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I have just read this amusing post from my favourite blog and had to copy it here.

Kerri writes….

“I enjoy giving compliments. Firstly, it makes me feel good. Secondly, it makes the other person feel good. Thirdly, I read somewhere that giving compliments is an excellent way to Win Friends and Influence People, so it’s a win-win situation for all.

The problem is, no-one wants to accept my compliments these days.

It’s Compliment Rebuttal Syndrome, and it’s almost exclusively the province of women. Compliment a man on his appearance – even if he’s unwashed, unshaven and his gut is hanging over his pants – and he’ll respond with, “Yeah, I’ve been working out, wanna feel my pecs?”

Compliment a woman on her appearance, and she’ll expertly lob the praise away. It’s like a sport.

“Wow!” I say enthusiastically. “You’re looking great! You’ve lost weight and your new haircut is gorgeous!”

“Oh, God no,” comes the reply. “I’ve gained 17 kilos since I saw you last and my hair is a disaster!”

I understand Compliment Rebuttal because I’m a perpetrator as well as a victim. I’ve knocked back the occasional compliment in my time (and would knock back more if they were more forthcoming). Its ironic because we women crave compliments. So why do we rebut them when they come our way?

Well, the first and most obvious answer is that we don’t believe we deserve compliments. There are times, for example, when I know I look slim on the outside, but have actually disguised ten kilos of fat by cleverly folding my stomach roll into my jeans. In a situation like this, it is vital to swiftly and smoothly deflect all praise. If I accept a compliment, I will draw attention to my stomach, and risk being outed as a fraud.

Then, of course, there is simple modesty. On those rare occasions when everything comes together – good hair day, nice outfit, managed not to smudge the mascara – it would be the height of arrogance to admit I’m looking good. So, if someone throws a compliment my way, I conscientiously throw up my hands to protest. The last thing I’d want to do is appear conceited.

On other occasions, Compliment Rebuttal is compassionate in nature. The reasoning goes like this: If I accept a compliment for, say, my lovely unlined brow, then I am highlighting by comparison the deeply furrowed brow of my Complimenter. The considerate thing to do is to vehemently reject the praise, thus reassuring the Complimenter that I am just as hideously wrinkled as them.

Compliment Rebuttal can also be very competitive. By accepting a compliment, I am admitting to the Complimenter that I am, indeed, as attractive as they think I am. And by doing that, I run the risk that the Complimenter will rise up and meet my standards. They may go on a diet, start working out, buy some new clothes, or get a really great haircut – and if everyone did that, well, I just wouldn’t look as special anymore. Better to pretend I’m not looking good and lull them into a false sense of security. That way they’ll keep on eating and wearing crap clothes, and never get slim and attractive like me.

Still, despite the tremendous difficulties involved, I think I’m going to keep on complimenting. It may be a thankless task, but I’m a generous, selfless, gracious kind of girl.

But if you tell me I am, I’ll deny it with every fibre of my being.

Day 7 – Paris to London

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Up early, keen to be on our way. It was raining. The weather up to this point had been perfect, Our last breakfast, oh how we loved those breakfasts. I think they were on Justin’s list of the best things about Paris!

We metro’d it to the train station Gare du Nord (meaning Station of the World) where we were catching the Eurostar. We had to fill in all the customs and immigration forms, present our passports for stamping, were questioned about our stay in London and then let though. Into Duty Free! Yippee ky ay – my kind of shopping!! I bought some Perfume and some Paris coasters and a few nibbles for the train ride.

The train itself was nice. I had a nap so it seemed quite quick. In 2 hours we were there, flashing past the English countryside, rain streaming down and then at the station St Pancras International (or pancreas as Justin kept calling it). Kings Cross Staion is just next door and that is where our hotel was, so we nipped out the door, up the road and we were there. Damn this rain! We put our bags up into the room (up 7 of the narrowest and steepest stair cases in the world) and decided we’d find a map and get sightseeing. The rain put us off a bit, so we thought we’d go to Madame Toussauds and wait the rain out. We lined up for ages before we got to the door and there was a sign that said “60 minutes from this point”. OMG you have to be joking??? I kept thinking it couldn’t possibly take that long, but it did. Nearly 2 hours in that bloody line all up. It had better be worth it!

