Paris, Day Twenty-one

Rudy and Sue in front of one of two large lakes in Bois de Boulogne, a large park in western Paris.
Rudy and Sue in front of one of two large lakes in Bois de Boulogne, a large park in western Paris.

With ALL of Sue’s iPad weather apps now predicting rain for a couple of days at the end of this week, and with the sun already shining gloriously into our window as we ate our fresh pastries for breakfast this morning, there was nothing to do but to get off our butts and go see the sites of Paris. Still on Sue’s list: Bois de Boulogne, a large park in the west of Paris. And we should cycle in the park. Better yet, how about if we rent a couple of the Vélib’ bicycles that are available all over Paris and ride them to and in the park! Okay, I’ll ‘google’ it and we’ll be off shortly.

We were out of the house by 1:30. We were going to rent the bikes just around the corner from our place, but all 20 or 30 bikes that are often locked into their stands there were out! Okay, we’ll walk towards the metro and if we see some Vélib’ bikes available along the way we’ll do that. Isn’t that how it usually goes? You see bikes available ALL THE TIME, until you actually want to rent one. We ended up taking the subway out to the park.

Once there we found a bike lot FULL of bikes. We punched in our codes and soon we were circling around the roundabout on our bikes, looking for an exit sign that would lead us to the park. We carried our jackets in the bike carriers. The park is criss-crossed with walking and cycling and horse-riding paths but not a lot of signage. The park is supposedly crowded with hikers and bikers most weekends. Not so today. Today the park belongs to dogs. Dogs everywhere! Some on a leash, many not. Sue and I felt like we might be the only ones not accompanied by a yapping hound. I had read somewhere that Parisians prefer having their dogs shit on the sidewalks (which they do!) and that the parks are relatively free of dogs. That is not true; they take their dogs to shit in the park too.

The deal with the Vélib’ bike rentals is that the bike is free for the first 30 minutes, 1 Euro for the next 30 minutes, 2 Euros for the next 30, and 4 Euros per half hour after that. The system encourages you to go on 30-60 minute rides, but not to bugger off for the whole day. We cycled around for just over an hour and then returned our bikes to a bike station. We went for a short walk to another bike station and took out bikes again. We cycled around some more, getting lost, checking the map, through the bush, past the big lake, and whew! there’s the entrance we came through earlier and the bike station. We returned the bikes and decided to walk back home.

Rudy and Sue at the top of the Arc de Triomphe, with the Eiffel Tower in the distance.
Rudy and Sue at the top of the Arc de Triomphe, with the Eiffel Tower in the distance.

The way home led us to the Arc de Triomphe. When we got there I could see people at the top of the famous landmark. We decided to check out the view of Paris from the big arch too. We lined up for tickets and then climbed up the nearly 300 stairs to the top. The view was great. We walked all around, looking at the Parisian skyline. We could see the Sacré Coeur church on the top of the Montmartre hill (near our apartment). We could see the Eiffel Tower. We could see the skyscrapers of the commercial centre of Paris. We took some photos.

We wound our way down the spiral stairs again and then walked along the Champs Elysees boulevard.

Walking along the vibrant and busy Champs-Élysées (pronunciation: ‘Tante Liese’), doing my best to follow Sue through the throngs of shoppers, stopping suddenly and randomly to look at something in the window of one of the many high end shop windows (Zara, Louis Vuitton, Hugo Boss, Lancel, etc) I was reminded of our honeymoon in London. In fact, it was 36 years ago tomorrow that Sue and I got married. And as I recall, it was on that honeymoon in London, England where I made an observation: it’s better for Sue and I NOT to go shopping together. I remember trying to walk in the shopping district of London and regularly bashing into Sue when she stopped to look at something that interested her. No brake lights, no warning. Kaboom. And here we are, 36 years later, still bumping into each other, literally. You’d think that after all these years together I’d have learned better.

We stopped for a beer in one of the many sidewalk cafes on the boulevard. Sue suggested we walk home from there — it’s only about 4 or 5 kms. But my feet were sore and I was now eager to try cycling in the streets. We stopped at a bike station and rented two bikes again. The difference between walking and cycling in a big city is that when you walk you can stop and read the little blue street name signs on the buildings located at street corners. You can look around and even stop to look at your map. When you’re cycling you have to watch out for pedestrians, for cars and taxis and buses, for each other (making sure you BOTH zipped through the intersection before the light turned red). We got a little lost and eventually stopped on the sidewalk and checked the map. And we got home in time to check the bikes in at the neighbourhood parking lot within the free half hour.

