May 26, 2015 – Paris

So, I’ve been up since 3:45 am.  I got up for something, knew my alarm was going off at 4:00, so I said fuck it, I’ll stay up.  I sat down, made coffee and finished writing my last journal entry for yesterday.  By the time I finished, I thought, okay, I’ll go back to sleep.  The I saw that the clock said 4:45 and I had set my second alarm for 5;00, so there was no point.  Went outside a good bit since I had woken up, without waking up Ernie.  Got ready for the day and he finally got up and went down to breakfast with me.  Wasn’t too thrilled about it.  Oh, well.

Now, I’m waiting for him to shower and get ready.  I believe we are going to the Musée d’Orsay today; Louvre tomorrow.  I think that’s how it goes.  Possibly doing some shopping today – Louboutin, I’m coming for you.  I’m so tired but I just want to go and get moving.  Actually, I’m starting to feel homesick again.  When Ernie started talking about Paris months ago, it took me a bit, but I was getting pretty excited too.  It’s not living up to my expecations, maybe?  I don’t know.

(Did you ever notice that crumbled up potato chips are like food confetti?  Yep.  I’m that tired.)

I’m going to pause here, after that really weird thought and get my shit together to go out.

………………………………………………………………………………………..

I’m back.  After breakfast, we went to Musée d’Orsay.  Quite cold this morning – so much so, my hands were numb from the cold.  We had a museum pass so we shouldn’t have had to wait in a queue, but we must not have gone to the right area.  Dunno.

As soon as we got in there, I forgot I was in Paris.  I was just so enthralled by the artwork there.  I’m thinking about making an additional Shutterfly book just on the pictures I took at all the museums.

Afterward, Ernie started hurting, so we decided to leave and get lunch at Les Deux Musées.  He, of course, got real food, while I decided to have ice cream.  Ah, the perks of being an adult and on vacation.  I also tried crème brûlée for the first time – wasn’t too bad.  Yes, wine was the beverage of choice.  Needless to say, I got a bit (well, maybe a little more than) tipsy at the restaurant.

We made a pit stop back at the hotel, for some reason.  Can’t remember why.  Shortly after, we took a walk through the Jardin des Tuileries. which was very pretty.  We walked to the rue Saint-Honoré, which I believe is the French version of Bond Street.  Very expensive.  But I was on a mission – Christian Louboutin!  So we waited (yes, we actually had to wait in a queue outside of the store) in the hot sun for quite a bit.  They only let in a few people at a time.  At one point, I was going to leave, but then the line moved again, so I decided to wait.  I had been thinking about this since Ernie had brought it up.  It had to be done.

My turn arrived and I just stared in awe at the collection.  Then, I was told there was an upstairs!  I was in love!  So I picked one out and the lady got my equivalent size.  Then, BAM!  Reality hit.  I couldn’t fit into the shoe (with my wider foot with a bunion)!  This wasn’t happening to me!  The sales lady was very helpful and found a rounded toe nude Mary Jane – still in love.  Nope.  Mind you, I’ve been doing a lot of walking and it was warm and my feet were swollen.  Finally, she let me try on a ballet flat that was a little larger in size for me.  Big nope.  The bunion stuck out and they would’ve slipped off when I walked.  These shoes weren’t made for me.  They were made for petite, skinny females.  Not people like me.  My dream was dashed.

However, there was still hope.  I found a pair of slip-ons for Ernie and convinced him to try them on.  The sales lady left and reemerged with no box in hand.  They didn’t have his size in stock.  Deeply disappointed (at least me), we left and went back to the hotel with Ernie trying to console me.

From a short stop at the hotel, Ernie said we were going to Le Bon Marché – France’s version of Harrod’s but more reasonable.  Ok.  I’m in.  More reasonable, my ass.  At least the ground floor – Hermès, Chanel, Prada, etc….more disappointment.  We continued on and found some clothing and shoes for both of us that were expensive but doable.  I was going to get a Stella McCartney long-sleeved shirt but then I spotted shoes.  Having learned my lesson earlier, I looked for something more fitting for me.  After searching Prada and Chanel and countless other big names,  I found Jimmy Choo.

I got Ernie from where he was sitting and tried to get is opinion.  After looking at another set of Mary Janes and other heels with pointed toes (a no-no for me apparently), Ernie found sparkly black slip-ons and thought they would work for me.  I said I’d think about it and off we went to look for him.  After much searching, he found a blazer that was not bad, price-wise.  He was also looking at a pair of navy slip-on suedes.  Both were something to consider.

So, we went about searching just men’s shoes.  I told him if he proposed any penny loafers or shoes with tassels, I would turn them down.  Then we found a pair of Prada slip-ons and they were perfect!  Mr. Sensible needed to think about it.  We decided to go to the Champagne Bar for a drink and think things over.  I was starting to like those Choo’s even more.  So, we got them.  Tight, but you know why.  We found out the store was open longer so we went to look at the blazer.  The biggest size would close on him, but they were going to open it up a bit and send it home.  Ernie decided not to chance it.  And the first pair of shoes that we saw fit but they were a bit long and narrow.  So he gave up on them and also decided not to go after the Prada.

We took the Metro back and started to look for dinner.  We did so much walking (at the end of the whole story, I’ll tell you how many miles we walked) because there was nothing I liked or it was all in French.  We finally came upon Restaurant La Frégate.  Not bad at all – unfortunately, I can’t recall what I ate there.  There was quite a bit of wine drinking in both cities, but more so in Paris.  When in…Paris…  Dinner was pretty late because we got to see the sunset while we were there and that doesn’t happen until after 9:00 pm.

That was our day in the biggest nutshell you can find.

