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— DAY 12 —
Wandering Soul
April 18

After last night's marathon posting, I just could not get up today. And as Carol said last night before leaving, "You don't have to get up." Oh, how easy it was for those words to ring in my head as I reset my alarm every half hour!

The people next door, who come in late and make lots of noise, got up early and made lots of noise. Then when the maids started in, oy, forget it! Yet I was so zonked, I could not get up. Despite the do not disturb sign on my door, the maid even knocked. I ignored her entirely.

Then my room phone rang. Thinking it was the maid trying to wake me up, I picked it up, and when there was no response right away, I hung up.

The phone rang again, and it was Bryon! That got me up! He chided me for not responding to his e-mails which, upon checking again tonight, I never got. I told him I sent him a text message, but upon examination, I had the stupid 0 in there you don't need.

France LIVE! came to the rescue! He was able to track me down, knowing that I was staying in the Quality Hotel on Rue de Constantinople! Smart lad.

After fixing his phone numbers in my cell phone and giving him mine, he said he'd try to get work off tomorrow and come down to Paris to spend the day. How cool would that be?

However, now it's my turn to chide him: I have not heard back! My text message and voice mail have gone unanswered. I think someone needs to try harder on his goal to keep in touch with people!

Thus endeth the chiding.

[ADDENDUM: We all now know he tried and was rebuked by technology. Read on.]

Once I was finally out of the hotel, I wandered the streets, vaguely trying to get back to the Louvre to see the Medieval Louvre exhibit that had been closed yesterday. On the way there, I wandered through Printemps, the huge department store I remember from my trip here in high school. It's like Harrod's in London, only incredibly confusing. I could not find the menswear area. I thought it'd be fun to buy a nice shirt in Paris!

Once back at the Louvre, I was glad to see the medieval exhibition was open today.

Back in the early '80s, when they were excavating the front courtyard of the Louvre to build I.M. Pei's pyramid entrance, they found the remnants of the castle that was there before the Louvre! They've created a sorta spooky but thoroughly fascinating gallery where you can see the old walls. (It reminded me of the catacombs from last year.)

I believe the area excavated was the moat, since they talked about water and the walls needing to withstand the moisture and all that. (I had to glean everything from reading the French placards.)

Here are some photos from the Medieval Louvre.

Ramparts of Old

One of the corner tower bases.

Looking around the other side of the base.

Cute Couple, Uncute Stone

More from the Moat

Another picture of the same thing. I can't help posting it. It's so interesting to me to see this ancient stuff in this context.

Stone adds a natural warmth to any home.

Stone is Homey!

Sunnier than Giza

This room, which I think had been available for viewing long before the '80s excavation, is an ancient bedchamber for... some king guy. I forgot who.

A few curtains and some flowers should brighten it right up!

I spent so much time with the Medieval Louvre and History of the Louvre exhibits, I had less than an hour to explore other things! Damn!

I finally found the Michelangelo sculptures, which I was unable to find when I was here in high school. Ah, sweet success takes time! I have no really good pics, so none will be put here.

I do like this pic, though. Another discovery. This sculpture had a strange and interesting warmth to it. It's also an unusual subject and execution. Details: "Métabus, Roi des Volsques" by Nicolas-Bernard Raggi.

Naked Guy with Cape and Child

My translation of the French description for this sculpture follows. Note that as the story becomes more interesting, it becomes harder to translate and therefore more frustrating to read. There's nothing I like posting more than frustrating reading!

The subject is taken from Virgil's l'Enéide (XI, 517–590): Chased from his throne by a revolt of his subjects, and after finding refuge in the solitary _______ with his daughter Camille, Métabus __________ the child to Diane and ________ to hunt wild animals.

Wow. That's interesting, huh? I'd put it through Babel Fish, but I don't feel like typing it all out right now.


