Wednesday, March 26, 2008

I am Back!

I have spent the last week in Paris, France, and just came back. This was my first time there, and totally loved it!

The strongest impression? Beautiful stylishly dressed French women pedaling their bikes among cars while wearing high heels and no helmets! I knew there were lots of bikers in France, but I had no idea that they were so different from those in America. Here when you see a person on a bike, he or she is usually dressed in sports gear, rides on a side of the road (or on a special bike path), and all the cars are going out of their ways trying not to come near the biker. In Paris they were right on the roads, racing with the other cars and buses, and definitely doing it not for exercise as in America, but to actually get somewhere...

I brought back quite a few pictures, and you can see them in my Flickr album ( However, the things that impressed me the most did not get photographed. For example, I did not dare to pull out my camera in the bakery where we were buying our croissants every morning, even when my daughter volunteered to do it. She just turned ten and knows only a few words in French, so it was a major adventure for her.

Another memorable thing about Paris for me was live music on the streets. We even saw a band of native American Indians performing on the bank of Sena. Their music was so beautiful, with such clean and melodic sounds... I captured them on video, but not on a photo camera.

I was also sadly amazed by the number of baggers on the streets of Paris. No, I did not photograph them either... I am convinced there is always a white and a black side to everything, but the good thin is that even though we saw some dark sides of Paris, they were way outweighed by the positive ones.

This vacation was wonderful. We rented an apartment in the historic Paris, minutes from Louvre and Notre-Dame. We saw lots of Paris, exploring on foot Les Halles, Marais, and Champs-Elysees. I was pleasantly surprised how much my kids were actually able to walk (they claim they grew their leg muscles during this trip). The weather was great, and I was surprised to see lots of flowers and trees blooming there already. But the main thing is the city itself, of cause, with its historic atmosphere, narrow streets, and unforgettable buildings...

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