Goodbye Paris!

Trip Start Jun 25, 2008
Trip End Sep 01, 2008

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Flag of Ireland  , County Dublin,
Sunday, August 31, 2008

We start the day by getting all the bags completely packed. All the last odds and ends and such. Today is our last day in Paris. Well, not a full day really. But we'll make the most of it. Mimi makes a boulangerie run with the kids, giving Janice and I a little space to do our final runs through the apartment to be sure we aren't forgetting anything.

By 11am, we are out the door .. heading towards the Luxemburg Gardens, the closest sight to our apartment that we haven't really spent any time at. Janice and I jogged by the first night, but weren't able to go in since it was so late.

For the first time during our entire stay in Paris, today is the day we grab the wrong Metro. I realize it immediately, but still, we lose about fifteen minutes getting off, and then finding our way to the right place. DOH!

We find the gardens ... the pond ... the building ... all gorgeous. Mimi rents some small sailboats for the kids for sailing around the pond, while Janice and I snap some photos of our greatest discovery yet. A head larger than mine! YES! We only get to spend about thirty minutes at Luxemburg because we need to catch the RER Train to the airport at 12:30pm. So, just as soon as we can get our hands on the sailboats, we head out. A couple of drops of rain dropped on us while we were waiting, and actually, we were getting a little nervous we might have to ditch the boats as the wind didn't seem to want to cooperate with our plans to leave. Mimi even talked about hiking up her dress and wading in to retrieve the boats. In the end though, we didn't have any problems.

Back to the apartment, snag the bags, ... Mimi walks us to the metro station ... and away we go.

One lame thing ... a guy was trying to get on the train at the same time we boarded and he and Mimi ended up doing the which-way-are-you-going-to-go dance, and I ended up barking out something rude to my mom like, "Mom, come on ... get out of his way." ... How lame. It was really rude of me. Then, the beeeeeppp and the doors closed and off we went, with a sad look on my mom's face and me feeling like a schmuck. We don't have a phone number for her, so I just have to wait until she is back to LA to apologize. ... I hate when I do stupid things like that, and not being able to apologize makes it feel even worse. Bah! --- Please forgive me moma! I love you tons!

*** ***

Our plane to Dublin is uneventful. We land and find our way to the hotel (which is farther from the airport than I thought, in a small town called "Swords") via public double-decker bus. Have to j-walk across a freeway to get to the hotel, and take a taxi in the AM at the rate of 12 euros. DOH! Woulda been better to pay a little more for a closer hotel. BUT, one amazing happened because of where we are staying that makes it all ok.

For dinner, we were advised to walk five minutes in to town to find the local plaza where there are lots of restaurant to choose from. Half way there, we spot a little pub that looks ULTRA authentic. You can hear the Irish accents and laughs all the way down the block as we approach. I'm not sure if they serve dinner though, and it looks more like a bar than a restaurant, so I'm leaning towards passing ... when I see six people with instruments walking our way. My guess is that they are heading inside. Its right about that time, ya know? I look inside and see a "21 and over only!" sign, but also see three kids inside with their parents. In we go. ... As we find our seats, Janice spots a sign that says, "Traditional Irish Music - Every Sunday, 6pm - 8pm." What timing! The moment we order, the band strikes up and the whole pub is full of Irish songs. Guinesses on every table. Rosy cheeked Irishmen telling loud stories and yelling in jest at one another, and us in the corner loving every second. At one point, the band even plays a song I know! Can't remember the name, ... ah, with Google's help, I've found it: Man of Constant Sorrow. So hilarious. I'm clapping and stomping my feet along with the music with a Guinness on the table. Its great. ... When its time to go, we see that the band has grown to eight ... a banjo, a flute, three percussionists using those big round drum things held in one hand and a stick in the other (one of them looked to be nearly 95!!), a woman playing spoons, and a guitar player ... along with several vocalists (some of whom looked like they just happened to be at the bar enjoying a drink). Just like the movies would show, with an intermission that sent the band straight to the bar for free drinks. ... Its a perfect fit to complete our experience of Dublin since when we were here previously, we never saw an authentic local band playing. We saw some cheesy gigs full of partiers in Temple Bar, but nothing legit like this. This place had old friends giving high fives, and only one other tourist family in the bunch. No camera for this memorable experience, but oh well.

Back towards the hotel, a quick stop at the mini-mart for snacks for the plane ride tomorrow and ice cream for everybody tonight. ... And now to sleep. Before the kids go down, they have a blast playing with the new toys Mimi bought for them in Paris, these Top Secret writing pens with an black light type key chain thing that shows where you've written. During their "quiet time" (which is rarely actually quiet), I find the kids in the dark playing with the keychain making a hand shadow puppet show. The flash killed it, but the picture gives the basic idea.


Can't believe we are finally nearing the end of the trip. I'm EXHAUSTED. Can't wait to sleep in my own bed!
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tonja_f on

Well Styrsky's...
I have to admit that your travels have had me enthralled! I've made new friends who I absolutely adore, I've been able to pass the time at work (especially while working on my 12th hour right now) AND I feel like I've actually been to these places! This trip is definitely a once in a lifetime experience, but my wish is that you get to do it all over again - and that I get to someday as well!

Nick Matyas on

Happy new year2010. this is outstanding blog for comment. awesome writing. Thanks a lot


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