Bryon just called and he can't come tomorrow. What a complete and utter bummer. Insanely, it would cost him £250 to get here by train. It'd be a lot less to fly, but flying, believe it or not, takes more time at that short distance.

BUMMER! And he tried to tell me earlier today, but Cingular, the stupid dumb-dumb aggravating ass idiot company that provides me with my cell phone "service," has been nothing but crap since I've been out here. They'll be getting several calls from me when I get back.

Anyway, back to the show.

Tiptoeing Interdit!

After the Louvre, I walked for a long while through the streets, no real goal in mind. This is the Palais Royal, which, legend tells us, was a royal palace! However, since the Louvre, located just minutes away, was also a royal palace, I'm positive this must be some kind of elaborate prank.

Aren't these tulips amazing? They are everywhere! The city is literally exploding with tulips! Which must be why security is so tight everywhere.

Parisian Street Place

Simply a random shot from my wanderings. I love the older parts of the city. To be wandering in such history is awe-inspiring.

Look! A Golden Arch!

I believe this is Porte St. Denis. Bam, right smack in the middle of what appears to be nothing.

It'd be so funny if L.A. had this kind of thing. Take the cheapo, young, unimpressive buildings of L.A. and plop an ornate, hundreds- or thousands-years-old monument in the middle... How amusing that would look!

Rainbow en Paris

Glory be! A cathedral and a rainbow! How magical! Paris really is for lovers. Glad it's being wasted on me!

Well, that's my last pic for today. I finally ended up back by the Pompidou center, and I chose to have din-din at a crèpe place.

I don't know what it is, but sometimes my French is really good, and sometimes it sucks. I think being alone today and not having any strong plan put me in self-conscious mode. I didn't want everyone to think I was an American. And that's all it takes! I could not get anything out right. The people at the restaurant must have thought I was a complete moron. And I didn't even make a funy mistake like last year to allow my bumbling to achieve worthwhileness! Well, like I always say, at least I try! I try to speak French every time I have to deal with someone, even if it's a Topz cook in Toluca Lake. There is no better way to learn.

So I am heading off to bed at what appears to be a semi-reasonable hour. I want to be up more early so I can get one last day of wandering and sightseeing out of the way. Until tomorrow...

Tiny Fleurs

— DAY 13 —
The High-Bandwidth Tour
April 19

Thanks to the magic of international travel, it's still April 20th, so, really, date-wise, this post isn't late. Sure, my body and mind do not agree that this Wednesday has lasted 33 hours, but who cares? Time zones are truth-tellers.

I thought I walked a lot yesterday! Well, this is gonna be one hummer of a huge page, 'cause I got 30—yes, 30!—photos I have to show you. I can't get them all posted tonight, but I know there's a good forty dozen of you who will lynch me if I don't post the rest in a timely manner, so during my many hours of waiting at the airport tomorrow, I'll code the rest. [NOTE: I had, in fact, very little time at the airport. Oh, is that a story!]

I left most of the pics pretty big so you can enjoy every detail. Just a warning. (Though by the time you read this, the 45-minute load time will have already happened.)


* * * * * *

I was up earlier today than yesterday (not much of a feat, really), and left ready for the day, when on the way to the Metro, I saw the pastry shop Richard and Chuck and I had passed on Saturday. I tried to find it yesterday, but couldn't, and here it was!

Of course, I bought a couple things, then had to go back to my hotel to drop off the one I didn't eat.

Glistening Delight

Look at this thing! It's a beaut! No idea what it is other than something chocolate and raspberry. Tonight, my love, tonight!

Then I re-left for the day and headed to a park nearby that I hadn't seen, Parc de Monceau. Beautiful place, the kind of park you don't get in L.A.

Can't see the columns for the trees
Living is Easy

At one end of the park, a bunch a little school kids in uniforms was playing around. I went to take a picture because I thought it'd be cute, but a man came up to me, looking grave. What I got out of what he told me is that you are not allowed to take pictures of kids when they are together. I thanked him and apologized, then promptly felt like a pedophile stalker kidnapper murderer freak creep.

