A Travellerspoint blog

Paris

Import-Host Family-Versailles

semi-overcast 50 °F

I,m writing from a small town in Normandy called Coutances and am three days outside of Paris via the beaches at Normandy.

My first two hours in Paris was a lesson in the daily life of French truck drivers and the in,s and out,s of the Paris airport importation process. Needless to say I got a lot of looks from the very French looking truck drivers (smaller, more sophisticated version of US truck drivers) when the forklift delivered Bonnie at the foot of the wearhouse entrance.

I wasn,t prepared to like Paris as much as I did: The Seine river meandering through it,s heart, the bridges, the uniformity of the old buildings, the Eiffel Tour peaking through an alleyway when you;re not expecting it. The famous museums, well manicured parks and clean streets all added positive vibes.
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I don,t think Paris would have gotten the same rave reviews if it wasn,t for my host family, the Gentils, friends of my Aunt Amy and Uncle Dan Martineau who set it up for me (Arizona hosts, X_Country Arctic Expedition ,06). With this opportunity I was able to experience a little of the daily habits of a Parisian family for example, eating. Dagmar, my temporary mother, prepared scalloped potatos and breaded veal one night. My farewell meal was very informal and included assorted cheeses, sausages and baguettes from the Sunday market...classic. My host Father, Philippe, aside from being the breakfast chef, took me out on night cruising the streets of Paris finished off with a beer at a bar inside the Lourve.
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Below, a picture from the Gardens at Versailles, former home of the Sun King Louis the 14th and short afternoon trip from Paris
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On Saturday the Martineaus arrived from the western coast of France where they were researching their family roots. My cousin Grace turned 16 that night and in celebration we had an elegant dinner a place named the Crystal Palace. It;s a little of a let down knowing I will never eat a fancier meal this whole trip.
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Much thanks to The Gentils, Aunt Amy and Uncle Dan. Without them I surely wouldn,t have loved Paris so much.

Posted by meIan3 10:24 Archived in France Tagged family_travel Comments (1)

Huntington-NYC-Montreal

LSP-Cargo-Two Compadres-Old Port's Mansion-Characters

overcast 0 °F

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Left Northport, NY 5:55am after a long luggage selection process where only the most practical luggage makes it into one of the two 16"x14"x6" saddlebags. Some of the clothing finalists included three pairs of lucky underwear, wool thermals and a cream coloured suit jacket. A tent, sleeping bag, tools, spare parts and travel literature took up the rest of the volume in the bags.

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Arrived at Canadian border at 2:30pm Saturday in the Silverado, carrying passengers Charlie Kunken (Former Arctic Expedition '06 companion see-http://www.crosscountry-2006.blogspot.com/), Doug Kocis and Bonnie (Triumph Bonneville Motorcycle - see movie "The Great Escape"). We dropped off the bike at Air Transat Cargo where she was sent over the scales. Jean-Pierre, the calm and collective cargo manger handled the paperwork and it went smooth thanks to Motorcycle Express, the shipping liaison out of Woodbury. So far so good.

Charlie and Doug left me at 8am Sunday morning. They hauled the truck 7 hours south back to NY. Thank you guys for coming through on short notice. I’ll be in Montreal until I fly out to Paris, Tuesday, April 1, Bonnie below in the cargo hold.

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Until my flight, I'm lodging in a hostel with a French name which I believe has the word "mansion" in it which is funny because I'm sleeping in an attic on one of twenty-odd air mattresses strung out on the floor. The exposed old timbers and stone walls quickly put things back into perspective. I'm in the Old Port section of Montreal, not at a sleepover in little Bobby's basement.

I've met two characters in Montreal worth noting. Hector, a Salvadorian transplant via L.A. is one of them. I happened to sit next to him at a buffet in the city's Chinatown. He drives 1 1/2 hours from his town to attend Saint Joseph's Basilica (2nd in height to St. Peter's in Rome) every Sunday for Mass. Besides revealing to me the buffet's excellent garlic broccoli he also told me about the park atop Mount Real (Royal Mountain) which upon my investigation was a cheery place where all the local families hang out. Alyson is the second. She's a French Woman on business in Montreal. Alyson comes from the town of St. Malo, an old walled port city in Brittany, the northwest part of France. She's taking interest in the French part of the expedition and has added a lot of reinforcement to my loosely-bound itinerary.

Expect an update from Paris. Over and Out.

Posted by meIan3 11:20 Archived in Canada Tagged preparation Comments (1)

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