Sunday, September 21, 2008

Amsterdam, Paris, and beyond

Scott and I are having a wonderful time enjoying the French Chateaus and countryside. Many thanks to Gerard and Diane for suggesting that we rent a car. Driving is just not an issue. The French drivers are polite and courteous and I have only been honked at a couple of times… Language is another matter. But, as I am having enough of a problem learning to speak Spanish, I have been allowing Scott to do most of the taking. It is comforting though when most people tell me they speak a little English, to find that their command of the English language is less than my knowledge of German or Spanish.
Anyway, Amsterdam is a truly lovely city, filled with picturesque bridges and lots of English speaking people. We spent the day just walking the city, trying to keep ourselves awake. After much discussion, we finally decided to take the walk through the Red Light district late in the afternoon. I am not sure what the hype was all about. The street was mostly Pot and Hash dens. The aroma walking down the street was much akin to walking down a dorm hall. (I certainly do not miss that!) We only saw a couple of prostitutes and they were pretty tame. We actually passed more prostitutes outside of the district earlier that day – although Scott was oblivious to all but the last one. We went to find a restaurant for dinner and we stopped in front of the restaurant’s supposed address to check the map. Well… clueless us, we happened to stop in front of, shall we say… one lady’s establishment – and she began to strut her stuff. Scott was looking at the map, but in her direction, but not noticing the show. She apparently took this to mean that he was interested and began to turn to come outside until I caught her with nothing short of a glare as I suggested that Scott and I move along. I can only describe this woman’s look toward Scott as predatory.
Paris was wonderful! We are doing a lot of walking. First to Notre Dame, then across the Seine and up Champ Elyse to the Arc du Triumph. We lunched on the lawn beneath the Eifel Tower, and then took in the Rodin museum before returning to our temporary home in Montparnasse. The next day was devoted to museums, the Louvre and the Orsay. Wow! Scott even managed to capture a couple of unusual photos, which we will post soon. That evening we ventured out to do reconnaissance at the Gare de Montparnasse to figure out where to get the car the next day, and then took the train back into the center of Paris to see the Eifel Tower in lights… Simply magnificent! No one ever told me that it sparkles in the dark.
Pictures to follow soon …

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