Sue made supper while I deleted blurry photos from my camera. After supper we had a second glass of wine and put our tired feet up. We were planning to watch Season 1 of Downton Abbey but discovered that Peter’s DVD is missing disc one of the 3-DVD set. Hmmm… Well, I can download the series in iTunes and we can watch it on the computer. Good idea, especially considering that the iPad says it’s going to RAIN for the rest of the week! So that’s the plan.

Paris, Day Twenty-two: Joyeux 36ème anniversaire!

Hey, what’s this? I wake up, make a nice cup of coffee and put in a new pair of contacts, open the curtains so I can see the garbage truck that we hear every morning, sit down on the couch, put on my reading glasses and open up my laptop — and the first thing that pops up is a ‘reminder from Yahoo!’ Happy Anniversary, Rudy and Sue. I don’t even use my old Yahoo! account anymore. How nice that they still think of me and take the time to send me a friendly note like that.

Parking in Paris -- let's put another motorcycle in that empty space between the bumpers.
Parking in Paris — let’s put another motorcycle in that empty space between the bumpers. (Click to see another photo)

Yesterday I said something about how difficult it is for me to walk with Sue when we are on a crowded shopping street. But it isn’t entirely Sue’s fault. No, there is an even bigger chance that you will bump into a complete stranger on the street because the other person is looking down at their frigging phone! All the time. Everybody! On the sidewalk, on the crosswalk, even in the middle of the street. Even drivers do it — several times I’ve seen someone parallel park their vehicle and stop before they’re properly parked to pull out their phone and look at it and text or talk to somebody while the line of cars and buses behind them wait for the guy to park! (And that’s another topic — cars are parked so close together here on the street that you can’t even get a motorcycle parked between them — no, wait! I think there’s room between those two, so I’ll just back my motorcycle in between so that there’s NO way anyone can get out without us moving 3 other cars! And parking like that means they spend at least 10 minutes cranking the wheel and going back and forth until they’ve wiggled their way into the parking spot.) Anyway, I digress. I’ve read that the market for paid iPhone apps has more or less passed, that there are now so many phone apps available that you can find a free one for almost everything. That’s too bad, because I think there’s a great opportunity for someone to make an app that would warn a walking texter when there’s an obstacle near them. Hey, they now advertise cars that can parallel park themselves (no, I don’t think that will ever work here in Paris!) and even my old van has a beeper when I back up and get too close to something. Why not an app that beeps when you are about to smash into someone or something? With all the concern about concussions in hockey and football today it’s only a matter of time before they make helmets mandatory for people walking on the street! When I get home I’m getting an iPhone. And a dog.

And what, gentle reader, do you suppose was on Sue’s ‘to-do’ list when she woke up this morning? Why, SHOPPING! With me! On our anniversary! I should have known.

For breakfast we had something a little different today: a baguette and two pastries from a DIFFERENT bakery — it’s Martes and that means our bakery is FERME. After breakfast we listened to music and read for the rest of the morning. We had our lunch at around 2 in the afternoon. We were just about to leave for our shopping adventure when Alex skyped to wish us a happy anniversary — two in the afternoon here is seven in the morning back home. After the call we headed out for today’s adventure.

Le Bon Marche -- some of the most upscale shopping you can find in Paris.
Le Bon Marche — some of the most upscale shopping you can find in Paris.

We bought our second book of metro tickets and then took the metro from Saint-Georges to Sèvres-Babylone, the station right next to the big Le Bon Marché shopping centre, a 20-minute ride. No surprise when we got there — window displays with fake baby deer jumping over colored balloons and very expensive jewelry, big perfume counters fumigating visitors the minute they enter the store, fancy escalators and ceilings and mannequins. Pretty sales ladies and boys all dressed in black. Hooey, we are in for a GOOD time!

The good news was that EVERYTHING WAS ON SALE! Attractive little red cards advertised 30% and 40% OFF on just about everything in the store. (I guess the government shut-down in the U.S. even creates hard times for the kind of shoppers that shop here!) The bad news was that even with those discounts the purse Sue asked a saleslady about was 1400 Euros! That’s two thousand bucks! So for the next hour or so we went around the store looking at price tags and shaking our heads. A ridiculous little men’s scarf was $400. A very ordinary grey sweatshirt with ‘MUSTARD’ stencilled on the front was 285 Euros. A good shopper like Sue usually has a bit of a weak spot for a big discount — but in this case the red tags only gave her a moment’s pause. And then we were outta there.

