Posted in 2018, Aging, Airplane, firstfridays, humor, London, Paris, Travel, Uncategorized, Yes

2018 Year-End Review

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How do these things sneak up on us, another year in the record books and I have not broken any record or shattered anything.

I had 2 “big” trips this year and a few small ones. It felt like the travel gods were on some other path than mine.  In the spring I did go to London and the timing worked out great for the royal wedding.  I was lucky enough to be on the grounds of Windsor Castle during the wedding and saw close up the carriage with the newlyweds go right past us.

Then recently I was in Paris for a few days and mostly had a great time.  I have been lucky enough to have visited both of these cities previously but did find new and exciting things to see and do.

For the most part, those were the 2 major unique events that happened this year.  As is prone to happen people are born and die.  I have a new great-grandson born earlier this year, that makes 3 great-grands so far.   I lost a second cousin, much too young, this year and a few friends.  I was able to reconnect with a couple of old friends and spend some time rehashing much older days.  I participated in a craft show for the first time in almost 10 years and certainly enjoyed that.

Not to appear like a slug for most of the year, I have been spending a great deal of time with my grand and great-grand daughters.  One is hard at work in her college program and one is 9 and in 4th grade.  My involvement is to make sure the little one gets on and off the bus and has homework finished and helping out with cooking some meals for the family.  It’s amazing how much time that can consume.

This will continue in 2019 since this is the last semester of my granddaughters college degree.  She may decide to go for post-graduate studies, but after tough study and work and home commitments she will take a couple of years off. (She is also planing her wedding in 2019, busy lady.)

For next year, I have put 2 more countries back on my travel wish list, they have been for many years and I really hope to get to them.  I can’t wait to see what my grand is doing with her life and career and what level of commitment she may need next year.

At my age it is always time to ramp up the exercise and cardio so I can be the  active gram out on the dance floor, not the one looking for paramedics.  Trying to get back to some of my favorite cities to visit and find one or two new ones.  Take a course in college for anything, just to make sure the gears are all still turning. Oh, I also want a new tattoo or two.  Not a super long list, but I know from experience things pop up to change my direction.

 

 

 

Posted in 2018, Aging, Crayola 120 day challenge, humor, Paris, Travel, Uncategorized

Paris Rip Off 2018

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I was fortunate enough to spend several days in Paris recently,  this was before all the disturbances began.  This was not my first trip there and I felt reasonably comfortable trying to navigate leaving the airport and buying tickets for the subway system.  A helpful gentleman working at the airport directed me to another type of ticket.  This was good for 1 week and valid on subway, buses and trains throughout Paris.  Would reasonably get me from the airport to our hotel and everywhere we wanted to tour.

So we happily purchased the tickets and proceeded to board the next train bound for the city center towards our hotel.  About halfway there the train stopped and they announced something in French which I could not understand.  Then required all of the passengers to disembark.  That train left with a number of announcements happening.  Another train sitting on the next track was beginning to fill up, so we thought with these great tickets let’s get on.  A half hour later no movement and people starting to disembark. As a side note, it was raining the entire time but not cold enough to turn the rain to snow as it was when we landed.

We determined staying was not the best answer so we left the station to find a bus.  It was going to take 2 buses, but that was OK since our passes covered it.  Both buses were packed to the brim and standing room only with our luggage, but after a couple of hours we got there and checked in to the hotel.

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Changed  shoes, refreshed and no luggage to take along we set out.  First stop was food and there were so many choices we just opted for the closest place.  Cell phones are both a blessing and a curse and we used one to help navigate.  Taking a subway to get to the Arc de Triomphe so we have a beautiful view of all of Paris.  We again opted for a bus for a portion of the travel since we could see all the streets and decorations and the beautiful  buildings.

Success.  We arrive and see lots of people at the base of the Arc, then a band starts playing the French national anthem.  We get to the base and see a very large military presence and lots of flowers by the eternal flame so something honoring or commemorating someone just happened. It is a lot to take in.  Next the hike to the top, 11 flights of stairs.  We see the Eiffel Tower all lit up with Christmas lights and the view is breathtaking.

Leaving we decide the subway is the best option and using our passes we go through the turn-style and towards our train.  There are 3 people in street clothes asking to see everyone’s pass so we show them ours and the guy said where is your picture and takes it right out of my hand.  I said what are you talking about, he said you needed to have a picture taken and put on the pass within 1 hour of purchase.  First we were told about this.  Upshot is he is looking for more than the purchase price of the ticket from each of us.  I am getting louder and louder, this sounds like the biggest scam ever.  I am not being friendly or polite or nice in any capacity.  He is not convincing me.  It takes all three of them non-stop  talking , a French girl crying because she was grabbed also, me shouting about being robbed in front of everyone, they kept saying we will call the police and we said OK bring them here.

End of story we paid the outrageous fee.  As I did curse their miserable lives to their faces, not good, and so out of character for me.  Back at the hotel we go online and find out this is a common thing and has been going on for a while.

Next morning ignoring what they told us we ask the front desk about the picture and they direct us to a store nearby.  Turns out the pictures are from a photo booth, but must be a very tiny size, so I now am the proud owner of 14 pictures I will never use.  Whole situation really turned me off on going to France.  Not a cheap transportation method,  it will be a very long time before I go back, if ever.  How sad.