July 3, 2019: Musee d’Orsay

Wednesday. GT2 Day Twenty Five. Paris, France.

It is so nice to have Internet again. Real, working Internet. Our connection here in Paris is second best of the trip, second only to Rome. But Rome we had very so little time, here we have it for about twice as long. In Rome we were not so backed up as we are now. Now we are very behind after three locations (Naples, Umbria, Tuscany) where we had essentially nothing. So last night and early this morning are purely “media management” time for me. Emily worked on social media posts last night all night, she has been waiting for that to work.

Dominica was up a little before eight, having fallen asleep really early last night. I was up until about one and got up at eight this morning. I worked on uploads and SGL all morning. By nine thirty I was showered and all ready to head out, but we are letting Madeline sleep as much as possible. She has gotten so little sleep and was passing out on the train anytime that there was an opportunity, so she is able to sleep when given the chance. But we keep waking her up and making her go do things first thing in the morning, so she rarely gets a chance to sleep.

One of the food complications with the girls that only really matters when you travel is that Emily can’t eat for the first hour after waking up, much like me, but unlike me has to eat very promptly after about an hour. I have zero desire for food for at least two hours after I have first woken up, at first food sounds terrible and later I just have no appetite. But Madeline always needs food, almost as an emergency, within the first hour of waking up. So if they wake up at the same time, or Madeline first, we have an impossible conflict that means that we cannot solve the issue with a single meal. So basically two “food emergencies” that conflict, guaranteed, every day unless Emily wakes up thirty minutes before Madeline, is already ready to go, and Madeline gets ready as quickly as she can, and we find something right away that they can both eat. Then the complication is finding what they both eat. Emily has to have something other than bread for breakfast, Madeline basically can only have bread like foods for breakfast. It’s the kind of complication that you never consider until traveling like this and all food comes from restaurants in an unknown area, open at unknown times, and they need to get sleep, but want to do things, and expect us to find and select all of their food for them. Every day is a pretty big challenge just for that.

Today’s plan, if we have one, is to wait for the girls to wake up naturally and to not want to go back to bed after doing so, and to upload as much as we can while they are sleeping. Then we will immediately venture out to our immediate area to find breakfast, my guess is that we will be looking for crepes. Then we will walk to Notre Dame, which is very close, and walk some of the gardens nearby and see the famous museum with the impressionists, the Musée d’Orsay. Dominica is leveraging the Planet D Three Day Paris Itinerary for ideas.

One of the consistent mistakes that we have been making on this entire trip is staying up too late and doing too many activities in the evenings and not getting up really early in the morning. The weather has been so hot and we keep missing doing things early in the morning when the weather and light are best, and instead doing all of our activities in the hottest parts of the day, so the toll it is taking on us is extreme. That’s not always the case, we’ve managed to do some really early mornings, but so often those are travel mornings and burn us out, and not activity mornings. Like yesterday.

No chairs in this apartment. There are some stools along the wall, but that is it. This place is tiny and with the beds in place, there are only the beds to sit on. Ten o’clock rolled around and Madeline was still asleep. Even Dominica is starting to get hungry.

Today should be a really big picture day. So much to see and do. Although if we do the museum as we have planned, and Dominica has already bought the tickets, then that is a big part of the day in which we cannot take any pictures. My goal is to get us up to four thousand pictures on this Grand Tour 2 photo gallery on Flickr. We are well above three thousand now and have not been in a real new location for a bit. I would really like to make a video this morning while I am waiting to get going, but we are in a silent “no talking” apartment so can’t do that.

It was about ten forty when we left the apartment and walked down the six flights of stairs to the ground floor. We are right in the Latin Quarter, in the middle of everything. This is a great location, I love it. We have like eight creperies alone on our block! And maybe forty restaurants total, all in one block. It is insane.

We started the day looking for food. Pretty much Emily discovered a couple of gyros places and that was what she wanted to have. So we found a nice gyro place and sat out on the street. Dominica and I had falafel. The girls both had chicken gyros. It was all very good and the girls were very happy. Emily ate the whole thing. Madeline did not, but ate as much as she reasonably could have eaten, so it was a big food success.

After our super late breakfast, or super early lunch, we went walking to Notre Dame. That walk was not far at all. It was really cool to see. The reconstruction is heavily underway and we really got to see a lot of it. We walked all around it as closely as we could, which is really not all that close. The damage is very extensive and you cannot go anywhere near the actual building.

From Notre Dame we walked along the Seine for a long way, see the Pont du Arts which was so famous with the lover’s locks that had to be modified so that the locks would not keep being added and bring down the bridge from the extra weight. It’s all plexiglass now.

We did lots of shopping at the little street vendors along the river. The girls got some souvenirs and we got some small wall decorations for the bar. I found a Campari poster, for example.

Our first big thing of the day, other than eating in the Latin Quater, seeing Notre Dame, shopping in the famous book seller’s row, and walking along the Seine, was to visit the Musee d’Orsay, considered by many to be the finest art museum in Paris. It was one twenty when we finally got there, it was quite a good walk, and we stayed until three. Dominica and I did Rick Steves’ audio tour of the museum and saw basically everything. The girls started the tour but gave up basically right at the beginning and never saw most of what the museum was famous for: the impressionists. This is the museum of Monet, Manet, Renoir, Pissarro and others. Just room after room of the most amazing material. But they saw very little and were not into it. Dominica and I thought that the museum was amazing. Really awesome. The girls, are pretty much done with anything like this for a while. Too much art and tours.

