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Off to France, Switzerland and the UK with Granddaughter, July 2022

Georgia & Zig

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Off to France with granddaughter​

Tuesday, July 5– Wednesday, July 6, 2022​

Our Daughter Jenny gave the three of us a ride to the Airport. Sara, our Granddaughter, was so excited to be accompanying us to France. We had cut our Italian trip short in May so we could attend her Henry Clay High School graduation at Rupp Arena here in Lexington. So now, as a graduation present we were going to introduce her to the thrill and challenge of travel in Europe. Sara’s baby brother, Willis, slept in his car seat all the way to the airport. We arrived about 3pm for our 5:10 flight.

It took a while filling out an online form for the French Government to help them track us while in France. I think it’s intended to help with their Covid prevention program. Probably to help trace infections.

The flight from LEX to ATL and the flight from ATL to CDG (Charles DeGaulle Paris) were both uneventful. Sara managed to sleep on both flights but Georgia and I were sleepless—as always. On the flight to Paris I watched the whimsical French film, Amelie again. With all the Duolingo I’ve been doing I was able to understand a bit more of the dialogue. With the unbelievably uncomfortable plane seats I also watched “Big Bang Theory” and “Friends.” Didn’t learn anything from them.

Reminder to self: Charles DeGaulle Airport is not user-friendly. We walked miles and climbed up and down stairs for 30-45 minutes to get to the international terminal. I hope they can figure a better system for the Olympics, coming up in 2024. Atlanta’s commuter train between terminals might be a good example to copy. But passport control was fast and smooth. Much better than our slog through Rome or Milan.

The train/metro ride from the airport to our hotel would have been confusing if we hadn’t made similar trips all over the world. CDG is pretty far outside Paris, which means a train connecting to the metro system.

Our awkwardly named hotel, Europe Hotel Paris Eiffel is located on the Blvd de Grenelle in the 15th Arrondissement, just a 20-minute walk from the Eiffel Tower in the 7th Arrondissement. Our room was on the 5th floor, which is actually on the 6th floor of the French numbering system. The ground floor is the ground floor, the next floor up is the 1st floor, etc. Anyway, I just needed to rest my eyes for a minute . . . and poof, I was asleep.

After those 40 winks the first thing to do, of course, was scope out the Eiffel Tower. Sara and I had a nice walk along French streets, under French skies, past a French patisserie (we promised to visit in the morning) and skirting the quintessential French park: Champ de Mars. The tower itself was just as amazing as ever, but much less accessible than it was in 2012. I don’t know if that’s because of Covid or terrorist concerns, but after a two year lockdown the number of people itching to visit the site was staggering. In today’s world, we will have to find a tourist office to book a visit. In 2012 we just walked up.

Then back to the room to gather up Georgia, then we went out for an ice-cream dessert and pizza at Amalfi, a pizza restaurant in the neighborhood. Then we visited Monoprix Grocery to buy snacky-sorts of stuff for the room, then toddled back to the room for a much-needed full night’s sleep. This Grenelle neighborhood looks to have everything we could want—and it’s a real neighborhood—not a tourist neighborhood.

Thursday, July 7

Those lonnnnng 2-day travel-days are just killers.

Georgia and I were up for coffee and pastry at Boulangerie Dupleix, where I could practice my halting French. Sara wanted a bit more sleep instead.

First order of business was finding the Hotel de Ville, the city hall in Paris, where the main tourist office was located. There we bought some souvenirs and made reservations for various must-see museums and attractions. The lady in there was wonderful, helping us make reservations for Versailles, Sainte Chapelle, The Louvre, and L’Orangerie. Then we hurried back to the hotel to gather up sleeping beauty and head off for our first reservation at Sainte Chapelle. It was amazing as always—like being inside a precious jewel box. With Sara there it was almost like seeing it again for the first time, though she was more interested in the souvenirs than the astounding glass. I remember my philosophy professor, Tony Nemetz describing his first visit to Yellowstone Park. His response surprised him. It was all too big for him. He had to buy a postcard to give the experience its proper human scale so he could appreciate it.

