Day 32 Paris

Insert Big Sob here. Our last day in Paris and our holiday.
Up early so we can take Hannah to the bus stop for her return trip to London. Her holiday is also over and so she returns to London with plans for more travel in the near future. It was great to be with Han and see her in her new life. We are proud of what she has achieved. She has great friends and dare I say it, an even better social life. Oh to be young again.
The morning didn’t go without a few minor glitches. One wrong metro can be a bit of a disaster when on a limited time frame!! Recovered and arrived with time to spare. Needed a drink after that couple of hours.
Farewells and back on the metro for us for just some more meandering.
Turn down new lane ways from streets that you have walked before and new sights behold you. You could never cover the territory in just one visit.
Might have to move here I think.

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Our last lunch in a great restaurant in a back lane on the edge of St Germain de Pres. Meat, cheese, salad and wine. Doesn’t get much simpler. Beautiful.
More meandering, coffee and wine drinking, people watching.
Did I tell you I love Paris.

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Dinner in a fabulous traditional French Bistrot before heading down to the Eiffel Tower to watch it light up.
Exactly 11pm and the fairy lights come on. Lucky we were there in time. They stay on for five minutes and then that is it. The best five minutes of light show I have ever seen though, I must say.
A memorable metro trip home with all the Friday night party people. Oh to be young again. I have never felt unsafe on any of the trains and I hope I never will be.
There are pickpockets everywhere but they will only steal what isn’t well attached to you. They are very good too.
Another new scam since we were here last is the women, or young girls,who pretend to find a gold ring on the ground in front of you, they say it doesn’t fit them and offer it to you for good luck. Oh yeh. Costs a fortune to get them to leave you alone. No… It didn’t happen to me.
The petition for the deaf and dumb society is a beauty too. Saw plenty of Americans handing over their money.

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Off to China tomorrow. We are there for 17 hours and apparently being put up in a hotel so if wifi is available, until tomorrow, otherwise, see you back home xxxx

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Day 31 Paris

We try not to think too much about our imminent departure:( Still so much to see and do, so little time.
Breakfast at our local, train ride and a day at Palace de Versailles. Tick.
It is the first time on our trip that we have noticed the crowds. Where have they all come from?? The incredibly warm weather has obviously brought them out in their droves. Needless to say, the queue for tickets to the Palace went forever.
Two hours later, tickets in hand, we enter the most ostentatious building I have ever encountered. Louis XIV had a lot to answer for. Apparently the French believed so too.

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Four hours later we are exhausted and all historied out. A drink in one of the gardens beautiful cafés has us thinking we could really make a big session of it. No time.
Train back to St. Michel, and a short walk to Notre Dame has us just in time for Mass! A breathtaking building, even if you are not religious. Yet again the crowds are unbelievable but we are in no hurry and the queue is not nearly as long as at Versailles.
An Organic restaurant specialising in crepes is our choice for the night. Not normally something that we would go for, however, when in Paris. Very yum meal that I can also tick off the list.
Having trouble downloading my photos today so will post when wifi will allow me xx

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Day 30

Hannah’s one and only request while in Paris was to see the Eiffel Tower.
Yet another sleep in (the Sangria was spiked without a doubt). BReakfast in our new local. Good meal deal!! Double espresso,fresh juice and croissant and baguette. Just can’t get any better!
Take the back streets to visit the Jardin de Luxembourg. We have never been before so it is fun going through new areas.
The shops on the way are the best I have ever seen and with sale signs plastered over the windows, our trip takes a little longer than anticipated.
An old wares/antiques market is set up on a square just before the garden and I am caught up in the beauty of same for quite some time and only wish I had access to a shipping container.

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I may have, at this stage, lost my family, so after just a small amount of time (it wasn’t an hour) we were reunited again.
Onwards and upwards to the Gardens. So beautiful. People set up at tables playing chess, tennis courts that were all being used, some of them had missed their calling to Wimbledon (in our opinion). Personal trainers, the first time we have any of these since starting our trip, runners and cyclists.