May 23, 2015 – London

So I drifted off earlier and forgot what I was going to say.  Still can’t remember.  It’s almost 3 am here so I’m finally adapting to the time change.  Seriously, I get up at random hours of the night at home and stay up.  Never been diagnosed with insomnia or anything like that though.  Anyway, nothing like having a hot cup of instant coffee 2 hours before you planned to get up.  Par for the course.  So, let me see if I can jog my memory about yesterday some more. (I said that if I publish this later, that I would fix it, but I probably won’t.  Just a warning.)

Actually, I’m trying to remember two days ago.  More walking, more sightseeing and some pictures.  Going through those pics, I didn’t take a lot except for the Changing of the Guard.  Interesting and we can say that we saw it in real time.  But it kinda took a while.  Standing in one place is tiring (I don’t know how the hell they do that), so there were a couple of times I almost nodded off (yes, while standing) and became dizzy and thought I would take a header down the marble steps of the Queen Victoria Memorial.  Ernie kept a good grip on me though, so I made it out okay.  Afterward, we walked through St. James Park, which was quite beautiful.

I think we came back to the hotel for a short time and then we set off for Bond Street.  Now, I knew in my head that all of the designer places were going to be expensive, some even extremely so.  I didn’t really take any pictures there.  I was too enthralled with all of the names – Chanel, Dior, Van Cleef and Arpels, Prada….Christ, they have a four-floor Victoria’s Secret, with one floor being a lounge (I guess for the guys.  Dunno.)!  I saw some very beautiful things that I so wanted, including this fabulous purse at Chanel.  One of the employees informed me, very kindly, that it cost over £4,000 and I only hoped that my eyes did not betray my mouth at that moment.  We left there and went to Alexander McQueen. There was a small floral 3-D purse that was over £1400.  It had matching shoes too!  I was in shopper’s heaven and hell.

I stopped going into some stores because it was plain depressing.  But we did stop at Tiffany’s and Ernie bought me a pair of sunglasses.  Not sure if they were the exact kind I wanted years ago, but I love them and finally got a pair.  We stopped in Coach (more in our price range) and I found this pretty mini bag that I had wanted earlier, but as I perused the store some more, Ern in tow, I looked at others – each bag getting cheaper, but I convinced myself not to get one.  I think Ernie was in my head at the time as well.  Needless to say, it wasn’t a fabulous shopping trip (except for Tiffany’s), because I knew these shops would be expensive, but I got a rude awakening each time I went into a store.  There are still plans to go into Christian Louboutin in Paris, but we’ll see how that goes.  Not getting my hopes up again.

We stopped at this pub on a side street and I had some fish and chips and he had some kind of steak and ale pie.  It wasn’t bad and I got another thing checked off my list of places to experience – an English pub.  I don’t remember doing much after that – a little more walking and the Tube.  We came back to the room early, ordered room service and crashed.

As for yesterday, I already said that we went to Westminster Abbey.  Did some souvenir shopping at their store and off we went on foot to places unknown.  Took the Tube to a station closer to the Tower Bridge and crossed that twice.  We took a walk by the River Thames (where I made a joke about being back at home) and just kept walking and taking everything in.  Oh, yeah – before we went across the bridge, we stopped at the Tower of London shop and I bought a few trinkets.  While I was shopping, Ernie was sitting around waiting and got shat upon by a bird.  Quite amusing, at least to me.  Then, after we crossed the river a couple of times, we went back to walking aimlessly around the city.  Ernie wanted to go to Fleet Street but  he didn’t realize how far that actually was, so that never happened.

By now, everyone was on their way home from work and the pubs were crawling with people.  So much so, that they spilled out onto the sidewalks, where they just stood and drank.  It was just something I wasn’t really used to seeing.  It amazed me.  We were going to join in, but I was getting a bit cranky by then, so we headed back to the hotel to regroup.

We ended up having dinner at the Caxton again (which we did when we first arrived at the hotel).  I got dressed up, which was the wrong thing to do because my feet were swollen from the walking and I wedged them into platform heels.  The pain was astounding.  Anyway, we sat in the lounge area, instead of the bar, this time, which was really nice and sort of romantic because it was just quaint and dimly lit.  After days of prodding Ernie to do a shot, he relented and we had some Jameson’s.  Cheers!

Once we were done, I sent him off to get some Cokes, which was stupid, because he was buzzing and ended up down by the river.  (I wondered why it took him so long when there was a store right down the street.).  And that was about it for the last few days.  Will I keep up with the walking when I get back home?  Probably not.  But it’s not so bad doing it here since there is just so much to see.

Oh, I forgot to mention that I had mistaken the Houses of Parliament (aka The Palace of Westminster) for Westminster Abbey.  Ernie got a good laugh out of that one.

This place is just so crazy-busy but Ernie’s being a trooper, even though I think these people (any and/or all) are annoying to him.  I could be wrong.  I guess we both had our own great expectations on different things.

Well, since I fell asleep again a few hours ago when I picked up writing again, it’s time for me to go get ready.  I’m hoping the rain holds out, but with my luck, it’ll be a downpour through most of the day.  I have to get to Abbey Road, dammit!  I have to cross that street!  Although, after much thinking, I’m going to leave my shoes on like 3 of the Beatles did, have a smoke in one hand like Paul, wear a black coat like Ringo, wear jeans like George and have a pair of (sun)glasses on like John.  Here’s to hoping all goes well on my “big” photo shoot and that I don’t get run over…

Wait, forgot to mention the car crash we saw outside of Northall Restaurant (which was absolutely divine – and I never use that word).  All you heard was CRUNCH! and then the one driver jumped out, yelling god knows what.  The things you see, oh, the places you’ll go….