Monday, May 26, 2014

Travel Day

We have been looking forward to France, but not the 8 hour flight and 3 hours pre-boarding at Miami International. XL Air was an unknown to us; no seat assignments until check in, no frills, just the promise of $700.00 RT, what could go wrong I ask you?

For a while in Miami, it didn’t look promising. We arrived 30 minutes before check in time, to find a long line and the desks already open. Well, it’s a big plane so I guess that’s alright. Check in was smooth and the desk agent was able to accommodate our sitting together. Our luggage was under the limit, so no additional fees were added.
Our Courtyard

Then we were sent to concourse F. I am sure that the F stands for filthy and funky cause that’s what it was. The carpet was nasty, worn and the air-conditioning almost non-existent. Miami should be ashamed!

But we boarded on time and to our delight and surprise the plane half full. For you intrepid travelers, you know what this means: more leg room, more elbow room, more room to twist and wiggle about for the ensuing 8 hours. Both the Monkey and I slept a solid 6, waking up an hour out or Charles De Gaulle.
The first Locke

Not too tired, we navigated the RER train to Gare du Nord, thru the “distastefulness of the suburbs” as a fellow traveler described it to us.  Found our way out thru the correct exit (it’s a really big station, ya’ll) and to the post office where we retrieved our key for the apartment. Less than 1 kilometer away, we just continued and hoofed it to Rue de Chaudron.

The apartment is a delight on a quiet residential street. Across the way is the Vespa repair shop. It’s a middle class neighborhood and just right for us. After a short exploration of the tiny abode, we change to our comfortable shoes and race to the Saint Martin Canal.

What a great spot in Paris, is the Canal! Very reminiscent of the canals of Amsterdam. The old locks still work, and parks flank either bank. Every so often there are arched bridges across. Old warehouses slowly turn into the fine apartments which one associates with Paris. We strolled, and strolled and strolled until the canal disappeared under a lush park which ends in the Seine.
Isn't this the cutest bridge, evah?

Enough sightseeing for our first day, we return home; buying supplies at the corner grocer. We then stop for a traditional Parisian dinner of Hallal Doner Kabobs and the owner introduces us to the owner of the neighborhood Hamman (Turkish Baths). That is where I will be Wednesday!
A beautiful stroll

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