I have so many things running through my mind… so many things that I want to say… I just can’t seem to put them into words today. So I’m taking the cowards way out. I’m going to post another entry about my parents trip today. I only have a few more stories to tell and pictures to share so I would really like to finish it up. Before I start that though I need to let you know that I heard from Ryan yesterday and he’s made it there safe and sound and will spend the next few days settling in and learning the ropes. I would also like to say thank you so much for all of your prayers, support, messages and comments. It means a great deal to know that even 6,000 miles from home I have a support system.
The morning after our adventure at the Eiffel Tower at night, we awoke bright and early. We decided that the easiest way to reach our destination would be the metro since we had tried it the day before and had such success. We also were not anxious to brave the morning Parisian traffic yet again! If only we had known what was in store for us…
We checked out of our hotel room and left our luggage with the clerk, then set off foot loose and fancy free for the Louvre! We walked out onto the streets of Paris and enjoyed a brisk walk to the underground metro station. As we came out onto the platform of our train we all stopped and stared in shock! I honestly don’t know if I have ever seen anything like the sea of bodies that we had joined except for in movies about New York city!
We made a human chain so we wouldn’t loose someone to being swept away by this seething tide of humanity and made our way to our proper place on the platform. (Saint Michelle and the Notre Dame) We watched as one train came and went, watching in horror as we beheld the literal opening of a can of sardines, a few people pouring out of the packed car and the jamming in of another 30 or 40 when I would have said it was already full to capacity!
The next train began pulling in and we took our cue from those around us and pushed forward ruthlessly until we too were jammed into a car impossibly full of bodies. The four of us found ourselves surrounding a pole in the center of the car, facing each other and desperately guarding our belongings. I was distressed to find that not only did the car look and feel like a can of sardines but it smelled of one too!
I will draw a veil over the 10 minutes of horror that was that train ride. Let it suffice to say that it was… um… memorable. Finally it was our stop and we joined the press to disembark as quickly as possible.
In the three days that we were in Paris… for that matter the two weeks that my parents had been in Europe with us… we have never gotten off a train, bus, or car and stayed close. We have always gotten off at a run for the next new adventure. However, here in this one train station, underground, and after an experience that will forever make me wary of crowds we inexplicably stopped to chat right outside the doors of the train… next to a wall and in the middle of an ever moving sea of bodies. It was so loud that we could barely hear each other but there we stood none the less…
Suddenly above the din of human voices the four of us heard at once the sound of one lone woman still on the train yelling…
Why we heard her, why we paid attention I will never know… but we turned to see her leaning out the door of the train we had disembarked from holding out a passport and keeping the doors from shutting. We raced to the train to catch it in time… and grabbed it just as the doors closed, barely missing the poor ladies hands… we mouthed a big thank you and watched her nod, smile, and speed away…
We looked down in shock to see my father’s passport with a big boot print right across the front. My dad said that he thought that he had felt someone pick his pocket but when he felt it he had shot his hand back to check his wallet and finding it there had thought he was okay… he hadn’t thought to check for the passport. Whoever had picked his pocket must have been disappointed and just dropped the passport.
The woman must have been an angel… for why had she looked down to see the passport on the ground under all those feet… and more mysterious… how in the world had she leaned down to pick it up!!!??
What an experience!
After we had all calmed down and the rush of adrenaline had calmed a bit, we made our way out of the metro and walked into a sunrise on the Ile de la Cite! It was a beautiful morning.
We found a little bakery and went in to find some breakfast… We stood there at the little counter and ate our quiche and bread and enjoyed a steaming cup of hot chocolate.
Then we strolled across the river Seine and started towards the Louvre.
We arrived at the Louvre, paid our entrance and checked our coats. We don’t have a lot of pictures from inside due to restrictions but we did get a few.
Here I am with the Grand Sphinx of Tanis.
Ryan and I!
Mom and dad.
Here I am with the Effigy of Akhenaten (1325 – 1338 B.C) I am fascinated with all things Egyptian… (not very original perhaps) Akhenaten was the first recorded Monotheist. Which is to say that he believed in one God. He also went against tradition and was the first Pharaoh to portray his wife, Nephritis as equal to himself. After his death all record of him was destroyed by those that did not want his beliefs to gain popularity but a few pieces survived!
This is the ceiling of the jewel room! Unfortunately none of our pictures of the actual jewels turned out.
And the main reason anyone journeys to the Louvre?
(Singing at the top of my lungs.) “Mona Lisa, Mona Lisa men have named you…”
Yes, I admit it, I gave in and played tourist here… shamelessly. I stood in front of the Mona Lisa and made my best Mona Lisa face. Sigh… how cliche! I think I pulled it off okay though… how bout you?