Which I am not, by the way.

I had started the day intending to take the Metro everywhere, so I next bought an all-day ticket at the Villiers station. That was the last time I took the Metro until returning tonight.

My next goal was to see the Grand Palais, a huge, glass-enclosed greenhouse-looking thing.

It was closed for renovations. From what I got reading the construction notice, it seems the structure holding the glass in place was becoming, uh, unsafe. Good. Glad they're fixing it.

I did pop my camera over a construction gate to get the following shot. I was not arrested.

Greenhouse sans green and sans house

This is where my Metro-taking plans started to fall apart. Turns out I was very near the Pont Alexandre III. I snapped a picture of this from the bateau mouche last year and posted it, but I did not know which bridge it was. Now I do. I mentioned it above. Look up, in case you've forgotten it already.

Off in the distance, Des Invalides. You'll be seeing more of that in a sec.

Really a Golden Gate Bridge

Nothing much to say here but, "Damn! Look at that GOLD!"

Lady of the Pont

Okay, so, Des Invalides. This is it. Des Invalides was created as a hospital/residence for French veterans by one of the later Louis. Don't confuse it with Les Misèrables, which is a building miles away that used to hold people of poor enthusiasm and deteriorating joi de vivre.

As I approached, one of the signs said "Le Tombeau de Napoleon." Napoleon is entombed here? Yes, he is! Who'd have thought? I'd have to see that...

A Dome. Always a Dome.

A Birhgter Church

I passed through the north end of the building into a huge courtyard, where, no doubt, invalid military men used to form into lines and yell a lot. On the other side of this courtyard is the church.

Of course, like every building in Paris (including the pay toilets), there has to be a church on property. This one is more modern and very bright. It also contains the flags of countries taken in battle during campaigns in the 19th and 20th centuries. So says the literature.

The literature also mentions a pulpit with a soft serve ice cream machine, for when the priest guy gets the munchies during long sermons.

When I got into the church, the organ was playing! It was beautiful! So resonant and clear, unlike some of the muddy organs in other cathedrals. And the organist wasn't hidden... You can just see his head in this pic if you look close enough.

Sadly, just as I was sitting down to enjoy it, he stopped playing. Fucking bastard.

Organ Pipes of Glory

Shadow of an Egomaniac

Back out of the church and up some stairs, you come upon an upper "verandah." It is strewn here with cannon and guns from different eras of French belligerence.

Also here is a huge statue of Napoleon, glowering down into the courtyard. His hand is even in his vest, his usual "S'il vous plaît, appelez quelq'un... Je am having un heart attack!" pose.

Here is the upper "verandah" that encircles the courtyard. I am calling it a verandah because it is late yet again, and I feel not at all like looking up the word. Balcony? No. Porch? No. Wrap-around outsidey place? Nope nope nope!

Of note are the cannons that line the walls. Also of note is that nobody's there. Well, not exactly nobody, but it was nice and uncrowded, unlike the louvre.

Long and empty, like life.

Besides cannons, the walls were lined with plaques thanking the dead folks who'd given their lives for France. Kinda like Hallmark from the stone ages!

Ah, the Maginot!

Thar be the dome where be the church and the tomb of Napoleon. Argh!

This picture is from the "verandah." Or you thought maybe I had hover boots?

Symetrical Equals Kick-Ass!

Time to see the dead egomaniac. What kind of tomb would he have? Something imposing and grand! Masculine and menacing!

Tomb of an Egomaniac

Or maybe not. Yes, it is huge, but also boring and kinda girly! It looks like a giant bench. Something a woman in fine dress would sit on while waiting for a gentleman caller.

The bas reliefs around the edges on the tomb room show Napoleon doing wonderful things for France. Apparently, he did them all while sitting shirtless and emotionless on a throne, everyone else making a scene about him.

