Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Today in Paris: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Today started out great! We slept well, and Mr. Early Riser even slept later than me! He was still sore this morning from walking 759 miles yesterday.

We went to find a bakery for some wonderful Parisian croissants!  They have so many options and so many pastries, it was a tough decision.  Croissants are so cheap and so good, so we went with those.  We couldn't find a coffee shop near the bakery, so we went to McDonald's.  Brad says the coffee (which was very cheap) was just as good as yesterday's cup that was at least twice as much.  The orange juice was outstanding.  (Just kidding.  It was good, but OJ is OJ.)

An "extra butter" croissant and a chocolate filled one!
It was just McDonald's, but they had fresh ground beans and a fancy cappuccino/coffee maker. 
So, that was GOOD!  The "bad and the ugly" are thankfully just one incident.  And it came pretty early on.  We got scammed out of some money!  Here is the story.

We wanted to take a train over to the Louvre to hop on our tour bus again.  There was a very nice lady near the ticket machines, wearing what looked like a Metro badge.  She asked if we needed help, we asked which train to the Louvre.  She told us which one.  We went to buy the tickets at the machine.  We decided to see about a multi day ticket since we have been using the trains a lot.  We went back to her to ask for help.  *Please note: WE went back to HER.  If you are judging us for being stupid, first, you should not do that.  Second, we asked her for help after she had left us alone* OK back to the story.  It all happened very quickly.  She punched in all the stuff, and even though she chose the French option instead of English, we could clearly see the 3 day pass for 37.50 Euros. Then when we got the credit card out, she said the credit card part was broken.  *Please note: yesterday we tried to use our card at these machines and it didn't work.  This made sense, that it was broken.  See?* She swiped a card at the machine, reached out and grabbed the tickets out of the bottom part.  Then we gave her the cash.  But I only had 35 Euros, and she was like "That's ok" and we went on our way.  Right after that, I told Brad "I feel like something just happened to us there...." and we felt uneasy.  There were no other staff people to check with.  The tickets got us on our train.  We worried all day about if they would work on our way home (Spoiler alert: they didn't.) So we had a great day anyway, which I will tell you about.  But when we wanted to come back home for awhile, the tickets wouldn't work. This station had a window with an employee, so we asked her.  What we had were single use children's tickets.  Not 3 day adult unlimited passes.  So she made about 33 Euros off of us.  UGH we feel SO stupid.  But I tell you, it all worked out so perfectly (for her) that it was making sense.  Right up until she accepted 2.70 Euros less, and then she was gone.  I mean, she even appeared to get the tickets from the dispenser.  I googled this scam and it's a thing.  A thing lots of people fall for.  Well, I need to get off this subject and get back to the many good things about today!  They far outweigh this loss.

We walked through the Louvre courtyard again.  It's so HUGE and beautiful!

We took the tour bus over to Notre Dame.  When we were here a few years ago, they had a big ceremony because they got new bells for the church.  There were bleachers set up outside and thousands of people in the church.  We went through it, but couldn't see much.  It was ridiculously crowded. This time we could see everything!  It was so beautiful. The pictures could never do it justice.  But I tried.

I have been greatly enjoying the sunshiny selfies.

After looking around inside, we decided to see if the cafe was still there where had the best crepes ever in 2013!  Guess what? IT WAS!!

Brad ordered a cappuccino.  It was fabulous!  That was whipped cream with cocoa powder...

The BEST! We wanted to share.  He wanted Nutella and banana.  I wanted lemon.  We settled for chocolate.  YUM

my view of Notre Dame from the cafe

The military (and police) walk around with rifles.  Or machine guns.  I am not good with guns.  They are big.  I remember this from our last trip as well.
Back on the bus! Now I will show some works from my photo collection called "Pretty Things in Paris"  I may or may not know what it all is, but it's all pretty!

Another sunshiny selfie

The Obelisk.  Someone gave it to some important French guy a long time ago.

We drove around the Arc de Triomphe.  It's pretty awesome!

Then a few more pretty buildings! I just love the Parisian style.

All of a sudden, the bus turned the corner and it was Eiffel Tower time!  We saw it yesterday, but that doesn't mean I didn't take a million pics of it today!!

Had to.

Now it's off to catch the boat!  Here is what it looks like: it's the one with the domed glass covering it.  We really enjoy it!