We left the chapel with more souvenirs, of course, and dozens of photos. Then walked along the River Seine towards Notre Dame. We couldn’t go in because of the reconstruction, of course, but there were still crowds outside and we all tried to study the pictures and diagrams attached to the walls around the construction area. I remember crying while watching the live TV broadcast as it burned. Our clerk at the Hotel de Ville told us she cried and watched it burn from an apartment window near the site. Such a heartbreaking tragedy. Not just for France, but for the whole world.

We tried valiantly to find a glass-blower’s shop on the outskirts of Paris. After several bus trips we found the address, but not the shop. It must be located in someone’s house or apartment. But we found another nice coffee shop and admired the dogs therein. The French do pamper their dogs at least as much as Americans.

As we walked down the hill toward our bus stop we stopped in to see Notre Dame de Sainte Croix, a lovely old stone church. We just sat and rested a while. Sara watched the people praying and lighting candles. I told her they were offering prayers for someone—perhaps someone alive, but also, perhaps for someone who had died. Her eyes misted up and she went to light a candle for her Father, who had died in May—just a few days before her graduation. He had been so invested in her schooling. I know it hurt her for him to miss her graduation. She knew he would be so proud. It is hard for modern people to believe that the living can have any impact on the dead, or vice versa. I tried to explain the communion of the saints, but I doubt it meant anything to her. She has visited churches occasionally, but her mother, my Jenny, told me quite honestly that all forms of religion—and especially Christianity’s idea of a living God/Man is pure nonsense. By raising Sara apart from the church, she thought, that she was freeing her from superstitious chains. I’m afraid that she was actually crippling her with an empty, sterile, cold world-view. A world where, instead of Faith, Hope, and Charity, there is only habit, wishful thinking, and (at best) desire. Instead of a world permeated by the Love of the Holy Spirit, there are just hormones.

Riding back to our hotel on a bus we got off early and left Georgia to ride on to our neighborhood because Sara persuaded me that walking in from this out-of-the way bus stop to the Eiffel tower was no more strenuous than walking up the Eiffel Tower. She needed to reach her 20,000 steps each day, she said, and horizontal would be more pleasant than vertical. And this was a walk along a Paris street, doncha know?

And it was a very pleasant walk along a tree-lined boulevard that took us past charming neighborhood parks and comfortable-looking apartment buildings, eventually bringing us to the corner of the huge Parc du Bois, with its small amusement center, Jardin d’acclimation. That was closed but the park itself was full of quiet woods and huge trees and shady paths well traveled by joggers and dog-walkers. There were little streams as well, both natural and man-made. Sara needed bazillions of pictures of herself and this bucolic setting to show the friends back home.

We wandered in the park for miles. Someone had suggested “Oooh, let’s walk all the way around the perimeter!” where we eventually arrived at the Jardin du Trocadero, the famous Eiffel Tower lookout where everyone jockeyed for a forced perspective photograph of themselves holding the Eiffel Tower in the palm of their hand, or on their head, or pinched between their fingertips. We got some pictures, but couldn’t get close to the optimum view point because of the crush of tourists and the construction walls put up in anticipation of the 2024 Olympics. In fact, the whole city, including the Isle de France, with its ambitious landscaping plans seems to be one big construction site.

We crossed the river, and one of us needed to look at, and finger, all the tourist-enticing necklaces and souvenirs on the bridge before we arrived at the base of the tower. As the sun approached the horizon the tower turned gold—from the bottom, up, as if the gold was wicking up from the very ground along the Seine. Lovely.

And right at the base we found an unsupervised gate and walked through as though we knew what we were doing. A handsome young security guard eventually scolded us, but smitten with Sara he sent us off toward a little nearby mobile-trailer “office” to get our tickets (without a reservation!) Whoohoo, we were off—up, up, up, and away! One of us was bouncing up the stairs to the second level like a squirrel, and one of us was gasping for breath and probably would never breathe normally again.

