Sunday, March 16, 2014


 A mostly quiet day today. The weather has been drizzly and overcast since yesterday evening. Today is the main reason we came to Europe again, a special mass was held for Christine in St Peters Parish church (Pfarrkirche Sankt Peter). After mass, Uschi caught up with a number of people and remained talking to Karin G till there was no one left in the church at all!

Later we went for a drive in the valley, looking for possible walks for when the weather improved. A good afternoon walk is the St James pilgrimage trail (Jakobusrundweg)at Turnau.

A view from the pension, the sun setting and the clouds clearing after a damp day.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

To Austria

On Saturday morning we caught the Niki flight from CDG to Vienna. At Vienna we picked up a Sixt hire car, a BMW Series One, to drive to Thoerl. On our way there I got a little lost and missed the turn off to Bruck as the BMW GPS was difficult to set up and it seemed to want to send us through Graz to get to Aflenz. We did about 40 km before realising the error and backtracking. 

When we got to Thoerl we booked in at Gradwohl which is a set of apartments in Aflenz. The one we got had been upgraded recently but somewhat roughly. In the evening we went to Mitzi's where the H's were due to arrive. Franziska had to attend an official dinner so they never left Vienna till later. 

Mitzi was a bit vaguer than I remember her and she seems forgetful as well.
The wind had been blowing strongly and took the door off the woodshed before we got there. I picked up some of the glass, but the door itself was rotten.

When the H's arrived Franziska was in a fluster as they only got there about 17:30 and the Billa closes at 18:00 on a Saturday. Franziska had to do all the week's shopping for Mitzi in half an hour so they went out again. Karin G was roped in as well. When Franziska got back she made a meal of Kasekrainer and Oberkrainer. Unfortunately for her sense of cooking the Oberkrainer was a “spicy” non traditional type. Even though it was made locally it upset Franziska's plan to present a traditional meal. The spicy sausages were OK anyway!

Afterwards we went back to Gradwohl's for an early night.

Friday, March 14, 2014


On thursday evening we went to the Pompidou Centre, which was open late, however, what they didn't tell us was the art gallery part was not included. Fortunately we got our tickets transferred to the next day and were able to spend quite a long time there in the afternoon.

The first thing we did though, was take a walk along R. St.Denis from the Hotel Tiquetonne to Gare de l'Est. We had a lovely breakfast of bread rolls and cheese sitting in a nameless park at the end of R. Marie Stewart. Afterwards when we were part way up R St. Denis we shared a couple of excellent cakes.

At the end of R. St. Denis, which used to be the pilgrimage way, is the church of St Laurent, which we spent some time in taking photos then we went back to the hotel where we had stored our luggage in preparation for spending the night at Paris CDG and flying out very early the next day.

We walked from the hotel to the Pompidou Centre. The Centre had a good collection of architectural displays as well as more normal art by Picasso, Otto Dix (one of my fascinations),  Kandinsky, Warhol and others.

Some startling work by the Russian Yakov Chernikhov.

For our trip to the airport we got a mad taxi driver. He was non-French, maybe middle eastern. He certainly didn't like a particular Turkish truck driver on the way to the airport and generally didn't like the other "slower" drivers in their French cars. He was quite proud of how powerful his Mercedes was and showed us by overtaking others (on the inside) in the small streets of Paris!

We stayed at the Ibis CDG. Luckily the connection to Terminal 3 is only a short walk from the hotel across a road. We did a reconnoiter in the evening in preparation for leaving Saturday.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Saint Chapelle and the Catacombs

The watch I bought yesterday didn't seem to work, so I went back to the shop and found out it was an old mechanical mechanism that I had to wind!

09:40 in the Drole D'Endroit on Montorgueil for breakfast but the young guy in charge there was so busy with packing away deliveries and serving I think he forgot to take our breakfast order before we finished our hot drinks, which were only a euro each. We went to the supermarket and bought cheese, chicken, butter and then a stick of “traditionelle” from a bread shop across the road. It was very nice, I had been meaning to have Parisian bread and butter since we arrived but hadn't got around to it till then. After that we walked to the Chapelle to visit and then the Conciergerie as the ticket was only a few Euros more.



We then caught the Metro to Denfert for the Catacombs. Uschi thought it was OK but I was a little disappointed as there seem to have been significant damage since the kids and I visited in 2005 and more than half seems to have been sealed off. I bought souvenirs for the kids and headed for LeClerc Avenue where Uschi found a shoe shop where she spent a little while and then we went to the church of St Peter.

We had tea at “Le Courlis” near the catacombs where Uschi and I both had salad. I ordered Anjou salad while Uschi had “Salade de Crottin”. The two salads were probably mixed up, but I couldn't tell.
Finally after walking around near our hotel we sat for a while in the park across from Saint Eustache before turning in for the evening.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Quai Branly

Did a lot of file sorting in the morning and then Uschi and I decided to go to the Quai Branly today. It opens at 11:00 and so we waited in a small cafe “Le Deux Abeille” (the two bees). The cafe is the front two rooms of an old house and the furniture appears old, antique, not shabby, and the walls in the front room where we had breakfast were covered in a flower patterned fabric. Unusual in that it isn't glued directly to the wall, it is stretched like a carpet as it has some “spring” in it like there is padding underneath. Unfortunately I ordered the”CEP Omlette” which had mushroom in it, although the egg part was nice.

