Above, left, Amsterdam. Above, right, my blogging friend Mara with me in Amsterdam. The three of us went out for lunch together at a place Mara had selected, then we boarded a train together: Mara to head for the area near Schiphol Airport where she was to visit her cousin; and us to head for Brussels.
Here we are aboard the train from Amsterdam in The Netherlands to Brussels in Belgium, where Dick and I had a dinner engagement with our new friends Debbie (another blogger) and Stijn (her fiancé). We met them and had a wonderful time, and Debbie sent me some pictures, which I dutifully saved, but now I can't remember where I saved them (blogger's block, happens to us all at least once).
The next day (good thing we have lots of 'Canada' T-shirts), we were met by another blogging friend, Gattina (with me, below, right), who took us for an exciting ride around Brussels, including a fascinating stop at the famous Atomium, which was "originally built for Expo '58, the 1958 Brussels World's Fair. Designed by André Waterkeyn, it stands 102-metres (335 ft) tall. It has nine steel spheres connected so that the whole forms the shape of a unit cell of an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times." (Wikipedia)
We took a train from there to the Midi station, to board another train from there to the Paris Gare du Nord. Simply put, the Gare du Nord is The Train Station from Hell.
While attempting to buy a ticket to the Gare des Invalides, my very tired husband was conned by one scam artist who pretended to buy the tickets for him, then hit him up for 24 Euros ($35 USD) in exchange for the worthless tickets.
When we tried to go through the turnstile with them, and couldn't, someone else let us through and tried to charge us an exorbitant price for the privilege. "A sadder man, but wiser now", Dick refused.
We somehow managed to get ourselves onto the correct train, then off it at the right station, and out an exit tunnel, with all our luggage intact, with all our remaining money accounted for, and our pride only somewhat bruised.
Imagine, then, our delight when we emerged into the rainy night, saw the clouds start to clear away, saw the rain stop, and were faced with the River Seine, golden statues, the blue and gold dome of l'H tel National des Invalides, where Napoleon is buried, and imagine our shock when we were turned away by the only taxi we could find. The driver told us to walk.
We walked, and we walked, and we walked. Dick, following the driving (there were none for walking) instructions on his GPS, was getting discouraged. I was exhausted and in pain. My feet no longer enjoy walking.
As night began to fall, a lovely young woman from Texas, working in Paris and out for an evening stroll, spotted us with our luggage and asked if we needed help. We told her where we were staying, and she offered to walk with us, as she lived not far away from our hotel in the 7th Arrondissement. Using a map app (that rhymes, doesn't it?) on her cellular phone, she walked us there. She also took a look at the lobby of our tiny hotel, decided we would be safe (with the police across the street), and wished us well. I think her name was Melissa. I think she was wonderful. We couldn't thank her enough.
Posted for My World Tuesday,
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