Unfortunately, there was a delay in posting this as we have not had access to internet from our current apartment.

After our two day trips we decided to take it easy our last couple days in Paris. Our days consisted of sleeping in, long lunches at outdoor cafes, and leisurely walks searching out our next meal.

It was pretty unique that we didn’t see any planes flying over Paris due to the volcanic ash. We’re lucky that between the ash and the train strike, we haven’t had any problems so far getting trains.  Some trains have been cancelled due to the strike, and more people are travelling by train due to flights being grounded.  We are traveling with a three-country Eurail pass, which means we have to go to the train station to book travel, but that hasn’t been too inconvenient so far.

Some thoughts on Paris:

-Neither of us speak French, but you can get a long way knowing the basics, especially useful was “hello, do you speak English” and lots of pointing/hand gestures.

-As we’d expected (and contrary to popular belief) we found Parisians to be pleasant and helpful. Most of our meals were eaten out and we didn’t have any rude servers.

-We were very surprised by how many people still smoke. As an example, last night at dinner, the two women to our left smoked 15 cigarettes over the course of their meal. To our right, it was pretty much the same.

-Ray-Bans are huge here. Rough estimate – 80% of people 35 and younger are sporting these shades.

-Parisians love their Coca-Cola (old fashioned 8oz bottles) at 5-6 Euros a pop. (No sign of Pepsi).

-Brent is having really bad allergies and coughing – we’re not sure if this is related to the Paris pollution problem or from the ash.

-We loved using the Metro to get around – it was extremely easy to navigate. The only bad thing was when Katie saw three rats in two minutes while waiting for a late night train.

We’re on the fast train now to Provence and the countryside is beautiful. We’re looking forward to getting there.