Sunday, April 26, 2009

Paris - Day Three

On day three we decided to take the train out of town and go to Versailles.  I have heard MARVELOUS things about the gardens there, so I was totally stoked to go see it.  This train was a double decker train.  Jamin was like a third grader and jumping up and down that we MUST ride on the top level.  My feet felt like they had their own heartbeat by this point from all the walking over the past few days, so I could care less WHERE we were as long as we could sit down.  (Oh, side note, I put my insoles from my flats INTO my sneakers thinking that this would save my feet from pain, but since I'm pregnant I forget that my feet will swell, thus the feeling that my feet were throbbing was actually because the insoles were making things worse).

 I was totally bummed to see such a huge line outside the palace to get tickets.  Everywhere else we have been we didn't have to stand in line, so I was a bit spoiled at this point.  Anyhow after about thirty minutes in line and 20 Euro's each we get our tickets.  We decided to do the gardens first (which by the way are FREE - I'll get back to that in a moment).  I have never seen anything so breathtaking in my life.  Looking out past the reflecting pool felt like I was staring at some type of painting.  It was surreal.  We walked around the gardens for a few hours, had lunch, and moseyed on into the palace (after standing in a security line).

I must say, I was COMPLETELY disappointed with the palace.  I guess I expected the Louvre, very well kept and clean.  I understand they are trying to keep the original stuff but the place seemed, well, run down to me.  In the hall of mirrors someone had put graffiti on the mirrors and they hadn't even bothered to clean it off or try and repair/restore it in any way.  Also it was wall to wall people, and it was hot and I was just packed in there like a bunch of sardines.  I was ready to leave after twenty minutes.  My advice:  skip the palace, it's NOT worth the twenty Euros each to get in, go to the gardens which are FREE.  Inside is such a tourist trap it's not even funny.  I reached the outside of the palace, breathed in the fresh air and thanked God for some personal space.

We walked back to the metro station and I sat down and my feet thanked me.  I loosened my sneakers and pulled out the insoles (positive that my shoes were filled with my blood).  I looked at my hubby and told him "I'm wearing my foam big flip flops tomorrow no matter what.  I don't care what ANYONE says, they are the only shoes I can wear that DONT hurt my feet and I'm sick to death of my feet hurting".  (Yes, I'm trying to convince myself this while I tell him because I ALWAYS care what people think about me).  My hubby kinda rolls his eyes at me because he is truly sick of hearing me whine.  At this point he doesn't care if I wear garden clogs, whatever will shut me up.  

We take our normal afternoon nap (OH and watch some Friends, they have an hour of Friends on in ENGLISH!  Woo hoo!).  We were also a bit tired of gambling on dinner.  At this point I was dying for a McDonalds huge burger.  Hubby goes downstairs and chats with the hotel manager.  He recommends "Brasserie Bofinger" which is in the Bastille area (awesome area by the way).  We go there and get seated even without a reservation.  I was a bit scared when I saw the HUGE seafood platter of creepy critters being delivered to the table next to us.  This was supposedly "very good traditional French food".  I poured over the French menu not having a CLUE what 3/4 of the things on there were.  Dear Lord, I don't want to mistakenly order Oysters.  They come over about 20 minutes later, and we ask for "English" after trying to spout some really bad French out.  "Ah English!" he runs away and comes back with an English menu and laughs at the wave of relief that passes across our faces.

I order the Salmon and Hubby orders the Sauerkraut with sausages - one of the dishes that Bofinger is famous for.  Choucroute garnie à l'alsacienne (sauerkraut presented the Alsatian way - I don't know what that means, but it makes me sound cultured doesn't it?).  I was a bit fearful, but was TOTALLY impressed.  This was THE BEST salmon I have ever had in my life, with a side of mashed potatoes.  It was incredible.  It was about time, because if I had to eat any more cold duck meat or chewy cuts of rare beef I think I may puke.  Jamin went nuts over the sauerkraut (which I hate), but said "you HAVE to try this".  Reluctantly I did (I have an aversion to eating anything that smells like feet).  The sauerkraut was incredible.  I actually liked it.  Best dining experience in France!  So worth it.  (Later we were told that this used to be Winston Churchills favorite restaurant in!).

Jamin wanted to walk around a bit, but my feet were screaming at me, so we went back to our arrondissement, stopped by a little bar and shared some wine (I only had one glass), then he ordered a coffee.  We walked back to our hotel after a wonderful evening, making a note to thank the manager in the morning for a wonderful recommendation on dinner.

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