Our mission for the day had suffered a minor setback, but we would not be deterred. Let’s just go across the street and look at some purses there — it’ll just take a few minutes. I could see that it would be in everybody’s best interest if I moseyed on down the road a bit and found me an outdoor cafe. Which I did. And that’s where half an hour later Sue tracked me down for the credit card.

Sue at the Tuileries Garden at the centre of Paris.
Sue at the Tuileries Garden at the centre of Paris.

paris-tuileries-garden-04After Sue had shown me the great bargains she had found, we wandered back towards home. It was late afternoon. We ended up back at the Tuileries Garden near the Louvre museum. We sat down in the metal park chairs next to the big fountain and looked around at the beautiful flowers and the green grass and the incredible art and architecture all around us. Paris is really a magical city. We’ve had a marvellous time here so far. We sat there for a while and rested our weary feet. And then we walked home.

happy anniversary!We stopped to pick up some champagne on our way home. When we got home we had a little happy hour with wine and cheese. Then at around 8:30 we headed back out for supper. Today, for our 36th anniversary, we decided that we would eat a NICE meal. So we went to the little French restaurant just around the corner from our place, “Les Affranchis”. (I just typed that into my handy-dandy translator and it says it means ‘Goodfellas’!) Well, compared to the last time we went to a ‘nice’ restaurant, this was fantastic! We ordered foie gras for a starter and Sue had veal liver for her main course and I had cod in a cream sauce. Excellent. Looked great, tasted even better. A delicious French coffee after dinner. Then home to watch the second episode of Downton Abbey. We’ve got champagne and chocolate for a night snack. I’ll let you know how the evening turns out — tomorrow.

Paris, Day Twenty-three: Fontainebleau

Fontainebleau is about 80kms south of Montmartre. Today we made a day trip to the exquisite Chateau de Fontainebleau, birthplace of Henri III and Louis XIII.

We had great intentions of getting away early, but it was 12 noon when we left the apartment. We took the subway down to the Gare de Lyon train station. We bought our train tickets and spent quite a bit of time running up and down various stairs and escalators looking for the right platform to leave by. We asked quite a few people for help, and were sent back and forth to different locations by each of them. Finally a young woman who spoke NO English looked up the schedule on her phone and then motioned for us to follow her as she led us up and around to yet another platform from where we eventually got on our train, leaving Paris at 1:19. We arrived at Fontainebleau at 2 o’clock. We took a local bus from the train station out to the large chateau. Once there we stopped at one of several cafes just outside the castle grounds and had lunch: a “croque-monsieur” (grilled ham and cheese sandwich) for me, and a “croque-madame” (the same, but with a fried egg on top) for the lady. After finishing lunch with a large beer and a small coffee, we headed to the museum.

We bought our entry tickets and the ‘audio guide’, which was pretty cool. You could walk around through all the rooms and the audio guide told you little stories about what you were looking at. The pace was good and the chateau was excellent! Huge! And once again it was a case of too much! You can only look at so many gold crowns and carved ceilings and floors and fancy chairs and beds in one afternoon! It feels wrong to finally just skip the audio tour and walk through a bunch of rooms without stopping and taking a photo, but that’s what you have to do. You just can’t do and see everything.

We walked around the gardens and grounds for a bit — once again, they were lovely, and so was the weather! Coolish, but the umbrellas stayed in Sue’s backpack today. We left the chateau and waited at the bus stop for a ride back to the train station. When we got to the train station we were told by the guy in the information window that the 5:30 train was cancelled due to a strike (“but eet eez honly a ver-r-y leetle str-r-ike”) and the next train back to Paris would come by at 6:00. So we sat on a bench and waited. We watched a couple of these ‘bullet’ trains go screaming right through the station without even slowing down, but our 6:00 train showed up right on time and we made it back to Paris by 6:35 and we were back home by 7:30.

Sue made a pasta dish for supper and then we settled in for another double episode of Downton Abbey. After a bit of wine and chocolate, and a little catching up with some more computer work for me, we finally went to bed at 2:00am.