It was. It was fun and funny and a good way to spend a cold, wet Monday afternoon. I don’t know where these photos are but I had my picture taken with the Pope, Robbie Williams, Diana, Miley Cyrus, Brad and Angelina, Beyonce, John Howard and many others. it was cool.

After a few hours there we jumped on a red bus (yes, a proper red double decker bus) and went where it went, which fortunately was past Harrods. We jumped off here of course and went inside to live the magic and mystery of the worlds most famous Department Store. It lived up to it’s reputation. The food hall was spectacular – we could have stayed in there for ages. I wanted to buy lots of things, but there are so many restrictions about what you can bring back into Australia that it just wasn’t worth the hassle. We went up to the kids toys floor, where we were dazzled by every toy, book and kid gadget you can imagine. We bought some things for the kids, were served by a girl from Adelaide (!) who gave us extra bags for each child. Bless.

We did a bit more shopping and browsing up Oxford Street (Marks and Spencer I love you) before trying out the Tube to get back to the Hotel Being very confident with the Paris Metro I thought it would be easy, but it proved beyond our tired and frazzled mind, and we got entirely lost.

For dinner that night we went to a local Chinese restaurant, set out a plan of attack for the next day, then hit the sack. The weather was a downer, the hotel room was not a great as the Paris one (I’m sure that if I stretched out my arms I could touch both walls of our room), but we were happy to be in London at long last. It was going to be great!!

Day 6 Paris (our last day- sad!)

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Every first Sunday of the month, the museums of Paris are open free of charge. Bingo, today was the day. Justin hadn’t seen the Louvre and I thought that he couldn’t come all this way and not go there, so that was our first destination today. The line up was massive, but quick moving and once inside it is just so huge that it wouldn’t looked packed out if there were a million people in there (I may be exaggerating a bit!). We meandered around, and followed the throng of people, who like me a few days before, just wanted to see The Mona Lisa. This time there was a big crowd in there. He seemed rather nonplussed about it all. Not gushing, not amazed, not enthralled, not nothing. Such a boy! I pointed out a few other famous things , and then we went over to another wing, where Napoleons apartments were. These are all set up in the way that they were when he lived there. Lavish, extravagant and over the top as usual! Justin really liked this part and we spent a long time in that area.

I was keen to get on. This being our last day i wanted to see some markets and also get out to Sacre Coeur (Sacred Heart Basilica). These were both out in the same general direction, so we Metro’d it out to Marche aux Puces de St Ouen (like the Queen Victoria Markets in Melbourne) in the Montmartre district. I bought some jewellery, but everything else was pretty much your standard market kind of stuff, so we left there and headed to Sacre Coeur. We emerged from the metro not knowing which direction we were supposed to go, so followed the throng of tourists and came through a bustling sidestreet market face to face with the impressive Basilica on the hill. We grabbed our standard baguette and drink for lunch, and sat down on the Lawns just watching the people stream by. We were also once again mesmerised by the Touts and gypsies who are standing at about a metre apart all selling the same thing. How they make any money with this level of competition is beyond me.

After lunch we climbed up all the steps to the front of the church and relished the view. Stunning to see Paris this way, so flat and white. I love it. Inside the Basilica was ornate and ethereal. No photos, not hats and this was enforced y some scary guards at the doors. We sat down to take in the moment. It is said that since it’s consecration, there has not been a broken prayer (a perpetual prayer cycle) in there. Amazing stuff.

We caught the funicular railway down the hill to save our sorry little legs the walk. It was an amazing place.

From here we caught the metro a few stops then went in search of a little cafe that Justin was desperado to see. A tiny out of the way place made famous by the movie “Amelie”. We found it without getting too lost and sat down to a Iced coffee and Creme Broulee (when in France……). There was Amelie paraphernalia all over the place. It is clear that they thrive on the tourists unrelenting thirst for anything celebrity! Guilty!! Loved it, loved the atmosphere, loved the food.

We headed back into town and decided to eat a a local French Restaurant near the Hotel. Great service, fab food and a band to entertain us. Really enjoyed our last meal in Paris. The whole time has been the most incredible experience. Never thought I’d do it this way, so am very grateful that we were given the opportunity.

I fell in love with Paris this week.

