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The Group

 

Day 20: August 16th 1999 (Paris, France).

Apparently Don fell asleep as soon as he checked in yesterday and had slept 13 hours straight.  He was now fresh as ever.  He had been coming down with the cold that everyone else had gotten but now he was fine.

Breakfast was a croissant and a long baguette cut in half.  Juice and coffee and cheese spread as well.  After breakfast Don took us on an optional Paris walk.  We first stop at the church Sainte-Chapelle, which was a wonderful glass-enclosed flying buttress enabled Gothic building.  So much stained glass and so little wall.  Then we walked past Notre Dame, the bottom of which was scaffolding.  Still, I couldn’t help but think of the hunchback ringing in the huge bell towers.  We then went to the Latin Quarter and had lunch.  I had a cheese covered hotdog which hit the spot well.

We stopped on the Ponte Neuf (new bridge) and he filled us in on some more Paris history.  Then, off to the Louvre to meet the rest of the group and our local guide.

The Louvre is too big.  Period.  400,000 works of art?  Only one bathroom?  Anyway, we saw the original Louvre Castle buried beneath the courtyard, Venus de Milo, Wings of Victory, Mona Lisa and four other paintings by Da-Vinci, and many more things.

After the Louvre we had the afternoon free so I went to the Notre Dame, walked around inside and climbed the bell tower.  Great view from above but there was a long line, and it was raining at the top.  I took the Metro back to the hotel afterwards.

We walked to our last group dinner at 7:45 that evening.  Some of us stopped on the bridge for a group photo because the light was nice and we were waiting for our tables to get cleared.

Dinner was in a wine cellar.  I had the French onion soup in the roast pork, and fried ice cream for dessert.  Jim got up and gave thanks to the guides from the tour group, and presented the gifts Olivia and Cindy had made.  Don gave us little Eiffel Tower’s and Sistine Chapel postcards with “thanks for your spark” written on the back to us.  He and Ian signed them.  Everyone was tearing up.

Then we had the real group pictures.  Ian gathered everybody’s camera and took the pictures in front of the restaurant, bad lighting and all.  Then we walked back to the hotel and Don hugged everybody goodbye.  He was leaving at 5 AM the next morning.  And then we were 27.

A large group of us stayed up and talked for a few hours, a bit about what we were going to do tomorrow and other things.  No alcohol this time.  I eventually retired.

           

     

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Last updated 11/12/2005 .  Email me at bob@besttravelbarcelona.com.

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