Paris, Day Twenty-four

Another day off today — in fact we barely left the apartment all day! For the first time since we arrived I did NOT go to the bakery for baguettes today. We had eggs for breakfast. We sat and read. There were showers on and off throughout the day, although there was also sunshine. Temperature was a bit colder again — we actually turn on some heat in the late afternoon. Alex and Max skyped with us. Sue was feeling less than 100%, in part because she (again!) didn’t sleep at night. We went out for a walk at around 8pm and went out for supper. Then we came home and watched the final two episodes of Downton Abbey, Season 1. That was good. Now we have 2 seasons left until we’ve caught up with the new episodes. We’ll need to buy them on iTunes because Peter only has season 1 on DVD. We went to bed a little after midnight.

Paris, Day Twenty-five

Centre Georges Pompidou - with colourful utility pipes outlandishly located on the outside, houses art and film exhibitions.
Centre Georges Pompidou – with colourful utility pipes outlandishly located on the outside, houses art and film exhibitions.
It looked a little ‘gloomy’ outside when we awoke today. Rain. Grey sky. Almost too dark to read in our apartment without turning the lights on. Add to that the news that my NY Giants lost AGAIN last night, making them 0-6 for the season! Now I know what it must feel like to be a Bomber fan these days!

I went for baguette and pastry and we spent the rest of the morning and much of the afternoon reading. Alex and Max skyped again — that little smiling face is going to be a year old on Saturday!

At around 4pm we ventured out. It’s colder today too. We put on the jackets we wore when we first arrived here. Eleven degrees. We walked all the way down Martyrs and Montmartre and then turned east and wandered into the Marais and Bastille area — a part of Paris that we haven’t really explored so far.

We used one of Peter’s guidebooks to scout out a route for our walk. First up: The Centre Georges Pompidou, a large ugly museum just a block north of the Seine. We continued along Rue de Rivoli, a street with LOTS of fashionable stores. We made quite a number of stops along the way, looking for that elusive ‘very perfect’ purse. Eventually we found ourselves at the Place des Vosges, considered to be one of the prettiest squares in the city. Sue has been reading pretty much every book with ‘Paris’ in the title during our month here, and more and more, as we walk the streets here, we end up stumbling across places that are now ‘familiar’ to Sue from her books. So it was with this park — apparently Kati Marton (the author of Sue’s current book, “Paris: A Love Story”) and Richard Holbrooke enjoyed visiting this park. (And I’m finding corner bakeries that remind me of the setting of the book I just started reading today, “The Emperor of Paris”.)

Musée Picasso - closed for renovations, expected to reopen June 2014.
Musée Picasso – closed for renovations, expected to reopen June 2014.
We continued our walk, passing the Picasso Museum along the way. We knew it was closed due to renovations, but we stopped at the information office and took a little tour of another artist’s exhibition while we were there. We didn’t complete the circuit without visiting quite a few purse shops — which means I spent quite a bit of time just standing on the sidewalk outside the shop, watching people going by. And with the cooler temperatures these last couple of days, I’ve taken note of some more differences between Parisians and Manitobans. Just because it’s getting cold doesn’t mean you stop sitting outside at the corner cafe and drinking your coffee. And it doesn’t mean you bundle yourself up so you look like the Michelin man. No, just add a scarf and you’re good to go. And sit outside at your little table and smoke and text and drink your little espresso just like you always do.

We walked all the way back home, another 10km day for my poor tired feet! Sue bought another bottle of wine at the wine shop near our place. When we got home we had our usual ‘happy hour’ and I turned up the radiators in the apartment a bit. We dug out another DVD, “This American Life”, and watched a bit of that. At around 8:00 we went out for supper.

Just around the corner from our apartment is the Place Gustave Toudouze. It’s a great little square with a fountain and velib bike rentals and about 7 little restaurants with patios lined up in a row. We’ve eaten at most of them, but not at the ‘No Stress Cafe’. So tonight we went there. And it was great. Tapas and drinks. All delicious. Sitting outside under the patio heaters. Lots of young people there, all eating and smoking and looking gorgeous. Ah, Paris.

When we got home we again watched a couple of episodes of “Downton Abbey” on my computer. By midnight I was too tired to even write my journal, so we went to bed.

Paris: Day Twenty-six

max-in-jumperHappy Birthday, little Maxwell!

Another fine morning here in Paris. Went to get the morning baguette and took a walk around the block too. After breakfast Sue read and I worked on another computer job for a couple of hours. Our neighbouring apartment has been vacant for most of the month, but today someone was in there again, sanding and scraping the window sashes. So I had to go into our spare bedroom to find a quiet place to ‘record’ my (multitrack) happy birthday wish for Max. We emailed Peter about our departure here on Monday — and while Sue was composing her email she got one from him! We’re all set, good to close up the place.