Day 5 Paris

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I was really looking forward to this day, mainly because Justin was now with me to share the experience, but also because we were doing the Bike Ride tour. I’d booked this weeks before at Lin’s recommendation and it was totally brilliant and one of, if not the highlight of the entire trip. Big call – but it lived up to all my expectations.

Our meeting point was at the South Pillar of the Eiffel tower. Excitement number 1. We hadn’t yet been up close to the tower, only passed it on the bus tour on our first day. It was huge and the elevators were zipping up and down. It really was something spectacular to see. It was only ever meant to be a temporary structure, as the gateway to the World Show of 1889, but it became an icon and hence, never pulled down.

So we met up with our tour guides from Fat Tire Bike Tours, went to gather our bikes and we were soon on our way. Paris is very flat so the ride was easy. We stopped every so often for an informative talk about a building or a landmark. Our guide, Ned, was funny and charming and excellent at his job. He really made it great. There are some photos of this ride on Flickr here, but Justin also took video which is very funny.

Riding around the cobblestone roads was jiggly and getting over the main roads was daunting but thrilling once we were safe. Paris is fast and bumper to bumper, but the roads are fairly wide and they are safe drivers, so we were never really in that much danger! If you are ever in Paris, you have to do the Bike tour. Great fun.

That took 4 hours all up so in the afternoon we strolled though the back streets and made our way to the river where we caught a Cruise of the Seine. Loved this too. The views from the water were terrific and because we’d had a week to work our way around, we were familiar with the sites and to see them from a new vantage point was great. It also meant we could sit down for an hour or so! Justin took so many photos we ran out of space on the memory stick!

After this we walked upriver and passed the Tunnel where Diana’s car crashed in 1997. There was no official memorial but all over the façade were messages to her and Dodi, poems and phrases and pictures, and lots of site seers, like us, who just wanted a sticky beak. I had my photo taken there – is that ghoulish?? I told you I was having a Diana Fest!

It was late afternoon by this stage so we headed back to the hotel, got something totally takeawayish for dinner and I went straight to sleep. A brilliant, but exhausting day, to say the least.


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Before I get into more of the Paris trip had to note down what we did on the weekend.

Justin and I took Holly, Meg and Addie (from next door) to Wagga for the Regional Championships of Physical Culture. They love this dance class and Meg and Holly were in the teams section as well as competing individually. We hit the road on Saturday afternoon arriving at Wagga in time for a swim at the motel and then out to dinner. We had to be at the designated meeting spot at 7.30am the next day for hair and makeup (which is very low key compared to other dance competitions!).

Meg’s team was up 4th and they did a good routine and came equal 3rd (very diplomatic of the judges there!). Holly’s team was a bit later on and they had 6 teams in their section. Holly was the team leader and did a great job, but the standard was very high and they missed out on a place.

The individual sections started with the 5 yrs, then an hour or so later Meg and Addie danced in the 6yrs. I don’t think Meg really realised that this was a serious competition. She strolled around in her marching bit, and was really relaxed while dancing. Hence, neither she or Addie made the final. They did get a medal for participation, so that was good enough for them.

By the time Holly’s section began everyone was exhausted. She danced with about 50 other girls in 3 groups, then they mixed them all up and had to dance again in another 3 groups. She did very well, gaining precision and experience with each dance. Then they took all 50 girls out and chose the top 15 to dance again in the final. When they march in it is a surprise to see who got into that final and I was really hoping Holly did, but i couldn’t be sure. Anyway, last girl out was my beaming daughter. I could tell she was so thrilled with herself. She couldn’t wipe the smile off her face. She did a flawless routine and I was so proud of her. The judges obviously couldn’t pick a top 5 because they asked them to do it again ad Holly made a little mistake. Bugger!! The upshot of it all was that she didn’t make the top 5. This is ok, because it is a privilege to be in the final at all, and this is her first ever comp and also because the National Championships are in Sydney in a few weeks time and I don’t think Justin or I could have sat through that repetitive music so soon after this!!

We are so proud of the girls. They did a great job and I think Holly grew as a dancer from the experience. She took on board that others were better then her, and she improved herself because of it.

We didn’t get home till about 8.30pm Sunday night so the girls stayed home on Monday to have a rest and recuperation day. I needed it too. My goodness I was totally exhausted. They have taken their medals to school for news today, so no doubt more glory will be bestowed upon them. They love it!!

