We really have been having a good time here. It has been extremely hot, in the high 90’s, probably even touching the 100’s at times. So it has been a bit uncomfortable walking around, but we have certainly enjoyed ourselves.
The day started out rather rough, but ended up on a positive note. Andrea and I didn’t sleep last night. Two bus loads of high school kids from the Netherlands came into the hostel last night. They were literally partying all night, slamming doors, yelling and carrying on something awful. We went down and complained to the security guy about 12:30, he kind of shrugged his shoulders and said, “c’est la vie”, I don’t speak english. So about 1:30 I finally put my clothes on, went out, and kind of cornered one of the guys that was out there carrying on. I asked him where his leader was, he said, “My leader is downstairs”. Well there is a pub downstairs. I went down and found all the leaders down there drinking beer, and having a good time while their charges were just running rip shaw all over the hostel. So we told them that it was a bit of a problem, and asked them to do something about it, and they did. They hung out in the halls a bit, and told them to be quiet, but the door slamming continued, and sometimes the “shhhh’s” are as loud as them talking. It was rough. We complained to the manager this morning, but she said there wasn’t much she could do about it. She apologized, but it is a little disturbing because it is actually costing us quite a bit to stay here. It is 27 euro per adult, Benjamin is half price so he is only 13.50 per night. So 27 times 5, plus 13.50. Then the euro is worth about 60 cents to U.S. The exchange rate is not in our favor. Anyway I don’t have the intestinal fortitude to do the math, but I know we could stay in a very, very nice hotel in the U.S., with room service, and the works for what we are paying to stay here. There is a breakfast included, but as Ella and Sarah would say it is lame sauce. Usually cold cuts, a baguette, and instant coffee. Talk about sacrilegious to serve instant coffee in Paris. A city that is known for it’s cafe au latte and croissants, and we are drinking instant coffee. I do get a little bit nervous sometimes about how much this trip is costing us. We have been saving for a while, but it is going to end up costing more than I ever spent on a car. Which really isn’t saying much. And I wonder sometimes if it is worth it. We are working together as a family, making all kinds of memories. There aren’t distractions with work responsibilities, friends, sports, soccer, and camps. They also don’t have much in the way of electronic media. So it is a real neat time to bond together as a family. We’ve had, obviously, some curve balls, but it has been great.
Anyway back to the rest of the day, and it turned around after that mess this morning. We kind of had a late start. We went to the Louvre, and it is probably the most famous art museum in the world. Very, very crowded, but we shuffled our way through. We did see Venus, the Mona Lisa, and some others that I can’t remember right now. Next we went to the Musee d’ Orsay museum, which to me was the highlight. Much, Much smaller than the Louvre. It is the home of the Impressionists works, the Monet’s, Van Gogh’s, the Renoir’s, it was really, really fun to see these paintings that I’ve seen in books for many years. To be within arms reach of them was quite a thrill. Next we trained out to Sacre-Coeur . We arrived a little before 6:00. Got to watch this amazing fellow do an act juggling of a soccer ball and gymnastics at the same time. Was quite remarkable. Then we got to tour the inside of the church. We happened to land there about 6:00 when they were having a Mass. It was really, really beautiful. Not only the inside of the church , but to hear the nuns and the congregation singing and playing the harp. The acoustics were just amazing. We topped that off with a stroll around the artisans section up there. A place where Toulouse lautrec, Dali, and some of the great artist of 100 years ago used to hang out. Really a fun day and a fun evening even though it was rough to start off.