At around 3pm we left for our day’s expedition. We took the metro down into the 14th arrondissement in southern Paris. Although our research suggested that there would be a 2-hour line-up for visitors to the catacombs, we decided to take our chances. It’s the off-season, it’s Saturday, it’s a little cooler today, maybe nobody wants to go underground and look at the bones of 7 million former Parisians. Well, we weren’t the only people to think that. When we stepped out of the metro we saw the line-up directly ahead of us. It went around the corner and around the next corner. We walked to the end of the line and met an official who was telling people at the end of the line to leave — the catacombs would close before they would reach the entrance. So we left. What is it with me and this fascination with death anyway? Cemeteries and crypts. I’m turning into my mother!

We walked back towards central Paris. Our walk took us back through the Luxembourg Gardens. We’d been here a few weeks ago, but what a difference a few cold nights make! Fall colors now decorated the trees. Leaves now blanketed the sidewalks. Coats and scarves instead of tank tops. The Tahitian dancers on one of the park stages looked a little chilled.

We eventually crossed over to the island on the Seine. We thought we might visit the Palais de Justice, located in the ÃŽle de la Cité in central Paris. The Palais contains a former prison, now a museum, where Marie Antoinette was imprisoned before being executed on the guillotine. It was still on our ‘to-do’ list. We joined the line-up at the entrance to buy our tickets. Eventually, once we got to the ticket booth, we discovered that the museum was closed, getting renovated, from late September to sometime in November. If we’d only known! We should have come here when we first arrived in Paris! Oh well, there was still the option to visit the La Sainte-Chapelle, a chapel built in the 1200s which is right next to the Palais. The Chapelle is famous for its walls of 13th-century stained glass. So we stood in line for the next 45 minutes to buy our tickets. Once we got past the ticket booth we were in through the door and back on one of those narrow spiral stone staircases going way up into the ‘castle’. Seems like we’ve done this before too. And then we arrive at the upper chamber and sure enough, there is the chapel, and wow, it sure has some unbelievable stained glass! Well, you can try to take a photo of this, but you know how the camera has a way of ‘equalizing’ things — stinky bathrooms look not-so-bad and glorious chapels look ‘okay’. Check another church off our list.

coffee break in ParisWe walked back along the Seine. Took another photo of the green metal boxes that line both sides of the river — these are the stands that sell used books. We wind our way along the narrow streets that will eventually take us back up to our apartment in Montmartre. After a month here we’re still ‘discovering’ new sights and new places. We stop for coffee and a crepe at a sidewalk cafe. Heaters under the awnings warm our table. The place is crowded with French people, old and young, including a surprising number of infants in strollers. We make eyes at a little one-year-old girl in the arms of her mother next to our table. Can’t help but remind us of our own little grandson celebrating his birthday at home today.

Nearing home we decide that the late afternoon sunlight provides a fine opportunity for us to snap a few pics of the shops we have frequented here during our stay. So here’s a little gallery of the bakery I went to every morning, the butcher shop, the fish market, the cheese shop, the fruit stands, the wine store.

Back home we skyped Max and wished him a happy birthday. We celebrated with a bottle of some of the best beer I’ve managed to find here. We read a bit and then headed out for supper at around 8:30. Unfortunately the little French restaurant we had wanted to go to was closed. What else is new? So we went back to the Smiley Bar at the corner of Navarin and Martyrs, just down the street from our place. It’s packed. And I mean PACKED. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before, but the Parisians like to eat right beside each other. I normally don’t sit as close to Sue in a booth at Smitty’s as I sit here next to a complete stranger in a French restaurant. And it’s not quiet in here either. No, you pretty much sit and yell at the person across from you if you want to communicate. (Well, I guess you could TEXT her if you had a phone!) Our meal is great. Sue has already spoiled her supper with that crepe for coffee break, but we share (what else?) an order of foie gras for a starter. Sue had some ‘real’ French onion soup and I had beef tartare — essentially a mound of raw hamburger mixed with onions and seasonings. I ate about half of it and then supplemented it with most of the delicious melted cheese from Sue’s soup.

Back at home we settled in at our usual spots in front of the computer and watched another episode of our ‘Downton Abbey’ series. Well, I should say Sue watched it. I managed to stay awake only long enough to eat my half of the chocolate bar and then I surrendered and stumbled off to bed.

