GREETINGS FROM PARIS

GREETINGS FROM PARIS

Today is Friday May 30th and we are in Paris staying in the wonderful George V hotel. Our suite has a narrow balcony area with a view of the Effile Tower and the city.. Last night we ate at the Le Cinq restaurant in this hotel which is worth visiting Paris for by itself. A modified menu in which each small course is accompanied by a wine and all of it delicious. Waiters dressed in tuxedo's with tails. The lobby and the hotel filled with very tall round glass vases in which long stemmed white flowers are displayed. Hundreds of flowers. The dining room is a high ceiling beautiful room with huge chandeliers and paintings Effile that make you anticipate that a French King from the 18th century will walk in. The court yard has a huge stand of purple orchids that are absolutely stunning. The entire hotel is an experience by itself.

This morning we got up and Lita went shopping while I walked around the area. All kinds of people. In addition to tourist's there are the French people dressed so very well. Men in suits and sports coats. Women looking like the are on a fashion parade. Some wearing high heels where the heel is so high the shoe looks like a child's slide at the playground. I sat at an out door cafe having a coke – which cost me 8 Euro's or close to $12 at the present exchange rate. Did I mentioned there are no bargains here. Paris is one of the most expensive cities in the world to live. But, the Coke allowed me to sit for an hour watching the passing parade and it was well worth seeing all t he interesting people talking any number of languages. During my walk a young man who looked like he was from Morocco tried the gold ring scam on me. He pretended to find an expensive looking ring on the sidewalk and asked if it was mine. I gave him my most fierce look and kept walking so he turned quickly to a woman next to me and when I walked away he had managed to engage her in a conversation. As you know, the scam involves the person indicating he does not want the ring he has just found and will sell it to you cheap. Of course, the ring  turns out to be a cheap fake.

We ate lunch at.a small outdoor restaurant and had an excellent salad of greens with thin ham. I had tuna as well and the wine was adequate. I enjoyed walking around the area near the hotel, but I especially enjoyed the food after Puglia. My report about our stay in Southern Italy is my view. Lita enjoyed the experience more than I did, but both of us were disappointed in the food. Instead of the simple pasta with tomato's type meal  we got past with melted cheese or more complicated attempts at fixing food. The food simply was average and that was true not only of our hotel but at the other areas we ate except for a sea food restaurant where the fresh fish was outstanding. The weather was in the 80's to 90's which didn't help and I've already commented about the ice cold pool and the stark stone hotel area. The huge olive trees were impressive. In short, I was happy to leave.

While there, we visited Alberobello a very nice and unique town where the buildings are round with stone cone shaped roofs called "Trulli."  There were farm houses in that shaped painted white with bright green vines growing up the side and a gold field of wheat or grain in front. It was very beautiful. We also visited Ostuni. A town on the hill where all the buildings are white – called the white city – and very interesting winding narrow streets. We had dinner there, but it wasn't anything to brag about. The town is worth seeing. We took a drive for over an hour to Lecce. A large town with an over abundance of graffiti it has very old and impressive buildings like the huge church with a most beautiful painted and decorated ceiling. Other visits to the small nearby towns were enjoyable and interesting. The hot weather made the situation difficult however. I found a MacDonald's and sat outside in the shade where there was a slight breeze with a Coke. A young woman with a long skirt on a bike got the end of the skirt caught in the rear wheel in front of where I was. I watched as two Italian men struggled to help free it. There was a lot of arm waving and talk before it was accomplished.

To get to Paris we made a  short drive to the small airport and we flew on to Rome. The plane was late getting away, but we arrived in time for our next connection. The airport was so hot and humid that it was miserable. We were glad to get away on our next flight to Rome. Some young Italian sitting in coach was unhappy with me because I refused to let him bring his bag and put it in the bin over our business class seats where we had coats and my Panama hat I always wear in Italy. When we landed he deliberately pushed past me as I was standing waiting for the door to open. Ah, the hot blooded Italian's! In Paris the hotel had a woman waiting right at the airplane door who took us to the baggage area. Our bags were off immediately and she took us to the curb where the hotel car was waiting. Now, that's my kind of travel. I leave Rick Steves travel to the younger people.

After another night in this oasis we will drive on to our next destination Honfleur and Normandy where the major invasion of World War II took place. I am looking forward to this small harbor town and the historical sites.

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