Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Heading North to Soissons

God is good! I have free WiFi tonight! Everyone left for the airports this morning. When we arrived I checked their flights and between that information and three emails from some of them…everyone is fine and still in the air heading home except for those in Rome. Those landing in NYC at JFK are already through customs and boarding soon for San Francisco. The Rome group that left at 5 am has arrived in Rome and the news is that they are tired and it is HOT but they’re having a good time. Interestingly, this morning the weather in Paris was great; the extreme humidity left and walking in the sun was possible without dripping perspiration!

Joe and Laura left for the airport two hours later than the others and they treated us to a wonderful English breakfast French style with all the fixings. They just found out this morning that their new grandchild (our second great-grandchild) expected in December is a girl! After breakfast we put our luggage in the storage room and walked to Luxembourg Gardens and then back to the hotel. On the way home we watched a large truck work back and forth to navigate a very narrow street…see the photo.

Back at the hotel we unpacked the computers and enjoyed an hour sitting in the lobby with other guests who were also on their computer. Finally asked the tourist question: “where are you from” and found out they live in Seattle. But, own a home in the south of France and spend several months a year in France…I’m green with envy. But we had a good time before it was time for all of us to leave.

We took the RER over to the Arc de Triomphe area and located our car rental agency. It was a lot harder to do pulling our luggage….why oh why do we pack so much! But it only took us about an hour and soon we were heading out to the “peripherique”… the ring road around Paris…much like our freeways….we headed north towards A1 and Charles de Gaulle Airport. We are renting through Europcar and have a Renault diesel … 4 door…very roomy with a stick shift. But…it is “new” and has air conditioning…drives like a dream.

Our goal was an hour and a half drive to Soissons, north east of Paris. We got on the wrong roads several times and it turned out to be over a three hour drive. But we did arrive about 5 pm.

Our first visit was to the Tourist Office for maps and information. Then we visited the Cathedral…beautifully restored. It was heavily damaged during WW I and I hope you can see the photo I took of the damage. It closed just as we left so we headed out of town to find our home for the night.

About five miles from town we found our Formula 1 Hotel for tonight. Now the real fun starts as we begin to “rough” it on the road to save money and still enjoy our trip. The bathroom and showers are down the hall and No Air Conditioning! We have the windows open. But…it does have free WiFi. There is a grocery market across the street and we went shopping.

Back into town for some more sightseeing of Abbey’s and old churches; they were all closed so we’ll go back tomorrow morning before we leave town to see the Museums. Tomorrow we head for Gent and yes, another Formula 1 for two nights while we visit Brussels on Saturday.

Au revoir

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