Sylvia and I after mass at Notre Dame Cathedral.
Sylvia and I took the opportunity to visit England and France this spring after finishing up the wedding. We first flew to London and immediately took a Eurostar train through the Chunnel to Paris for two days. We spent our first day seeing some of the typical Paris sights. We attended Mass at Notre Dame cathedral before visiting the Paris Catacombs (Sylvia's least favorite part) as well as the Sorbonne, the Arc de Triomphe, and of course, the Eiffel Tower. I have been pleasantly surprised in the past in many countries when my preconceived notions of that country's culture have been proven false. This was largely not the case with France. We searched for half an hour before we found a store or restaurant that would give us change for the subway. We were invited into a restaurant near the Eiffel tower by the owner, who proceeded to get our order wrong and then insult us in French when we tried to correct him. When the bill came, he overcharged us. We saw people eating snails in restaurants on more than one occasion. Parked outside our hotel in the morning was the 'baguette' van. We spent the second day in Paris
Our visit to the Eiffel Tower.
at the Louvre, which was an incredible museum, but of course, there wasn't a single international language to be found in the museum besides French, so it was difficult sometimes to make out what the exhibits were. We did see a few famous paintings (including the Mona Lisa of course) as well as sculptures by Michelangelo. We decided it was fitting to eat at the Louvre McDonald's as a small act of revenge. In honesty though, it was really all we could afford to eat there.
We returned once again through the Chunnel to London where we stayed for several days with a classmate of Sylvia's who works as an English/Slovak/Spanish translator. We saw Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, British Parliament, Downing Street, Buckingham, the Tower Bridge, London Bridge, the Crown Jewels and the Tower of London (note the absence of the serial comma). We took a very interesting boat ride across the Thames where we saw perhaps the most interesting thing on the trip--the embarkation point of the Mayflower.
We spent our final day touring the British Museum, where we saw the Rosetta stone as well as the famous Egyptian collection, which includes Cleopatra's mummy. After seeing the Egyptian collections
Catacombs of Paris
The Catacombs below Paris contain the remains of nearly six million people. The remains were usually exhumed from cemetaries as Paris grew over the centuries.
at the Louvre and the British Museum, as well as the Museum of Antiquities in Cairo, I think we have probably seen the bulk of Egyptian artifacts in the world.
It was strange being in an English-speaking country again, but a nice change. I found British food to be very good and tried the fish and chips on several occasions, along with Yorkshire pudding. British beers and ciders were quite good as well.
After our stay in London, we boarded a train for Blackburn near the western coast of England, where Sylvia's cousin lives and works. We spent several days there visiting with her and making day trips. The most interesting was the day we spent in York. Getting to York was a little stressful as driving on the left side of the road makes you feel like a car crash is always imminent. York is a very historic town with a preserved defensive wall and one of the largest churches in Europe, York Minster. In order to fit in as we were walking around, I decided I to buy something in Harris Tweed. After our stay in Blackburn we took the train back to London and taking the subway
I was a little late for the Tour de France finale. Or was I early?
to Heathrow for our flight home.
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