Wednesday, January 26, 2011

These Boots are Made for Walking & Starting to Say Goodbye

My good friend Peter and I had a nice lunch with a lovely French friend of his, who he tutored English many moons ago, when we were all young and free, in the 80’s.

Afterwards, he had a business meeting and I decided, I might try to find some great over the knee boots, I saw a couple of weeks ago, in the 5th arrondissement but was too lazy to try on.

After a big lunch of lamb and fries – French fries, I thought a long walk in the cold, would do me good.  If only I knew how long my walk would end up, when I first started out.

I started at Bastille in the 11th arrondissement, 

walked to my apartment in the 12th, then headed down to the Seine and over it, to the left bank, along the river, 

all the way to the end of Boulevard Saint-Germain, in the 7th arrondissement.  I couldn’t find the shoe shop and tried to remember what I was doing, the day I was in this area and where I walked.  I back-tracked and headed up Boulevard Saint-Michel, oh yes, this looks familiar – voilà – there it was.  One pair left, in my size – sold to the Aussie who will need a new pair of boots, after all that walking.

I couldn’t resist filming this little sight along the way on Boulevard Saint-Germain, c’est normal.

What I didn’t know at this time, the walking had only just begun.

Then I wandered over to Notre Dame, and thought it was probably time to start saying goodbye to my friends, the Parisian monuments. Now, with only two more sleeps to go, until I leave this beautiful city.  

This is not an old photo, yes, the Christmas tree is still up!

Pure luck, I arrived at 6.20pm and knowing there is normally an organ recital at 6.30pm, I slipped inside for a visit and a quiet,  À bientôt – see you later.

After a short time, of witnessing the mass and listening to the organ, my phone vibrated in my pocket, it was Peter.  He informs me, we are going to have dinner in the 7th

Urgh, I had just walked back from there.  

OK, this will give me an opportunity to walk along the banks of the Seine and say some more goodbyes. 

With the Eiffel Tower popping up from over the buildings every now and then, I started with a stroll, stumbling across a band on my way, down on the river.

By the time I reached the Musée d'Orsay I knew I was going to be late for dinner and my stroll turned into a power walk.  Although, freezing as it was, I was heating up, first, the gloves came off, then the scarf, next, I opened up my coat.

They told me Café Constant on rue Saint Dominique, was at number 138, my strides were getting shorter and faster, almost turning into a trot.  How long can this street possibly be?  Very long.  As I came around a bend – bang – there was the Eiffel Tower, again, all lit up, so huge and so close, I felt I could almost reach out and touch her.  I can’t understand why, when I see her almost every day, that she still surprises me, where she turns up and her beauty.  Wonderful photo opportunity but no time!

Finally, I came to the end of the street, the street numbers ran out at 124 and with .74 cents left on my pre-paid mobile, this was not a good place to be and now, almost an hour late. 

Silly me, should have caught a cab or taken the metro.  By the time I had made this realization, I was on a one way street going the wrong way, in peak hour traffic, with no available cabs and flagging, is just not an option, so I had to power on.

I approached a lovely man and in my bad French, I asked, is this the end of the street, does he know of the cafe?   He could sense my stress and tried to find the restaurant or street number on his satellite navigator. Non, non possible.  No cafe, no number.  Great – now what.  I call with my remaining  .74 cents.  137,  as opposed to 138, is over the road 4 doors down, phew.

Hot and sweaty, my fringe looking like I had arrived in a convertible car, I am seated and apologise. 

No problems. They want to know why the taxi couldn’t find it.  No, it was me, I walked all the way from Notre Dame!  After a lot of eye contact from my fellow dinners – and probably thinking I was mad – for walking so far, they poured me a wine and we all relaxed – and then something occurred to me.  Café Constant, was a place where I wanted to eat,  on my list of ‘want to do’s’.

We all laughed, ate wonderful food by a Michelin Star Chef, who moved to this small cafe to escape the pressure and return to relaxed dining,  as we chatted the night away.

After our wonderful dinner – I checked with Daft Logic, an amazing tool, to see how far I had walked and if eating two, two course meals in one day would alter my waist line. 

I don’t think so,  a 13.5 kilometre marathon. 

What do you think?


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