On the way to Riyadh, we spent an excessively long time in the plane on the ground in New York. This delayed our arrival to Paris by about two hours, effectively causing us to completely miss our connecting flight to Riyadh. So we were stuck in Paris for about 24 hours.
After I got over the disappointment of not getting to Riyadh quickly (sarcasm!), we made our way to our hotel. I took a quick nap and then Brent and I decided to take the train into the city.
I am pleased to say that I can still navigate a train system. I was worried that after four years of not using public transportation daily that I would be rusty, but I suppose it is like riding a bicycle, you never quite lose the ability to manage. Our destination was the Musee D'Orsay. I love Impressionist paintings. Monet and Van Gogh are my favorite painters. Brent and I enjoyed the train ride. I love seeing places from the window of a train. I think Paris is a beautiful city, but seeing it from the window of train revealed the grittier parts of the city--graffiti and a harder urban edge with factories and utilitarian buildings. I like the contrast of the gritty with the pretty. It made Paris feel more real instead of a fairy-tale city.
We were so disappointed when we got to the museum because it was closed due to a strike. Evidently we weren't the only ones out of the loop. Other tourists milled around, expressing disappointment. Fortunately, there were some cool statues to enjoy. We walked around the museum admiring the statues and then crossed the street to the River Seine and enjoyed the view and the lights.
I was anxious to get some local color so we headed back toward the buildings and just strolled. At a local pharmacy, we browsed the selection (weird, I know, but I love visiting pharmacies in other countries). I found some pretty French lipstick and bought it.
It was so fun to walk around, holding my husband's hand, soaking up the atmosphere of Paris. Evidently we looked like normal people, instead of tourists, because we got stopped by a couple of people asking us for directions. I love blending in!
We saw quite a few scooters on the roads as people were driving home. I saw people carrying bouquets of flowers. I wondered if they were going out to dinner with friends. Brent and I imagined how funny it would be if I were to take up driving in a scooter with our five children. Just the thought of squeezing them all in a sidecar had us laughing so hard, we had to stop walking.
After wandering around for some time, we caught the next train back to our hotel where we enjoyed a nice dinner at the restaurant. It was such a lovely peaceful evening.
And really, who can complain about being stuck in Paris??