Saturday, March 30, 2024

Visiting the Louvre with Jace

After a good sleep, we decided to check out the 38-Euro(!) breakfast that is fortunately free for Hilton Diamond members. It was okay, if not great, and Jace said his French Toast was the best he’d ever had.

Our omelettes were tasty, there was plenty of coffee, and the freshly squeezed orange juice at the buffet was a nice touch.

Thus fortified, we headed to the Louvre re via two short Métro rides. Incidentally, the Trocadéro Canopy by Hilton is only a half block from the Trocadéro Métro stop if you use the Georges Mandel exit, “By George,” as described by Brian as a memory aid.

The Louvre dispelled any notion that there wouldn’t be any crowds in March. This is our 40-minute queue with advance tickets.

We gradually edged toward the entry, looking at storefronts as we shuffled along.

Finally we were inside the cavernous entry Anderson’s I.M. Pei’s once controversial and now admired Pyramid.

The audio guides were sold out, but we saw what we wanted to see. First was the Venus de Milo.

It’s possible to get fairly close and Jace had a good view.

Next was the Mona Lisa. The Louvre has apparently given up the queue that worked reasonably well on our two most recent visits.

We set Jace free to squeeze his way as close to the front as he could, and he experienced success.

We were happy to be reunited with him.

The last must-see for us was the Winged Victory of Samothrace at the top of one stairway.

We spent about 90 minutes admiring statues and paintings before agreeing that was plenty for a visit on a crowded Saturday.

Ironically, our very longest wait was a half hour to use the restrooms just before we left. The men’s room in fact was closed and Brian with dozens of other males to use the one-stall family facility 

Eventually we made our escape outside to the Tuileries and found a man making crêpes. Jace relished one smeared with Nutella.

From there was a leisurely stroll along the Seine, admiring the Alexandre Bridge as we passed it.

We gradually got closer to La Tour.

Eventually we caught a Métro back to Trocadéro, ate dinner at the same restaurant as the previous night, and went to bed early in anticipation of losing an hour as Daylight Savings Time begins in Europe.

Another successful day has passed.

Onward to Paris with Jace

We said Auf Wiedersehen to Salzburg and two trains and a (one-hour late) Lufthansa flight later we landed at CDG.

We did manage a pleasing stop in a Lufthansa Senator Lounge at MUC (Munich).

Always time for a Bretzel.

The long moving sidewalks (they’re called “travelators” in some countries) fascinated Jace.

We enjoyed our overnight stay at the CDG Hilton better than our two previous stays.

A very nice woman introduced herself to us in the Executive Lounge. She has a son about Jace’s age and heard us talking about foreign languages to him. 

She encouraged Jace to study a foreign language. She told us of her family’s recent fascinating - downright scary •- experiences, which you can read in greater detail on her website.

The following morning we took the RER train into Paris, transferring to the Métro and finding our way to the Trocadéro station and the quite new Canopy by Hilton before noon. Our junior suite was ready. Hurray!

Jace has his own space, and we’re settling in for three nights.

Before heading out we rode up to the top floor to catch a view of the Eiffel Tower.

We then took the Métro to the Arc de Triomphe and took in the sights there before strolling down the Avenue des Champs-Élysées.

That included the memorial to the soldat inconnu - the unknown soldier.

Lots of sights, including this Levi’s ad for a ln upcoming store opening.

Time out for a Belgian chocolatier’s ice cream cone from Jeff de Bruges. Jace said it was “pretty good.”

At €7.50 for a medium cone, it darned well should be!

Dinner was at Mokus, a casual joint near our hotel. A second dessert in our hotel’s rooftop bar-with-a-view on a rainy night in their enclosed bubble rounded out our busy first half-day in Paris.

Jace enjoyed his first gelato of the trip.

Back at the Trocadéro Canopy by Hilton…

Jace pronounced his molten chocolate cake excellent.

And here is the view we came for…

A fine first day in Paris.

Thursday, March 28, 2024

Salzburg with Jace

We managed to see quite a bit during our 1 1/2-day visit to Salzburg. We stayed in the pleasant Hotel am Mirabellplatz, a short walk through the Old Town up to the Mozart Dinner Concert.

It was as good as we remembered it, especially when the Baritone invited Jace to join the show.

The next day we took Bus 840 to the salt mine we were touring. That was fun.

Later we enjoyed a hearty lunch in the on-site restaurant.

We then took a bus to the Untersbergbahn, and rode the thrilling gondola to near the peak of the 6,000-foot Untersberg, featured at the beginning and end of The Sound of Music.

Kathy and Jace gingerly hiked nearer the peak before we rode back down.

Last night we found a charming little restaurant owned by a friendly Croatian.

It was raining when we left the restaurant, and the hotel’s umbrellas came in handy.

Today is a travel day, by train from Salzburg to Munich, Schnellbahn to the Munich Airport, and then a Lufthansa ticket on German Wings to Paris.

We had time for a selfie in our hotel’s tiny European elevator 

We had yet another train cancellation (our third!), but hopped on another train without difficulty.

Likewise, today’s flight was originally on an Italian ITA plane, but signed over by Lufthansa to German Wings, which still  gives us some priority for lounges and boarding as Star Alliance Golds.

We’re staying at the Charles De Gaulle Airport Hilton tonight, and riding into Paris tomorrow morning. Jace is great company, and we hope he’s enjoying the trip as much as we are.