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Our Magnificent Journey
Chapter 6
Europe 2005
London, Paris, Normandy, Prague

 

Carol and David  
05.07.05
Saturday
Day 16
Paris / London
 
 

We woke at 8, showered, dressed and began the process of packing. We leave at l:05pm for London on the Chunnel train from Gare du Nord.

 

Our friends Marc and Muriel leave for home today. We will be two days behind them. We are going to miss them. We have had a wonderful time experiencing this great city with them. We are sad to see them leave but we look forward to seeing them again at home. They are seasoned, experienced travelers. Muriel runs a tour agency and they are planning a trip to Turkey in September, and then they will spend six months in Australia/New Zealand in 2006.

 

We had another excellent breakfast at nearby Relais de St. Germaine, then strolled back to Hotel Delavigne where we bid au revoir to Marc and Muriel and wished them bon voyage. We look forward to seeing them next weekend at home in Tucson.

 

Carol and I then boulevardie'd one last time slowly down Rue St. Germaine. We found the familiar market near Rue St. Jacques and spent some time looking at the olives, cheese, wines, scarves, tapestries, fish and people. Then we strolled arm-in-arm back to the hotel where we settled the bill and checked out.

 

Paris was still gray and cool with a light drizzle as the taxi took us from the Hotel Delavigne to Gare du Nord for the Chunnel train to London. As is normal for us, we are very sad to leave this great, romantic, important city. It is always an emotional experience for us to have to bid au revoir to our beloved Paris, City of Light.

 

Sad to leave Paris
 

The Eurostar Chunnel Express pulled out of smoky old Gare du Nord at precisely 13:04 and we headed north through Paris' outer reaches, past the graffiti-covered walls, until the landscape became green and pastoral. The day is gray, to match our moods. We are certain we will return to France, but leaving Paris is always like leaving a dear old friend. The last thing we see of Paris as the train leaves the city behind is the top of La Tour Eiffel dropping below the horizon. The City of Light already seems like a dream.

 

An hour and a half north of Paris we entered the darkness of the Chunnel at Calais and crossed beneath the English Channel. Marc had brought up a very interesting question since the British drive on the left side of the road and the rest of Europe drives on the right side, what happens to automobile traffic as you drive through the Chunnel? If anyone knows the answer to this, we would appreciate hearing it.

 

Twenty minutes of darkness in the tunnel and then we were back in England. At 3pm we pulled into London 's bustling Waterloo station. After quickly getting our bearings we walked out of the station and crossed Waterloo Bridge. The Thames was busy with boats of all sizes and shapes. When we came to the Strand, north of the river, we took a left turn and found our hotel, the Strand Palace. There was some confusion at reception over our room but it was straightened out the way most confusion is with money.

 

London Eye and Big Ben

 

Back in London

 

The room turned out to be fine and we settled ourselves in as is our way. Then we went out to explore London for the umpteenth time. We are in a nice location on the Strand, which means close to Covent Garden, Trafalgar Square and about a bazillion restaurants. We walked out of the Strand Palace and towards Covent Garden and into an Internet café where we caught up on email (1.5 pounds.)

 

Stairway at our hotel

 

Then, just a few steps away from the Internet café, a restaurant called La Tasca caught my eye. La Tasca is a tapas restaurant and we recommend it very highly. Tapas dining consists of small dishes of vast variety, so you get to sample lots of different flavors. Very delicious and reasonably priced. A great choice.

 

After the terrific tapas dinner, we walked two blocks to lively Covent Garden Market, where we window-shopped and checked out the many street musicians, all superb. It is sunny at 8pm but quite chilly. We realize we are in Europe, at the very end of the winter chills. Soon it will be warm. We like it this way.

 

A bit after 8 we walked one block to the hotel to get a good night's rest. Tomorrow is our last day in Europe on this chapter of Our Magnificent Journey.

 

Pedometer reading for today - 5 miles


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