Day 14. Disney and Paris
We decided to head in different directions this morning. We all got on a train near our hotel and took a 5 minute trip to the entrance of Disneyland. The train was full as the parks were opening in a few minutes. Lots of excited young kids.
As we exited the train station, we met chaos. There were queue lines of people trying to buy outbound train tickets. I realized I had made a mistake by coming here with the family to see them into the park. We said our goodbyes and they disappeared into the park. I found a bakery in the train station to get a croissant and a cup of coffee and wait for the queues to disappear.
The lines didn't disappear.
I walked out the train station and found a taxi queue. The line was empty and there were two taxis queued up. I waved to the driver and he kept talking to the other driver. So I walked down to the taxis and said I needed a ride. He first driver said "where are you going?"
I told him our hotel name. "No. That is not far enough. I won't take you." I looked at the second driver and he shook his head. So I stood there and fired up the Uber app on my phone. As luck (and irony) would have it, there was an Uber car less than a block away. As I got in the black Mercedes, I gave the taxi drivers my middle finger and a smile.
My task was to locate our rental apartment, drop off the luggage, take the rental car to de Gaulle airport, shop for groceries, and start a load of laundry. I got all that done in the span of about 5 hours and had time to sit down with a beer in our apartment and type up yesterday's memories.
This apartment is everything the London apartment was not. It's situated in a great part of town, only a few hundred meters from restaurants, a nice market, train stations, and a quite capable bar only 50 meters down the street on the corner. The furnishings are a mix of antiques and Ikea, but we have plenty of room to spread out. The windows open into a central courtyard to allow a breeze but we get none of the noise from the streets.
Jackie and the kids had a full day at Disney. I rode the train out to meet them and bring them back to the apartment. They went in the gates at the 10:00 AM opening time and didn't leave until after the 11:00 PM closing time. They all were walking slowly, but they were laughing and had to tell all about the rides and the things they did. At midnight, we were on the train back into Paris. I had packed some snacks and cold bottles of water. We ate and talked all the way to our stop, at the base of the Arc de Triomphe. We didn't stop to look around, everyone was too tired. We'll have time for that later in the week.
Back at the apartment, my watch said I walked 15,100 steps. Jackie wins with over 25,000.
Random bits of randomness from our trip, since actually interesting activity today was pretty light...
- Elijah discovered that he likes hot tea while he was in London. Fortunately, most every room and apartment in Europe is equipped with a very efficient electric kettle that turns a liter (quart) of tap water to boiling in under 2 minutes.
- Beau has discovered a liking for tonic water and the citrus flavored Schweppes tonics that nearly every restaurant serves. I'm going to have to keep an eye on my gin bottle as she is the one who will likely raid my supply.
- Farmers in Europe use their tractors for all manner of things, and not just to pull a plow. You'll see a John Deere or New Holland tractor bumping down the road at 70 kph (45 mph) pulling a trailer or sometimes nothing at all. I suppose if you've paid for it, you might as well use it.
- Paris operates on its' own time and you have to adapt to it. The clock is just a suggestion.
- We packed light so we can get from one place to the next easily. We each have a 21" (52cm) bag and a backpack. Everyone is responsible for their own luggage. We each have 4 or 5 days worth of clothes and we wash a load every night or have hand-washed underwear and socks in the sink at night. I packed a duffel bag that we'll use to put our dirty laundry in at the end of this week. We'll check that bag back to home and then put our souvenirs in our carry on bags.
- The washer/dryer units that we've used in our apartments are more washer than dryer. A clothes line is still necessary. Fortunately, Jackie had the foresight to pack a bit of line and some clips to hold wet clothes.
- Beau doesn't wake gracefully. It's a constant battle to get her sitting upright and having her eyes open. I've started taking photos of her sleeping and then showing them to her. Now, when she hears the shutter snap, she opens one eye and gives me an ugly face. I'm going to print these photos and put them on display for her 18th birthday.
- One of Elijah's graduation gifts was a very nice journal. We had him bring it along to record his impressions of the trip. Elijah doesn't like to write long-hand, but he's been keeping it up, with a bit of prodding from us. I had to tell him he'll want to remember what 18-year-old Elijah thought about his first trip to Europe some day. I also told him we'll read it when we get back to the States, so every page had better not be "I want to kill my parents".
- Speaking of impressions, Beau is much more open about her impressions on this trip. Everything is cool (or it sucks) depending on the moment. Elijah seems to be taking it all in, but in typical Elijah style, he's not very vocal about it. If I ask him what he thinks of a painting or a 500-year-old building, the reply is always "that's cool". There you have it, Europe is cool.