Day 4 & 5

Bonjour!  I have successfully picked up a few phrases and wish I knew more.  Everyone has been kind and patient with our few words of French and they have taught us a few to add to our short list.  The day was open for us and now that we are all feeling better we started our adventure walking to the Notre Dame.  I love walking thru neighborhoods and getting little glimpses into the lives of the locals.  Shops opening, people just waking up from their late nights and the cafes starting to fill up.  The Notre Dame is impressive.  The gargoyles stare down at you and you can feel how intimidating this must have been to the locals when it was built.  A reminder to be good and follow the rules of the church.  I find that type of stonework with so much detail amazing.  The time.  The patience.  The creativity and pre planning that must of went on.  It’s beautiful.  We spent an hour waking around the church and sitting out front listening to the bells ring.  Was a great way to start the day.  From there we ventured in and stopped for snacks and more people watching.  Mike decided to go back for a nap and the kids and I set off on our own.

We decided we would get some mileage on our feet and see the city more so we started our long walk of three miles to the Arc de Triomphe.  We stumbled upon the St. Germaine area where there were some of the most darling shops of jewelry, art and all kinds of fun things to explore.  As much as I could of spent hours looking at the stores my two “shoppers” only had patience for so much.  On we ventured.  We stumbled upon a beautiful park about a mile away from the Arc.  Later I learned it was Jardin des plantes.  Beautiful trees with pathways between, flowers, comfortable benches and chairs, and a big round pond in the middle.  Groups of friends and families eating on blankets, kids playing, some napping.  A perfect way to spend a Saturday. We relaxed like the locals for awhile and then kept in our journey.  The heat and long walk were getting to us so for the end we got a biker/buggy thing and hitched a ride to the Arc.  Impressive and beautiful.  To get to the Arc you go under ground in a tunnel and pop out by the Arc.  To me it was claustrophobic but the kids thought it was fine.  We chose not to go up to the top but enjoyed the view below and seeing the 12 roads that lead to it.  Thirsty and hungry we walked away from the Arc area and found a restaurant.  Cappuccino with my meal of course.  There was a farmacia close by and we looked there for awhile after lunch.  I love looking at the pharmacies in Europe.  All kinds of fun and different products.  We were ready for a rest and decided to head back and pick Mike up for our evening out.  I did some laundry when we got back.  So interesting.  Most washing machines are in the kitchen.  This one also has a drying cycle. It would get the clothes warm and kind of dry.  I hung them up for the rest.  If there was a way to dry them completely I couldn’t figure it out….

That evening we walked around our neighborhood and Mike and the kids enjoyed gelato….again.  As we thought of calling it a night,  Mike expressed that he really wanted to see the Eiffel Tower lit up at night.  Weren’t sure we could handle the  walking again but decided to go for it because, well, we were in Paris!  So glad we pushed thru.  We walked along the Siene at sunset, met a lovely family and talked for awhile, and saw the Eiffel Tower lit up.  Our last night in Paris was lovely.  We got back to our “home” around midnight and packed up a bit before bed.  We were catching the train to Barcelona at ten the next morning.  Sleep again came easy and we work up to finish packing and head to the train station.  Wow!  It is bustling!  Very confusing to figure out where you train comes in and what car you are in….while maneuvering thru hundreds of people that are sweating from the heat and stressing as well.  Whew.  Made it to our seats, took deep breaths and had the most relaxing 6 hours so far watching the French and Spanish countryside.  We met the sweetest family of four next to us.  They were from Wisconsin and played a mad game of Uno.  We laughed and shared stories.  Little Owen gave us all hugs as we went our own ways in Barcelona

Barcelona.   Ahhhh.  I feel like the dial has turned down and our pace is slower and more relaxed.  The King family found there way on the metro!  Our Airb&b was just a few stops away and about a ten minute walk.  Loved taking it in and excited to explore this city.  A lovely woman named Virginia met us at our Airb&b.  Love this place!  Air conditioning!   The kids have their own beds!  Beautiful outdoor patio!  It’s so great!  After getting settled we headed out to dinner.  Annalin picked our place.  Yummy!  One glass of sangria and I was done.  It was delicious.  Back to our Airb&b to crash and sleep up to for our day to explore the city of Barcelona.  Buenos noches!

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