Saturday, June 28, 2008

Roxane and CS take over Paris (part 2)

So you're waiting for part 2?? Really? If you don't know what I'm talking about, read part 1 here. There we go. Up to date, now?

We took our purchased and uncorked bottle of wine (we were pretty sure that there wouldn't be a corkscrew in the room, so we had it opened in the store) up to our room, picked-up two glasses from the reception along the way and once at our destination, I poured us a generous amount of wine. All while chatting away, Rox downloaded the pictures she had taken onto her laptop, we both checked our e-mails and the glasses were re-filled. At some point, however, the excitement of meeting-up after such a long time, her still being half-jetlaged, a LOT of walking and the thrill of being in Paris took over, we finally decided to shut-up and hit the sack around 1.30 am.

After getting barely enough sleep, but at least a long, hot shower, we went down to the lovely breakfast room where we grabbed a coffee and a bit of fruit before we would hit the road. We wanted to see more of the city, but from a different (and more relaxing) perspective. In the lobby of our tiny hotel, I found a leaflet about cruises on the Seine. But before that, we had to move hotels. Yep. Our hotel was fully booked for the second night, so Rox had been given another address only 5 minutes walk away.

We dropped our belongings at the new hotel and went for a little bit of shopping for Roxane's kids. After the puchases completed and dropped off at the hotel, we took the Métro to "La Cité" which is none other than the island on the Seine where you will find the famous cathedral of Notre-Dame and the Palais de Justice.

From there we went on a sightseeing cruise. Yes, I know, very touristy, but we had to do it... the lazy way.

Here are a few photos of what we saw along the way.
A side view of the Louvres Museum

Rox and the Eiffel Tower

Alexander III Bridge

The Musée D'Orsay

The conciergerie (the prison where Marie-Antoinette was kept until she was beheaded)

You'd think this is Amsterdam, right. NOT!

Finaly. The Notre-Dame-de-Paris Cathedral from the Seine in the haze.

A Zouave at the Pont de l'Alma

After the boat ride, we went to visit the Notre-Dame-de-Paris Cathedral. It's quite impressive, but I wonder what this person had to do with the history of it all. Starbucks was involved?? Who knew?!

After our visit, we decided it was time for a drink, so we wandered through the small streets and alleys of lively St-Germain area and had us a nice aperitif. The waiter was kind enought to take our picture.

We were slowly getting hungry, but we couldn't make up our mind where to go. We looked at a few small restaurants in an alley leading to the St-Germain boulevard and they all looked so inviting. Decisions, decisions.

We found a tiny, but very inviting restaurant and ordered two glasse of champagne and a menu du jour, which turned out ok, but not the best. I must say that it was a very friendly service and easy going. What the hell. We were there to get together and have a good time... which we definitely had. Whithin such a short notice period, we both didn't have the time to look up gastronomy in Paris!... But we were happy. Isn't that what counts?

Rox: Here's a special cheers to you and thank you for having kept in touch all those years as well as for the great time in Paris. I'll never forget it. I miss you, my friend, and hope that the kids will enjoy their football (soccer) dresses. See you soon in Canada (or Europe again?)!

PS: I will upload all picts on on my picasa web site and add the link asap, but I've been working on the pictures all afternoon and I'm zonked. Not to mention that I have another post coming up (Oranje weekend) and that Christiane and Robert are coming over for two weeks this Friday from Canada. We'll be going to Zermatt (Switzerland) and Amsterdam with them. Wheeee! Aren't I lucky?

Note to the readers: With a few exceptions, all these photos were taken with Roxanes' camera, because mine ran out of battery whithin the first hour, or so. I won't go into details, here, but I'll blame it on Orange-X ;) Thanks you Dear, that you made it possible for me to have all these wonderful photographic memories and to share them on the blog. Love ya!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Roxane and CS take over Paris (part 1)

I know that many of you (expecially you, Roxane!) have been waiting for this story. As you can already gather from the title, this entry will be published in 2 posts. Sorry, but we've been busy bees as of late and the European Championships have been taking up some of our time, too :)

My TGV to Paris left at 08:02 that morning and I was so excited that was afraid I would miss it. Of course, O-X drove me to the train station on time and watched and waved as the train pulled away. I was on my way and would soon be meeting Roxane in a small, but cozy hotel in in the Montparnasse area of Paris.

I reached the hotel first and the receptionist was a bit baffled when I announced to her that Rox and I would be sharing the room. The hotel was fully booked, so we had no other choice anyway. But who needs two rooms if you're going to be chatting the night away, right??? "But Madame," she said, "You will have to share a grand lit (double bed). Let me check which room we gave Madame P." I couldn't care less, I told her. We've known each other since we were kids and had many sleep-overs. After checking her computer, we found out that the room had a grand-lit and a single bed. The room wasn't ready, yet, so I left my bags at the reception, went out for a quick smoke and returned to the hotel lobby to wait for Roxane to arrive. I had barely set my butt on the sofa and opened a magazine that I heard a screech of joy coming from the entrance. I dropped everything and we ran into each others arms. It was so good to see her again!

