View out the apartment window
We've been so busy, but I'm taking a day off to rest my weak knees and get a chance to go back to the beginning of the trip. This trip is a many-part trip. The first two weeks I'm with my friend, Alix Baird, who has never been to Paris. Then I'm on my own until June 10th, when Ellen, Andrew and Julia show up - with Bennett showing up a few days later. They stick around until the 19th and then I'm on my own in Paris until July 15th, when I leave for Great Britain. Just one day in London visiting Highgate - where I lived with my cousins when I was 11 - and then ten days traveling along the west coast of Scotland. Then I meet up with my poetry workshop friends - led by Terry Ehret, who leads the workshop I take in Sonoma County - for two weeks in a little Welsh manor. One more night in England - just across the border in Chester where my ancestors have been traced to 1590 - and then three nights in the Trinity College dorms in Dublin before returning home on August 13th.
Another view out the windows
We began our trip by being picked up by Jim Fitch - almost executed by "the state" for his traffic tickets (his joke) - who I met while he was "serving time" at the Peace & Justice Center. He is now a fabulous volunteer for the Annual Celebration. Before we'd made it to the county line, there was an accident that caused us to take an hour going a distance that would normally take five minutes. We were pretty nervous, but we got there just as they were starting boarding and we were allowed on. We celebrated with champagne on the plane. Charles de Gaulle airport is hell and we were driven round and round as the shuttle driver searched for his other fares.
We landed on May 1st - International Workers Day in France, one of the three most important holidays (so unlike the US) - and had planned to join the celebration, but it was not to be. When we finally arrived at the apartment, we discovered that we had no towels, no sheets, and no internet - and the owner lives in South Africa. We had to search out a place with internet - down many flights of stairs (we're on the top of Montmartre) - and it took a few days to sort things out. Now everything is set except for the broken washing machine - that's still being worked on, or so she says.
Just a few steps from our door!
We have spent a lot of time at sidewalk cafes - wine, Kir, Lillet - no coffee yet - and a lot of time just strolling. It is beautiful everywhere we go. The weather is variable - sun and clouds and a little rain. Not too hot and not too cold (except occasionally for Alix). We've had very average food, since we're not paying for better, and ate early last night (9:00 pm) in the apartment - cheese and ham and avocado with bread and fruit tarts from a local organic bakery. More about specific adventures next post.
The two remaining windmills on Montmartre
are a couple of blocks from our door.