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Our Magnificent Journey
Chapter 10
Israel, Paris


Carol and David and the ancient wall surrounding Old Jerusalem  

Day 19

Tel Aviv / Paris

In spite of our sadness about leaving Meira, Carmi, Shlomo, Sara and Israel, we actually slept fairly well. Finished packing, said "toda raba" (thank you very much) to the hotel staff, checked out and waited for the taxi outside the hotel on Hayarkon Street. The pre-arranged taxi arrived on time at 6am. The driver sped us through the typically empty Sunday streets of Tel Aviv, southeast to Ben Gurion (nee Lod) Airport. The driver was, like most Israelis we have met, amicable and humorous and we enjoyed the 15 minute ride. Once inside the busy airport, the security process took about an hour. We sat and relaxed with coffee and waited for the 9am El Al flight to Paris.


For some reason we did not buy much on this trip. We did a lot of looking (Carol was more than her usual “Lookie-Lou” self) but not much buying. She realized as we sat at the airport that her last shopping opportunity in Israel was at the airport’s duty-free shops. So off she went. She did not return empty-handed. Plus, Paris awaits...

Our El Al plane, the Sderot

On the plane we sat next to an interesting Israeli gentleman named Yoav. We very much enjoyed hearing his perspective on all things Israeli. The conversation helped keep our minds off of the fact that below us, Tel Aviv and Israel are receding behind us to the east. We very much enjoyed listening to Yoav and comparing notes with him about life in our respective countries. He is a very kind and intelligent man and we hope to see him again on our next visit to Israel.

Yoav, Carol and David on our El Al flight from Tel Aviv to Paris

Our flight (the plane was named Sderot) took us northwest across the Mediterranean Sea, Turkey to the east, Greece to the west. We crossed land just east of Athens. Farther north we passed over Tirana, Sarajevo, Venice, Milan, Zurich and Berne prior to landing at Paris’ familiar Charles de Gaulle airport. The El Al flight was comfortable with a delicious lunch.

We landed on time in a pouring rain at De Gaulle and shared a taxi with Yoav, who is intelligent, funny, interesting and apparently conversant in several different languages.

We said Shalom to Yoav when the taxi delivered us to the Hotel Des Grandes Ecoles, 75 rue Cardinal Lemoine, where we had stayed in 2001 and had met the vivacious owner, Madame La Floche, and beautiful Marie, the manager. We hope to see them during this stay.

Our lovely room at Hotel Des Grandes Ecoles, overlooking the cool, lush, green gardens

We settled in to our room at the hotel, then wandered up familiar Rue Mouffetard, where a large flea market was overflowing with throngs of people milling about. It was welcomingly chilly so we were happy that we had our coats and scarves. We sat at Place du Contrascarpe and sipped wine and Stella Artois as we watched the hordes of Sunday revelers enjoying the cool afternoon.

Ahhhh, Paris...

At 5pm we decided to walk across the Seine to the Marais, which was appropriate, having just returned from Israel. The weather turned gray, cold and blustery and we loved it since in three more days we will be back in the summer furnace of Tucson. We window-shopped (Carol actually bought some things) and then we walked back up Rue Mouffetard to Place du Contrascarpe where we had Greek food and enjoyed some great people-watching.

On our way to the Marais - our beloved Notre Dame in the background

At 8:30pm we were back at the Hotel des Grandes Ecoles and I tried to call Meira but we have had nothing but problems with the Verizon Worldphone we had rented for the trip.


Carol took a bath and at 9:30pm we were fast asleep, enjoying the quiet of the hotel’s lush, cool, green gardens.


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