City of Light to City By The Bay Part 1

Boy oh boy! I owe you some stories and insight! Life got “real” when we arrived home to the mountains for the first time since January 10th! All was well on our arrival and we are settled back in for the most part. (To do lists may be my nemesis and I am a ruthless task master ;-/). I have eight days of BoCo Sluice Box being open for the 2018 “season” under my belt and now it’s time to get back to what I love; writing travel and adventure stories for your entertainment and planning pleasure!

I must tell you I have been throwing a fit. This story was mostly written as we landed at the Boise airport but somehow my lack of tech savvy  allowed me to delete and be unable to retrieve what I had to share…reminding me yet again that I better seek some guidance on that techy part of this project if I’m going to have this writing/blogging (and hopefully someday quality photography) path turn into a career. #hoursnotminuteslost I really had to practice hard to find the gratitude that reliving these memories through rewriting this post will bring. I know I will feel great happiness as I relate the stories to you, even if it does take time I should be pouring into my “season of work”. Hahahahaha! So thankful I have these stories to tell no matter when I get set back down and get them written for you again! Anyway, here’s a start…

Easyjet carried us from Budapest over Frankfurt and Stockholm to land at Charles de Gaulle airport for the four day finale of our European adventure. Paris, I must admit, was probably our least anticipated location. Many we had spoken to in the planning stages told us it is “filthy” and the natives are “rude” but it was a no brainer to us to add this historic city and we are glad we did! Transportation to our hotel was via taxi and came in at 50£. The train was an option but we landed late and the approximately 15€ less it would have been for the two of us was not appealing enough for us to hassle with two pieces of luggage each for the two transfers we would need and zero knowledge of the transit system. We were staying in the 17th arrondissement at Ibis Hotel Clichy-Batignolles.

Settling into the clean, but stark hotel room offered as a budget option didn’t take long. The space was actually not bad, just very simple. We got it for under 50€ a night, a rate pretty unheard of in this city so that added to the appeal. Heading out to check out the neighborhood we felt hunger setting in. Partaking of the local fare was our goal and we found a Brasserie called Le Libra Echange just a few blocks walk in the misty rain that welcomed us to spring time in the city of light. This bistro style café was on a corner with picture windows on both sides providing a wonderful first opportunity to people watch and dine at the same time in this city we have all become enamored with via some movie or news at some point in our lives.

The following morning found us brewing some coffee to start our day. There were no supplies in any room but the one in Budapest (including the ship) on this Spring Fling. We carry our supplies along with us to insure we never start the day without our caffeine boost in the solitude of our own space. Our morning start up kit consists of a reusable coffee filter that can sit on a cup to create a drip coffee, a small electric tea kettle, a small coffee grinder and fresh beans. (If we are road tripping and weight doesn’t matter, we also carry 2 ceramic cups we like, a coffee press and an assortment of tea bags.) We drink our coffee black, no condiments are necessary.

The day was overcast and drizzly so I carried the umbrellas and we bundled up a bit; I donned a hat to help stay dry and we headed out for our first daylight adventure. We wandered through a park area that was adjacent to our hotel and wondered at the vibrant green of spring. I spotted a windmill in this park which seemed out of place yet beautiful and struck a deep cord within me. If you know me personally, you have heard my story of the windmill from our family farm and it being the piece of home we still have as it was moved to my sisters after my parents passed away. I have a small replica at my house that warms my heart with its connection and is part of what attracted us to the property. The previous owner was kind enough to leave it with the house. This park windmill brought me joy as I felt the presence of my dear parents and loved the feeling it gave me of bringing them along with me on this adventure.

With barely a glance at the map we wandered in the direction of the lower numbered Arrondissements towards the core of the city. We love this method of discovery with no real goal in mind other than getting a feel for the city. Four days here meant this aimless wandering was a luxury if we wanted to take in the major landmarks but we splurged and enjoyed immersing into the feel of the culture. Soon, however, we stumbled onto a beautiful tree lined street I soon recognized as Avenue des Champs-Élysées’. We commented to one another about the quiet of the streets and the number of stores closed but then I realized I had read in my studies preparing for the visit that May 1 was a celebrated day in this country. Truly a Labour Day celebration where much of the city came to a halt, allowing people a day of rest in honor of the working class. This is a tradition across much of Europe. Most of the attractions were closed in honor of the holiday. We chatted as we walked and agreed the beauty of the city as viewed from the streets was sufficient entertainment to get us started but then as I snapped pictures of beautiful buildings we rounded a corner and before us was the Eiffel Tower and the beauty of the Seine River. It’s amazing how icons take your breath away or disappoint you or leave you further in awe or flood you with a mixture of emotions when they are right in front of you. We bought sandwiches and coffee from a street vendor at the base of the Place du Trocadéro and found a bench along the river to people watch and absorb the views and enjoy our lunch.

Noticing the steady traffic going across the Pont de Lena Bridge we decided to get a closer look at the tower and much to our pleasant surprise we found it open for tours. Overcast skies were still above us and we decided the lines were most likely the shortest we would see. The value of viewing a city from above to get our bearings was also appealing so we stood in line. What the heck? All the museums and other major sites were closed, so why not? This was actually lucky for us, as I doubt we would have tolerated the lines of a “normal” day. About 1 1/2 hours later we were in the elevator climbing up the tower. The views did not disappoint and we enjoyed the scenery from the top as well as the lower landing. Both provided fodder to plan our preferred destinations for the next couple days.

We made our way back to our own neighborhood and found a halal style restaurant for an easy dinner. The 10 mile walk of this day and the damp weather was kicking our butts. Menelik provided a great easy salad and a chicken sandwich on a fresh baguette and fries. Such wonderful comfort food. Tasty and delicious in an easy going atmosphere with friendly, welcoming service. We were beat and headed back to the hotel to laynour plans for the next couple days in this notable city.

I’m going to end this blog here and get something posted so you know I’m alive. Watch for Part II, the final story and pointers of the 2018 Spring Fling, which I will post soon. I have a great tour story to share as well and I’m certain more adventure is on my agenda soon! In the meantime, follow me on my business Facebook page @BoCoSluiceBox and make plans to #cometraveltome#idahome

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