At the second level, some 400 steps or so up, we joined a looooong queue snaking back and forth and around corners toward the elevators. You couldn’t just walk to the top any more, and as I said, there were a lot of people glad to be out of quarantine and anxious to get back to seeing and d0ing things—and seeing Paris from the top of the Eiffel Tower was one of the very best things to do.

We probably had to wait in the line for 30 minutes or so, then crushed into the elevator and whooshed to the top of the tower where we were in a crush again. Trying to find a spot at the rail was much like trying to find a spot at the finish line at Keeneland during the Fall Meet. If you managed to find one you didn’t dare give it up. And so we waited and waited for sunset then the lightshow where the tower sparkled with thousands of lights. We could hear the crowd down below gasp as the twinkling began, but it never occurred to me that being on the tower we wouldn’t be able to see the tower twinkle. Duh. So we had to content ourselves with vicariously enjoying the crowd’s oohs and ahhhs.

And also content ourselves with the magical views of Paris from this ideal vantage point. The lights along the streets followed the twisting route of the river. And the sun sets so slowly in these northern latitudes. The tower turned gold about 9:30, the horizon went gold about 10:30 and darkness completely fell about 11:30.

And then another long line snaking back and forth and around corners to the elevator, then crushed in the whooshing elevator, then walking down 400 steps or so with my poor shaking legs, then a long walk back to the hotel. I was completely knackered. Sara bounded along to hit 26,000 steps. Piece of cake.

Friday, July 8

Someone wanted to sleep in again today. So Georgia and I went to get our café au lait and pain au raisin then back to gather up the sleeper then she needed her café au lair and pain au raisin so back to the patisserie where she ordered her own food in quite-passable french. I think her pronunciation is better than mine.

Then we headed for the L’Orangerie where we had tickets. We got there a little early so sat outside and just drank in the atmosphere. Inside we drank in the vision of Monet’s painting of the pond at Giverney. It is huge, running around the walls of an oval room to give the illusion you are sitting on a rowboat out in the middle of the pond.

That was not, of course, the only treasure there. There were all the usual suspects, among whom I adored the massive portrait Grand Beigneuse by Picasso and a glorious series of Modigliani’s but I was introduced to a new favorite, Chaim Soutine, from Belarus who had a large impact on the expressionist movement in Paris. I love his wonky portraits and bright colors. Born in 1893, he died of a perforated ulcer in 1943. He had the terrible misfortune of being a Jew trying to live, work, and hide in Paris during the German occupation.

After L’Orangerie we headed to a café in the Tuilieries gardens to decompress. Sitting at the table I felt like we were caught in Seurat’s painting in the park. There we had nice drink and a rest and a deliciously haughty young waiter who ignored our attempted French.

Then we caught our bus to the Rodin Museum.

To be continued
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Rodin Museum, Versailles and Montmartre​

Friday, July 8–10 (continued)​

Friday, July 8– (continued)

We decided to walk. It was only about 20 minutes, across the river again and up the Rue de Bourgogne. And the sky was that incredible color of French blue. It was hot, but not impossible, so off we went.

The museum is located in a stunning villa, rooms filled with exquisite statues—both bronze and various stones. The Thinker, The Kiss were prominent, of course but for me the most affecting was the Burghers of Calais. I had only recently heard the story behind the statue: it portrays an event from the 100-years war when the port of Calais surrendered to the English after being starved in an 11-month siege. King Edward offered to spare the citizens if 6 of the city’s leaders would surrender themselves to him. Eustache de Saint Pierre volunteered first, then five others joined him. They emerged from the city with nooses around their necks and the keys to the city and castle in their hands. The statue captures that moment with their look of humiliation and defeat, but also with faces enlivened and ennobled by heroic self-sacrifice and a love for the city they were saving. It was controversial when it was proposed. They don’t look heroic. They look exhausted, and fully expecting to die. But their lives were spared, thanks to Edward’s queen, Phillippa of Hainault, who argued that killing such magnanimous men might curse their unborn child. All love involves self-sacrifice. May we always have such politicians and leaders.