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Again, head off along back streets, making our way towards the Eiffel Tower. I may have slightly misread our map and set us off on a course a little further than required, but hey, would never have seen these streets.
Go via Rue de Cler, said to be one of the locals favourite streets and growers markets. We are a little late for the stalls but the street is alive with activity.
Pull up for our mid day aperitif at a very fun cafe.

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Next stop, Eiffel Tower!! Hannah is in awe which is very exciting to see. Lots of photos taken in between being accosted by kids wanting to sell us Eiffel Tower key rings!!
I step way out of my comfort zone and go the the first level of the tower. Once I had stopped shaking, I made it to the edge and got my view xx. Hannah and Stephen pressed on upwards, I took in the view from where I was gripped until their return.

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20140625-221133-79893029.jpghead over to the other side of the river for more photographs.

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Find the metro and head out to Montmarte area. What a bustling and lively place. When we visited last we were unaware of all the streets with their shops and cafés surrounding the Sacre Cur, so it was high on our agenda to return.
Found out about a very, very little restaurant that cooks amazing Moroccan food,so we nosed our way through the back lanes and had the best meal we have had on our trip. Even Hannah loved it!
Back to our apartment to watch the football. France playing tonight so the streets are full. Don’t need volume, we will hear if they score.

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Nice view from our restaurant tonight.

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Day 29 Paris.

A comfy bed sees us sleep well into the morning. Very Parisian xx
The weather is incredibly warm and not something we are used to when visiting here. Putting only one layer on is a bit of a novelty, but as the temperatures rise throughout the day, we are grateful.
The obligatory espresso and pastry to start our day off goes without saying. It’s been a while since we had a good coffee and it tastes dam fine.
After a bit of research, we head north to Les Halles to walk down one of Paris’ food markets. Rue Montorgueil did not disappoint. Visited the oldest Patissier in Paris, dating back to 1730. Couldn’t leave without a purchase.

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The fruit and vegetable stands were to die for.

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20140624-224857-82137672.jpgnosed our way back to Rue St Honore and googled in all the windows of the beautiful boutiques. Did I tell you I love Paris.
Stopped for lunch in a little side street. Follow the travelling principle of one street back.
Stephen is a bit (!) done in after his pastry. So I order a salad and of course something to drink. My salad comes out in the family salad bowl size and I am more than grateful that Stephen eats half of it!! Huge!!!
Stop and ponder life in the Jardin Des Tuileries. The fencing and seating arenas are all starting to go into place for the final of Le tour de France. Very exciting.
Make our way through the madness that is the Champs Élysées and finish at the very powerful looking Arc de Triomph.

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Hannah arrives in Paris and we collect her from the bus and whisk to a shower

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20140624-230328-83008677.jpgBack to our little piece of paradise after collecting Hannah and making our way through the maze that is the Paris Metro.
Dinner in the Latin Quarter before rolling into bed. Just a couple of klms clocked up walking today!!

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Day 28 London – Paris

Well I have to be honest and say that I didn’t think that I would be sad to leave London. We were both initially overwhelmed by its enormity and fast paced (what seemed to be out of control) lifestyle, that had us thinking we may have been in a madhouse. Move the clock forward two weeks and we get it.
Seek and ye shall find. London, well, the UK for that matter, is made up of so much diversity. There is something for everyone. The madness becomes a part of your everyday life and is embraced. It’s charm has such historical significance and one that must be appreciated.
Yet another sunny London day. How lucky were we!
Our last breakfast at our B and B. Goodbye Polish Princess’s and the best scrambled eggs ever!
The last wash at the local laundromat while we drink espressos at the cafe and watch the filming of ‘Silent Witness’. Episode 17 or 18 for those of you that may be vaguely interested!.
Head up to St. Pancras and check our luggage in before going for a wander around the Holborn area.
We realise we haven’t had a dodgey curry since we have been here, so take the plunge. A good curry it was. Nothing like a vindaloo to get the senses going.
Our train trip to Paris goes incredibly fast and before you know it, we are standing in our apartment in St. Germain.
Have I told you before, we love Paris!!!!
It is 9.30pm and I’m starving!!! Just head to one of the restaurants below us and order what turns out to be a platter of different salamis, salad and a carafe of rose. All dam yum but realise that you should never rely on the waiter to bring a nice carafe of rose without sighting the menu. Cost more than our weeks budget. Oops. Very nice though.
Did I tell you we love Paris!!

