Monday, February 13, 2006
I never knew that so many people in my life could keep a secret!
I went down to Rayleigh on Saturday 4th February to visit T . We went into town to a kitchenware shop I like there and then when i went back I opened my suitcase. Under the top layer of clothes I found my passport. I felt sick. I thought " I'm going insane". My passport is always kept somewhere safe with my driving licence. I thought I was going senile. T passed me an envelope and said "read this" but I was so stunned I went off to the bathroom and pottered for a bit. When I came back and opened the envelope it was an itinery for a trip to Paris!! I have never been so surprised!!
We took the 8.01 Eurostar train from Waterloo station and reached Paris at lunch time. The hotel was lovely (although there was a moment of mild panic when we thought the two single beds could not be separted!!) and we dumped our stuff and headed off to the Eiffel Tower. It was quite mild so we left our coats behind! Silly us! It was bitterly cold up the tower. The views were great but it was a cloudy sort of day. Paris is a very neatly arranged city and looks very attractive from up high. Many of the buildings are light in colour and there are lots of trees - it must look wonderful when the trees are in leaf.
After coming down from the Tower we were frozen so abandoned the idea of going on a boat trip on the Seine in favour of returning to the hotel. We nipped into a patisserie and ordered two lovely cakes IN FRENCH - I was surprised by how much of my school French came back to me! We ate our cakes sitting on our beds then wrapped up and went out to Notre Dame which was beautiful. There was a lit up and decorated Christmas tree in front of it for some reason! The bells rang while we were there and I can see why Quasimodo was driven mad!
After that we wandered down the Seine to the Louvre. It was enormous! Courtyard after courtyard and we then saw the Pyramid which looked spectacular lit up and glowing. It was really quiet and T got some great photos. There was a couple having sex in full public view there too - we could hardly believe it!
Then we walked further along the river bank admiring the lights reflected in the water and enjoying the wonderful sights of the bridges and illuminated buildings.
Eventually we had dinner around the corner from the hotel and fell into bed and slept like logs.
We had a lovely breakfast before checking out of the hotel and leaving our luggage at the station. We then took a taxi to the Arc de Triomphe. The taxi driver spoke no English but was very jolly and very funny about the other road traffic the way taxi drivers everywhere are!
After visiting the Arc we took the boat trip which was very enjoyable if chilly.
Another trip on the Metro took us to Scare Coeur; up a large number of very steep steps! After that we had to head home. I stayed one more night at T's and spent Monday exploring a little seaside town nearby. I arrived home Tuesday evening.
I am so astonished that T thought this whole thing up and contrived to make it such a wonderful surprise. This weekend was arranged because Monday was her late partner's birthday, we had talked vaguely about going to Prague but nothing ever came of it. I'm overwhelmed. I'll never, ever forget it as long as I live!