Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Travels of Mary Agnes, 201?

I was reminded the other day of a visit I made to Paris several years ago.  I went alone to Paris and London.  In one of life's ironies, my husband traveled with me to London and Edinburgh the year after our marriage; but since then he declines to leave our home in Vero Beach, Fl.  He doesn't mind if I travel without him.  Sigh!  To me, one of the enjoyments of travel is to share with your companion/s.  But if my choice is to stay at home or travel alone, I will travel alone.  For years I traveled with my business compatriot, Trubey.  This time I traveled alone.

The instance I was reminded of was one year when I was staying on the Left Bank  at the Hotel Henri IV on the Rue de Bernardines in Paris which is about 3/4 of a block long.  Trust me, cabbies have difficulty finding it!  (NOTE:  there are 2 Henri IV in Paris--this hotel has about 10 rooms but the distinction is that the "other" Henri IV has shared bathrooms.)  I speak no French (well--escargot, si vous plais; you get the drift).

I was alone and checked with the clock in the room, but it didn't have a time I recognized, even what I think of as the military clock of 1800 hours for 6 pm. (This was before I had a smart phone.Also, I never wear a watch.)  So as I went about my daily routine, I didn't notice that I was actually doing everything one hour later than everyone else.  That didn't seem to matter while I was walking around to the Notre Dame or the Louvre.  But my last day in Paris I went to the Cluny Museum and then walked through Paris to the Gobelin Tapestry Factory.  I started early enough to have lunch first and then proceed to the Gobelin Museum where I signed up for the "tour".  I thought I was over an hour early and started to exit the building to wait for the tour when the guide stopped me.  As I have said, I speak no French, but even  I understood that I shouldn't leave the building.  Actually, the situation was quite amusing, I thought.  They offer tours to all nationalities, but refuse to speak any language but French.  I pointedly discovered this when during the tour I asked how much the weavers earned.  The guide was noticeably irritated with me and did not answer (He obviously understood English).  Another person in our tour group repeated my question in French and the tour guide replied in French that it was a commune.  Nothing further.  Duh!  That is the derivation of communism, but I still want to know how they determine the price of the tapestries.  Obviously they ain't going to tell anyone!  It was worthwhile taking the tour, but I still have LOTS of questions to ask.  Maybe the next time I go to Paris. And then I'll either take a translator or have a device that will translate my questions--no way I'll let them get me twice!  And I'd really love to work those treadles (I think that's what they are called) and do some weaving.

1 comment:

  1. I probably already told you this, but my father can't really travel comfortably, so my mother travels with other women. She started with a group from church but once she found some suitable companions, they've been doing their own trips. One year, she, my aunt, an old friend and a new friend went to Costa Rica. My aunt had ziplining on her bucket list so my 70 year old mother went with her little sister! (I remember my widowed grandmother doing the same, lots of trips with "the girls" all over the world.) But, if you enjoy your own company best, that's cool too. I'd never leave if I had to go alone! :)