STEP . . . carefully: France has made an indelible impression on us and now David can say HE has made an indelible impression on France:
Not so much as a tiny paper note in French, let alone an orange cone, warning pedestrians of the new cement. (David’s are the left and the deep right footprints). He was watching traffic, trying to find an opportunity to cross before the sidewalk completely narrowed into nothing, and all of a sudden he felt the sidewalk was a bit . . . er . . . squishy.
STEP . . . up and up and up (and down and down and down): Wednesday, we decided to give ourselves a break from the 112 steps down to the local metro (and of course the 112 steps back up to get home), and instead decided to visit Sacré Coeur again and see the crypt and . . . yes . . . climb the dome . . .
. . . so 300 steps up and more than 300 down, because it’s a different staircase and at one point in the descent you have to go back up 17 steps, then immediately back down 17 (yes, I counted–I was a bit annoyed, okay?), just to get to the other side of a piece of roof, and all this is not counting the steps just to get from the apartment to Sacré Coeur.
On the plus side, the climb was done to the soundtrack of this woman beautifully singing some of my favorite arias on the steps on one side of the basilica. Absolutely magical. We were climbing just above her (and then a LOT above her).
Also a plus: The views were worth every step.
Later in the day, we decided to walk back to Coquelicot to buy another loaf or two of la Picola to see if it was as good as we remembered. (It was.) But since I was a bit tired of the stairs I chose to head a bit east to try to get more around the perimeter of the hill. Imagine my not-so-delighted surprise when our route turned out to include this:
Sheesh. Bet they don’t sell ANY Stairmasters in Paris. Who would need one?
STEP . . . inside. WIFI is terrible in this apartment, so not sure when I can post this, but as I write this, it is our last day in France (for 2014, anyway), and a bit rainy and cool. We tried to think of something super profound to do, to no avail. Instead we decided to be Parisian and go shopping. We didn’t buy anything, just took a few photos. This is how they do department stores in Paris:
And now, for a moment, let’s STEP . . . back . . . to remember how far we’ve come. This whole adventure started with a simple desire to learn French in the best, most efficient way possible (living here for a while), and it’s been a long road. But as we enjoyed lunch in a brasserie after our shopping, we both realized that, finally, I was completely comfortable with getting a table, reading the menu, ordering, paying, the whole process, really. And David, although he has not learned French, has kind of learned, well, France – how to modulate his voice to the much quieter French level, how to patiently wait until the server is ready to take our order, how to take our time over a bottle of wine at lunch, how to enjoy a conversation (and a little people-watching) between courses even if the next course is a while in coming.
And finally, it’s time to . . .
STEP . . . forward . . . to the next part of this journey. Five more months to go, but all stateside. No more random, cool Frenchy things on random corners, like this . . .
. . . but there will be other things to see, other people to meet, other cities to explore, and I promise to tell you all about them. And eventually, God willing, there will be friends and family to see again, both here in France and back in the U.S.A. So until we meet again, au revoir!