We are back. Twenty three days of travel, fifteen crossing the Atlantic, we visited three continents, five countries, alienated people in three cities, and discovered no restaurant in Europe can make just a plain pot of coffee. Picture this - we are in Paris. My husband is passed out in our room, suffering from the bronchitis that would follow him doggedly from Gatwick Airport to Port Everglades - it is dark out, cold, raining, there are NO fast food restaurants within the immediate vicinity (no wonder Europeans are thinner than Americans) and no restaurant in our revoltingly expensive hotel, the one that boasts a view of the Eiffel Tower... if you press your cheek up to the top glass and twist your head around like Linda Blair from the Exorcist...But I digress.
Anyway. I found a little bakery a few blocks away and purchased the only thing I could pronounce - croissants, and a cup of coffee. The unsmiling clerk and her friend set about to bag my croissant and then took about a half hour to make a cup of coffee for me. When she handed it to me I asked if they had milk. You would have thought I asked if they had sausage rolls.
"Milk? Milk?" The two women looked at each other. "Milk?" Finally the clerk narrowed her already terrifying gaze saying quite ominously, "...cafe au lait?"
I remembered that term from many grey poupon commercials! "Yes! I mean oui...cafe au lait.'
She threw up her hands and shook her head...or was it the other way round? Anyway, a lot of grunting and noise ensued. The entire cup had to be refurbished or something, milk needed to be steamed and frothy, microwaves were involved...I don't know. It seemed like a lot of nonsense for a cup of coffee if you ask me. I just wanted to get some food into my husband so he could take his pill and get something hot for him to drink, and this puny little cup was taking forever. I think I'll send France a Mr. Coffee machine, now that I'm home and safe from Madame Guillotine's wrath.
I'm digressing again, aren't I?
All righty. Let's start with the best part of the whole trip. London...
We loved our first stop, London, the food was great, the people incredibly friendly, the flight a nightmare (modern day steerage). We saw Westminster Abbey, the Tower, Buckingham Palace (Her Majesty was NOT in residence. Evidently my note to her went askew...) We went to Covent Garden, which I loved,
and saw a play there starring my favorite Darcy, Matthew Macfadyen.
Somehow I got my camera to work long enough to film something. Can't slow it down though...I think you can see the London Eye there for a second.
These are the guards coming to the Palace. They played "Goldfinger" after the changing of the guard. I'm sure the band played other, more suitable music for the occasion, but I only remember those first notes of "Goldfinger." Gave me goosebumps to be at the Palace, in London, and hearing the greatest James Bond theme ever written...
The crowds were just beginning to collect on the Queen Victoria monument acrossfrom the Palace Gates...
That's Trafalgar Square in the background - Lord Nelson's statue way in the back - we stayed at the Grand Trafalgar Hotel - really lovely.
Next up will be the train ride on the Siberian Express, Roma and then the ship coming back home. I found out I am definitely not a "cruise" person...