Oh, and apparently, Napoleon worked out at Bally's. Bas reliefs don't lie.

Time for a lunch break! At the Invalides café, I just had to have one of these hot dogs. Chuck had had one at the Eiffel Tower, and this one beckoned to me. Two hot dogs nestled in the slit on top of a baguette, then smothered with melted cheese. Brilliant!

Napoleon's Favorit Food

Flint Whacker

I wasn't done at Invalides quite yet. There's a museum also!

The Army museum houses all manner of leftovers from France's military history: weapons, uniforms, correspondence, armor, banners, maps, etc.

These three guns are from 1728, 1717, and 1717.

This is the sword (not all of it, just the hilt, smarty pants!) of King François I. The sword was made in Italy, I think, with the hilt being made in France.

I think.

I wish I had access to some kind of database of information that could help me translate the French description of this item. Something magical where I could connect my computer and look for anything I wanted, ask any question and get an answer. But I don't.

Oh, but it's much too pretty to kill anyone.

This next bit is fascinating and gruesome. Imagine what it must be like to be perforated by a cannon ball. Ugh! The piece or armor below comes to us from Waterloo, sponsored by Napoleon and ABBA, coming together to bring you the best in entertainment and warfare!

In the Wrong Place... the Wrong Time

Sponsored By

At the top floor of one wing of the museum (the thing is huge!), there was a dark and intriguing maquette room. This contained models of different French cities and fortresses. The detail was alarming, but more alarming was that they were all created by Weta Workshop in the 1800s. Time warp? Or bad humor? You can decide that for yourself.

The Dark and Mysterious World of Scale Reproductions

I decided that spending 8 hours on a bus for four hours of sightseeing would not properly fulfill my dream of seeing Mont-Saint-Michel. But this was the next best thing! Or maybe, in fact, the forty-second best thing.

Weensy Mont

Look! It's a tiny Antibes! Antibes. Antibes Antibes Antibes. It's very fun to say in French, like fleuve or pamplemousse. ANTIBES!

Since this model was built over 150 years ago, it's missing such details as McDonald's and Paris 2012 signage. Yes, even Antibes wants Paris to get the Games.

Say it with me: ANTIBES!

I could have spent a lot more time at Invalides, but I had to go if I wanted to see more of the city. Besides, there was so much to see in this place, it became overwhelming.

I decided, since I was now on the Rive Droit, that I should go see some very fancy cathedral Carol and Tresa had told me about a couple days before. The trouble was, I forgot the name, and all I could remember was that it was close to their hotel, which was on the Rive Droit. I vaguely remembered St. Sulpice had been one on their list to see. Was it the one with the cool windows? I could only tell by going there.

I decided to walk. In the rain. Though the rain wasn't so bad, and it was still quite a beautiful day. All I had to do was hide the big DISNEYLAND logo on my umbrella (no, I hadn't lost this one yet!). So a stroll down Rue de Grennele took me right to St. Sulpice.

What a dump. Well, that's not very nice to say, but compared to Notre Dame and other cathedrals I've seen, this place was in bad need of some restoration. It was darker than usual, in my opinion, and had an almost suffocating stodginess about it.

The Virgin Mary on Cool Whip

At the back of the cathedral, which I assume is where the chapel for El Madre Maria is always supposed to be, there was an interesting sight: The Virgin Mary, the baby Jesus in tow, surfing on a sphere on a wave of whipped cream. No, really!

Scholars argue whether it's whipped cream or chocolate mousse, but I've joined the whipped cream camp because they have paid me lots of money to do so.

Well, that was not the cathedral I was looking for. I decided to try another one in the area, but first, I walked south a little ways to Le Jardin de Luxembourg. The Palais de Luxembourg is here, thus the gardens, and I assume there's a church somewhere inside as well.

This was a large, multi-use park, with tennis and boules courts as well as lovely plants of the lovely variety. More tulips were in evidence.