Paris: Day Twenty-seven

Because of my early bedtime yesterday, by 8:30 this morning I had tossed and turned in semi-sleep for long enough — it was time to get up. Sue wasn’t far behind me. It’s Sunday, our last full day in Paris. I hadn’t posted my journal for yesterday so I took quite a while this morning, gathering all my photos and making paragraphs. Sue read the news and then her book. At some point she booted me out of the house to go fetch the breakfast baguette. We ate breakfast. And then Sue got busy with packing and cleaning with a vengeance, almost like she’s been looking forward to this for a month! While she shook out the rugs and washed the floors and sinks, I dug out the vacuum cleaner and tried to find some lost coins behind the couch. Sue did her best to guess at the contents of some of the cleaning solution bottles under the sink by looking at the graphics on the labels. Soon everything was looking new and shiny. Better than we found it, that’s our motto! The suitcases got pulled out from the closet and soon most of the dresser drawers were emptied into them. Somehow, although we’re proud of how light we pack, there wasn’t nearly as much room in our luggage now as there was when we packed at home. Hmmm… purses?

All that watching Sue working got me thirsty before my designated beer time — so I drank the last one in the fridge BEFORE lunch. We sat around for the afternoon, resting from our morning’s activity. We watched our favorite CNN Sunday shows. Sue tried her best to read after that while I managed to find an online livestream of the NFL pre-game talk shows.

At around 6:30 we left for Belushi’s, the NFL bar. We’ve now decided that the food there is not good, so, in keeping with our day of acclimatizing back into our life in Manitoba, we decided to eat at McDonald’s before going to the pub. Yep, a real ‘un-France’ day today. CNN, McD’s, and NFL football. We’re ready to come home!

The Vikings lost badly. I think only 6 out of my 8 picks to win the early games today won — which meant that once again I wouldn’t ‘win’ a free beer at the bar. We bought a chocolate bar on our walk home. Back at the apartment I tuned in 2 of the late afternoon NFL games and watched the Broncos go to 6-0 and the Saints eek by the Patriots — oops, no, change that; the Patriots just made an unbelievable comeback and have defeated the Saints in the last 5 seconds of the game!

I set the alarm for 7:30am tomorrow and went to bed just before 2:00. Last sleep in Paris.

Paris: Day Twenty-Eight

The alarm went off at 7:30. Sue got up and showered while I slept another half an hour. Then I got up. I went to the corner bakery one last time — picked up a couple of nice fresh pastries. Sue cut up our last mango (yes, it’s our ‘Last Mango in Paris’) and we made a couple of Nespresso coffees.

Sue cleaned up the bathrooms and the kitchen. I took out the garbage. Then we closed up the shutters, turned down the heat, and double-locked our doors one last time.

We walked back to the Gare du Nord train station, not far from our NFL bar. We bought our train tickets to the Charles De Gaul Airport and got on the first train leaving. No problems so far. We arrived at Terminal 2 and found the check-in counter. We got our tickets and then survived being taken apart and reassembled by the security check points.

sue-at-cdg-airportSitting in the lounge, waiting for our departure. Sue still had a 20 Euro bill burning a hole in her pocket, so after a bit of hunting (for a beret!) she came back rather pleased with herself — a small tin of foie gras to take home — and she had 10 cents leftover!

We boarded our plane, found our seats (in the ‘safest’ section of the plane — the back) and settled in for the 8-hour flight to Montreal.

We arrived in Montreal on time, at about 2:30pm. We had to pick up our bags and re-check them — which meant that we had to go through the big security check one more time. Once we’d done that we found a lounge where we could spend the next 90 minutes until our flight to Winnipeg was boarding. We knew we were ‘home’ because for the first time in a month we saw ‘fatte freues’ everywhere! We ordered a couple of beers and a plate of nachos and watched the fourth quarter of the Winnipeg at Montreal CFL game — which the Bombers won!

We emailed Alex to let her know we would be on time. And then we were off. The last leg of the journey. The sun in the western sky. A loud crying baby in the seat directly behind us.

When we arrived at the Winnipeg airport I was surprised that the kids weren’t there to greet us! And what’s with all these changes here anyway? Why are we walking through the departure lounge? What happened to the escalator that brings you down to your waiting loved ones? I guess we haven’t travelled for a while!

max-greets-sue-airportAnd sure enough, once we found our way out, there they were: Tim, Alex, and Max! And Max got a big smile on his face and acted a bit coy. Very cute. And he kept smiling most of the way, even though it was WAY past his bedtime. It’s great to be home.