Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Four Days in Paris - Day One

Subtitled:  A Canadian on a German Bus in France

I've been back for almost two weeks. Where does the time go? Actually, truth be told, I wrote a newspaper column and about seven or eight tripadvisor reviews while thoughts were still fresh in my head. Usually, my brain is like the produce on the metal supermarket rolling racks...somewhat mushy, spotted and marked down for quick sale. If that makes no sense whatsoever, I've just proven my point.

So, at the risk of making this sound like a boring travelog, here goes. Four of us, my cousin, his wife and her sister went on a wonderful trip to Paris. We left from a tour bus parking lot in Saarbrucken and while we waited for our bus, we were all pleased to locate one of those new fangled automated toilet facilities. I must confess that our novice efforts involved a lot of screaming, cursing, yelling, and wasted coin as we each took a turn. On the bright side, this now allows us to cross another item off our bucket list.

Our bus arrived...a double decker condo on wheels. We took our seats and after a short trip, arrived in Paris. I surmised that we were there because I recognized the language on the signage as similar to that on cans, cereal boxes and miscellaneous packaging back home.

The bus driver gave us a brief overview of the city as he drove. He spoke very quickly, in a German dialect which I found challenging. I understood about a third of what he said, which I expect was about one third more than the family from Kentucky managed to decipher. I did catch the all the important words like wasser, beer, and sekt, all of which were being offered on the bus for a very reasonable low cost. People appreciated this because to say that prices in France are high would be considered an understatement.

I was impressed with the fact that the driver could multitask by actually driving in Paris and talking at the same time. Traffic patterns were definitely unusual.  As much as it often looked like a giant parking lot, without traffic lights, painted lines, or apparent organization, the chaos moved with relative ease.

Before long, we arrived at the foot of the Eiffel tower....taaaadaaaaa! I made it! Then, a cruise tour down the Seine.

There were many school groups aboard who screamed every time we went under a bridge. It was impossible to hear the headset explanations of where we were so before long, I put my device aside and cheered along with the kids. This garnered me some strange looks. Must have been my accent.

Day one couldn't have ended more perfectly. We checked into Hotel Mercure (link to tripadvisor review below). Once we were cleaned up, we hopped back on the bus and were taken to dinner at a lovely typically French bistro. We were served a four course meal with unlimited wine, water or soft drinks and we enjoyed music, singalong and comedy from an accordianist and guitarist. There are photos and videos, but let's just say, what happens at the bistro, stays at the bistro!

***My review of Hotel Mercure with photos -

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