We checked her in, and went for a short walk to discover the neighbourhood. We went in to a few boutiques (Rox wanted to get a dress for her daughter) and chatted away. Around 1pm, we started feeling hungry, so we decided to have lunch at a small café before returning to the hotel to haul our luggage to our room. I had only an overnight bag, but Rox had packed for 2 weeks, so her suitcare was huge, not to mention heavy! Plus, the hotel didn't have an elevator. Luckily, we were on the 1st floor (2nd floor for North Americans).

The room was comfortably large by European standards, but definitely too flowery for my taste, and it had a bit of a strange layout. However, Roxane had managed to wear colours matching the room. How did she know??? Anyway, at first, we couldn't find the bathroom. I had left the door open because we still had luggage standing there and we thought that we'd have to use a "public" shower room. Whaaat?!??! While Rox ran down to the reception to enquire about our "missing" bathroom, I discovered it once I closed the door to our room. You see, when you came into the room, the door opened to the inside, and right behind it, was the door to the bathroom. So as long as the main door was open, it hid the other door. Whew! The view from our room was by no means spectacular, but it was well kept and flower pots were giving the viewer a hint of nature. It made us both smile.

We settled in and unpacked whatever we thought was necesary, and then we were off to discover Paris. We grabbed a map at the reception and asked for direction to the next metro station that would take us to Paris' most popular landmark: The Eiffel Tower.

As we got off the metro and headed towards the tower, Roxane was telling me how identical the replica in Vegas (the Paris Las Vegas) was to the real thing and that it was very big. Once we arrived at the tower itself, however, she was really impressed. I must admit that even after having seen the Eiffel Tower before, it still impresses me, too. Even more so when you stand directly under it. It was already about 3.30pm and our time in Paris was limited to 2 days, so we decided not to go up (the queues were still very long) and instead, just take a few pictures and then walk towards the Arc de Triomphe and then to the Champs Élysées.

We crossed the Seine towards the Trocadéro, turned at the Avenue D'Iena, then through small streets to Avenue Kleber and to the always busy Place de l'Étoile where the Arc de Triomphe stands.

Here are a few picts that we took on the way.

We finally stopped at one of the many street cafés on the Champs Élysées for a well deserved glass of wine before returning to our hotel.
That evening, we had dinner at a lovely, small restaurant close to our hotel. After dinner, we bought a bottle of wine to bring up to our room. We still had plenty of catching up to do! The last time these two girls saw each other was 9 years ago, remember?

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Yes, we do read

Before I tell you about my meet-up with Roxane in Paris, here's a meme that TinaKala asked me to do. Moreover, I also wanted to prove that we do have books at home and that we do once in a while actually read them.

Here's how it goes: "Open a book you're currently reading - page 123 and write the whole sentence that starts (or continues) on FIFTH line and mention the name and author of the book."

First, I had to think of a book that all of you would understand (non-German, that is). In preperation of our upcoming trip to Egypt, we bought quite a few interesting books, but I decided to choose a book on photography instead. We bought a new camera, remember?

"It's easy - move your subject into the shade, where the light is softer, and the shadows are less prominent and much softer." from The Digital Photography Book by Scott Kelby.

This book is a great read for anyone who wants to improve their photography skill, no matter whether you're using a small point-to-shoot camera or a more complicated one. Scott won't give you all that theory full of confusing jargon and detailed concepts. No. This is an easy to use and humourously written "which button to push, which setting to use and when to use it" kinda book.

I won't tag anyone, but feel free to use this meme if you haven't done it yet.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Roooooox-an(n)e & Alegría!

While some of you might be thining that I'm singing "Roxanne" by the "Police" at the top of my lungs?... Well, I am... Sorta. Although the feeling is more like Alegría! ("joy" or "jubilation" in Spanish).
I told you in this post that I would do my utmost to see a childhood friend of mine that I have not seen for about 10 years (+/- a few months). And it's going to happen. Yes. This coming Wednesday, I'm taking the TVG (fast train) to Paris to meet up with Roxane.
She's been doing quite a bit of travelling lately for the Cirque du Soleil, although she's - ahem - supposed to be "retired"? I guess she just likes doing gigs here and there, and if people ask for you, then go for it. I'm sure that she didn't expect it to have this much business, though. In the past 3 weeks, she's been to Dubai, Cologne, Monaco and next week, just after I meet her, she'll be in Russia.

Here's a photo that she sent me from Dubai at the souk (market). I hope she doesn't mind my putting up pictures of her. I'm just proud of her and I always believed in her. Being a singer can be a tough life, but that was all she ever wanted. And she made it. No, she's not a "rock star" per say, but I don't think she wanted that, really. I have a huge respect for that. She's damn good at what she does. Some people can sing only ballads, or rock, or soul. She can sing anything and make it sound like it should. Amazing!
And now, in her costume, ready for the show in Cologne. What a cute extra-terrestrial she makes :)
All I can say is that we'll have very little sleep in Paris, compensated with a lot of chatting and a few bottles of good red wine!