France Friday










This morning we woke up at 4:15am. I actually went to bed at 10:30pm last night and was asleep by 11pm. However, at 11:30pm Natalia knocked over an empty glass (didn’t break) and I jumped up. Wouldn’t you know that I couldn’t fall back to sleep until after 2am. Nikki picked us up at 5:15am and drove us to the train station where we took the Eurostar to France. Arriving at about 10:15am we were trying to figure out how to catch the open-top tour bus which was our only real plan for the day. Ady is so good with languages! She used her French to ask a vendor in the train station who pointed us to the street where we found the bus. It is once again hard to comprehend the price of things when doing the exchange to dollars. The dollar is so weak in London and Europe. The tour bus for the four of us for the day was 88 Euros which comes out to just under $200 in dollars. We rode the bus for a while and then took advantage of the hop-on/hop-off all day part of the tour to grab some lunch. Natalia ordered some eggs, Claudia, Ady & I all got sandwiches, and we had one bottle of water between the four of us … 50 Euros … $100 for lunch! CRAZY! We also stopped later in the day and had 2 lates, 2 hot chocolates, and one crepe … 27 Euros … about $55! INSANE!!! The only thing I can liken it to is what people from Latin America must feel like when they come to America and realize how weak their money is to the dollar. I have had to stop doing the math, get what we need, and just enjoy the cultural experience. Otherwise we wouldn’t do anything & I would be in a psych ward. The good news is that our friends in London were gracious enough to let us stay in their flat so we saved a ton of money that would have been spent on hotels. Anyways … the bus tour was absolutely incredible and worth every stinkin euro! We saw just about everything; so many incredible sites! What an awesome, historical, culturally-rich city! We took the yellow and green circuits and saw the Opera House, Musee du Louvre (cool after reading and watching the DaVinci Code), Notre Dame, St. Michel, the Trocadero, The Arc de Triomphe, the Place Vaaban, St. Louis, The Concord, The Madeleine, and of course, The Eiffel Tower. It was spectacular! We got to walk through Notre Dame and see many sculptures depiting Christ and figures from Church History. It was an absolutely magnificent sanctuary! To have visited two of the most famous churches in the world on this trip was very special. I was really happy that we had that experience – especially the girls. Perhaps one day we will be able to come back and spend several days really soaking in the city rather than the drive-by. I was telling Ady that the more I visit other cultures, the less attractive the American dream/culture becomes. What other countries lack in media and technology, they more than make up for in rich history and tradition. There just seems to be a much deeper sense of friendship and community – something unnatural which takes so much intentionality and effort to instill in people and achieve in America. Just an observation. On the way home we rode first class. No, I didn’t splurge! For some reason it was cheaper to get first class coming home. Perhaps they needed to fill seats. We enjoyed a nice 3-course meal on the train. We were just enjoying our coffee when a bottle of water slid across the table and knocked Ady’s coffee on her lap. She got a nice, big brown spot on her tan pants. Bummer! She was a good sport, though. We arrived back to the flat around 11:30pm. Ady and I packed up our luggage. Tomorrow we’re off!

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