We woke early to catch our flight from Bangkok to Paris, and sadly said bye to our buddy Chuck. The flight to Paris was 12.5 hours long, but we both watched a bunch of movies trying to make the time go by. We landed in the evening in Paris, and coming from the heat of Bangkok we knew it was going to be cold…BUT! I don’t think we were quite ready for this…..
We were happily greeted by Cathy’s Uncle Bill. We stayed with Bill and his wife Sandra in Paris. They have a beautiful home in Paris and it’s perfectly located for us to walk around the city.
First night in Paris enjoying some rum with Cathy’s Uncle Bill
Our first day in the city we got an early start (thanks to jetlag) and headed off for the Louvre. We were really impressed with the museum, but it gets crowded fast……real fast! Luckily we were able to hit up some of the highlights before things got out of hand.
At the entrance to the Louvre
Now that is one big painting!
Largest Sphinx outside Egypt
We got to see the Mona Lisa
These people are all looking at the Mona Lisa….holy crap! ……time to go!
We then headed off to check out Notre Dame Cathedral. While walking from the Louvre to Notre Dame we got these shots.
Looking over the La Seine River
My first glimpse of the Eiffle Tower
Cathy has visited Paris and all the sites before but was happy to return to Notre Dame, and I was impressed by the building, inside and out. Here are a couple of pictures of Notre Dame.
Cathy at the front door of Notre Dame
Looking at Notre Dame from the courtyard
That evening Sandra cooked us a great dinner of braised ribbit. After our experience with the food in Thailand, we both really appreciated a home cooked meal. Thanks Sandra!! The next day we headed off to check out the Musee d’Orsay, which is an old railway station they converted into a museum. It holds the worlds most expensive collection of artwork. Your not allowed to take pictures inside, but we did get to see paintings by Monet, Manet, Van Gogh, and Renior. I have never been big into art, but it was impressive to see so many painting by these famous artists, and the museum itself is really cool to see.
While walking around outside the museum we also came across the following.
This obelisk was brought to Paris from Egypt by Napoleon
Gilded statue Genie de la Liberte
We picked-up our rental car that evening, and the next morning we got an early start toward Brussels. Cathy’s sisters Jenn and Joanne had flown in from New York that morning, and we met them at our hotel. It was great seeing them, and we have really enjoyed catching up with them. For our first afternoon we headed off to see the Grand Place in central Brussels. The square that makes up the Grand Place is very impressive and here are some pictures from the area.
Part of the Grand Place, Brussels
Jenn, Joanne, and myself in the Grand Place
We also headed down to this area to meet up with some old friends as well. Chuck, who we were in Thailand with, his son Tim and his wife Elisa have been living in Belgium for the past four years. We wanted to meet up with them for drinks and dinner. It was great seeing them and catching up. We also wanted to say thanks for playing tour guide for the evening……it made the girls first night in Brussels really good. One of the first things Tim showed the girls was Manneken Pis……a very famous small statue of a little boy peeing!
The ladies taking in the sights of Manneken Pis
Catching up with Tim and Elisa…..good times!
The next morning we woke to some crappy weather, a mixture of rain and freezing rain! We all bundled up and made the best of it, and boarded a train to Bruges. Even though the weather was not cooperating, you could tell in the spring this is a very beautiful city. The architecture, history, and the scenery are pretty awesome. Here are some pics from our day at Bruges.
The ladies trying to stay warm in front of the Belfry
Walking around Bruges
The center statue is Madonna and Child, carved by Michelangelo
Jenn and Joanne in front of the Church of our Lady
Cathy near the Church of our Lady
We are now off to Chamonix. We pick up our friend Ed from the airport tomorrow, then we’re all hitting the slopes on Sunday!