Day 4

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I have to admit I dragged my heels somewhat this morning. The thought of another entire day without speaking to someone was getting me down a little. I was perked up however at the prospect of seeing the Louvre which was first on the agenda today. Once again I did my metro thing and got to the glass pyramid nice and early before the crowds. In my haste to get in, get the audio tour and get to the Mona Lisa, I forgot to pick up a map. I found someone’s discarded one after faffing my way around for a bit and getting totally lost, however the map was in Italian which really did not help me one iota. I followed the signs till I reached the Grand Hall and turned the corner to see her for the first time. There was no-one there so I had a full few minutes of her all to myself – me and Mona – and I shed a tear. I really did! I kind of felt like this was the pinnacle of the trip, the most famous thing that I had come to see. The girls and I had talked about it a lot and they knew that I was going to see this amazing painting by Leonardo Da Vinci. So, I really did feel awash with emotion as well as sad that I was alone and not able to share it with someone.

The people were filing in now, so it was a good time to go have a look around, and see some more of the most famous museum in the world. It is so massive that it would take nine months to glance at everything they have on display. Napoleon once lived in the westwing and before him it lay derelict and home to squatters and mice. The floor was creaky but intricately laid with parquetry and it was fascinating. The whole experience was fascinating. I was fairly exhausted after walking around it for a few hours, so sat and had a quick coffee while contemplating my next move. At the table next to me where some distinct Aussie voices. Usually I would ignore them, but having been denied conversation over the past few days I jumped into chat to them. They were Maureen and Joe from Melbourne and had arrived the same day as us. An elderly couple, they were on their were on their own, not with a tour, and having a happy wandering time. It was 50yrs ago that Maureen was last in Paris. We exchanged a few things about what we had seen and where we were going and she said they were off to Moulin Rouge that night. We were too so in parting I jokingly said “Might see you there amongst the 500 other people tonight!! Hahaha, bye”.

I then made my way to the Rodin Gardens, where I saw “The Thinker” and “The Kiss” and had a nice stroll amongst the pretty trees and flowers there. From there I caught the Metro to a little street famed for it’s Markets, rue Cler, and it was quaint and delightful. I had a delicious baguette for lunch, bought some French chocolate and watched the style go by.

To be honest i cannot remember what i did for the rest of the day. Might have to have a look at the photos to rejig the old memory. I know there was a lot of walking, probably not more museums (I am a little overdone with the museum thing), more train rides, more shopping most likely.

When Justin got home, we got dolled up, went to a nearby pub and had a quick dinner before getting to Moulin Rouge. We got the wrong train at this point, then had to get off and get onto the right one, which made us just a bit late for our 8.30pm deadline. We rushed in there, quite amazed at the number of doormen and how they passed us from one point to another, instead of just telling us to do directly to the coat counter! Anyway, we finally got in and there were literally 500+ people there. Some had the dinner and show, they were down the front, but we were up in the stalls, so were shown to our seats at a table to 6 where there were already 4 other people there. A couple from England and a couple from Ireland. We got to talking and they were all fun people. We had a bottle of champagne to get us in the mood and them the show began.

It was great music, great singling, fabulous costumes and awesome dancing. It was a great show in every respect and i am so glad that we decided to go see it. The topless stuff from the girls was tasteful and not revolting porno, I wouldn’t be horrified if one of my girls told me in 15 yrs time that they were joining the show! They were all tall and leggy and gorgeous. Just like my girls!!

And who was at the next table????? Maureen and Joe! I was talking to them on the way out and Justin was like “Who the hell do you know here?”. Funny.

So we loved Moulin Rouge (means the ‘Red Windmill’). It was a highlight for sure. Too bad we couldn’t take photos in there. Anyway, back home for another super sleep ready to take on Saturday, but this time with my partner in crime. Yay!!!

day 3

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It doesn’t really get very light till after 7.30am, and so we enjoyed lingering over the buffet breakfasts at the hotel . Coffee, croissents, bagguettes, ham and cheese, yoghurt, juice and fruit. And no children to have to wipe up after, gather drinks for or argue with. Very pleasant all round.