The gardens were full of beautiful roses and we saw the remnants of a very high-style Christian Dior fashion show installation. It would have been a perfect setting for it.

And then we started walking back down the hill to cross the river again to go the Louvre.

When we’d visited France in 2008 we learned of a “secret” entrance through the “Lion’s Gate.” It’s a side doorway guarded by lions that leads right into the picture gallery. With covid and all the intervening years poor Grandma found she couldn’t crash the Lion’s Gate anymore. C’est Dommage! So Sad. So we had to wait in another long line snaking back and forth in the sun to enter through the main entrance at the Pyramid. The Louvre just doesn’t feel as friendly as it had years ago, or may just be the fact that there are so many people anxious to put the pandemic behind them. And the Louvre isn’t just any other museum. It is, in fact, a museum of museums. Each of the many collections is truly a museum in itself. And all of them were very hot and very crowded.

The painted ceilings were exquisite. The people up their looking down on us were special, and the ladies were topless.

The crush of people wanting to see the Mona Lisa was insane. Another line snaking back and forth in the room getting closer and closer but not too close. Everyone wanted to take a selfie with her, And Sara was definitely one of them.


We did the best we could—then they made an unintelligible 5-minute announcement everyone seemed to ignore. God knows what they wanted. Leaving the room we tried to go back out the door we had come in, but that was interdit! The guard finally relented when I pointed out the door and said Ma femme, ma femme! Georgia was waiting for us out in the hall and we were ready for some refreshments! The Louvre is even more exhausting than it was in 2008.

Our refreshments consisted of grass-flavored and mud-flavored macaroons with canned beer and canned wine and a kiwi-banana flavored smoothie in the museum snack bar. We had to stand in line for them too, of course. Then we got lost on our way back to the room (the rue de Grennelle is not the same thing as the blvd de Grennelle.)

That evening we had a disappointing and expensive supper (156 euros) at a neighborhood restaurant with a very haughty and unpleasant waitress/owner. Sara had Sea Bass, Georgia had lamb, and I had foie gras.

Tomorrow for Versailles.

Saturday, July 9, Versailles

We didn’t make it to Versailles in 2008 so this was high up on our list of places to visit this time. The train ride was hot! It was a double-decker train and Georgia went down to the bottom level in hopes it would be cooler. Sara and I sat upstairs visiting with a charming 4-year old French girl named “France” who was dancing in the aisle, and seemed intent on falling down the stairs to join her Father and little brother safely ensconced in his pram.

We arrived at the Versailles train station in plenty of time to go in at our appointed time. That left time for some more souvenir buying (I’m thinking we’re going to need another suitcase for the trip home).

Versailles was magnificent. The opulence was truly staggering. “Let them eat cake,” indeed! The Hall of Mirrors: Oh my! The King’s bedroom: Amazing!

Overwhelmed, I lobbied for going outside. That’s when we discovered that our tickets did not include the Gardens. We had to pay extra. But it was fun watching the people, and exploring the gardens and getting lost from each other. We did that at least twice, miraculously finding each other again near the Queen’s Grove. It was fortunate that both Grandma and Sara had i-phones. Who knew that the Gardens at Versailles were so big? We were there during the Bastille Day celebrations and they were featuring the music of Handel. The ‘dancing fountains’ were accompanied by his Water Music, played over loudspeakers dotted around the enormous woods.

Each of the various sections of the grounds had their own snack bar hidden in the center. We managed to find each other in time to have a snack together, then we wandered off to get lost again. Each of us, it seems saw different dancing fountains in different sections of the grounds. I had my “map-my-walk” tracker on and the path I traced looked like the jagged path of a butterfly with hiccups. After more snacks and drinks we were all ushered out of the gardens so they could get ready for the evening’s fireworks.

