Sunday, May 20, 2012

France in a Day, Paris in an Afternoon

More catching up with my blog. Now in Homer, Alaska, I can believe I really was in Europe just 3 weeks ago only if I look at my photos to recall the wonderful moments I had with friends.

Even if as brief as my 1 1/2 day visit in France was, it meant a lot to me. After visiting Stephen in  Belgium, I took the quick train to Paris' Gare du Nord train station on April 30. A lot of souls have wandered through this famous spot over time.

It was about 4 blocks' walk to the East Station (Gare de l'Est; actually in Tucson terms it was about 1/4 block), and while I busied myself with knitting a new pair of socks, I was suddenly in the middle of Champagne, visiting my dear friend Titou.

On May 1, far from the demonstrations that dominated much of the country, we had a nice morning of birding in the forest to the south of Reims, passing through picturesque old villages, such as Villers-aux-noeuds.

The region grows a lot of grapes for bubbly wine; not just any, this is the genuine champagne.

On our walk in the woods the Blackcaps, Great Tits, Marsh Tits, Chaffinches, and Dunnocks conspired to create a cacophony. No photos of them, but the wildflowers in this late, late spring were still nice to see. Bluebells.


And a really hairy cool weather fly.

Titou lives in a lovely country house over an hour from Reims but maintains a lofty flat in the middle of the city, with a spectacular view of this famous city.

The Notre Dam cathedral in the center of town is perhaps the best known landmark.

Then I got a ride to Paris with Titous' nephew, met up with my friend Harald, and within a short time was viewing the other Notre Dam cathedral. France in a day.

Harald and I then caught up at a busy restaurant, having last seen each other in Heidelberg 14 1/2  years ago.

I saw the tip of the Eiffel Tower from afar. Paris in an afternoon.

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