Our home for 5 weeks

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We are on the fifth floor.  There is an elevator, but we have been walking up. 

 

Today was a lazy day.  Ella asked why we would go sightseeing when it is much easier to use the internet. It was clear that her sisters shared her perception.  My thought was, “oh no, more than four months to go.”  I imagined tourist fatigue would set in at some point, but not on the third full day.

The girls wanted to stay in today.  A good chunk of the morning was devoted to homework. Sarah did French, Rachel and Ella read and solved math problems.  Ella and Sarah also took advantage of Khan Academy.

Sacre Coeur and Montmartre

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In the early afternoon the sky was a beautiful blue, but the wind was blowing at least 20-25 mph. The wind brought rain, which was followed by snow. It apparently does not snow often.

Despite the snow, Sarah was pressing for ice cream. Rachel asked for a sample and she was informed samples were not an option. After seeing the options, only Marcia could resist.

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Marcia and Ella are too small to see, but they are there between the planters on the sidewalk.  Rachel is dressed in black and you can only see her face next to Marcia.  Sarah is apparently hiding behind one of the planters.  She has developed an aversion to being on camera.

Super Tuesday in Paris

We got a late start today. I slept till 10:30, but Sarah set the record finally getting out of bed at 1:30 in the afternoon. It was a lazy day, with rain most of the day.

We did get out and walk past the Eiffel Tower to arrive at the American Library of Paris. This is no free library, membership fee plus a deposit of 60 Euro to encourage books to be returned. The kids were able to checkout four books, which should keep them happy for several days. They appear to have competition going in terms of who can read the most books quickest.

After the library, we sat in a corner bistro and had an early dinner. We had a window table and were able to watch the Parisians passing by.   Marcia ordered French onion soup and it was wonderful, more texture than the typical soup stateside. There were little bits of onion and cheese in the soup. It was topped with melted cheese on the pieces of baguette.

What a treat it is to be able to walk across the street each morning and get a warm baguette.

Here it is 11:33 pm. Looks like we will have to wait till the morning to learn the outcome of Super Tuesday. We talked to one French woman about the election and she mentioned they have their share of outrageous politicians. We all smiled. I forgot Trump is not a politician… http://www.wired.com/2016/02/trump-hacked-election-4-far-easy-steps/?mbid=nl_22916

Happy leap year day!

You don’t get many leap year days.  For us it was the first full day in Paris.  The girls were up late last night, so they were slow to get out of bed.  It took us till 11:30 to head to the metro. The girls learned how to read a metro map and in short order we arrived at the Louvre.  Since we plan to return to the Louvre multiple times over the next month, we bought the annual pass.  We are now members of the Societe des AMIS du Louvre.

Sarah’s observations from this morning.

People dress differently in Paris. Many of the men wear trench coats. I have not seen a man wear something like that in Bloomington. The money is different, it has rainbow colors and is not green. Paris has smaller shops than the United States. In the United States there are department stores like, Kroger and Target, while in Paris there are small independent shops, cheese shops, butchers, and family owned grocery stores.

Unfortunately, I was unsuccessful getting today’s photos off the camera.  I did take one photo on my cell phone of a Coke bottle. Something about a green Coke seemed off.   According the sign, it has 30 percent fewer calories than classic Coke.  Coke for life, something else that is different in Paris.

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Bienvenue a Paris

AirCanadaIt was a smooth 7 hour flight from Toronto. Taking a minivan from Charles de Gaulle to the apartment on 100bis, avenue Kleber, Paris was the right choice because if we would have taken the train there would have needed to change at two different metro stops. The added bonus was that traffic was moving along swiftly. Getting situated in the apartment was seamless. We are quite pleased with our apartment for the next five weeks.

Our trip coincides nicely with the fact that last year Sarah had an excellent Western Civilization class in sixth grade. Next year, Rachel and Ella will have the same teacher for Western Civilization. Ella and Rachel will an opportunity to see the present day incarnation of Greek and Roman city-states they will subsequently study in sixth grade. Marcia and I hope the trip will be an opportunity to fully immerse the girls in Western Civilizations.

Since we will be homeschooling the kids, they will be exposed to various empires and the resulting works of art. Hopefully this will help the kids appreciate the meaning behind the various sites. The goal is to avoid the kids saying, “great another museum” or Roman ruins that look the same as the previous Roman ruins.

We walked around the neighborhood taking in the atmosphere. We stocked up on groceries and found some outstanding strawberries. Each one was perfect and tasted like locally grown summer strawberries full of flavor.   We picked up some tasty pears, cheese, and a bottle of wine to celebrate the arrival.  Can’t wait till tomorrow…

 

Today is the day: Packed and headed to the airport

We wanted to keep a record of the trip for the girls, and to share the adventure with friends and family. It will likely come in handy for Marcia and me, i.e., when our memories evaporate with advancing years.

A fun aspect of travel is planning and anticipation of things to come. Discovering what’s possible and imagining the options are the first and perhaps the most critical part of the adventure. They may not be the most critical, but they are right up there. Over the past year we have spent countless hours reading books and webpages. Talking with friends we have gathered recommendations on places to see and things to do.

One of the cool features of the blog will be for you to comment and make suggestions. With the Itinerary link to the right of the screen, you will have an idea of when and where we will be. If you have a suggestion about something we should not miss, shoot us a comment.

At some point in elementary, junior high or high school, I occasionally got grief in the form “Cummings, Goings, ha ha”. Not bullying, but more on the level of annoyance. Since we will travel around Europe for four and a half months, ComingsAndGoing.com seemed to be an apt title for our travelogue.

The anticipation phase has come to an end. We are now packed and ready to head to the airport.

Four weeks and counting

Last night on, January 30, 2016, Sid and Janet hosted a party as a send off for our European sojourn. Exactly 4 weeks from the time of the party we will be on Air Canada 880 to Charles de Gaulle.

Sid prepared an incredible array of French themed hors d’oeuvres: smoked salmon, turkey, and beef; molten chocolate cake; and tarte aux poires Normande. Everything from scratch. Textures and flavors that would rival restaurants with the highest Zagat ratings. A sparkling wine from the Champagne region was apropos for the occasion.

While enjoying the hors d’oeuvres, the conversations were filled with memories of times spent in different parts of the world. Marcia and I got great suggestions on Paris, Naples, Venice, and Trieste. It was quite an experience, exploring everryone’s best memories of living and traveling abroad and getting advice on places that should not be missed. If our time in Europe is half as fun as the party, it will be a trip of a lifetime.