After the Museum Quai Branly we were just in time to get something before the chef left the Cafe Branly, adjacent the museum. I had a very nice “peasants” onion soup. Sadly my watch is not working anymore as the 12 marker came free of the face and is jamming the hands. I won't be able to repair it until back in Adelaide. Now I need to find a shop which sells cheap watches and maybe a torch for the catacombs.

At the Cafe Branly we are within a very short distance of the Eiffel Tower but didn't go there, rather chose the Museum of Modern Art, across the river from the Quai Branly. We stayed there until closing time and visited the Matisse Salle with the large mural Dance II. The Museum is a big building, but there is not a matching quantity of art on display. What is on display is very good though, one room was filled with works by Dufy which was also being used as the room for an art class for a group of about 8 year olds. 

Dufy: Maison et Jardin

After the gallery we looked in at ?? Tokyo, part of the same building. We caught the Metro back to near the hotel, where I found a watch shop only three doors up from the hotel. I bought a (comparatively) cheap watch and as we left I noticed another watch shop, only two doors from the hotel, the watches were probably cheaper in there!

I was looking for a torch and the lady from the first watch shop directed us to 71 Montourgueil, a little hardware shop. The torch was a bit more expensive than I had expected (about 20E) but I bought it anyway, ready for the catacombs if we manage to get there.

After that Uschi and I went to a restaurant called “Le Marie Stuart”, where Uschi had fish and chips while I had a “chicken supreme” which was chicken in a curry sauce with rice. Uschi was trying out her secret camera watch in the cafe.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Museum D'Orsay

In a stall/takeaway on R. St Denis which seems to be Lebanese or similar. Uschi has ordered a huge plate of stuffed aubergine with potato and noodles.

We went to the Museum D'Orsay intending to spend the morning there and the afternoon elsewhere. In the end we spent all day at D'Orsay. There were a number of temporary exhibitions, one for Gustave Dore and one on Van Gogh based on an essay written by Antonin Artaud, "Suicided by Society". 

We had lunch in the Cafe Campano, part of the museum complex. Uschi and I had soft drinks and a blue berry tart. The cafe is (obviously) bell themed with a large glass clock face with views over the city. I assume it is the original railway station clock. We later had afternoon tea in the more upmarket restaurant. Just before 18:00 all the visitors were asked to leave the museum. 

After that we caught the Metro to the Galleries Lafayette. Despite the advertising on the free map there didn't seem to be any restaurants for our tea. There was an upmarket supermarket but our intention was to get tea as well as look at the shops. Eventually we left
the galleries and found a small Brasserie called, I think, Le Mondial.

Monday, March 10, 2014

First Full Paris Day

This morning we had breakfast at the Cafe Richard on the corner of R. Tiquetonne. They had no chef till 08:30 so we couldn't get the full English Breakfast, but the cafe owner made breakfast for us instead. The ambient music is the Rolling Stones, with Sympathy for the Devil.
After some confusion with the trains near the cafe we caught the Gallieni line to Pere Lachaise. The Reamur station is undergoing reconstruction so was only a concrete shell and we weren't sure we were on the correct train.

We spent the morning looking around the Pere Lachaise Cemetery and the last resting places of a number of famous people. We also looked through the church across the road.

By 14:00 we we in the Tulleries Gardens where we had lunch at one of the permanent cafes in the gardens. There were a number of these cafes, but not many seemed open. I expect the March weather being unseasonably warm caught them off guard. The forecast for today and the next few days was in the high tens to 20, when typical temperature should be less than 10.

 Croque Monsieur with chips and salad

After that we spent some time in the Orangerie till their closing time. The main item is Monet's Nympheas spread across the walls of two oval rooms in the Orangerie ground floor. The other exhibits are under ground level, with Renoir, Cezanne and Derain.
Derain's work in Provence reminded me a lot of scenes in the Flinders Ranges in Australia

After our visit to the Orangerie we were so tired. We struggled through the Metro taking it a few steps at a time. When we got back to the Hotel we laid down for a rest at 16:00 and didn't wake till midnight. I read the internet for a while before going back to sleep. Uschi went back to sleep straight away, neither of us woke up till 07:00 the next day, so we were very tired, from our recent long trip, then spending almost 11 hours on our feet.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Paris Evening

We arrived at about midday and took the RER into Paris to find the Hotel Tiqetonne. We settled in and tried for a quick nap but slept till about 8PM. Then we went out to the “DimSumCo” for a late tea and we walked to the river. 

We were near to where I stayed with the kids in 2005 so we walked to the Hotel de Ville, then the Hotel Rue Rivoli to show Uschi where Rhiannon and I stayed before. The area in front of the hotel has been changed markedly, the little road which formed a small park island has now gone. The seats where Rhiannon and I sat are gone and the trees trimmed up a lot. While the pedestrian area is much bigger it is also a lot barer.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Off to Europe Again

Pushback was at 22:35 from Adelaide A6-EGI to Dubai, then at Dubai we board in the early morning and are pushed back at 08:10 local for runway 30R, touching down in Paris at 14:52 Dubai time.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Again, this year.

The pneumatic mattress gives an occasional random pop. The clock ticks steadily. 101 years and 4 months precisely. Her forehead grows cold.