I just returned from, like, 10 days at sea?...how long was it? Nine days, yes. I had layovers in Paris (before) and Brussels (after), one of which was very nice and the other a complete disaster. You guess. I'll share stories in due time.
For now, as I do not have my camera with me, I can only share the photos I already emailed to my mother, whom I had to placate by sending regular updates on location as proof of my continued survival. Apparently the wilds of Royal Caribbean cruise ports are fraught with unknown dangers for a wispy little thing like me.
Speaking of—I present to you the first of my "Dan Sucking In His Gut" vacation photos collection:
For those of you who don't recognize the locale from "The Da Vinci Code," this is the front entrance to The Louvre. (We didn't go in, that's an all-day commitment.) I was trying to pose as a saucy Parisian. Although I am smiling in public, which immediately gave me away as a visitor. The locals were all too busy kissing each other and smoking cigarettes to curve their lips into a grin.
The dollar is terribly low to the euro—you need about $1.50 in US cash to get one measly euro coin—so it is hard for an American such as myself to splurge on the niceties of the city. Meals were restricted to stops at markets and street vendors; the H&M by my hotel, alas, was for browsing only. So I packed my camera and hit the streets. And in this case, the bridges, as is evident by the photo above.
The building slightly left of center, with the two identical rectangular turrets, is Notre Dame. I walked over at night to get a close-up view at night, which is lovely but difficult to photograph so you'll just have to take my word for it. While there, I looked for the Hunchback who rings the bells but I guess he had the night off.
The first day I was by myself, awaiting TL's arrival; I literally walked for hours, more than I have in the past month of my normal life. A seam on my jeans abrased a lesion on my leg, so I sought solace and respite at a place to sit down. Luckily the gay area of Paris, Le Marais, is located on the northern banks of this river, in the shadows on Norte Dame. How ironic. So I entered a bar, the name presently escaping my memory, and struck up conversation with some English-speakers in the corner. We discussed books. I didn't tell them the only book in my suitcase is a copy of Eclipse. I think I did alright in the conversation nevertheless.
So my travel tip for the day: in this bar, beer is served in two different sized glasses. Large glasses typical of beer are served to visitors; locals drink smaller servings, about the size of a dinner glass. The bartenders picked on their own who got what (prices were based according to size you received). And no tipping at the bar.