That gave us the opportunity, of course, to visit the town of Versailles for an hour of buying more souvenirs. Then it was time to go back into the Gardens to find our spot for watching the fireworks. We parked ourselves at the top of a shallow staircase with several hundred of our closest friends facing the enormous promenade of lakes stretching off into the distance. Some young docents tried mightily to keep the walkways beside of us clear as we moved closer and closer to the starting time. The French are surprisingly docile in accepting instructions from “official” people—even teenagers. We were now surrounded by a thousand or so sitting on the steps. I didn’t have the space to stretch my legs out and still more and more people arrived looking for somewhere to sit. Versailles is truly gigantic. Even the photos don’t do it justice and we were now in a “standing room only crowd.” And we had no idea what to expect.

Well, in that case you should expect the unexpected—and we got a ‘flyby’ of 7 French jets screaming overhead at something like the speed of sound streaming red, white, and blue smoke behind them. The crowd went nuts! Then the jets wheeled around and came racing back towards us again! Then they turned suddenly up and created a gigantic “waterfall” in the sky and all seemed to head in different directions until various combinations of them looked like they were trying to have head-on collisions right over our heads. I’m happy to say that they didn’t, but the crowd loved every close call and oooed and aaaahed at every pass. And there were a lot of passes. The air show went on for a good thirty minutes as it got darker in that amazing French slow-motion sunset.

At sunset the planes bid us adieu with another spectacular waterfall and high-speed pass and Handel’s Royal Fireworks music commenced. There were dancing fires zipping back and forth between us and the lake and huge bursts of fiery color overhead coordinated with the music. It was lovely and the crowd was very appreciative. Somehow more peaceful and less frenetic than having a background of John Phillips Sousa and Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture.

And then it, too, was over, with a very grand, grand-finale that pulled out all the stops. The applause and cheers were thunderous and the crush of people all trying to leave through tiny little gates was claustrophobic. But the trip home was uneventful.

Sunday, July 10

While the ladies slept in I set out for mass at St Francis Xavier Church. Google said it was about a 20-minute walk. I stopped for a few minutes to visit with and photograph some Petanque players who wanted to know where I was from. “Oh, Kentucky fried chicken!” they said. “Yes,” I admitted, “But also Mitch McConnell,” and I frowned. “We also have politicians in France,” he shrugged. You could tell that the five of them had known each other for a long time and the game was a long-standing Sunday ritual, as necessary for their sanity as food is for their bodily sustenance. France is a “social” society where we are more an “individualistic” one. I don’t think France would ever want everyone to have their own arsenal.

The church was lovely. Lots of families loving their children. The elderly porter, outside, was screening those entering the church grounds through the decorative wrought-iron fence. The various terrorist attacks on churches in France has lead to increased security—though I’m not sure this elderly porter would provide much deterrence. I guess he would provide an early-warning of trouble.

The Gospel reading was from Luke, the Good Samaritan. Bells and Smells for this service and an unseen choir singing the responses and Kyrie and Alleluia. The African cantor had a lovely baritone/bass voice. As I left the Porter wished me a “Bonne Dimache.”

There had been a beautiful little curly-haired Italian boy who had wanted (loudly) to run up and down the aisle during the service. His donnatelloesque mother had escorted him outside firmly. I saw them again as I walked home. She was attempting to interest him in the offerings of a toy-store window. He seemed intrigued.

On the walk home I saw lots of dog-walkers, and joggers, and people just taking the sun in the small parks. The narrow roads of this part of Paris boasted a parade of very expensive Lamborghinis, Porches, and BMWs hot-rodding from one stop sign to the next. Obviously a wealthy neighborhood.

