|The pee closet and Notre Dame
||[Jul. 18th, 2014|09:57 am]
Jake, Kevin and I got to the Tel Aviv airport with plenty of time (my parents and sister were getting a later flight) and hit the food court since we had to leave before breakfast was available at our hotel. Kevin waited in an excruciatingly long line for coffee and a croissant, longer than it took me to get a fresh-made salmon roll and pot of blooming tea. Mine cost more, but it was totally the right decision. I figure if I can eat salmon on a bagel for breakfast salmon sushi is totally legit.|
The flight was pretty easy as was the customs process in Paris. We caught a cab where the driver didn't speak any English but did point out the Concord to us as we passed it leaving the airport. It was raining pretty hard when we got into the hotel and only Jake and Cassie's room was ready. We wanted to drop off all our bags in Jake's room, but were told it was too small for that, though Jake disagreed when he saw it. But not wanting to get into an argument with the guy at the front desk we just left our stuff downstairs where he said he'd watch it and went to get lunch at a café we could dart to.
We relaxed, had a glass of wine and chatted with some other American tourists. I had a goat cheese salad which was only OK (so not everything I ate on the trip was super delicious, Tasha) but I wound up steeling a bunch of Jake's cured ham and cheese sandwich which was delicious, especially with their really spicy Dijon mustard. Then, since it was still raining, I went back to the hotel where my parents' room was now ready and briefly took over it to nap.
This hotel had some really weird rooms. My parents' room was "a triple" meaning they had a queen-sized bed and then a loft with a tiny other bed and a half-bath. The ceiling above the loft was so low Kevin basically couldn't get up there, but my dad loved it because it gave him his own bathroom. Meanwhile, once we got our room we discovered that the toilet was on one side of the room while the sink and shower were on the opposite side. I lovingly dubbed the toilet the pee closet. This is not normal for Paris. I was talking about it with my family at a restaurant we were at and the server who overheard us looked absolutely baffled and disgusted by it.
After napping Kevin and I went off to explore (my parents were still en route and Jake was in a pretty antisocial mood and had gone off to a museum by himself). We took a bunch of pictures in front of the Louvre though didn't go in because the line was super long. Then we walked in the direction of Notre Dame, stopping to check out things along the way like the Pont do Arts bridge, which is absolutely covered in "love locks" which tourists put their to show they've been to the City of Romance and the French hate because they're damaging the bridge. There was also a random street market that sold flowers and birds and the Palais du Justice, a massive building where Mary Antoinette was imprisoned before being executed.
We got to Notre Dame and took a bunch of pictures outside but were initially deterred by the really long line to get in. But after seeing how fast it moved we got in line and went inside and I was really, really happy we did. It's even more magnificent inside where there's ornate stained glass and sculptures and information about how the cathedral was built over the course of centuries. There was also a service going on with lovely singing and chanting. It was one of the highlights of the trip for me. I just love being surrounded by that much history and beauty. My dad's not a fan of going into churches but I think you don't have to share the religion of a place to appreciate how incredible it is.