My agenda today was to get to Versailles as early as possible to avoid the crowds and queues. Got my train and changed over to the country line and it took about 45 mins to got there. Pretty town and a nice walk from the station to the Royal Palace built by Louis the 14th. You can’t miss it. Gold gold and more gold greets your eyes. Part of the palace was under restoration (as if most of Paris), but I went in, purchased my ticket in French, and then made my way to the start of the tour to get my Audio Guide. These were great and I managed to get them wherever I went. As I was alone and there are no free guided tours they were good to tap into the historic facts, otherwise I would not have known what was what.

I think the things that amazed me the most was the lavish and exorbitant accessories. These people must have been seriously rich, but the country was poor, so i can just imagine why the Revolution occurred! Built by Louis 13th as a summer home and hunting grounds, it was expanded by Louis 14th who bought the entire government to work there, and Louis 15th lived there till the revolution. Opulence is the word of the day here. Everything is over the top and extravagant, but beautiful and amazing all the same. The gardens were gorgeous and I had a long walk around the many acres of it. ‘Tis a lonely world in the eyes of a solo traveller and I was starting to feel the pinch, so I headed back into Versailles and window shopped, ate pastries and drank coffee while watching the French go by. I got my train back into Paris, did a bit more window gawking/meandering around in the sidestreets till late in the afternoon then went back to the hotel to wait for Justin to get home. After a quick nap he was home and hustling me to get ready to go out with the boys.

His course group were a funny lot. 2 Belgians, a Spaniard and the French Teacher. After drinking the hugest beers I have ever seen, we made our way to a French Restaurant where we sat inside away from the passing public. The menu was entirely in French and a few blackboard specials were mentioned, so I just said I would have one of those. The French teacher was trying to translate the meal, and was like…”Ow you say….it is Son of Cow”. Meaning Veal! How I laughed, ordered in anyway and it was delicious. After dinner we went to a bar had a few more drinks and took our weary feet home at nearly midnight. Those Belgians were so funny and Justin really had a great rapport with them. It was a fun experience.

Next up Friday, Day 4….

Day 2

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Justin was highly nervous letting me go off on my own on the first day. I was hen pecked with instructions about crossing the street, flashing my cash around and being safe on Metro. I was keen to head off so we parted ways, he to the Course and me to the big wide world.

I had a bit of a plan about what I wanted to see so I metro’d it first off to Notre Dame. Inside was quite amazing with the windows and architecture. I lit a candle and prayed for the health and safely of my whole family (in-laws too!!). I would have to get some kudos for praying inside Notre Dame!!

Next I headed further afield on the metro to St Sulpice. This was the church in The Da Vinci Code where the albino monk found the rose line and smashed open a bit of it to reveal a secret box. So I was keen to have a look at this little church. Well it was actually HUGE and very run down, but in the midst of renovation (like half of Paris). Mass was on, so I subtly found my rose line, took a photo and had a little browse around then left. Back onto the Metro (I bought a 3 days visitors pass which allowed me unlimited metro and bus use. I totally got my money’s worth) and the next stop on my agenda was Musee d’Orsay.

This museum in housed in the old train station, so it is massive and it has a lot of wonderful pieces of art. I have a confession to make…I really only wanted to see things that were famous. Sure I looked at stuff it it took my fancy, but to be honest, I just wanted to see the things that I had only ever seen in books before, by the well-known artists. So I headed up to the top floor which is where the Impressionists section was and I saw some works by Renoir, Degas Monet, Mattisse and Van Gough. Did take some photos, but Justin has got hold of them all in the depth of his lap top. Shall make a note to get them!

Spent a good while looking through here, then went for a long round-about walk trying to find the next place on my agenda, Musee de l’Orangerie. This looks quite modern on the inside, but it was made especially to house Monet’s massive paintings in the waterlily series in 1927. In two oval rooms, there are 8 of these waterlily scenes, about 12 feet long each and curved to fit in the space. It was quite amazing, as each one depicted Monet’s beloved garden at different times of the day, so the light shades were different and really beautiful.

