Following the long trip from Calgary to Hawaii we decided to sleep in on the Saturday and take our time, no big adventures planned for today, we would just try to make it into Hilo and get some groceries.
We woke up mid-morning and took better part of an hour to square ourselves up, our hosts left us some fresh fruit from their garden so we enjoyed some tangelo oranges and some fresh papaya. Shareen was able to enjoy a cup of coffee as well.
Eventually we dragged our asses out the door and headed for Hilo with the intent of looking around and opportunistically grabbing some groceries.
On our way out we had our first look at our cozy little Ohana that Stefan had build for his wife Hallie (our hosts).
I made a point of picking a “civilized” departure time, meaning something during the day so we wouldn’t have to get up at 4:00 AM in the morning (wait for it, irony coming later). We get up at the regular time around 7:00 AM, have breakfast, shower, get dressed and start packing, all good.
Shareen panics at about 9:45 and start bugging me to call Uber to pick us up to head for the airport. I give in at about 10:00 and call Uber which shows up at 10:10, and at that time of the day we arrive at the airport at about 10:30, our plane doesn’t leave until 1:15.
On a Friday at mid-day we breeze through security and customs and now have about two hours to wait until we fly out. Ugh!!! But it’s not all horrible, the new terminal in YYC is actually nice, we take our time shopping in Duty Free and Shareen tries out the food fair, the rest of the time we sit in a comfortable lounge without getting swamped by people.
Just to the left of the picture above there’s a sign that tells us to relax (in that word) until about 12:30 at which point it tells us to head over to our plane as it’s boarding. We saunter over and literally walk onto the plane. That’s civilized travel!
Heading home to Canada we decided to stay one extra day in London to do some last minute sight seeing. We were staying at the Union Jack Club near Waterloo station. It was a short walk to the Themes and the South Bank (near the London eye(sore)) and we decided to take the City River tour to Greenwich. It was great.
Dartmoor in August in England. Proof that you can get pelted by freezing rain any time of year.
So right next to the Jardin des Tuileries is the Louvre Museum, who knew? “You don’t like me and I don’t like you, but feet, take me there”. After the Versailles debacle we were all a bit nervous about committing to another French landmark but as we edged our way forward we noticed that at least later in the day when we got there the crowds appeared much smaller than Versaille. At 10 Euros per adult it was also a lot easier to swallow. In the end, totally worth it as the Louvres is much more accessible in terms of smaller crowds and better layout to allow people to navigate to whichever area they want to see. We HAD to see the Mona Lisa of course after which we saw some of the more mundane famous paintings.
Turns out that right next to the Place de la Concorde are the Jardins des Tuileries, ok that’s where we went next. The goat is the lawn mower, for real.
So after the Versailles disaster we decided to take it easy and just wander wherever our feet took us. Our feet took us to a baguette and beret for Jeremy then to the Metro which took us to Place de la Concorde. The subways in Paris are quick and inexpensive to get around.
Today Versailles, what a phucking shit show. We got there early hoping to beat the buses and the crowds. The place opens at 9:00 and we were there at about 8:45. You then get to wait about an hour to get in and once inside you are literally crushed by the crowds. Can’t stop to enjoy anything and can barely breath. The crowds cancel your ability to enjoy any of the beautiful stuff that I tried to capture in the pictures. We quit the tour about half way to go and try our luck with the gardens at which point we find that it costs extra for the kids to go see the gardens. At 25 Euros per persons absolutely NOT worth it in August, maybe during low season, if I could I’d ask for my money back.
So from L’Arc de Triomphe we actually walked to the Eiffel Tower, down by the fountains (we stopped to soak our feet) and up to the tower. The line ups were too long to actually go up and we were too damned tired to climb that mother. After a rest we dragged our assets to the nearest Metro and went home to pass out. We did come back later that night to see the tower lit up. They also have a light show every hour on the hour which lasts for five minutes each time.
After a fantastic lunch at the McDonalds we walked to the Arc de Triomphe, turns out you can climb to the top to get a great view of downtown Paris, totally worth it. You do have to climb up 50M worth of stairs however, not as easy as it sounds.