Hot weather followed us onto Paris. Our first night included thunder and lightening storms that seem to crackle right above our hotel.
Notre Dame was our first stop on our first day. Now we have seen A LOT of churches, cathedrals, minsters, etc.. so it takes a lot to impress us. This cathedral did not let us down as it was quite amazing, and celebrating 850 years!
Across the street from this Bistro was Père Lachaise Cemetery, eternal home to some of the most interesting French and European artists.
For Rebecca’s birthday we went to the Louvre. By now our children were pretty much done with museums, but we somehow convinced them to try one more. Knowing that the Mona Lisa was here they complied. The place was packed with tourists, but once you got away from the famous paintings there was more room to explore and reflect. We spent four hours here and that was about enough. Of course we did not see the whole museum!
Traveling around Europe I noticed that, especially when eating out, the people who wait or assist diners all knew some English. In addition, many places had menus in other languages. Both Rebecca and I have worked in the food industry and in America we do not provide menus, or even service, in any language but English. I did my best to use my four years of High School French, but most Parisiens answered my questions in English or asked me to not bother with my French. Were they pompous or polite? I could not tell.
We spent a couple hours in their garage sorting out our packing. We ended up taking back with us four large bags to check, and each of us carried two bags/pieces on luggage onto the airplane. It was a bit cumbersome, but the end was in sight and that was incentive for all of us. We flew home on American Airlines, which had hundreds of movies to choose from to watch, so the entire plane was plugged in. We all watched 3-4 movies each, catching up on films we missed while away. The food was good as well, and the flight did not feel so long.
We went through customs at Terminal 4 in Los Angeles without any hitches, then humped our gear to Terminal 6 for our plane ride home to Portland. Luckily our checked luggage was only with us a brief time before we re-checked it at Terminal 4. Bob and RJ Steed picked us up in two cars from the Portland airport, and we got home around 10:30pm. I had stayed awake at this point for about 23 hours, and now a bit of adrenaline was kicking in being back in my home after gone one year.
Europe was good to us, and gets big thumbs up!