A sculpture on a bridge that we went under
It was time to find a bathroom and get some lunch!  (where DO Parisians pee, anyway? hmmm...)  We got off the boat and started walking.  We walked at least 326 miles, but it was all very pretty.

We already knew what we wanted for lunch.  We have seen little food stands with baguette sandwiches (like I had a sit-down restaurant yesterday) and we wanted to share one.  It took a bit of time to find a place.  But we found it!

We got salami, fresh mozzarella.  It was SO good.
I know you are thinking "whatever.  It's a sandwich."  NO.  If you have ever had a Parisian baguette, then you know.  You KNOW.

While we ate, there were some street musicians playing.  We loved them!

We were next to this pretty fountain.

We still needed a bathroom.  The food stand doesn't have an inside so we had to keep looking.  We went to a little restaurant so Brad could have a coffee.  I also ordered Tiramisu.  WOW.  I have had this before here and there, but never as good as this.  Exceptional!

So, that was an expensive bathroom break.  Seriously, there are no public bathrooms and even McDonald's doesn't always have one!!

Brad enjoying his tiny espresso
We walked to find the next boat tour stop to get back on.  On the way, I stopped for 15 seconds to get this photo.

It was very pretty!

Then we missed the boat by 15 seconds.  Like, we were running and Brad was waving and yelling "Hey!" but they pulled out anyway.  Dang it.  30 minutes until the next boat.  OK back up top.  Walk up another 398 steps, and about 47 more miles.

Brad caught me in a pensive moment.  Being casual.
Just kidding.  It was totally posed.  

Back on the bus and more great views!

Canadian embassy! woot
We decided to head back home after this last loop on the bus.  This time, we took a different route and went by Montparnasse, St. Germain, and some other Parisian places that kinda sounded familiar but I am not sure what they are.  It was all so pretty!

We are tired.  And we are about to find out that we do NOT have 3 day Metro tickets...

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So, yeah.  The tickets didn't work.  An employee said they are for kids.  Yep.

Made it back home and relaxed for a bit.  We found out Lainie has had some health issues.  Not life threatening but I hate that I can't be there to help.  It's frustrating and this was what gave me so much worry before we left....what if is how I roll....  Ugh.  There is literally not a darn thing we can do about it.  I have to know that she will be fine, that my mom is doing a good job handling things (whether she wants to or not...)  I have to "let go and let God" I HAVE TO.  I can't let stress ruin this once in a lifetime vacation for us.  When making myself sick will not change anything back home.  So...on with it, then.

We knew we wanted to try O'Tacos for dinner.  This is "the original French taco." We had to find out why it always had a HUGE line out the door!  It did NOT disappoint.  WOW. Seriously, I wish we had this back home!  It's fun because you choose your size, your meat type, your sauce, any extras.  We got the smallest one and it's only 5 Euros!!  A bargain.  Brad had chicken tenders with BBQ sauce (it either was the wrong sauce, or the French have no clue what BBQ sauce is.  It was good, but not BBQ) and I had ground beef with their "Biggy" sauce that is like Big Mac sauce.  They were really really delicious! They are wrapped in a tortilla, somehow made into a flat square, and grilled.

Before we knew how good they were

Hard to see....chicken strips and mystery sauce

Ground beef with Biggy sauce
Do you SEE what else is in these??? FRIES!!!  Right inside the taco!  So now I can say I love French food.  hahaha

We decided to go to the mall that is a few minutes away, just to walk around.  It turns out to be HUGE.  I have never seen anything like it.  We only went in 2 stores!  And I bought the one and only souvenir so far for someone special.  We just haven't been in any stores since getting to Europe.  Next week....  The mall even had a gym with a pool and tons of people swimming laps, and an indoor fitness course thingy.  And we saw some pool tables through a window on our way out.  Most of this mall is under ground.  Levels and levels.

On our way back, we went by the nearby Lego store.  WOW.

The best.

It's Notre Dame!

Arc de Triomphe
 All 100% Legos.  Totally cool.

We came back to our apartment kind of early, 8 pm and have just been relaxing!  We need to after so much walking.

Grand total so far:
Stairs: 4,729
Miles walked: 56,833
Miles ran, trying to catch the boat: .001 but it felt like a lot.

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