Yosemite Hike - 2011

Friday, August 10, 2012

Final Day in Europe

One last day of wrestling the kids up by 9:00am to take on the day. We have definitely become used to the European lifestyle of bed around midnight and up at eight or nine in the morning. Since we are fairly North, the sun does not go down until about 10pm every night. Late dinners and then night activities or Olympic events have become the norm.

Was suppose to be a casual day visiting some parks and doing a little shopping before our train ride to Frankfurt to fly home on Saturday. But little Quasimodo Shelby wanted to see the hunchback of Notre Dame up in the tower of the church.

One has to arrive early to avoid a hour plus line most of the day. Shelby and Jana set off to Notre Dame first thing to get a jump on the line, while bookworm Sydney and Dad headed to nearby Shakespeare book store.

Jana was a bit concerned when they got to ND; there were police cars everywhere, caution tape and a body! Seriously? A crime scene on the last day we have to climb the tower of ND? Turns out a movie was being filmed but no one seemed to know which one.

Shelby found her own peace by climbing and being on top of the Notre Dame, while two streets below, Sydney's joy came from sitting up in the quaint second story of the bookstore to read old, used classic novels. Sydney purchased two classics; the Hunchback of Notre Dame & Moby Dick to read, more than likely on the plane ride home. (Thanks Karen & Jim!)

Shelby here blogging about climbing ND.

After waiting in line for an hour it was nice to move around more. After climbing up almost 100 stairs we got to the first floor were we got our tickets, I thought it's interesting that you got your tickets off the ground floor. At home you can never buy your tickets in the middle of the ground floor and second floor.

We climbed up 40 to 50 more to get to the 2nd floor with an amazing view of the city. When you looked around you, you were caged in. I said to mom I think it was well worth the wait. We walked farther down the litter path till we saw two small doors, dad could never fit through. We walked in walked up the stairs to where the giant bell was. It was cool to see something that's very historical. We waited in a small line to go up to the very top. When we were in line we meet a family from Washington. They said it felt so good to speak English, I agreed. When we got to the top the view was even more spectacular then the last one.

After we got down we met Dad and Sydney. Here are some facts about the Notre Dame:

It was to take 200 years to complete
The bell that we saw is the cathedral's largest bell
There is a total of 400 stairs
It's towers are 69 meters high

If you go to Paris I recommend it,It a long line but its worth it!

We headed to Marais, District 4 to experience an ethnic, and heavy Jewish, neighborhood of Paris. One thing about Paris, finding a meal to everyone's liking can be a challenge to say the least. If you decide to sit and eat too, it is twice as much as taking out. Still difficult to stomach spending $40 - $50 on takeout hamburgers, hot dog, and flaffels, but when in Paris. Most everyone seems to have coffee and croissant for breakfast, a panini sandwich to go and then sit down for a dinner at a cafe. C'est la vie. Hamburgers for the girls and delicious and filling falafel at Rick Steves recommendation. Thanks Rick!

Off to Bertillion's for ice cream, as literally everyone who heard we were going to Paris said you have to have ice cream there. We had ice cream everyday at Bertillion subsidiaries or offshoots, but walked to experience the home of ice cream. Once again, they were closed for August, c'est la vie!

The Isle of St. Louis did provide an excellent opportunity to finalize last minute gifts.

During Jana's 20 minute shopping "spree"...

Scott had the worst luck trying to rent four bikes in both London and Paris, as we only had a credit card and it didn't have a chip in it like most in Europe. A great concept to rent a bike for a day or less and it is locked up and computerized. Ride the bike to another part of the city and then find another bike stall to lock it up. Unfortunately, after multiple attempts in London and Paris, we were always turned away. Off and walking we went AGAIN! How many miles will it be today?!

Marched back up to Luxembourg Park so Shelby could play in a huge playground for a hour before we had to navigate the metro with our suitcases to the train station.

Her smile says it all!

As the train from Paris to Frankfurt glides thought the French countryside at 100 plus miles per hour, we ponder all the great things we saw and experienced. Nice to see countryside with trees, rolling farm land, cows grazing all reminding us of Switzerland.

It was three trips wrapped in one, with the glorious Swiss Alps, the metropolis of London, thriving with the Olympics and the historic artistic city of Paris. What more could we ask for in an adventurous European trip.

Next trip to Europe will definitely be South and more relaxing on the beaches of Italy, Spain, Croatia and maybe Greece.

Shelby: Notre Dame & Luxembourg Gardens
Sydney: Shakespeare's Book Store (picture to come)
Jana: Morning walk with Shelby & Notre Dame, relaxing at Luxembourg Gardens
Scott: A bit of everything

Location:Paris, France