After meandering though there, I made my way up into the city, accidentally walking past the Ritz (where Diana was last seen alive. I was having a bit of a Diana memory fest this trip. More on that later!). This part of the city was glamorous and expensive, but I was loving it. The French woman are so gorgeous without even having to try, so I was breathing in their perfection, hoping some of it might absorb into me! I was heading in the direction of another museum, Musee du Parfum where I was promised by the brochure that all the perfume secrets of the world would be revealed. Yeah, nope. There was no-one there, everything was in French, there was no guide, so that was a flop. I headed out, wanting to do a bit of my-kind-of-budget shopping, so went in search of Galeries Layafette and La Printemps. Both extremely large department stores, I’m talking 3 blocks with entire levels just of shoes. Impressive! At the top of Printemps you can grab a coffee, and sit on the roof, overlooking Paris. This was my first aerial view, so I was delighted to eat my cake and sip my Cafe o lait there. I bought shoes, gloves, a scarf, earrings, tried on some clothes but rejected those and generally had a fun time.

Coming out of there I unknowingly stepped into a crime scene. The entire intersection was taped off, police were everywhere and a lone white van was parked in the middle. There were onlookers 5 people deep and I was thinking that this was probably not the best place for me to be right now. I was high tailing it out of there when there was a huge blast. I didn’t stick around to find out what it was, but I imagine they were diffusing a suspicious looking package in the white van. Justin was alarmed when I retold this story later on. He hoped I wasn’t running away from the scene too fast so as to cause suspicion that I was the white van bomber!

I was pretty pooped by this time, so I decided to head back to the Hotel and wait for Justin to come home. I was on the train line that ended at the Cemetery, Cimetiere du Pere Lachaise, and a few people had told me to get there if I could. So as an afterthought I did go there and it was amazing. It was very large, and just…well… there. Right in the middle of the busy town area, opposite houses etc. I suppose it was once on the outskirts of town, but now the town is built all around it. Famous people at this cemetery are Jim Morrison (photo of this one to come!), Chopin, Oscar Wilde and Victor Noir. It is said that expectant mothers stroke Noir’s bronze effigy (it really is a life size him on the top of his grave) in the hope to conceive. Well I am not hoping to conceive but I did stroke him (!) and chanted my dear friends name over and over in the hope that SHE finally falls pregnant.

From the cobbled village of the Cemetery I headed back to the Hotel, had a quick nap and waited for Justin to come back. When he did, I chewed his ear off telling him all the things I done and seen during the day, then dragged him back out, back onto my friend the Metro and towards Tour Montparnasse.

We ate underneath the 56 storey tower at a quaint cafe, where all the tables and chairs out the front faced the street. I guess this is so we could watch the people go by and they could watch us having a delectable meal. It was like this at all the little street cafes. Amusing! We had a great pizza and a beer or two, then went up an extremely fast elevator to the top floor and THE best view in Paris. It was daylight, but getting to dusk and then went dark, so the images we saw of the city were just incredible. The Eiffel tower was sparkling with thousands of fairy lights and a laser beam shooting off into the sky. Magic. I could have stayed there for hours.

We had a great sleep that night. Double glazing and very dark curtains are conducive to a good slumber. Happy days!

Day 1

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Firstly, saying goodbye to the children was harder than I thought it would be. They were so excited to be going on their holiday with Nanna and Pa that saying goodbye to me, and putting up with my blubbering was an inconvenience! But I just had to get that last hug and last kiss in case….well you know………

Day one was actually spent on the plane for 23 hours. A stop over in Bangkok at the hugest airport I have ever seen. We had no money but spent some time wandering around looking at the shops and catching our breath after being sent though customs. I’m sure that the Thai people are lovely, but they sound aggressive and intimidating. As I placed my bag on the x-ray scanner and was ordered though the metal detector I was thinking about Nicole Kidman in The Bangkok Hilton and praying that I didn’t have drugs planted on me! I was truly sweating and found that experience quite overwhelming. What a novice traveller!!

The next plane was from Bangkok to Paris, a 12 hour stint that I wasn’t much looking forward to. However, luck was on our side as there was no-one in the row in front of us, so I scooted in there and we had 4 seats each to lie down and sleep. This was the best thing that could have happened as we did sleep a lot and eventually arrived in Paris at 7am feeling rather OK.

Sortie – this was the first French word I learnt. It means Exit and it would come to be our friend and foe over the coming weeks. At the Paris airport we were herded out and passports were stamped without much fuss or fanfare. We decided to catch the train into the city and find our hotel from there. We got some Euro from the ATM, bought a ticket and marvelled at how clever we were to get this far without incident! That is when we got our bags caught in the turnstiles and our tickets were used but we were still on the outside. We had to jump over the turnstiles like Parisian fare evaders, scuttle on to the train and pretend like everything was normal. Welcome to Paris.