Our last day in London and a good lie in the park

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How good is this Hotelmat St Pancras

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20140623-232630-84390469.jpgbeautiful Paris

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Day 27 London

Oh My!! It is one month since we left Australia!! What a trip we have had.
We meet Hannah at our usual spot in Hammersmith for another day of something, something.
After much discussion, it is decided we go to Regent Street. Stephen is quite happy to follow along behind us while Hannah shops for clothes that will have her looking fabulous in Paris. Hmmm, says Hannah and I. Nonetheless, we oblige and set off for the shopping precinct of London.
Once up on Regent Street, we can’t help but notice the crowds are extraordinary!!!! What the? It can’t be just the good weather?
Oh no. How about the year of the Bus Cavalcade!!
Bless, Stephen can do his sightseeing and we can shop!! Clever Man. Problem!!!
Shops do not open until 12pm on Sundays so we must be patient.

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Sale time in London sees Hannah with some great bargains. Seek and ye shall find. I can’t be bothered, nor have any room in my bag, but the sales are pretty dam good.
Meanwhile, Stephen is patiently waiting out on Regent Street, which incidentally, has been closed off in the month of July for anything celebratory. Today happens to be The London Bus.
We meet up with him and he is delighting in the fact that the bus enthusiasts are beside themselves. Quoting which bus has not been seen around for a while, blah, blah, blah. Quoting bus numbers of vehicles that are missing, etc. Very funny.
For your further edification:(
Www.busesmag.com 🙂
Some pretty spectacular sights

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Hannah leaves us so that she can catch with some workmates for a bit of a farewell drink.
We head on down to Hyde Park Corner to view some of the traditional Sunday Speakers Corner. Not before literally running into a regular customer from the cafe, Small, small world. Have a laugh and chat before setting off again.
Speakers Corner is Scarey and just a little bit depressing!! Way too much going on in this world to feel comfortable that what they are speaking about is not going to cause just a bit of local controversy. Even if they are exempt because they are standing on a box or ladder and are void from heracy and treason. You need to be 6 inches or more above the ground.
Head home via The Wellington Arch to view the Australian War Memorial.

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Last minute decision to jump on a bus to Hammersmith (because there was one there) and head back down to what is now our favourite part of London.
The weather has people out in their droves. The bus needs to be diverted because the usual route has been closed because of congestion. Amazing!!
The river paths are full of walkers, runners, bikers, picnickers, etc. etc.

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Stop in for our last drinks in a London at a couple of our favourite pubs before dinner and calling it a night.
London, you turned on the weather and for that we are grateful. Thankyou.

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Day 26 London

The weather has us wondering where we are these past few days. The sun is streaming through our bedroom window well before we are ready to get up but knowing how fickle the days can be, we make the most of the sun.
This weekend is the celebration of the Summer Solstice. To think the sun is going to set even later than usual.
One of the events on the social calendar is the 10th Birthday of ‘Westend Live’ held at Trafalgar Square. Each year all the shows that are in the Westend perform on stage for 15 minutes between 11am and 6pm.
What a great day! Jersey Boys, Mama Mia, Les Miserables to name a few. Got ourselves a spot up high and managed to hang on to it for the day. Only a couple of squealors, loud clappers and those that think it’s ok to sing along loudly, surrounding us. Nearly as bad as the crying girl at the Pink concert Dano.

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5 hours later, we head for home via the good old tube. The weather has everyone out in the streets. Incredible atmosphere. Makes us appreciate how lucky we are with our beautiful weather. Even in winter.
Those with soft top cars driving around with smiles like Cheshire cats. Can’t blame them.
Bit of a nana nap before heading off to meet Hannah for an Italian feast just down the road from us. Great house wine and even better risotto.

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Picnic in Hyde Park tomorrow xx

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