Tiptoeing, Anyone?

Okay, so how many copies of The Statue of Liberty are floating around this city? I've seen the one by the Seine, but I had no idea this one existed as well.

After going through security in Washington, D.C. just now (I'm typing this in yet another Red Carpet Club), I wonder if maybe our Liberty is smaller now, too. OH! Excuse the leap ahead and the downer tone! I'll recover with a joke:

Q: What's green and explodes?

A: An exploding pickle.

Liberty Clone #2.

Old Men with Boules

Hooray! Boules! This is the same as bocci, and what kind of Europe trip would it be if I saw no one playing?

Well, okay, I saw two guys playing at the Tuileries yesterday, but I didn't get a picture, so it's as if it never happened.

What a fun pastime this would be. And you know what was weird? I saw a woman playing! In all the parks in all the countries I've seen people playing this game, she was the first woman. "Woman of boules, I adore you!"

(This is not a picture of the boules woman, despite popular belief.)

Amongst the Boules

Here's the palace itself. Could you imagine living in a city where you had access to such beauty day in and day out? Thinking that all these fancy places used to be available only to the aristocracy and are now open to the public puts a grin on my face.

Palace with Chairs and Grass

Do you notice something weird about this picture? No?

The chairs!

In all the Parisian parks, there are chairs strewn loosley around for you to sit in. They are not chained down, they are not cemented in place. They are just there and can be moved around at will. My God, it's fantastic! Why do Americans hate their own property so much?

Oops! Serious again! Another joke:

Q: What's green and sings and dances?

A: A singing, dancing pickle.

Next, it was back past St. Sulpice to St. Germain des Prés. I was not convinced this was the cathedral I was looking for, but why not go take a look?

What a dump.

I should not be so judgmental about these ages-old cathedrals. They have seen lots. And we all know the Catholic church is much too poor to spend money making them nice again.

Nothing interesting happened at St. Germain except that Jesus rose again. That was boring, so I headed toward St. Séverin. On the way, I thought it might be a good idea to check a souvenir shop to see if there was a postcard of the cathedral I was looking for. Steps away from St. Séverin, I found a card and the truth was revealed to me: I was looking for Ste. Chapelle!

Holy McFoley, Ste. Chapelle isn't even on Rive Droit.

Luckily, it was close, so I dashed over and, wouldn't you know it, it was closing in ten minutes. The scary guards would not let me in, so I thought I should take a stroll by the Seine.

Passion and Water

Being right by Notre Dame and being very tired, I decided to walk to the park in the back and sit on a bench. Almost immediately, I began to snooze. Then something awesome happened.

I was prevented from sleeping by the bells of Notre Dame. Could there be any better alarm?

It seemed weird to me that they'd be ringing at 6:05 on a Tuesday. The only thing I could think was that a new Pope had been found. Checking my cell phone browser later on, I found out that was it.

Now, I'm not religious, and I think the Pope is just another guy who gets power and can, just as easily as someone who's president of a country, abuse it for improper gain. But to be around for this pope thing at Notre Dame, which is, aside from anything in Italy, probably the most well-known Catholic cathedral in the world, was kinda cool. I mean, I still remember where I was when Pope Pedantic XVI was commissioned. So congratulations to John Ratzenberger. I hope he still finds time to work for Pixar.

Oh, and my sister ended up calling right then, too, during that half-hour of ringing bells, so she can say she heard it live, too! (She called with news that she's coming to visit this weekend, which is so exciting! I can't wait!)

After the semi-snooze and talking to my sis, I wandered more. I was kinda trying to find a place to eat, but not really. However, when I ended up walking in circles, I decided enough was enough. I knew what to eat. But what I wanted is very hard to find unless you're in a busy, tourist-packed area of town.

I wanted a French fast-food burger.

