Saturday, July 17, 2004

A Walking Tour

The roasted chicken at the cafe on Rue Cler tasted mighty good.

It was the first thing we did after leaving the hotel room. We promised ourselves we would no nothing else first. And it revived us. But by the time we were done, the better part of the day was gone.

We set our eyes on the Eiffel Tower, a walking tour that would take us in that direction and then bring us back. The sky was blue. The air was warm but not anything near the heat we had left behind in Texas. And our stomachs were full. So as tired as we were, we figured we could handle it.

First was the Les Invalides with its gilded gates and dome shining in the sun and the blooming trees in the gardens filling the air with an intoxicating sweetness.

Then we walked the Champs de Mars where it seemed the whole of the city had emptied onto the lawns: babies, kids, students, couples, families, and policemen telling fathers where they were allowed to play soccer with their kids.

At the end of the green, the Eiffel Tower beckoned. The plaza underneath was teaming with people when we finally reached it. There were babies, kids, students, couples, families, policemen chasing wind-up airplane vendors away, soldiers carrying machine guns, and tourists gasping and gawking and waiting in line.

We chose to go up a different day.

Ben got a popsicle, and we continued to the Seine and across to the Palais de Chaillot. We went up the long walk beside the reflecting pool to the terrace where we turned around and looked back at the pool, the river, the Tower, and the lawns of green behind running into the distance.

And then we headed home.

It was late as we returned, with darkness falling on us before we got back. Strobe lights flickered on the Tower. Flame throwers performed on the lawns. And as we reached our room at the top of the stairs, we collapsed into blissful oblivion.

Trip to France - Day 2

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