Tag Archives: Paris

At least it’s Paris!

It's winter. She arrived in Paris two weeks ago. On the first night she discovered that her apartment had been rented to someone else - "Je suis desolée madame. Ce n'est pas de ma faute". Her new job (10 hour day nanny at €8 n hour) starts the next day - "The 4 children can't wait to meet you!" Her luggage is still somewhere at the airport and her French sucks. She's friendless. She's been paying for a hotel room, the cost of which is eating shark-like into her credit card (the one she has for emergencies). As she crawls into bed she checks her Facebook page to look for support from the loved ones she desperately misses back home. Among the kisses and hugs glares a frequent comeback from most in response to her plight:

At least you're in Paris!

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Oh Paris! Really?

Parisians and Paris never fail to give me something to write about. I find humour, quirkiness and curious disbelievement wonderment in practically every encounter, person and situation I come across. I walk past tiny shops and enter. I breathe in the history of those who were there before me and bought what I buy, decades before.

And then I open my mouth and shatter the illusion.

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Trippy Tips for Train Travellers

Here are my fabulous tips for those who take long haul train journeys. I'd consider an hour and a half the minimum for it to be called 'long haul'. That is based on my experiences travelling a myriad of miles from cities across Europe (and the increased level of whining by children per 15 minutes of travel). The longest direct train trip I've taken was 12 hours by day from Paris to Florence via Milan. I don't have any knowledge of night travel. No wait, I have travelled Melbourne to Sydney by night train...

Don't ever do that unless you want to end up rocking back and forth in a corner sobbing your eyes out and calling for your Mummy.

[caption id="attachment_1777" align="aligncenter" width="150"]Teddy anyone? Teddy anyone?[/caption] (more…)
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The Lady in the Lake (nearly)

The other day I decided to visit Bois de Boulogne. This is a very large and beautiful park, of 2090 acres, near the 16th arrondissement. I took a taxi there as it was going to take me at least two hours to walk home. I've finally learned that while my motorised wheelchair can travel lengthy distances, my body does not appreciate such vigorous endeavours. I took a picnic of dry biscuits, goat and blue cheese, and raw baby carrots. A delicious mix, quite frankly, as the cheeses are both packed flavour and you can't beat the refreshing crunch of those little carrots! imageI ate overlooking the lake and then decided to wander down a dusty track nearby. I was a bit surprised at how close the water was to the track. It wouldn't take much to flood the path in winter or for some idiot to fall in ... I wandered along, up hill and down dale, across tree roots, past curious dogs and smiling walkers, people sitting reading, and red faced joggers. I finally came to an incline in the track that was a little steeper and a little narrower. I decide to go up anyway and stopped at the top. 'Hmmmm', I thought. 'Looks a little steep going down'. I decided that the path was too steep, too sandy and too close to the water to traverse. So I wisely turned around. And looked down the little hill I'd just come up. 'Hmmmm', I thought (a little hysterically). 'Looks a little steep going down!' Yep, not so smart am I. If you go up a hill, you have to come down. So, having absolutely no choice in the matter, I faced the descent. Slipping down the track, and not really having much control if it came to needing to stop, I did wonder what would happen if I fell in the lake. Did I have any I.D? Would someone see me? Would my wheelchair battery survive the water? Would I? Just as my wheelchair did an extra perilous skid, I came to the flat ground again and was safe. For now. I then noticed all these amazing isolated jogging tracks heading into dense bush. I decided I hadn't risked my life enough for that day and decided it would be fun to go into the bush and see where I came came out. Heading into one track where I couldn't see the other end, did I think of emerging into sunlit clearings where fairies danced in secret? No. Did I think of bouncy grass in shaded sun kissed tranquility where reading a book would be a delight? No. Instead, my overactive imagination started recreating horrible stories of random murders down lonely bush tracks. Great. However, tempted to see what actually lay ahead, I merrily wandered down tracks, leaving common sense to tell me that these were jogging paths and many people jogged through every week. Of course, as I was about to venture down a particularly isolated track, a jogger passed by and stopped a few metres from me, bending over and breathing hard. image I, of course, ran away. My imagination had run amok and common sense fled.  I then texted my sister who lives across the ocean in Australia and sent her a photo of one creepy bush track. 'Does that look like a good place to get murdered?' I wrote. 'Oh!', she replied. 'That's exactly what I thought when I saw the photo!' Although then she texted me again to tell me about her day. So much for near death experiences. Clearly her little sister's death defying adventures need to be amped up!    
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