At the Sunday market across from out hotel the grocer would not give me my package of yogurt until I put the change from my 50 euros in my belly pack. They look out for their tourists. And when we visited Beaugrenelle, where Sara was in the dressing room trying on clothes Georgia was standing outside waiting. A young male security guard asked if she needed help. She explained that she was waiting for her granddaughter and the guard nodded and walked away, only to return with a stool for her to sit on. More kindness for our elderly selves.

We took the Subway to Montmartre and walked up the picturesque stairs to Sacre Coeur just in time for the 6pm mass. There were worshippers of every hue. Then we had dinner at a sidewalk pizza palace and listened to a fine jazz saxophone player just across the little street from us. Sara was enthralled that someone could earn a living just by practicing. She went over and visited with him for a while.

Afterwards we walked off looking for the Moulin Rouge. It was in a wonderfully seedy district of sex shops and rubberneckers.

Then caught the metro back to the Eiffel tower. When we got off we were busted by transportation police for not having our picture on our 5-day passes. It cost us 120 euros. Couldn’t talk them out of it because their supervisor was there. I sure wish the lady at the tourist bureau had made it clearer what we needed to do to validate the passes. But, at least, we saw where we would catch the Disneyland Express Bus in the morning.

To be continued
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Disneyland Paris, Lyon​

Monday, July 11–15 Train to Geneva, Switzerland​

Monday, July 11–Disneyland—Paris

We caught the 8:30am bus to Disneyland. They told us to pay attention to where we were dropped off, since that was where we were going to be picked up again at 8:30pm. Did we do that? Of course not. But we found our way in just fine, following the crowds. Trying to find our way back to the bus without crowds might be a different matter. But we’ll worry about that later.

First place we headed for was Adventureland but somehow ended up at Thunder Mountain in Frontierland. All the different “Lands” are cheek by jowl in the park and the passage from one to another is not all that clear. Anyway, we stood in a very long line snaking back and forth in a maze-like open-sided structure then all rode the Runaway Train. The “helpers” moved us on and off the train very efficiently. Figuring how much it costs to visit the various “Lands” I decided that Mr. Disney is doing very well selling Amusement.

Next Sara wanted to ride one of the “big” rides so we were off in search of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (Peril?). Another long snaking line. And it pretty seriously jerked us around and scared the bejezus out of me. Sara thought it pretty tame, of course. Grandma was the smart one and didn’t ride at all!

For Sara, Disneyland was the high point of the trip. Disneyland is the epicenter of the mythology of her childhood. Without a church life, Disney characters form the warp and woof of her epistemology. If she asked me once, she asked me a hundred times if I was enjoying myself. She craved reassurance that this was all just as meaningful to me as it was to her. But it couldn’t be. For me, the park itself and all the surrounding relentlessly cheerful hoopla was depressing. All the feel-good Disney features and the constant background cheerful Disney tunes (piped over loudspeakers) just felt so phony. And we were doing this to ourselves inside a gigantic feature-length Disney commercial. And paying a bundle for the privilege.

She insisted I accompany her on two neck-popping teenager approved roller coaster rides then two “family friendly” rides. The latter were “Disney-Scary,” but not parent-dreadful. The animatronics and special effects were interesting to observe. No wonder the company doesn’t employ engineers, but rather imagineers. “If you can dream it, you can do it.” That’s their motto.

The main-street parade had all your favorite characters and most of the also-ran characters from all the Disney movies produced since 2000. They frolicked and waved from enormous floats that mysteriously appeared on the street. Everyone was disgustingly cheerful again, the music was all bright and lively, and lifted from the movies (of course). The children in the crowd all hyperventilated at the appearance of their own favorite “princess” or spirit-character. I guess I would have felt the same if “Darlene” or “Annette” from the Mickey Mouse Club had appeared in a parade in Savannah. They were my first crushes. And the floats were huge. There must be some false front buildings in paradeland for them to immerge from. They would have to have huge doors. The floats were often 18 to 20 feet tall.

