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Mariam Arthur en route to Cannes day 4

Thankfully I slept in until around 8am. By 9am, my bags were packed and waiting in the guestroom for me to come back after sightseeing. I have to say that one of the coolest things about being in England is that all the words I know as British (boot, bonnet, lift, loo, queue, etc.) and that I hear spoken occasionally by British friends in the US or Cambodia, are used by everyone all the time. This is an obvious fact, but to HEAR it is fun.

Tom and I went straight to the Underground to make our way to Borough Market for a breakfast of Bangers and Bubble & Squeak (Bangers are a unique sausage and Bubble & Squeak is fried mashed potatoes with cabbage). Yummy!

We strolled through the market full of vendors selling bread, meat, vegetables, etc. All of it would be considered "gourmet" in America. Southwark Cathedral was around the corner. It's the oldest Gothic building in London - build in the 600s, I think.

From there we walked to see the Golden Hinde. A working reconstruction of Sir Francis Drake's galleon. It is docked next to Clink Street. This area is the site of Clink prison, hence the term - thrown in the clinker."

The restored Globe Theatre, made famous by Shakespeare and adored by fans of the Bard, was the next stop along the Thames River. The Tate Modern Museum was just a little further down. The entrance was free and we saw an interesting exhibition displaying Constructionism art. These artists designed propaganda posters for Russia after WWI and throughout Russia's communist revolution. I only know a little about this history, so it gave Tom the opportunity to teach me about that era.

We walked across the Millennium Bridge to the north side of the Thames. I saw several churches and government buildings. There was even a "barrister store" selling robes and wigs. At one point the church bells were ringing making beautiful music. Tom said there were real people pulling ropes to make the ringing. It's amazing to think the bell chimes don't get all mixed up and just sound like a lot of noise. It must take a long time to be able to do it right.

Fleet Street led us to Covent Garden Market where the fictional Eliza Doolittle is found in My Fair Lady. It is very lively with crowds surrounding actors putting on shows. This area is also on the edge of the West End, where theatre plays abound.

By then it was time to head back and pick up my bags for the Eurostar trip to France. Tom was a perfect host and a joy to see again.

I was a little nervous that I hadn't been able to get on the Internet to tell my host in Paris which train I would be on. Thankfully, the Eurostar station had WIFI and I had about 15 minutes to spare before boarding. Uli must have been online because almost immediately after sending an email with the information, he wrote back that he would be at the station to pick me up with Xin (his girlfriend).

The train ride was so refined and luxurious. I booked a seat in "Leisure Class" which includes a 3-course meal for $137 Euros. If I had been able to book earlier, I could have gotten a seat for $59 - but there was always some kind of issue every time I tried. C'est la vie!

Lunch was delightful. It consisted of spinach & ricotta cannelloni with grilled zucchini, a side salad of "organic assorted baby leaves" and a blueberry tartlet. Champagne or wine was included, but I still had enough from dinner the night before trying to get out of my system so I elected for a bottle of water.

Through the window I could see both industrial and agricultural England. The train kept going through tunnels, so when we came above ground after the Chunnel, I didn't even know we had passed under the English Channel. But some how I could tell the land was different, even thought it was very close to the same. I looked closely at some cars on a road. It was clear they were driving on the opposite side of the road as Britain. I was in France!

Church spires could be seen in every little cluster of houses dotting the countryside. The hills rolled gently and were a vibrant green with patches of bright yellow mustard fields.

Pictures from London

If was fun to arrive in Paris (at 5:30pm) and have someone there to greet me! I think for every other transportation on this trip I arrive on my own (which is fine). Uli and Xin had big smiles, as did I. Taking the Metro back to their home in the Levallois District was direct, but mostly stairs - up and down, through and around. The Paris Metro has very few escalators or elevators.

After dropping off my bags, we headed out by car to see some sights. I was absolutely amazed that it stayed light out until almost 9pm. We drove down Esplanade du General de Gaulle toward the Arc de Triomphe. I caught a glimpse of the new one, "Grande Arche" in the opposite direction as we turned onto the street. We went past the Grand Palais, which I think is my favorite building. It is HUGE and has a glass/steel roof like a conservatory. It was build for some kind of World's Fair. It's beautiful.

Next was the Louvre. This museum is a complex block of buildings. There is a small street that runs through the middle, next to the modern pyramid. After turning onto this street we realized it was for buses and taxis only. C'est la vie! I snapped a few photos as we drove by.

We drove over to the Eiffel Tower and found the most perfect parking space across the Seine River. We walked up the hill and looked back on the tower lit by the golden hour of sunset.

After some photo shots, we went to Notre Dame. It took us a while to find parking (quite a walk away), but there was still light from the dusk period. After eating a delicious dinner of gyros from a Greek restaurant, we ventured back to Notre Dame for some stunning night shots.

By this time, I was exhausted and even fell asleep on the drive home. What a fulfilling day!

Pictures from Paris

Mariam Arthur en route to Cannes

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