Saturday, April 29, 2006
Troy & I finally did the Friday night skate. It wasn't the best night to choose in terms of weather, it has turned really cold again, but it didn't rain & the cold & wind kept the number of people involved in the skate to a few thousand. During the summer over 20,000 people have taken part in the skate. We met at Montparnasse Station at 10pm and skated from there.
The route took us to parts of the city we have never been to, and then around the Montmartre hill to the Place Vendome where the group took a scheduled break at 11:30. It was at that point that Troy & I decided to bail out, because we could no longer feel our feet, and we skated past the Jardin des Tuileries, up the Champs Elysees (which is really a hill) to the Arc de Triumph, down Ave Kleber to Trocadero, and finally home.
The skate itself was interesting & a little scary in some ways. The obvious people were there: the 15-25 year old guys weaving thru all of the other skaters, beginners who just had to be in front, beautiful people skating with their Pashminas, Couples that held hands the entire ride even though one of them really couldn't skate very well & was basically just being pulled along at 20 mph, Tourists, stunt men and the French cloud of smoke at every break.
There were also the less obvious participants: the father & his 8 year old daughter who kept up with us the entire ride, the 60 year old wearing the skater helmet (thick bi-foculs and a MP3 player as well), and the police officers on blades keeping the peace and safety of the ride.
I loved watching the expressions on people's faces as we went flying by them. The Parisians pulled out their mobile phone & were text messaging with people (telling them why they would be 20 min later), the tourists were pulling out video cameras to try to be able to explain the event to people back home, and the idiots that tried to cross inside the mass of skaters.
Definitely something that was on our "to do" list while we were here & I know we will do it again.
And, for those that are interested, both Troy & I wore helmets and safety gear on the ride. We saw a few wipe outs (including one bouncing off the sidewalk), but the streets were smooth, wide avenues and there are a number of arm gestures that you learn very quickly to alert the mass behind you to the dangers ahead.
Monday, April 24, 2006
Sophia driving "Papa's Boat". She gets so excited every time she sees boat on the Seine & this one was just her size. This is the very first ride she has gone on her own... She was very proud of herself for her good driving, and concentrated very hard for the remainder of the ride.
Park dell Villette - The science museum, park and childrens' play area. Very manufactured; flat greens, convrete, manicured grass (not in the good golf sense), and the beginning of the main part of the canal St Martin (very straight with a great elevated walkways (the lower ones are a bit freaky for the parent of a 2 year old intersted in water. There also was an IMAX theater type globe that "sang" to you as you walked around it.
Moving in Paris: Our neighbors on the 4th floor below us moved over Easter weekend. Because we don't have access to the street, the moving company actually builds an "elevator" in the courtyard to move the items that don't fit into the regular elevator. This is also how our furniture was moved into our apartment. For the entire weekend Sophia kept waking up saying "Aligator & Trees". Troy thought she was having dreams & was finally able to tell him about them, but in a 2 year old's reality, every time we opened the curtains in her room, she was talking about the "Elevator & Trees" she saw going up & down.