Sunday, January 18, 2004

I survived the USO bus trip to Paris! When our pottery-buying expedition to Poland got cancelled, my friend Amy and I decided to head west instead. We got on the bus at around 1:30 a.m. Saturday morning and started for France.

We made a breakfast stop from 6:30 to 7:30 and arrived at our first stop in Paris (Notre Dame) at 8:30. I've been to Notre Dame before but never so early in the morning. It was quite nice--more like a church and less like Grand Central Station at rush hour.

We spent the next 2 hours on an orientation tour of the city. Finally, the bus dropped us off at the Eiffel Tower at 11:30, and we had the next 8 hours free to ourselves.

Here's a picture I took of Amy with the tower in the background:

And here's another one I took that I call "Self-Portrait at the Tower." (When you say the title, kind of push it out your nose so it sounds French-y. Also, be sure to admire my snazzy new scarf!)

We walked from the tower to Invalides, stopping along the way to admire the horses at some muckety-muck riding school whose name escapes me:

From there we took the metro up to the arch and walked down the Champs-Elysees in search of food and the six dollar soda. We found both and then continued on by metro back to Notre Dame. We did some souvenir shopping (AB wanted a stuffed dalmatian wearing a beret, which I did manage to find) and then did some exploring of the Latin Quarter.

We ate an early supper in the Latin Quarter, mostly as an excuse to get off our poor, aching feet for a while. Then we walked along the Seine in the direction of the Louvre to meet up with the rest of our group. We were too early though, so we passed the final hour in a cafe. Our group congregated at the pyramid in front of the Louvre at 7:15, and we were on the road shortly after 7:30. We arrived in Mannheim around 2 a.m. today, and I slept until almost 1:00 this afternoon.

Mike arrives home from Switzerland tomorrow, and we start getting ready for our next adventure: a trip back to San Antonio using the military's space-available flight system. I have my hopes pinned on a couple of C5 flights from here to Kelly Annex right there in SATX. If we can get on one of those (and if the birdie takes off again from Dover), we will be golden. My last-ditch option though is a flight from here to Atlanta on Friday afternoon, which would then require me to spend the weekend driving to Texas. Bleah.

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