We woke to another glorious day; at 10 AM! Impressive, if I do say so myself! Of course we didn’t leave our room until a bit after 11, but that is alright by me. The weather has been perfect, so we strolled along the tree lined street, from our hotel to a local Boulangerie/Patisserie, aka Bakery! Lol I am just becoming so French; or not!
Once again, we ate like royalty! What is it about the French pastries? Why are they SO good? Must be the butter! I had an almond croissant, Joe had a chocolate one, and we shared “something else”, it was a twisty thing with a filling that was delicious. We also ordered a chicken and sun dried tomato sandwich, on a baguette, of course, for our trip to the Chateau de Versailles. Our Hyrdo’s were full and we were ready to take on the day.
We walked to the Metro, like real pro’s; had our tickets out and went through the turnstile, and straight to our train; it took us several days, but we finally found an “up” escalator which was a true treat. We were rolling on down the track, at a fine speed, enjoying our day, when to my extreme delight , a young man got on our train, with an accordion and started playing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow!!!!” Heart be still! I think I was the only one on that train that was thrilled beyond words and could not keep myself from swaying and singing. And wouldn’t you know, the only $$ we had was twenty one cents, in euros. I felt so bad, but put it in his cup My day could not have started any better…..
We got to the train line that we were supposed to take to Versaille, and it was CLOSED! Horror of horrors; what do we do now?? We met two groups of people coming up the stairs from the closed train; all going to Versaille; one group said that they “thought” that if we circumvented the close stop, we could get on the C line somewhere else; I asked them if the “line” was closed, the “train.” They did not know. The other group was a young Asian woman, her mother and a VERY TALL man! The young gal said we could take the “N” train down and then it was a ten minute walk; she seemed like she knew what she was doing so we opted to go with that group. The tall man was her husband, from the Netherlands; her mother was from Japan.
We enjoyed chit chat on the ride to Versailles and she escorted us all the way to the Chateau. Our travel angel of the day.
Now the REAL fun begins; we had our “Paris Pass” which allowed us to “skip” the ticket line; which is all fine and dandy; what it didn’t allow us to skip was the security line, which ran up, down and around the entire courtyard area. Probably about an hour and a half in the sun. Ugh!
I decided to take advantage of Joe being a place holder and went to the “Toilette”; when I came back, I found that the line was WAY longer than I had originally thought. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to make standing in the line and then still see the Chateau, so I thought that I would play my leukemia card, and see if there was a disability line.
I walked over to where they were letting groups in, and found a person that was working the security there; I asked if they had a disability line, and told him that I had leukemia, and standing in the sun was very difficult. He said, “Of course, do you have a disability card?” I told him I had a note from my doctor and he said that was fine. I looked in my purse and realized that I had left it in my other travel bag.
He said, “No, worries,” and radioed the front. I told him that I had to get my husband, and he said that was fine, just tell them at the front that Mattheau, OK’d our entry. I was thrilled and went to find Joe, who way WAY down the courtyard in the line. I finally got to him and trudged back up the cobblestones, in the sun and heat, to the ladies at the front of the line.
The young American girl that I approached refused to let us in because I did not have my letter. I asked her to radio Mattheau, and she told me No. So, of course I went back to Mattheau; trudge, trudge, trudge, near tears, and passing out at the same time. If it had not been such a pain in the bumm to get there, we probably would have left; and it was a matter of principle, at this point.
I told him what happened and he got back on the radio; he said to go back there, it was “fine.”
Really? What other choice did we have, but to trudge back over those damn cobblestones, that I thought were so cool, when I first got there; I saw the two girls talking to each other, and a huge gap in the line, so I was a naughty girl and just by passed the worker-bees, and cut the line. I started talking to another couple, from southern Ca., like we had been with them all along.
Things were going swimmingly, until we got to the real “poo-bah” ticket taker; it seems that our “pass” was the museum portion of the pass, which was only for two days, not three and it was expired.I seriously thought I was going to have a melt down, right there in front of all of those tourists; I am sure it would have been YouTube worthy. I sat in the chair next to her and said I can’t move, I have leukemia and I have been walking around for over an hour, in the sun and heat, and now you are telling me we cannot get in??? @#$@%#^%#$%$@
Really, I didn’t say one swear word; to her. She gave Joe a wrist band, and told him he could go and purchase tickets and come back to the front of the line. He said that the ticket line was really long, d that wouldn’t work. In his wisdom, and my frustration he led me, not quite kicking and screaming out of the Chateau and into the Gardens; which ended up be a delightful, way to spend the afternoon. I remembered that I had my Frog Tog Chilly Pad, and an umbrella in the back-pack, and lots of ice cold water.
We purchased the garden pass, which wasn’t included in our pass, and strolled through the gardens for several hours, watching water shows, sitting by fountains, picnicked in the shade, and even ate ice cream. We then decided that we would go and see if the line had dissipated, as we didn’t think too many people would be purchasing tickets, with less than two hours of touring time left. We were correct in our assumption and figured since we were there, and NEVER coming back, we would just go ahead and pay to go into the Chateau.
I told the gal at the ticket counter my tale; she said to hold on and made a phone call. She hung up and told us that we could go into the Chateau r free; the both of us and to enjoy! I nearly cried again, this time tears of joy, and told her she was the second person today, to make my day. We thanked her profusely, and walked back to the doggone entrance; this time Azulee was waiting for us, and we finally arrived, in the Chateau de Versailles.
I must tell you, that despite the troubles of the day, the Chateau was well worth the effort. We were in awe of the sights we saw, and even though we only had about an hour and a half to view the Chateau, it was worth every moment; one ceiling, room, painting, sculpture and chandelier more beautiful than the next. The marble that was in this palace was spectacular, and the Hall of Mirrors just stunning. It is so strange to imagine the people that must have walked those halls and danced in those ballrooms; I mean King and Queens! Crazy, huh?
Anyway, we did not have time to see Marie-Antionette’s Estate, but that is OK. We had a lovely day, seeing amazing glimpses into the past and a long, painful walk over many more cobblestones before we could finally sit down on the train.
We no longer had our guide, so we figured out how to get back “home”, all on our own.
We decided to go back to the place where we had dinner the first night, and to relax and reflect on our time in Paris, as tomorrow, we fly to Lyon.
Today we learned some valuable lessons; for those of you that wish to travel with CML, I strongly suggest getting your disability card. I have fought it for years because I am always telling myself that I am fine, and that I do not “need” it. Today I realized that “sometimes” I do, and I should not feel guilty for saying so. I DO have cancer, and have been living with cancer, taking a toxic drug for six and a half years, just to stay alive; and I am not the same person I used to be. I tired more easily, I have nerve pain in my feet, bone pain in my hips and legs, and I cannot tolerate the sun or the heat; I tire more easily and often suffer with headaches and nausea. I have limitations, that I wish I did not, but I DO still wish to live, even if it means I must play the leukemia card from time to time.
I know that many may think that I should only “do” what I can “do” and that maybe I shouldn’t be quite as ambitious as I am, but if I were to stop being me, I think I would just die.
We also learned to read the foreign fine print more carefully, and that when one thing does not work; try another. We will be armed and ready to use our London Pass.
Cobblestone streets are much more toerable when you are amuzed by your own shadow!
And probably the most important lesson is that every step we take is an adventure; and we must always embrace the twists and turns; you never know who you will meet along your journey and you should always be open to those encounters.
Heck, I listened to a guy playing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”, on a metro train today.
La vie est belle!