What can I say about this amazing place that hasn’t already been said? I only had four hours–that’s my art attention span–but you could spend a lifetime. This important museum is best visited in small bites over several days. If only I’d had several days. Maybe next time…..
I’ve been working a lot of hours. Now that Ramazan is over, new classes are starting and we are suddenly short on teachers. I’ve been schedule 40 teaching hours a week–not counting prep time or office hours. All I’ve done is work and sleep. So it’s taking a bit to post my Paris photos.
This is the Flame of Liberty (Flamme de la Liberté), located along the Seine, near the northern end of the Pont de l’Alma, on the Place de l’Alma. It’s a full sized, gold-leaf replica of the flame from the Statue of Liberty in the New York Harbor, a gift from France. This torch was a gift to the city of Paris in 1989 by the International Herald Tribune.
The flame has became an unofficial memorial for Diana, Princess of Wales after her 1997 death in the tunnel just below. It’s become a tourist attraction for her and probably most people think the torch was put up in her honor.
So last week, I finally made it to Paris. Yeah, those who know me are surprised that it was my first visit. I’ve probably been to 30 countries in my life, but not France.
OK, technically, I’ve been to France a few times, jf you count Charles de Gaulle Airport. I don’t.
The reason I’ve put it off so long is simple: All of my worst travel stories involved a rude Frenchman, Charles de Gaulle Airport or AirFrance. Some of them involve all three. There’s the time it took 27 hours to fly from Dublin to Atlanta on AirFrance–and 11 of the hours were spent sitting on the tarmac. There’s the time in the security line in Charles de Gaulle when security confiscated my money belt–with a credit card and $120 in it. They refused to return it. There was no one to complain to. Security officers are gods. Or devils. Another time, I was pulled out of line for a “special” security search. They have you spread your arm out, so it’s hard to react quickly, but before I knew it, the officer had put her hand down the front of my pants and into my underwear. I couldn’t stop myself from striking her in the face. I’m surprised I got to leave the airport, but she didn’t even flinch. Probably it happens to her all the time.
So I’ve avoided France. But I decided to give it a try. Luckily, Shelley, another teacher here in Istanbul, agreed to go, too. It’s a lovely city. And as long as the French are not in line with you (or work for security or AirFrance) they seem to be good people.
One of the highlights was Notre Dame. Enjoy!
I live in Istanbul, but far from the city center. I’m in a municipality called Avcilar (pronounced Av jeel lar). I’ve been in this apartment right at a month and try to walk in the neighborhood for exercise and to explore. Today was a warm one, but this evening, shortly before dusk, a cool breeze blew in from the balcony and I just had to get outside and enjoy it. It was just before Iftar–the feast that breaks the day of fasting during Ramazan (Ramadan). I had no plan, but my feet took me to the central street of Avcilar, maybe a mile away from my apartment. I found a street fair/bazaar going on. Because everyone can eat and drink at sundown, the place was packed and probably will be for several hours. I’m not sure if some version of this occurs every evening or just during Ramazan. Guess I’ll find out.
I have a class to teach in the morning, so I didn’t stay long. But I’m shocked at how people seem to stay up most of the night during this holy month of fasting. Children playing loudly woke me up for the umpteenth time at 3am today. These kids can’t be even 12, so I doubt they are fasting, though their parents probably are. It’s a different world.
OK, technically we were sitting by lake Gol, but it’s open to the sea and holds brackish water. This is one of the lovely things about Istanbul: you can always stop for tea to enjoy the breeze and chat with friends. And the cay (tea) was just 2TL per tulip shaped glass (about 75 cents American). The view was free.