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April 24th 2018
Published: April 24th 2018
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Tomorrow is Anzac Day and Sue and I will spend it in the air travelling home. Today has been a ‘nothing much achieved day‘ really. Last minute shopping, reading in the park and completing the online booking service for our flights, that’s it. We are lucky with the train strike, as services are not affected tomorrow, but were other days of the week. In hindsight, we should have taken a taxi for an extra €8 but I didn’t realise it at the time. At least the train won’t get stuck in heavy traffic.

Just when I thought my cold was nearly dead, it’s back. Maybe I need to be at home, in my own bed, to shake it off once and for all. It does slow you down and takes the shine off the day, that’s for sure.

After a short excursion into the centre of Paris we walked to Luxembourg Gardens, claimed 2 chairs, and sat in the warm breeze reading, snoozing sitting up (I did anyway), occasionally being hit by colourful large flower pods falling from above. We wondered whether all these people are locals, or tourists taking advantage of the first warm weather in months. For me, they are local. Children playing ball games, young girls on blankets competing with cards, and colourful cane picnic baskets, are not the type of thing tourists carry around with them; oh, and most of the noise seemed to have a French accent.

Right now we are considering dinner option, and with neither of us wanting to walk far, the options are limited. A walk in the direction of Montparnasse is bound to give us ideas. So a Cafe Americano, which is a long black basically, at the cafe nearby and onwards for dinner and an early night.

( Advance 90 minutes.)

We didn’t go further than the Brassiere,where we have coffee, for dinner; creamy risotto and a balsamic rocket salad each and we were done.

Natalia often asked what the highlights of the trip have been and I find it hard to pin it down to one. Certainly visiting family is at the top, but from a traveller perspective it would have to be waking up to find Paris in a blanket of snow, spending Easter at Karpacz with Natalia’s family, travelling to Berlin as an afterthought and realising it deserved far more time than we gave it, and driving around Luxembourg visiting villages and castles that reveal a past that I was unaware of.

Bratislava was interesting and , as with most of Eastern Europe, ties everything together with a shared history. Borders were set, then redefined, then some one else would want more and so on. It seemed to relate to trade routes, resources and power grabs so nothing much has changed for centuries. Greed and fear of neighbours seems be a valid motivation for change apparently.

Budapest was a strange one for me and I think it’s because I had high expectations based on our visit in 2014. I chose the same accommodation but this time the 2nd bed was the fold out couch and the rooms were very hot with no way of cooling them. The noise of the clubs at night prevented windows being left open so sleep was restless. Budapest is still a beautiful place to visit but the four year gap has seen the crowds increase significantly, and places you used to see for free now charge a fee, even some churches.

Having said that, don’t be turned off Budapest. The visits to some of
Wanted For Crimes Against Statues: Pigeon A70Wanted For Crimes Against Statues: Pigeon A70Wanted For Crimes Against Statues: Pigeon A70

Either this is an escaped jailbird, or he’s in a lot of trouble when he gets home for taking a break in Luxembourg Gardens during a race. There can be no other explanation for having that number on both sides of his body.
the Ruin Bars and Street markets and wandering the backstreets filled in any gaps left in 2014. The Synagogue was a highlight and a visit I thought would consume half an hour expanded to three very easily. There are others to see as well and on our last trip we visited one that was used by the Nazis in WW2 as a stable just to further desecrate it’s relevance, it is now a beautifully restored church in the Jewish Quarter.

It probably goes without saying that Paris is everything people imagine it to be. The noble old buildings set in the backdrop of the Seine River and medieval churches at times seems to conflict with the modern fashion and commerce surrounding them but really it all boils down to style. It really does show in how they approach life, food, dress sense and leisure. Living to the French takes a little more effort but they seem to embrace the experiences life presents. I think they are polite, helpful and you are treated as well as anywhere I’ve been. I have never felt threatened or in fear on this trip; in fact, we witnessed the kindness of strangers in emergencies
Our Room At Hôtel Des MinesOur Room At Hôtel Des MinesOur Room At Hôtel Des Mines

We’re in the attic. The lift doesn’t even make it to our floor.
first hand a few times and people stop and pitch in to assist others.

Well, the trip is done, I know I waffle on and sometimes sense the cringing and yawns from afar, but as well as trying to share a bit of our travels and keep others informed, this is my diary. I’d encourage anyone to travel; it’s safe, it’s fun, and it really strengthens, or dissolves, the opinions and beliefs that you may form from home. If you want to blog, halve my word count and pictures and you’ll spend less of your evening cursing poor wifi. Maybe just don’t start. I have a love/hate relationship with it but I press on. Ciao for now. S

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24th April 2018

Thanks for pressing on...
despite bad internet connections. I've enjoyed following your blogs, and look forward to the Portuguese Camino this fall.
24th April 2018
Our Room At Hôtel Des Mines

Thank You
We should home about the same time. Michael and I have been in Tassie for 4 months. We are coming home to Bacchus Marsh at the weekend. I have enjoyed your blogs and photos thanks Steve. Have a safe trip home.
24th April 2018

Steve's Blog
Have loved your blog Steve. Sounds like a wonderful trip x
25th April 2018

Safe trip home
Hi Steve Have really enjoyed reading your diary/blog, you have a way with words, very descriptive, hope you get rid of your cold when you get home.
25th April 2018

Welcome home xxx
Thanks once again Steve for the wonderful blog making us left at home feel as though we were there with you it was fantastic xxx

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