At our city stop, Chatelet, we connected with our next train to Republique and emerged from the depths of the underground to our new home. Place de Republique. After getting our bearings (this happened everytime I came up from the Metro. There are so many exits that I was never sure where I would come up) we found the hotel and put our bags there as it was too early to check in. What to do next??? Hmmm…..Justin wanted to take a walk around the area, but this was too aimless for me. I wanted to get into the city to see some stuff. We headed back onto the Metro and back to Chatelet where we emerged in the centre of the city. We walked along the Seine for awhile then headed into the grounds of the Louvre. That amazing glass pyramid met our eyes and we fell in love with Paris. As this was a Tuesday the Louvre was closed and so at that point we decided to get on the Sightseeing Bus and have a rest while we could get a grip on the city and learn some things along the way. This was a great decision because it allowed us to navigate our way and help us decided where we wanted to go back to in the coming days. Highlights: Arc de Triomphe – what a crazy round about. No marked lanes, give way to cars coming onto the roundabout, vehicles going in every direction and yet they knew what they were doing! Champs Elysees was impressive with all it’s tress and fancy shops, but I didn’t go back there. La Madeleine – Roman looking Cathedral for Mary Magdalene, Eiffel Tower of course. Notre Dame and the Hotel Invalides. We learnt a lot about the history of these places while on that bus, sitting on the top level out in the sunshine with people from all over the world all around us! So many tourists, but no problems with them. Just a problem with Justin and the Hotel guy. When we got back to there after our day out and about, I had misplaced the tickets for our bags that we had left at the hotel. He wouldn’t give them over to us without the tickets. Even though the bags had our names on them and we had out ID with us. Justin nearly punched the guy though the wall. He reluctantly gave them to us and we skedaddled out of there before it got messy. Up a very narrow winding staircase was our room. Our tiny room. But it was comfortable and clean and that was all we needed after a very long day. I think we went out for dinner that night or maybe we went to the local patisserie and in very bad French ordered some food, but were so tired fell asleep really early in prep for Day 2. Justin’s first day of the course, and my first day alone in a strange city.

More to come…..

Confessions of a Traveller

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Note that after this first ever trip overseas I am classing my self as a “traveller”!!

Been back for a week now and I am still having dreams that I am sightseeing and taking photos and memorising the Metro lines. I have just stopped waking up wondering where I am. Didn’t have jet lag, but maybe this is my body’s way of re-adjusting itself.

So I plan to do a run down of the holiday each day so that I can remember what we did. It is already fading so better get into it. Will start with day one Paris tomorrow but today just some funny anecdotes about travelling…

-fly Thai airways on a Monday. We had a row each (4 seats) and could lie down and sleep the whole way! Arrived fresh as a daisy!!

– don’t go to the toilet during turbulence.

– I love aeroplane food. There I said it. I also love hospital food!

– standing under the air conditioner is not an effective way to dry your hair (hence the hat in the photos).

– buying stamps in Paris is impossible if you don’t have an English speaking teller.

– 10 pounds equals about 500 Baht (Thai dollar). This does not mean you are now rich.

– a little French girl chasing her dad calling “Papa Papa” is possibly the cutest thing I have ever heard.

– Aussie accents stand out like a sore thumb (sometimes this is good and sometimes bad).

– it is very easy to get lost in the Louvre, twice (ie, one day by myself and the other day with Justin).

– too many baguettes, croissants and icecreams in 2 weeks can easily undo months of running training.

– being in Paris during Fashion Week makes you feel like an ugly sister at the Ball, no matter how great you thought you looked when you stepped out of the hotel that morning.

– riding a bike through the traffic of Paris is exhilarating and an absolute must if you ever go there.

– wifi is the greatest invention, then skype, then hotels who wire it all properly so it works everytime.

– there are a lot of boobs on show at Moulin Rouge. Mental note to self, get a new bra….

– walking in the steps of Kings and Queens and being in the most historical places makes me very nostalgic and goose bumpy.

– It rains a lot in London.

– it seemed quicker to get home. Had a row of sets each again so sleep was good.

– seeing my children at the airport as we arrive home makes me cry.

Till the next instalment…..