Oh my God, why? WHY? Well, for one, I was insanely curious about what they were like. Really gross? Mildly yucky? Perfectly delicious? For two, I knew there would be no one I had traveled with who would sacrifice a meal in Paris for such an experiment. So I had to do it now, while I was alone, on my last night there.

I went to something called Quick. Duh. I tried some double thing they have, where it's one sandwich with one half encondomentated one way and the other half another way. Skipping to the chase, it was disgusting. The French know how to do fast food chicken like the Pope knows how to welcome intelligent, modern reform. However, I also had a cheeseburger, which was such a McDonald's rip-off, it was a-okay, as were the fries.

On the whole, I would not do it again, but it was fun to try.

I went back to the hotel at a reasonable time. Say, 10:00. The thing about not having anyone to be with, I don't feel the need to go out on the town. I'm not really a town-goer-outer unless it's for 3-hour dinners of notable excellence. So it's been fine with me to get back earlier the last couple nights and waste time on this site.

I am way up in the air on a plane now, finishing this coding, and it's been a long one, so I'll say bye-bye now. Tomorrow, the final day's report, and a conclusion of some kind that will, if it does not knock your socks off, will at least cause them to require a good darning.

Tiny Fleurs


— DAY 14 —
Home Again, Home Again,
Jiggety... DOH!

April 20

NOTE: I took no pictures today, so instead, I have made some doodles. I hope they impart the drama and excitement of the day just as well as any photograph would have done. UN-NOTE

My plan today was this: Get up not too early, pack, check out of the hotel at 11:00, catch a cab, then wait in the Red Carpet Club, coding Day 13, while waiting for my 3:55 flight.

All was going well until I decided to log on one last time to see if the flight was on time. Looking at my itinerary, I saw something horrifying: My SECOND flight was leaving at 3:55, the one from San Fran to LAX. The Paris flight was to leave... IN 55 MINUTES!

Munch? Hardly.

While my heart leapt when I read my true departing time, I didn't panic so much as pause, curse myself, and then take a moment or two to figure out what to do. Was this the only flight I'd be able to get? Would I have to stay another day (darn)? Would I be killed by Richard if I weren't back to work on Thursday?

Q: What's green and late?


Really, who cares? What would happen would happen. I was a grown boy, and whatever the repercussions of my stupidity, I'd be able to handle them with dignity and acceptance.

I expedited my departure, checking out and having the hotel call me a cab. Happily, by the time I got downstairs, the cab was already waiting for me.

There was no way I was gonna get to my flight on time, even with perfect traffic. Here's where having traveled on business came in handy: Disney travel has a 24-hour emergency hotline. BA-DING! Lucky me.

While in the cab, I got a hold of someone at the Disney line and, through the magic of... Oh, hell, forget the magic! Through the hard work of the nice lady on the phone, I got switched to a 1:00 flight.

I don't know if the cabby understood any English, but I hoped not. A stupid American missing his flight and calling mommy to fix it for him? Potentially embarrassing.

Chatty in the Cabby

Whew. With relatively little problem, the problem was no problem.

Needless to say, I did not get to work much on the post for Day 13. Instead of 3½ hours at the airport, I had maybe 45 minutes.

I wish my story ended with a bang of some kind. It does not. Once on the plane and in the air and fed, I promptly fell asleep and stayed that way for 6 hours.

Just Plane Snoozin'

The French guy on the plane next to me seemed friendly, and like he was one of those plane chatters, but I fended him off while not being rude. Then after waking and landing, he said, "Well, we're here." To which I said, "Not bad if you sleep most of the way." "You were not annoying," he said.

Good. I was not annoying. That meant I did not snore, despite what my doodle has me doing.

Getting into the U.S. is a nightmare. In France, they never even checked my passport or took my little yellow I'm Coming Into Your Country Now card. At Washington D.C., you have to go through passport control, pick up your checked luggage, go through customs (I got an extra screening again, even though I did not pull any lip), then go through security once more (here they tell you to take off your shoes instead of ominously imply).

