As the saying goes, when you fall off the…uh, pillar, it’s best to get right back on. Well, H wouldn’t let me actually sit on the pillar when we went back to the London Eye the next day, but we did make sure to get there in enough time to take a Discovery flight (guided tour). We spent the morning touring the official State rooms at Buckingham Palace since Queenie was in the country. It’s really difficult to look around at all that opulence and imagine that people actually LIVE there.
Anyhoo, our flight on the Eye was largely uneventful. The security wankers made me leave my knitting at the bottom – are they guided by British Airways’ actual airline security practices or something? In the end it was probably a good idea because I don’t know what I would’ve done to the crazy woman saying her child’s name every 4 seconds: "Joshy, look at Daddy! Joshy, come look at this building. Joshy, smile for Daddy! Joshy, look here!". Oy. Just ask H – she can do the voice far better than I can. Unfortunately, it was a pretty hazy afternoon so we couldn’t really see as much as we could have otherwise, but it was still a good time.
Arguably, the BEST part of our return to the Eye was that we bumped into my good pal Andrew as we were leaving. When we called out his name he looked a little confused at first (probably because I was standing upright) but soon he recognized us and came over to give me a huge hug. We all chatted for a bit then let him get back to work. He was glad to see I was up and about, despite my belated trip to the ER.
After that, we headed to Lush in Covent Garden where I scooped up a little hand lotion and lip balm, then H & I parted ways. She had some shopping to do and I…actually, I did different shopping for her. How’d that happen? She headed to Regent Street and I headed to SCW and Ollie & Nic’s to pick up a purse for her then off to the bookstore to get a Time Out Paris. You never know when you’ll need to know the location of the nearest 24-hour ER. After that, a pub dinner of fish and chips, a pint at the Tudor Rose, then home to pack. The next day: Paris.
We hate CDG. Only two people at Passport control made for a WICKED long line (and one of them arbitrarily didn’t stamp passports), no clear indication as to where the RER station is (but keep walking THAT way), etc. By the time we finally hop on the train to Les Halles, we were already wiped, but even CDG hadn’t prepped us for the taxi debacle (only slightly preceded by H’s RER episode – she’ll have to tell you that story). One of my 532 guidebooks mentioned that taxi drivers in Paris were difficult to flag down and didn’t always know where they were going. Very long story short, we eventually abandoned the deserted taxi stand for the street, where it took us quite a while to flag down a taxi, stuff our luggage into his trunk (which wouldn’t close), then speed off to our hotel.
Aaah, the Hotel du Marais. The lift should’ve given us our first hint – either
people person or luggage, not both. Entry into our closet room was grounds for a 15-minute giggle fit, a glance in the bathroom bought us an extra 5 minutes of chortling. Unpacking wasn’t even an option so after we caught our breath and dug out the library of guidebooks, we ventured out to explore the City of Lights. Our first night was spent at a café near the Louvre where the woman spoke English but admired H’s french accent. This may have been the only meal where I didn’t have a croque or croissant of any sort. After, we took a stroll to work off some of the vin and discovered that Paris definitely shows itself best at night. The Seine, the Louvre Pyramid, & the twinkly Eiffel Tower definitely welcomed us in grand style.