I could not in good conscience tell you about the Louvre and not tell you about bloody stumps. Almost from the first hour that we were in Paris (because there is so much walking and climbing!) my dad started joking about his poor little bloody stumps (meaning of course his feet) As the second day stretched on we all started to take up that cry and shouts of
“Oh my bloody stumps!”
Could be heard across Paris… since most of these cries were shouted from the tops of various and very tall monuments! 🙂
Let me just caution you. If you should ever get the chance to visit Paris… do. If you choose to visit the Louvre do not do it on your last day! OUCH!
For most of my adult life I have wanted to visit this museum of legend. I was so excited to cross into that glass pyramid and see the wonders this old palace held within it’s walls…
I won’t lie, I’m glad I’ve seen it, that I have the opportunity to say I’ve been there… but there is a part of me that wishes I had lived my life wanting to see it…
After a morning and part of the afternoon at the Louvre, we took the metro (which was not nearly as crowded now!) back to the area around our hotel, got our last lunch at the little shop we frequented during our stay and did a little last minute shopping. After our bloody stumps had flat out given up we hoofed it back to the hotel, gathered our bags and headed for the train station.
We took the ICE train back to Saarbruken and arrived a few minutes late… which of course meant that we missed our train back to Trier. We found ourselves waiting out in the cold for an extra hour and 15 minutes before the next train left.
Once we got onto our next train we settled in for the hour and a half long trip.
We goofed around a bit…
Posing pretty for the camera!
Who ever knew goofing off could be so dangerous!
We figured it was time to get back to our seats!
And so sit we did…
About 45 minutes (halfway) into the train ride my dad started to not feel very well.
I should start by saying that apparently there is no three second rule in Paris. During that last lunch in our little shop, my mom gave the rest of her donner to my dad. The part she passed over was still wrapped in the little paper sleeve they come in. My dad made a grand gesture in the middle of our conversation and knocked the tray and sandwich high into the air. The paper wrapped sandwich flew into the air and landed, paper side down on the ground at his feet. He had it off the floor again before it had even fully landed, brushed it off, took it out of the paper and we all deemed it just fine. We were wrong. It seems that the millisecond it touched the floor was just long enough.
This is the last picture I have of my father standing.
A few minutes after this picture was taken my father got out of his seat and laid full on his back in the aisle of the car.
For those of you who do not know my dad, this is a big deal. He is a fireman and paramedic and has done everything in his power, like most firemen, to never need the attentions of his fellows. In my whole life he has only been in a hospital for surgery and he’s only called 911 one time and it killed him to do it. I’m telling you this so that you will truly understand just how scary it was to see my dad stretch out on a filthy floor, talk about the world going grey, and become non responsive as people started to come and ask us if he was okay…
At our stop in Trier a wonderful young man in the German army helped me carry our bags off of the train as my mom and Ryan carried my dad. I wish I had gotten his name… but as soon as my bags were down and he had made sure, in broken english, that we would be okay, he took off running to catch a train he had already been late for.
We got dad into the train station and to a bathroom where he threw up.
Doesn’t sound like a big deal right? Well it is… In my life time… 27 years… I can count the amount of times that my dad has thrown up on one hand… and I don’t even need my thumb for the count. He will do everything from groaning to laying on his back on the floor singing “She’ll be coming round the mountain when she comes!” at the top of his lungs. I’ve even heard him scream for my mother “Saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnddddddddddddddyyyyyyyyyyyy” at the top of his lungs and when she came running, yelling “What?” He just yelled back… “Nooooooooothiiiiiiiig… Just trying noooooooot to throoooooooooow uuuuuuuuuup!” It’s actually quite funny!
So imagine the concern my mother and I felt when Ryan, who had taken dad into the men’s room came back sweating and pale faced to announce that he must by dying! He couldn’t imagine how anyone could breath while throwing up that much. This coming from a man who hates throwing up as much as my father since both of them are the kind of men who burst blood vessels in their eyes and can’t speak for days because their throats are so raw…
We got him out of the bathroom just in time to catch our last train home. We were lucky to get a standing car with fold down seats all to ourself. It mean that dad could stretch out on the cushions and that we were right next to a bathroom.
We managed to get him off the train in Phillipsheim and into the car… we only had to pull over once on the short trip home.
Sounds like a horrible ending to our trip and it was but I have to say that all of us, including dad, were so glad that it happened when it did and not right when we got there! Not to mention that there was a bit of resentment on all of our minds. If our first train hadn’t been late and caused us to miss that first second train… we would have been home before he ever got sick! Oh well… Cest la vie!
It was a few days before my dad was even able to eat a little broth… so we stayed in and watched movies and gave him a chance to recover.
I’ll end it there for the day…