19.07.2011 19 °C
Day 15 European Tour
The Nouvelle Eve cabaret was “tre fantastique” it was a great way to end the tour. We had a 4 course meal including champagne followed by a show. The highlight was a dancing competition with volunteers/victims from the audience. We were happy to end the tour because it was a pretty frenetic pace and we were all exhausted both physically and mentally by the end. We had some interesting characters on the tour, we had one crazy lady I could write a book on her so more on her when we return. The pace of the tour was “leisurely” and I would revise that to full on. We were on the go from 7.45am most days which meant bags out and breakfast by an hour earlier. The tour was great no stress just get up and make sure you are on the bus on time and everything else was taken care. The tour director had a saying “maximise your time” and he sure did. We had some really good hotels and some really bad ones but we were on the go all day so we really only slept in them luckily for the bad ones for instance Florence we didn’t see the hotel until after dinner about 9.00pm after leaving Rome in the morning at 7.45 and spending the day visiting churches and piazzas before dinner.
We were now on our own so we took the opportunity to catch up on some lost sleep and almost didn’t make breakfast. The kids would have slept through the whole day given the chance. We had a huge breakfast including Belgian waffles and then decided we had enough of culture and decided to hit the shops. Attached to the hotel is a small set of shops including a sports store that’s bigger than most Myers or DJ’s. But across from the hotel was the shopping mall called Les Quattra Temps, It is farking huge, 4 levels including parking and the metro station is incorporated in as well in fact all the metro stations have huge shopping malls attached and it took us a couple of go’s when using the metro to find the exits to the streets with getting lost in the maze of shops. It was about 5pm by the time we found our way out and returned to the hotel to dump the bags. We needed to pick up our TGV tickets so we then decided to attempt the metro system. Everyone was raving how this is the best system in the world! Well don’t believe it the Hong Kong underground shits on this system. Sure the trains run every couple of minutes but the stations are dirty they stink of piss and it’s a maze to find your way around.
Everyone kept telling me about the French but I thought they can’ be that bad! Well they are worse. We didn’t experience any of this arrogance in Nice but in Paris they will not get out of your way in the street and the service in shops does not exist you even have to put your goods you have bought into the bags. They get pissed off when you don’t understand what they are saying and they will not bother to explain it to you either. After we picked up our tickets from Gare de Lyon station we took the metro a couple of stops back to Chatelet to see Notre Dame but it was raining so we walked into a café ordered and sat down. Another waitress come up gave us menus and then asked what we wanted. I explained we ordered with the assistant behind the counter and she then got shirty with the ‘No you cannot sit here that is takeaway” so we got up and went back to the assistant we had originally ordered to say make the coffees takeaway and it was like she had never seen us so we ordered our coffees again, BTW Angela is freaking out saying let’s get the frog out of there when the waitress that threw us off the table says “oh if you are ordering coffee you can sit down” WTF! So we sit down get our coffees (which were crap) and Cristian then pens the little song “Tutte e Merde” sung to the yellow pages ad tune. I then ask for the bill give her the exact money and she is waiting for a tip!
On the way back we stopped at the supermarket which is in the shopping centre across from the hotel. My God what a mess it resembled a Hollywood disaster movie where people are looting the supermarket before the wave/meteor/volcano hits. By now it was 9.00pm so we stocked up on some snacks and then got the frog out there. BTW the beer and wine is dirt cheap, cheaper than water and coke, 0.60 euro for 600ml of Belgian beer or 2.5 euro for wine.
The next day we hit the city centre taking the metro to the Louvre and then making our way back to the Champs Elysees taking our final photographs and buying the final souvenirs.
Paris was strange so many beautiful sights and famous places but the Parisians are so far up themselves I’m surprised they see where they are going.
Tomorrow it’s Torino via the TGV Au revoir France and Benvenuto a Italia