One evening I had A order chunky chips at the YHA cafe, and he left the table with £3.50 in hand and absolute confidence in his ability to secure some delicious vittles. (An American approximation would be steak-cut fries with Thai sweet chili sauce. Oh, man…)
He came back with a worried look, saying, “After I ordered, they said, ‘Do you need some help? Is everything okay? Where’s your mom?'”
I said, “Did you show them that I’m right here?”
He nodded his little rapid anxious nod and said, “They saw you. I want you to get them when they’re ready, okay?”
On Boxing Day we boarded the Eurostar from London to Paris! Traveling via train is so much more comfortable than by air, plus there’s not the unsettling sense that you’ve somehow magically transported yourself to a completely different country by way of buckled-in muscle-cramping stillness — I really like seeing the countryside roll by, changing by degrees from urban to rural and urban again.
The 5th arrondissement, very near the Sorbonne. Paris was colder and rainier than England during our few days there; every time we returned to this lovely hotel, it was with a great sigh of relief at having warm and glowing rooms awaiting.
We got to see our darling C again!
A really liked the medieval section in the basement of the Louvre.
The Gregorian service on Sunday morning at Notre Dame Cathedral was really beautiful, S’s favorite part of Paris. K practiced her French at every opportunity and came back thinking in French — yay!
The girls really loved this monument to Joan of Arc.
With a day that broke into sun, we went on to Montmartre and Sacre Coeur.
And the first leg of our homeward journey, on the 3-hour Eurostar trip from Paris to London (the part that goes through the Chunnel takes just 35 minutes, the same as the ferry from Bainbridge to Seattle).
Our last must-see in London: 221 B Baker Street, the Sherlock Holmes Museum.
Once in Central Hounslow, we feasted on Indian food as our last meal in England. The best chicken biryani for £3 and 2 naan for £1!
Dec. 29: Sunrise over Hounslow, as we boarded the Picadilly line for the airport.
And 22 hours later, on the Seattle light rail and almost home, exhausted, but so very happy and grateful to have had this experience.