“It’s a rainy night in Paris, and I’m sitting by the Seine. It’s a pleasure to be soaking in your European rain”…so goes an old Billy Joel song that was appropriate as it was ‘pouring down in Paree’ the day we visited. Still, it didn’t dampen our spirits as we visited the Louvre, took a boat tour on the Seine and went up to the second floor of the Eiffel Tower. The Louvre is huge and you could spend a long time looking at everything – it has over 3 million pieces in it’s collection – we knew we couldn’t do it all so we made a bee line to Mona – she is enclosed in glass in a big security structure but still gives that enigmatic, ‘I know something that you don’t’ smile. You just want to keep looking at that picture. The Louvre also has a great collection of Egyptian pieces as well as room after room of paintings. On the boat cruise on the Seine we listened to French music and drifted past classic French architecture – those distinctively shaped roofs in black. The ride up and down the Eiffel tower in the lift is crazy – the lift goes up at an angle to the legs of the Eiffel Tower (feels weird) and the crush of people requires you to guard you personal space or get squashed. The view up there though is worth the ride. You see old Paris in the foreground and a distinctly modern Paris in the backdrop. We are getting better at finding our way around - we made it into Paris without speaking French via a mini bus and two changes of trains and then to the tour agency without getting lost…thank you Garmin GPS
People who speak English…Hooray! Although you get by, it is still a pleasure after nearly a month of foreign languages to be able to communicate with all and sundry in English. We fitted a lot in in London from our ‘hop on, hop off’ bus tour that was great. The open top bus allowed us to see all the sights and stop at the ones we liked the look of. We stopped at Madame Tussards and the Tower of London, both well worth visiting. London has all the character you would expect with many of those red double decker buses and London cabs zooming about. London bridge is nothing special bridge wise – it’s been rebuilt five times – the one that most people recognize is Tower Bridge – that’s the one that rises in the middle to let tall ships through – we waited for it to do that once as a sailing ship went through – it didn’t take long as they can raise or lower it in 90 seconds.