Friday, March 26, 2010

Europe - Day Six

Up and at 'em!  Today is (or was supposed to be) a busy day!

After breakfast, we all piled into our bus for a guided tour around the city of Paris.  We drove by all the major monuments and landmarks, only getting off the bus once or twice.  Our tour guide was fabulous - full of funny, scandalous stories - making us laugh as we viewed many of the same parts of the city we saw last night.  (The hubby and I thought this bus tour would help us get better acquainted with how to get around on foot later in the day...  Not so much!  So many side roads and curvy streets...  Maps would be our friend!)

Anyway, we once again drove the Champs Elysees to the Arc de Triomphe, saw the Eiffel Tower in daylight, and drove through the Latin Quarter and the Opera District. 
The day started out reasonably well...
The Louvre - so excited to get inside that place!
We ended at the Cathedral of Notre Dame, where our tour guide took us inside for a look around - and once again entertained us with several interesting and entertaining stories.  Can I tell you some of them? 

Nope.  I was in the midst of what I thought was a panic attack.  As we rode on the bus all morning, I was realizing I wasn't feeling well...  and thought maybe I just needed some time off the bus.  But as we walked around Notre Dame (a sight I was very excited to see!), the darkness, crowds, and heat inside the building began to get to me.  When we had some free time outside, I barely took pictures and walked around... instead I sat on a stone wall watching the gypsies try out their pick-pocketing schemes on the masses of tourists.  The cloudy skies and gentle drizzles fit my mood and how I was feeling.  I thought the fresh air would help - but it didn't seem to be doing the trick.
Beautiful stained glass!
We got back on the bus and headed back to the hotel.  We had only about 30 minutes before it was time to jump back on and head to the Palace of Versailles.  The bus ride was uneventful - a nice quiet ride.  I was feeling better and excited to see the crazy extravagance that I had heard and read about my whole life.  I couldn't wait to see the art, the Hall of Mirrors, and the gardens!
This gate was just added in recent years - covered in gold leaf.  Millions of dollars worth!
We arrived at the Palace and stopped first in the cafeteria for lunch.  It was packed!  And very small.  The hubby and I got in line to get some lunch and the more I smelled and saw the food, the more I realized I wouldn't be eating anything.  I needed fresh air.  Once my hubby got his lunch (a tuna sandwich, I had a baguette and water), we went into the seating area only to find there were no seats left.  We ended up finding a place to sit on the floor in the hallway...  Yep.  The day was just getting better and better!

After a few sips of water and choking down a couple of bites of bread, I decided to walk down the hall to the restroom - a unisex, 2 stall bathroom - with several people waiting in line.  As I stood there, I realized things were worse than I thought.  I knew I was going to throw up!  Uh-oh!  I tried to inform the very large man in front of me that he should really let me go ahead - but he would have no sympathy...  I eyed his expensive leather shoes...  If I were to ruin them... I warned him!

I made it.  I got sick.  Very sick.  Gross.  But how many people do you know can say they threw up at the Palace of Versailles?!
The tour started shortly after. 

I tried to stay with the group - once again, we had the perfect tour guide with so many great stories.  I was so upset that I had to keep ducking out into the fresh air!  When we finally got to the gardens (which, in March are quite disappointing!), I simply pulled up another stone wall and breathed fresh air.  It's all I could handle.
I dozed most of the bus ride back to Paris.  When we got back to the hotel, I took a shower and put on my pjs... and went to bed.  It was late-afternoon.  My poor hubby decided to do a little exploring on his own that evening (and yes, I told him he should!  He didn't leave me willingly, but I thought it was pointless for him to waste his time in Paris in our hotel room!).  He walked the city and explored, people-watched, and found some dinner.  I watched CNN (the only channel in english), and slept. 

What a way to enjoy Paris, huh?

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