After seriously overpriced food Georgia and I were ready to pack it in. Sara was not. She elected to stay and watch the fireworks and fountain light-show while we went back. Georgia was beside herself with worry at all the things that could go wrong. Sara was pretty nervous too—writing the homing directions on her leg in ballpoint pen, but unwilling to miss part of the Disney experience. I was the only unperturbed one. I reassured Grandma that Sara was the same age we were when we met each other. And I reassured Sara that she could do this. And I was right. It turns out I led us down several dead ends and we had more trouble finding our bus back to Paris than Sara did finding her way back to the Hotel via both train and subway. She said there were people on the train who made sure she got off at the right stop. She got back at 1:30am bursting with reports of all she’d seen and done. She reported that everything was excellently choreographed and smoothly synchronized and featured all the Disney movies since 2000 again. (Dumbo, with its prominent black-crow routine was not included. Nor was Prince Charming kissing Snow White.) Unfortunately, my throat was already sore from something coming on. I could only whisper, and I was completely knackered. I told her she’d have to tell me all about it in the morning.

Tuesday, July 12, On the Train to Lyon. July 13, 14, 15.

We bought our tickets for Lyon at the last moment from the ticket machine and mistakenly bought Lyon to Paris rather than from Paris to Lyon. When we discovered the mistake we had to hurry off to the ticket office to exchange them. Luckily the lady serving us went above and beyond the call of duty and searched and searched. All the trains were full. It was looking like we were going to have to spend another night in Paris and cancel a day in Lyon. So she turned us over to her supervisor with more clout, who worked and worked to tell us that she couldn’t find anything for us either.

I asked about other “classes.” What about first-class? “Oh yes,” she said. “There are three first-class tickets leaving in an hour but they are not together.” “We’ll take them!” I said. Expensive, but they were going to Lyon today and first-class cabins would be air-conditioned. By this time I knew I had a fever and was beginning to fade. I felt so terrible I just dozed for the whole ride.

When we arrived in Lyon I knew I wasn’t able to pull the suitcases anywhere so we hired a taxi who dropped us off right at the door of the hostel Meininger. I took a shower and put myself to bed or maybe I didn’t take a shower, (I couldn’t remember) but I still put myself to bed and was soaking wet in my cute little bottom bunk. For the next three days I just sweated out one fever after another, cooled down in the shower, then heated up again during fever-dreams, dozed for hours, and just hoped I’d live through this ordeal. (I got out of bed one day only long enough to go to an urgent-care at the hospital (no charge) and then to a drugstore to be tested. Sure enough. Covid.) And I hoped Georgia and Sara could avoid it. They managed to get out of the room a little. Georgia did go out one day and using the metro and funicular, went to Mass at the Basilica Notre Dame de Fourviere, high above the city.

But for the most part, we all went through quarantine together. And so, wonderful, beautiful, Lyon with Bastille Day fireworks and all its amazing restaurants was missed. Georgia got a lot of pictures of the Basilica, but the only picture I got of this picturesque ancient town was of the train-tracks as we left. Sigh.

The next day Georgia came down with Covid too, but got over it in one night of fever and coughing. Sara didn’t catch it at all but she had it in May while we were in Italy.

Saturday, July 16 train to Geneva, Switzerland

Back in the land of the living we caught a taxi from the Hostel to the train station for our trip to Geneva, Switzerland. From the train station in Geneva we eventually caught the right bus, #6, but in the wrong direction all the way to the end of the line. The bus driver had to show us where to catch the bus back, so had to ride all the way back to the train station and start over. 24 swiss fancs for the bus tickets. Everyone was hot, hungry, and cranky by the time we got to our neighborhood.

Found a burger restaurant where we had $65 burgers and fries. How can workers afford to live here? But the Parc Anglais near our Airbnb had a lovely view of the lake. Saw Big Bang Theory and Friends dubbed in French. Painfully hot in the room. Hard to sleep. There was an elevator that was out of order half the time because it was on the outside of the building and just got too hot.

To be continued in the Switzerland forum

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