At three we left to start walking towards the Luxembourg Gardens, supposed to be a highlight of the city. It was a bit of a walk and Dominica’s feet were really killing her and we needed to take a break. Emily was ready to eat and wanted crepes, but we struggled to find a crepery that would allow us to sit and eat. We settled on a cafe where Dominica and Madeline got coffee and I got a Aperol. We sat for a little bit until Dominica could walk again. Then we back tracked to find an affordable crepe place.

Dominica ordered crepes at the first place, but they were out of bananas. Emily only wanted crepes with bananas. So I left the three of them there and I hoofed it a long way back the way that we had come and found a crepe seller that we had seen on a corner, bought crepes for Emily and Madeline and a slushy for Emily because she cannot have ice cream, and walked back to them with the food. It turns out that Dominica had already gotten Madeline a crepe, but didn’t want to tell me, so Madeline ate the first one and hid the evidence while I was gone and then attempted to eat the one that I bought for her too! So Madeline had nearly three or four times as much to eat as she normally would. I got nothing, as I do not like crepes in general and when I do it is not sweet ones and there is just no savoury crepe that I’ve seen that I can eat that looks any good in Paris yet. But I had a few bites that Madeline could not finish. And not surprisingly, I didn’t like it.

From the crepes it was off to the gardens. More walking. In the gardens we really just did pictures. There was extremely little to see. It is a nice garden but nothing to write home about. Madeline was pretty surprised by the quality of European gardens compared to the parks back in Texas. She had not realized what real parks were like.

By this point the girls were really tired and wanted to get back to the apartment. Directly back we went, but only to the area, not to the apartment itself as we are in a six floor walk up and they did not want to walk all of the way back up six flights of stairs if there was any chance of needing to come down there again.

We got back to the Latin Quarter and the girls shopped for a while. Then we needed to kill some time before they were hungry enough to eat so we picked a bar and sat outside and had some drinks. Dominica and I had Aperols. Emily had a sex on the beach. Madeline had something like a Blue Lagoon.

While we were having drinks we quickly went from “not yet hungry and can’t think about where to eat” to “too hungry to make a decision, need to be fed now”, all within thirty minutes. This is why it is so challenging. Dominica was determined to have Indian food for dinner and was going to send the girls off on their own if they didn’t want Indian, too. I was really hoping for at least one French meal today, but no luck. The girls got Dominica to compromise on Thai so that they could eat with us. So Thai it is.

The restaurant was uncomfortably tiny and the food was beyond bland. Probably the worst Thai that I can remember having. It wasn’t “bad” like gross or anything. Just totally lacking in flavour, spice, or really anything. The ingredients seemed to be of fine quality, but the taste just didn’t exist.

We stopped at a tiny Tunisian bakery just downstairs to try some goodies. We got maybe half a dozen items. Don’t worry, I took pictures. Neither Dominica nor I have ever had Tunisian desserts before. We are very interested. The girls would not even look at the food and had no interest in trying it.

After dinner we climbed the six flights back up to our apartment and, as always seems to happen, the Internet was out. The wifi was totally offline. Dominica emails our host and after about half an hour it was turned back on. So that explains why so many of my uploads that I had set up to run today had not completed. So instead of uploading four videos today, only one got uploaded. I got more uploads started and worked on massaging those all evening.

Around ten thirty Dominica and I tried our pasties. That was a fail. Some were moderately okay, several weren’t really edible. There was nothing that we really liked. Oh well. Can’t win them all. Today has been pretty rough, though. Other than a good falafel sandwich this morning, I had a terrible leftover crepe, horrific pad thai, and train wreck pastries. This is my punishment for not just getting escargot and a fondue like a real Frenchman would do.

We are amazed after weeks in southern Europe as to how late the sun is out here. France is so much farther north than we have been, and it is so much farther west while not changing time zones that the sun does not set until around eleven!

By the end of the night, a lot of pictures have been uploading to Flickr and likely everything from Tuscany will make it by morning, unless we lose the connection. We had about fifty pictures left to upload at midnight to get to that point. So that is one to two hours for that to wrap up.

A few more videos have uploaded to YouTube. So anyone following the channel there will have some stuff to watch. Only a few minutes worth, but something. Some of the Tuscany videos are there now. Hopefully at least a couple make it during the night.

Instagram (and WhatsApp) are down today. They’ve been down for most of the day. So anyone trying to follow along there is going to be having problems. Instagram went down for me while I was at the first cafe with my first Aperol. I tried to post about that and it failed. I figured that the problem was my Internet, but Paula filled me in to the global Facebook infrastructure outage later in the day. A day after CloudFlare had such a huge outage.

I am wrapping up the SGL update and about to get to bad at half past midnight. This is night four, that I am heading into, without a CPAP. So far, so good. Not a single notice of snoring yet.

We have to be up super early tomorrow because we have to get to the Eiffle Tower very early in the day. That is our first thing of the morning.