Friday, July 10, 2009

Paris, France

Today was a fun day defined by the challenges of travelling in a country whose language you do not speak. Taking the Metro from the airport into downtown Paris was the easy part. The challenge was figuring out the fare, where to purchase the tickets, and how to get the coins for machines that did not take bills. Sure, several people were, only to quickly learn that many Parisians, even those at the Information Desks, were not able to effectively communicate in English. Close observations, and several trial and error attempts yeilded success.

Once downtown, on the legendary Seine, we hopped on and off the Open Tour buses for a day's fare of 29 euros. A beautiful city, but so much is about honoring wars, war heroes, and acknowledging the legacies of wars. I learned that the Cathedral of Notre Dame is the geographical center of Paris, thus the beginning of all distance mesaurements from and around Paris. I also learned that the Oblesik with hieroglyphics in the Place de le Concorde was created in Luxor to honor Rameses II and placed, as a symbol of peace, in the square where Henry XVI, Marie Antoinette and more than 1,000 others were executed.

The temptation to go up to the third level of the Eiffel Tower (move that 100 feet above ground)was tampered by the unseasonable cold weather. The Musee du Quai Branly, dedicated to non-Western art, was not explored beacuse of time constraints, but, will definitely be on my list when I return.

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