answer back in English; and we are curious how they know we are English. Sometimes they will just start talking to us in English without a word. Must be the way we dress; perhaps they find it a challenge to guess where people are from.

Here are some pictures from the first leg of our trip.

Our flat, kitchen/family room:
In front of the Louvre:

Tuileries, chilling out:
Place de la Concorde:

Palais Royal:
Effel tower from on top of the Arc de Triomphe:
Sacre Coeur:

Stairs to the top of Arc de Triomphe:

Sun on the Arc de Triomphe:
Arc de Triomphe:

1 comment:

  1. You're teasing me aren't you:

    It's Palais Royal, Sacre Coeur, Place de la Concorde and the Louvre. Get a French spellchecker, won't you?

    You guys look like you're having fun.