And there it was, in all its glory. What a day!
Speaking of Paris, I’ve slowly been working on filling in my archives on that trip we made back in 2006. (Work—and life—seems to get in the way of this project, as much as I love it.) And when I posted this one—about our initial little difficulty finding our way out of Terminal 1—on Facebook, a friend of mine remarked that she’d had a similar experience.
I sail into … a mass of unhappy people trying to understand how to take the train into the center of Paris. North American credit cards don’t read in the ticket kiosks and the change machine is not working. And the ticket kiosk takes cash but only exact change. One pauvre l’homme mans a solitary window for two hundred people.
Is this like child birth, the sweaty, grubby, peevish part of a trip that you always forget upon arriving home? Finally I’m on the RER train, surrounded not by urbane French citoyens but equally sweaty Canadian and British tourists who look too large and open-faced for their surroundings.
Yes! She had the same experience as we did! I couldn’t use my credit card either! What a relief to know it wasn’t just us.
You can read my friend’s article here. She’s a wonderful writer and has many travel tales to tell at her blog Solo Travel.
When we were planning our trip to Paris more than a decade ago, I knew we wanted to go to the Louvre. (Duh.) We’d read that the Louvre was (ahem) large, too much to see in one trip. (Like, if you want to see the whole thing, plan to spend a week inside, no kidding.)
We were also told—and this was excellent advice—to pick something specific that you want to see, and, rather than wandering aimlessly (as one tends to do in a smaller museum), go see that thing. So we did. I love the Dutch masters, and that is the floor we headed to.
We didn’t have a week, you see.
You probably won’t either, so I’m delighted to be able to pass along this excellent article from the New York Times: “How to Navigate a Museum.” Here are the tips:
- Set a time limit
- Eat before you go
- Focus on something specific
- Spend time on the works that most interest you
- Use audio tours
- Consider a private guide
There’s lots more here, of course, so read the whole article. And if I could add just one more thing, I’d say this: It isn’t a forced march, those of you who aren’t museum fans. I know I’ve talked a lot about accommodating the tastes of your traveling companion, and today, well, it’s your time to do that for a couple hours. If you’re more outdoorsy, go find the landscapes. Relax. Be a good sport. You won’t regret this. 🙂
If you’re looking for something to plan a short vacation around this year, consider a hop to New York to take in the Chihuly exhibit at the New York Botanical Garden. Get tickets to a Broadway show, make reservations for a couple really nice meals out, and spend a couple days at the garden. (I say this because Chihuly glass lit for evening viewing is very nice. And so is Chihuly glass sparkling in the sunlight.)
I snagged this photo from the NYBG website, so © 2017 NYBG.
And you really could do worse than hanging out in a garden, you know? it’s good for the soul. I really like that NYBG’s stated commitments are:
- Connecting gardning to the arts and humanities
- Saving the plants of the world
- Teaching science to city kids
- Creating a green urban oasis
- Anchoring the community
Right now, they’re well into unpacking glass and getting it all set up. The exhibit opens on 22 April 2017.
So consider it! This will be a big exhibit this year, and there will be some special glass created just for NYBG. Let me know how it goes. And take photos!
Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.
—Maya Angelou, Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now (1993)
Star magnolia in the backyard, March 2017.