Last Day

Our week in London with friends is coming to an end. One last birthday party and then tomorrow we go home. Some sadness, but mostly, happy to have survived the summer with no major accidents, incidents or disasters.

Jacob is still speaking to me, though we have agreed it might be quite nice to not see or speak to each other for a whole day when we get back.

It will be nice to be home. No traveling. Time to sort photos and write down the details of the story of our crazy gypsy summer so we don’t forget it in the distraction of picking up everyday life.

At some point I must pack, as my one small backpack has now morphed into two large bags with all the bits we shipped back to London. Plus, a little shopping in London.

Off to Covent Garden for a bit and then back to set up the party.

Brussels aka the layover with chocolate

Brussels aka the layover with chocolate

Smoothish arrival in Belgium, though initially we got out at the wrong train station. (They have THREE!) Had lunch and went to the movies (Suicide Squad – not really excellent.) Then hit Leonides for a huge bag of Belgian chocolate, did a little more shopping. We also wandered through the palace square – quite by accident. Didn’t even consider going to any sites or museums. Now for some dinner and then – The Chunnel to London.

Off to Bruges

We are on the early train from Amsterdam to Brussels. We have several hours there before our train back to London. Just enough time to buy some chocolate, a keychain and maybe a pair of earrings.

Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam ROCKS

Great collection.
Well designed space.
Well trained staff.
And – wait for it – an audio guide that just blows all the other crap into space. Finally.
I swear, if I win the lottery, I am sponsoring new audio guides for all the other great museums we saw thus summer. (That did NOT have great audio guides!)

Next up: Rijksmuseum

Amsterdam Hotel

We are staying at a real hotel. A nice hotel. With soft beds and breakfast and a balconie. Such a miracle that our room (an upgraded deluxe room) was available when we arrived 6 hours early. We were just going to leave our luggage and head out to explore. Instead we get showers, breakfast and a perfect start to our one day here. . Bliss for our last 24 hours on the Continent.

Versailles on Wheels

Last day in Paris, so we HAD to do Versailles. With my fabulous new sneakers, gel pads, supportive tape and the cane, I made it to the Palace. At that point, we rented a golf cart to tour around the gardens and the Grand Canal, as well as glimpses of Grande and Petite Trianons.
After a quick cafe lunch, we turned in our golf cart and borrowed a wheel chair. Felt silly, but it was absolutely necessary, as by the time we finished the tour and made it back to the train, my feet felt like someone was stabbing them with burning knives. Huge thank you to Jacob for pushing me around in the chair and for the amazing staff. They have the wheelchair thing down to a science! I don’t think I could have made it otherwise.
Lovely gardens, history in every foot and a fairly easy commute (except for the taxi drivers who refused to take us to the train station in Versailles as the journey was too short to make it worth their time. Is that legal?).
Now to pack and organize (and rest) before our night bus to Amsterdam.

Picasso Museum – Paris version

We saw the earlier works in the Barcelona museum, so decided to catch the French version. Some cool pieces, but honestly, neither of us is much of a Pablo fan. Have to admire how he tried pretty much EVERYTHING in his life time. This print of the Flowers hung on my walls at Yale and for years afterwards. Pretty much my favorite Picasso. (But not at this museum.)

Impressionists

Jacob and I share a passion for these paintings. We spent the afternoon at the amazing Orsay. The building was once a train station and is now an awesome museum. Loved the decorative arts and statues as well.

Counting down

Less than two weeks before we head home. Three more days in Paris, one quick day/night in Amsterdam and then back to London for a few days before we head home. I plan to burn the clothes in my backpack. Or maybe just hide them for a year. I am sick of them and the temptation to shop in Paris is overwhelming.
Must. Resist.

Off to ride the big bus around Paris, then a bateaux down the river. Its a no walking day to let my feet recover a little.