Hedgehogs and Newfoundlands

Paris Travel Blog

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Outside the Pompideu Building.. Mongolian Chanting monks

We faithfully follow the map to the camp site that Andrew has picked. This one has good access to the rail line to take us into Paris.  No wrong turns and we are there just off the ring road.  A delightful treed, terraced site not too crowded with wonderful facilities.  It has toilet paper, no pay showers- all free, and beautifully clean.  There do seem to be a lot of camper vans sited around us but without people.  I am curious but as we are close to Disney land I am assuming that the owners have gone there for the day. 

Monday 5th June 2.30am...........  I am awakened by people coming into the camp site, a vacuum cleaner being started up and a dog with a slow, deep woof woof.

Paris.. a cathedral
  Next morning I see the empty camper vans are now occupied and every one of them seems to have at least one or two Newfoundland dogs!!!!  There are a couple of campers with GB plates and we learn that there had been a competition yesterday in a Search & Rescue scenario which included following a trail set around and through the nearby lake.  At the finale in the ring there were 256 Newfoundland dogs all off leash........  what a sight that would have been.  The vacuum cleaner noise in the early morning had been the jet propelled hair dryer that they use to dry off their dogs before they go to bed!!  Lovely people and amazing dogs. 

Took instructions to the rail station and found it was 6-7 kms away.  Parked the van and purchased tickets and stood on the platform.

Paris
  Two destinations showed on the electronic board and I decided that the second one was ours for some reason.  First train arrived and we watched everyone on the platform board.  Two women turned and looked at us and indicated that we should too, so we did.  Apologizing for her poor English (at least she had some) asked us where we were getting off.  Paris I told her and she pointed to a station on the electronic board and told us that the lights will light up as we arrive at the appropriate station and we should hear the voice telling us we have arrived.  Thanked her profusely and took a seat downstairs for a 30 min journey.  Once we arrived the two women appeared from the upstairs deck and checked that we were getting off.  Once in the massive station they asked what next and we said a tourist bus for sight seeing so we were pointed to an appropriate exit which proved to be the exact one we wanted.
On the Place de Concorde
  We have some great Angels looking out for us!

We were at the Pompidou building and looked around it's exterior.  Now needing a coffee, I took us back to a place that had great looking croissants.  As we were about to leave a waiter asked where we were from... " Australia!" I tell him.  Sez he with a very straight face....  " Where is that?"  So I told him a long way off but he would always remember where it was when Australia won the World Cup.  The woman behind the bar then wanted to tell me that 20 years ago she had a dream that she would marry an Australian bushman.  Walked away and bought a 2 day bus ticket that circuited Paris. We toured until 6 pm seeing all the famous sights, listening to the commentary and learning.  Back through the crowded Pompidou square where everyone was busking or watching or just having coffees.

Notre Dam
  This time the trains were packed and uniformed people were pushing passengers on to the trains.  Doing our observations of people as we do, we noted the great differences between the black French and the black Americans we had encountered.  The black French were seemingly no different to the white French while the black Americans were so much louder, 'in your face' than many of their white counterparts.  The American ones almost spoke a different language even though it was English! 

Next day we set out to replicate the trip into Paris but started earlier.  The car park at the station is full so we find another.  No Angels to guide us today but we know the ropes this time and fly free.  We disembark at a different station and walk from the Place de Concorde to the Eiffel Tower.

Inside the Notre Dam
  I now have a blister on my left toe just as the ones on my right toes have just about disappeared.  We have a great day seeing the rest of the main sights and use up our bus pass.  Back in camp I cook and a GB plated guy sees me watching him dry off his two dogs and comes over to chat.  He is from Peterborough and I learn that Newfoundland dogs have webbed feet and of course love to swim and they supposedly do the breast stroke.  Not so sure if he is pulling my leg about the last one but I will check it out on the net.  Like us he has a cocker spaniel so he is obviously a great person.  Tia...  if you are reading this, please behave nicely and don't try to kiss your foster parents on the face.  We will be home at the end of September and you can swim twice a day across the road at our beach!

We give the trusty, oil leaking, Mazda a wash.  Through the night I get up to go to the toilet block. It is hot so I have only the insect screen zipped up.   A little later something is rustling outside our tent in the garbage bag.  I sit up and watch a shape and think I have spotted my first live hedgehog.  In the morning we pack up and head off to Versailles.

 

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Outside the Pompideu Building.. Mo…
Outside the Pompideu Building.. M…
Paris.. a cathedral
Paris.. a cathedral
Paris
Paris
On the Place de Concorde
On the Place de Concorde
Notre Dam
Notre Dam
Inside the Notre Dam
Inside the Notre Dam
Paris
photo by: Sweetski