London On A Day Pass

We’re back in London and on the final leg of our trip. Overall this has been an amazing and exciting journey. Matt and I returned the car in Epernay, France with just over 2800 kilometers added to the Renault. We covered a lot of territory, and I ended up with about 2500 photos, even after daily deletions. Most of the photos have not been edited – I will be working on that, and putting galleries on the blog after I return.

Yesterday we decided to just see whatever we happened to come across riding the Tube on a day pass. We also discovered we could use the pass on the River Thames water taxi. One of the stops is at a pier conveniently located behind the Canary Wharf Four Seasons Hotel where we’re staying.
After  leaving the hotel we took a 10 minute walk to the Canary Wharf Station and started  at 9:55 a.m. These are photos of things we discovered along the way.

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From Canary Wharf Station we rode to the Bond Street Station to change lines to Holborn.

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There were lots of school children on a field trip. I love the orange vests – a great way to keep track of busy kids.

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This is the neighborhood around Holborn – a busy commercial and shopping area. We stopped at a model shop
Matt had read about online before leaving the U.S. and left with a model of a London cab and a few other things.

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And then we decided to see what was at the Marble Arch station.  Not surprisingly it was an arch, and lot of double decker red buses and a small park.

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To be continued….

Beaune in the Heart of Burgundy

I forgot to mention that before Annecy, on Friday morning we took the TGV to Dijon and picked up a car for the rest of our trip. Since I’ve been driving cars with a shift since I was 16, I decided it would be fun using one again. I wasn’t disappointed when we picked up a 6-speed Renault. It has been a few years and I forgot how much fun it is driving a stick.

It’s been a great day driving in France and stopping for the night in Annecy . But before telling you about today, here are a few photos of Beaune, a beautiful town located in the Burgundy region of France. We stopped here briefly for a walk around the town before heading to Annecy.

 

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Annecy at Dusk.

We arrived in Annecy early in the evening. It’s a town in the French Alps on a peaceful sparkling lake with the mountains as a backdrop. Little canals and the river Thiou wind through the old town.

The Isle Palace in Annecy is located in the center of the river and has a long history. First a residence for the Lord of Annecy from the 12th century on, it then served as administrative centre for the Counts of Geneva and finally a prison until 1865. It is one of the most photographed buildings in town, but in France.

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The warm glow of Annecy is particularly beautiful at dusk. Here are a few photos from a walk we took through the old town before dinner at an outdoor cafe next to the river

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Annecy

 

First Impressions of Paris

Arriving at Gard du Nord

We arrived in Paris yesterday evening by Chunnel. The ride was incredibly smooth and I slept for most of the trip, missing everything between London and Paris, including the tunnel and the French countryside. Hopefully I’ll stay awake on the return, although Matt said I didn’t miss much going through the tunnel – it was shorter than he expected.

In just over 2 hours we arrived in the chaos of Gare du Nord Station. I had no idea what my first impressions of Paris would be. The size of the station was overwhelming with stacks of luggage, throngs of people, noise and an abundance of shady looking characters. The waiting line for a cab stretched for a block and we were told it was about a two hour long wait. The Metro seemed like too much to deal with after a long day and we opted for a shuttle/limo. It was a big SUV with a driver who spoke some English – anything for a quick escape to our hotel! We gladly paid the higher fare and were soon on our way, winding through the streets of Paris in the rain.

Drive Through Paris

The drive through Paris was a memorable one filled with swarms of motorcycles and scooters, breath-stopping maneuvering by the driver and what seemed like several near misses with anything that was in our path. He was soon pointing out the House of Chanel, Place de la Concorde, the Paris Opera, The Eiffel Tower…   even with the rainy, gloomy evening and wild ride, the beauty of Paris came through. We arrived at our hotel, Relais Bosquet, during a thunderstorm. The hotel was small and the staff were warm and welcoming. We checked in quickly and went up to our room which was small and cozy with a french balcony on the courtyard. The rain stopped quickly and we decided to walk to Rue Cler, a block away, for dinner at an outdoor cafe.

These are my first impressions of Paris, taken during a walk after dinner. Black and white photos seem appropriate for a rainy evening in Paris. It fits the mood of the evening – a bit arty and mysterious.

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