Wow – can’t believe I’ve been back home almost 2 weeks already!
One thing’s for sure – it was a great trip to Europe.
So, Part 2…
We flew to Paris on Monday, the 31st. We took a late flight cause I thought we’d be cooked from the RKC. I was pretty close to right.
Again, my lovely wife picked the hotel – Hotel Grand Leveque – on Rue Cler, which is a famous market street in Paris. This time, she struck gold! Two words – “Nutella Crepes.” Every night for dessert or second dessert. Very tasty!
Here’s a pictur of Rue Cler.
Lots of good food. Apparently, the best seafood in all of Paris is found here. We, however, didn’t have any cause there wasn’t any food allowed in the rooms. (Trying getting crab smell out of the carpet…)
You’ll notice there are a lot of people in the pic and they’re all doing one thing – walking.
Walking, Stairs, Hills, Walking, and Walking Some More…
We walked everywhere. And I mean everywhere. I think we walked across the city. Tuesday, we walked.
We went to L’Arc de Triumphe.
We went to Le Tour Eiffel.
We went all over.
And we walked. (We took the Metro a couple of times, but I’m sure that was for the sake of expediency.) Anyway, I had my new pair of Sanuks on and my feet felt great.
There was one day I wore my Chuck Taylor’s and the feet felt, well, ok at best. (No, I didn’t see any Vibrams while I was there.)
Wednesday was Museum Day.
We went to the Rodin museum first thing.
Then we went to Musee D’Orsay and saw all the Impressionists.
Then we went to the Louvre.
Of course we ate first.
Here’s a little pic.
Yup – had to go for it – the ol’ raw meat platter. Seriously. Little slices of thinly sliced beef laid out nicely on a plate topped with some leafy greens topped with a nice balsamic vingarette. On top of that was some thinly sliced pieces of fresh parmesan. (Can you tell I enjoyed it?)
After we hit the Lovre, we were of course hungry. The portions in Paris are not large – at least by American standards. And so consequently, I was always hungry. Fortunately, I brought protein shakes with me. (What, you don’t? Maybe you should start…) Unfortunately, I didn’t have one with me post-Louvre. So I settled for a baguette with 3, yes, 3 little pieces of chicken and some mustard on it. We sat on the lawn outside the Louvre, where I ate, and promptly fell asleep for 30 minutes.
I don’t remember what we did that evening besides eat. Of course, the highlight by far of each day was eating dinner. In case you don’t know it or haven’t heard it, the French, no matter what anyone says, are excellent cooks. The food is just great.
As I mentioned before, the portions are small.
But the quality is very high. There’s a BIG difference in taste between a French steak (I’m sure of this because I ate on every night) and an American steak. In my opinion, the French steak tastes better. Very similar to American grass-fed beef – high in taste, low in fat.
Thursday, we went to Versailles. This, as far as I know, is the largest Royal Palace ever built. And it is maginficent! It was built by Louis XIV, the “Sun King,” to show his subjects how to live – to lead by example so-to-speak. It was funny, because Courtney said we didn’t have time in her intinerary to see Versailles, but I insisted and it was her favorite part of the trip!
Here’s a picture of Versailles from the front. It was taken from the gates.
It doesn’t even give you an idea about just how large and beautiful it was.
And it was on something like a million acres! Or close anyway. Seriously, it had these HUGE gardens with canals (yes, to mimic Venice – I kid you not) and get this – not one, but two “spare” palaces where the king and queen (one for each of them) lived when they weren’t in the “main” palace!
Rough life, being a King.
So we left Versailles and got back into town around 4pm and went up to the Sacre Coeur – or “Sacred Heart” cathedral that sits on top of a hill overlooking Paris. It’s absolutely gorgeous.
We also grabbed our fanciest dinner this night. We ate in a little place that was one of the last two windmills in Paris, besides the Moulin Rouge (Moulin means “windmill.”) The food was great and the wine even better.
Speaking of wine, I don’t think I’ve ever drunk (drank?) as much wine as I did in Paris. The French are known for their wines and now I can see why. Incredibly delicious. I think we made it home about Midnight or thereabouts after going back to the Sacre Coeur and watching the sun set over Paris. Beautiful.
Friday, well we got up late and were just spent from three days of walking. So we just hacked around and drank lots of espresso. Well, that’s not quite true – Courtney wanted a picnic so we got a loaf of bread, some salami, and some cheese, and of course some wine, and trekked over to the Luxembourg Gardens and ate over there. We just sat around for a couple of hours and people watched.
Now what I’m about to say may seem kind of weird, but here it goes anyway –
I think the French may have a lot of life figured out. More so than we Americans.
Yes, I know they’re primarily a Socialist country (for the record – I am not a Socialist) but this whole work 35 hours a week maximum and take six weeks of vacation off a year might be worth looking into. The French definitely seem more relaxed and have a higher overall “quality of life” than we do. We tend to work our butts off and when we do take time off, we are too tired to enjoy ourselves. They on the other hand, seem to move at a slower pace, and it seems to work for them – at least on the surface.
So why do I recount in great detail my trip to Europe?
Well, because I think we all need some time off now and then.
Elite American powerlifters in the 1980s used four 12 week training cycles each year, taking four weeks off a year. I think it’s worth remembering that we gain strength, or realize the gains in our strength, after a small layoff. It just makes us stronger.
Next time, Normandy.