To say our first day in Paris was “riveting” is very much an understatement. It started with the pilot of our flight introducing, with great pride, that a special star was on board with us. Her name was May Kroger, One of the amazing women (now at 92) who worked hard and proud, taking over for men during WWII in difficult and often very physical jobs. May was literally the original “Rosie the Riveter”.
May was on her way to be honored at the D-Day celebrations to be held in Normandy. What an amazing woman, admired and photographed by almost everyone on the plane…and happening to be seated just across the aisle from Bonnie and Steve. They became best of friends and we helped escort her through immigration and baggage, through a gauntlet of well-wishers, to her awaiting entourage. At 92, she walked faster than we could. Even a young paratrooper came over to greet her explaining he would be in the special military jump at the ceremony. I asked her if she would jump with him, aka GHW Bush. Her eyes lit up asking, “Do you think they’d let me?” And, to add more “specialness” to the start of our trip, it turns out May lives in Levittown, PA, the place where I was raised! Wish we could have spent more time…
Maybe we slept an hour on the flight to Paris, but we all knew we had to push through the whole day ahead (from 10:30 am on) in order to “acclimate”. And, we did!
We just started walking from our hotel, way on the outskirts of Paris, and ended up with over 25,000 steps each and about 9 miles.
We walked all the way to the Arc de Triomphe and continued down the Champs Elysees. A brutally hot day for Paris (mid 80s) and bright sun, but beautiful blue sky.
Across the Seine to find Invalides and the tomb of Napolean, and also the resting place for his brother Joseph, once the King of Spain who settled in Bordentown, NJ after being deposed. A long, but amazing story regarding his effect on our little town.
Le Hotel des Invalides
And, Joseph’s resting place.
A stop for a cold, cold beer and crepes. And Steve closely examining the business end of a canon.
Continuing our long, long, exposed walk.
An obligatory Eiffel Tower sighting…and a decision to walk back to the hotel to rest a little before dinner. It doesn’t get dark until well after 10 pm these days, and this shot was probably about 6 pm.
The walk was a story in itself. We started with the tower at our back and headed back, east and north on a “short cut” to avoid the Times Square-like Champs. We figured the trek was about a mile and a half and we followed our none too accurate hotel map for a long, long time; over the mile and a half when we saw, you guessed it, the Eiffel Tower. Huh? It couldn’t be! Could it be a “replica” in a different place? After finally consulting our Google Maps, we found we had taken a wrong diagonal and started marching right back to where we had started (I actually promised I wouldn’t put this in the blog) – Don’t tell them. So, I’ll let you know, Uber works very well in Paris.
We made up for it with this lovely lunch previously, and a delicious cafe dinner before crashing at about 11 pm. Up early tomorrow for a bus tour of the city with Viking. See you then.