Adventures in London & Paris

Our trip began at the Phoenix airport International wing. It was a plethron of intertwining languages.  None of them English.

We were offered upgrades to the Business Class section (for a price). The soft cozy blanket was well worth it.  I wanted to take it with me so badly. I should have asked for it because I did not steal it and now I do not have it.  Oh, well.

Our adventure began with 2 nights in London, at the Conrad London St. James Hotel. It was a miracle we managed to get from the airport to the hotel.  The left-hand side driving is not the most unique traffic issue they have in the UK. The streets are a bit narrow, the intersections are either not laid out or so laid out that you cannot tell which way, side, or lane you need.  That, and they all drive 90 mph in places that Americans would drive 25-30 mph.  Bay Area traffic is nothing in comparison.

Our shuttle driver deserves either a medal or a straight jacket.

After we checked in, we explored around Westminster and Victoria Street. I wanted to have my photo taken in a London phonebooth. I only lasted in there 15 seconds. It reeked in there, It was obvious that the booth was used for other things besides phone calls.

Conrad is a 5-star hotel and I recommend it. I took pictures of some of the cool things about our room:

  • Big Screen TV -it doubled as a mirror when turned off.

Huge bathroom -With Shower & a tub!





We had a late dinner at the hotel and went to bed. The next morning at 4:00am we caught a shuttle to the train station for Paris.  I was so excited. Our tour would take us to the Eiffel Tower, The Louvre, and a boat down the river Seine.  All in one day, which is all we had since our ship was boarding the next day.

The train to Paris was fun, the weather gloomy. Our guide, the lovely Celeste, was fun and full of energy. Our all-day tour began at the Eiffel Tower.  We took a shuttle up to the 2nd observation floor.  The view of Paris was amazing – I had no idea how large Paris and it’s surrounding suburbs were.

Then, I got it in my head that I wanted to walk down to the ground level instead of riding the shuttle car.  The fact that the other three decided to walk with me, helped my self-confidence.

It was so cool! We were walking down inside the intricate framework.  I tried to take lots of photos, but they did not look nearly as cool as it did in person.  Halfway down from the observation floor, we realized we were in deep doo-doo. Our knees were starting to ache, then they began to tingle like they were going numb. Several times my sis-in-law and I had to stop walking and let the tremors subside before we went on. As we went on, each flight increased the agony that our knees experienced.  By the time we reached ground level, we were, for all intents and purposes, crippled.

Oh, Come on!  Crippled?

Yes.  We climbed down 674 metal steps.

Our next stop on the Paris-in-a-day-tour was The Louvre. The largest museum in Europe. To sis’s and my dismay, this monstrosity had stairs and vast hallways that led to even more stairs.  Upstairs was not so bad, but the going back down was nightmarish.

The Mona Lisa was moved up to the top floor because of the restoration going on in the museum. Sis and I were totally thrilled about that, as you can understand. Being there inside the Louvre was incredible. Of course, we had to see The Mona Lisa, we were there.

I’m happy to report that we saw Mona, barely. She had a huge security detail and photo Nazis that hurried folks past the painting after one photograph. So… this is the picture I got of her.  Not very impressive at all.

Happily, there was a reproduction hung in the hallway by the Mona Lisa room.  This Mona took much better photos and there were no annoying security guards to hurry you along.

I wonder what Leonardo de Vinchi would say about all this craziness…


♥  TTFN  ♥

5 Things That Would Have Killed Grandma (if She Wasn’t Already Dead)

My dear paternal Grandma, was a very opinionated lady. You always knew where you stood with her. You always knew where she stood about everything. She was also a fun-loving and free-spirited gal. She loved television and when she lived in Los Angeles she got herself on some game shows. I never got to see her on TV. When I was a kid we only had tape recorders and they were not state-of-the-art. Forget DVR’s set up to record shows. Hell – we didn’t even have cable!

I spent a lot of time with grandma, on her couch, drinking diet soda and watching TV, game shows and classics like The Andy Griffith Show, F-Troop, The Beverly Hillbillies, The Rifleman, Perry Mason – I could go on, but I won’t. She never watched “serials”, which back in the day were what soap operas were called. They were too stressful for her to watch she told me. Everyone was always sick, broken-hearted or marrying the wrong people. She said they were too much like real life.

Reality: I have to laugh when I imagine grandma watching one of today’s “Reality Shows”. I doubt she would have watched many of them, based on their title alone. “Naked and Afraid” comes to mind. Last night I came across a new title: “Naked Dating”. I had to put on my glasses to make sure I was reading it correctly. When I stopped laughing, after 15 minutes or so, curiosity won out and I tuned in for a minute. A minute was all it took for me to confirm the stupidity. Picture this:  A man and a woman, completely nude  (their naughty bits are blurred out),  on a date.

Now this “date” was not your dinner and a movie kind of date. It was filmed at a nudist camp slash tropical resort, somewhere with huts on stilts along the shoreline.  So, it wasn’t a date at all, but a couple flirting over cocktails. Then the couple joined 2 other couples and all of them flirted with each other. No one went home with the date they came with. In fact, they left you with the feeling that switching partners was a normal occurence around there. And the show is filmed like Survivor, mostly interviews with the “daters” talking behind everyone elses back. Two thumbs down and no stars. Only the title is funny.

Facial piercings & tattoo’s: When I got my ears pierced for 8th grade graduation grandma shook her head and told me “Now you have ruined your ears for life!” If she found out about her great-great granddaughters ink she would punish ME, because somehow, I screwed up as a parent.

Her piano: I gave her piano, that she left to me, away!  To a great home and very, very nice family. The little girl who wanted to take lessons name is Lillian. Just like yours! How wonderful is that, heh?  It was a sign grandma, seriously.

The traffic on I-580: When I was a kid that freeway was barely a freeway and there only seemed to be traffic when you were waiting at the stop sign to get on the freeway. No Portola Ave. on-ramp then. A stop sign then turn left onto the road, as fast as your car could go. Things are waaay different now.

Her collections: She loved covered wagons and birthday angels. She kept grandpa busy building shelves and cabinets to display all that she brought home from travels, stores and garage sales. Back then she was considered eccentric and got written up in the local newspaper with lots of photos of her huge collection.

Now she would probably be sought out by the producers of Hoarders.

♥  TTFN  ♥