Last year I mentioned the transfer hell, so it's good to see it's always that way and not some fluke. The government is protecting me! I feel so safe!

May I mention that the food at the Paris Red Carpet Club is better than the food in the U.S. Clubs by a factor of 42? All kinds of juices, pastry, a variety of cookies... In the States, we get some carrots, mediocre cookies in a bag, pretzels... United really is shafting its customers when it can. Somehow, I guess it can't shaft in France. Must be some kind of Socialism thing.

And I noticed something else as I was boarding the last plane of the trip: United is re-painting their planes. Huh? What? Your company is, you claim, so far on the verge of bankruptcy that you cut all the pay for all your workers and force them into contracts rife with sacrifice, you make the travel experience as uncomfortable as possible to cut costs, you provide awful food in the Red Carpet Clubs, you bitch and moan and whine about how poor you are... And then you waste money RE-PAINTING YOUR PLANES?

Welcome back to America.

Well, that sounds like some kind of sour note, but really, I am glad to be back. The little things that bother me are here waiting for me, but so are the good things. I had a wonderful trip, saw some great sights, and seem to have had a good number of people read about the trip, which is exciting.

But maybe this should all be under a Conclusions section, like last year...

Tiny Fleurs


Last year, love sucked. This year, what's love got to do with it? Nothing! So I won't mention it.

I think this trip did end up being like four different ones. It was an interestingly diverse two weeks. It was a great time! I'm glad I got to take some extra days and see the city, because had I had to be here just for the work, it would have been just that: a work trip, just like one in Orlando or Anaheim.

I wanna finish off with a few things I never found time to mention.

SHAFTED/NOT SHAFTED: Our Wi-Fi service in France cost—you will not believe this—€100 for 12 hours. That's currently $130! Granted, it's for 12 non-contiguous hours, so you can use them whenever you want, but still that's robbery! The Europeans are shafted on wireless. But as I noted, Americans get shafted on cell phones. I won't delve into that one again.

THE CURSED SHIRT: The shirt I bought last year in London had its buttons immediately damaged by the hotel laundry service there. Sadly, that shirt received similar treatment at Hotel New York, where all four of the cuff buttons were shattered, broken, or maimed to a pulp. Just like in London, the hotel replaced the buttons for free, but unlike in London, the unusual buttons on the shirt were not available, so the cuff buttons do not match the rest of the shirt. Sigh.

TOILETS: I mentioned it in passing, but the toilets here suck! Nothing about them works right. Please excuse the sordid details, but I have to mention specifics. The two worst problems are this: 1) There is no water in the bowl, so you have to clean the stupid toilet every time you use it. 2) There is no swirling action. Water just tumbles into the bowl like rowdy fans onto the field after a soccer match. This seems to work well about almost never.

WASH CLOTHS, PLEASE: I have never understood how you're supposed to get your back clean in the shower or bath without using some kind of washing apparatus. Even at the very Americanized Disney hotel, there were no washcloths. There is a small patch of my back that has gone uncleaned for two whole weeks thanks to this! Sure, I could have used a hand towel, but out of principle, I wanted to see to what two weeks of no washing lead. (Nothing, as far as I can tell. But EEEEEW nonetheless.)

PASTRY DISASTER: That gloriously beautiful pastry I bought at the beginning of Day 13? PLOOP! By the time I got to it very late that night, it had nearly melted! Now, Europe is not a country known for its high standard of refrigeration, so when I got the pastry out of the shop, I assumed it could withstand sitting in my hotel room all day. It didn't. It got all flat. I can report, however, that it was still very tasty and I would buy another one in a minute!

I may remember one or two other things to add here, but for now, that is the end. Thanks to everyone for reading! I hope it was fun! Next up: A daily journal of my trip to my couch, where I plan to relax and watch movies.

The End (Fin)
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