Tuesday, June 11, 2013

15th Wedding Anniversary Trip - Day 12, The Last Day

I'm typing out this blog post over the Atlantic Ocean, or more specifically: traveling: 535mph, altitude: 33,000ft, distance traveled: 2321mi, distance to go: 1761m, temperature: -59F. We're on our way back to reality. So far I've watched two movies: Die Hard 5 and Loopers. The former was fun though not nearly as impressive as the earlier movies, and the latter was a total brain scrambler.

I forgot to mention in my last post, here is the specific location of our Love Lock: Pont (bridge) Des Arts, 4 light posts in from the Louvre side, 3 fence posts back towards the Louvre, back another 4 1/2", up 7". When you visit Paris, you should stop by and say hello.

Things that impressed me about Paris:

  • The bread & pastries! We started each day with a trip to a bakery, and bought treats to last us the day. It was wonderfully delicious and also one of the most reasonably priced things to buy in Paris.
  • The metro system. Paris is huge. The metro system gets you everywhere you need to go. We never waited more than 4 minutes for a train (even on weekends!), and they don't threaten you with arrest if you bring snacks on board (thank you DC Metro!). The ticketing system is also refreshingly simple: buy ticket, feed into machine, done. None of this crazy variable fare nonsense.
  • The Louvre. It is as impressive as its reputation suggests.
  • The architecture in general. Just wandering through Paris I found myself impressed with the large number of interesting buildings and streets.
  • T-mobile's WiFi calling. OK, technically this isn't a Paris thing, but a T-mobile thing. Once you get WiFi, using my Galaxy S3 I was able to place calls and send text messages to the US for no charge and no hassle. It felt so surreal to be able to just dial a US number with no extra headache or charges.
  • The days last forever; This time of year it gets dark at around 10pm. This meant that I'd look outside at 8pm and think it was 4 in the afternoon.
  • It was easy to get around using English. We've been to some places (like Panama), where English isn't spoken as often as you might think. Not in Paris, most of the restaurant menus, and most of the people we met spoke English. That alone helps make it a super easy city to explore.
  • The various little supermarkets spread throughout the city. We found that we could easily stock up for a picnic lunch, dinner or snack at a reasonable price. One store we found even had a realtively large Kosher section, so we were able to pick up Kosher turkey and parve snacks to go with it.
  • Paris is relatively well connected WiFi wise. We saw signs in some of the parks promising WiFi, which I'm glad to say I didn't have a need to use. Another good sign: both of our hotels offered it for free.

Things that didn't impress me about Paris:

  • Breakfast. Apparently there's a standard French breakfast. For $8.00 to $10.00, you get a glass of OJ, a cup of a hot drink of your choice and some bit of bread (maybe a croissant, maybe part of a baguette). That's a fine breakfast (especially if you are anti Atkins), but for $10 that's pretty dang steep. My morning tea regularly cost me $4.00. That's $4.00 for a tea bag and a cup of hot water.
  • Dog poop. Apparently they are pretty lax about cleaning up after their doggies. This is one of Shira's pet peeves.
  • Prices (food, hotel, etc.) are high, space is at a premium. Welcome to a big city in Europe. If you like eating dinner in a restaurant where you're 4 inches away from your neighbors, you'll love a typical restaurant in Paris. The food will most likely be exquisite, but you need to rearrange the furniture to get in and out of your table.

Perhaps the strongest thing I can say about Paris is that we liked it so much we'd absolutely go back if given the chance. There's so much to see, I feel like we hardly scratched the surface.

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