Paris to Amsterdam

A forum where you can read the great
adventures of the visitors to Amsterdam.

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Weldon
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Paris to Amsterdam

Postby Weldon » Sun Apr 19, 7:41 pm

I'm not one to hurry out the door when I'm traveling these days.

I got up on Thursday, April 9 and went to their breakfast at the Albe St. Michel Hotel knowing they would charge me 13 euros. I could probably do just as well in the neighborhood but this was steps from my room. I made myself two soft boiled eggs and had an assortment of croissants, jams and cheeses with coffee and fresh squeezed orange juice.

The hotel assured me they would watch by bags until my train left at 7:20. So I wasn't going to sweat having to bring them to Gare du Nord to find a locker or a lounge to keep them in. It was 9AM so I wandered out but not far because the Gilbert Jeune bookstore was opening. Three or four floors are books, one floor is magazines,cards, and souvenirs and another floor is stationary and art supplies.

It was on the stationary floor that I made my purchases. I ended up with a lot of brushes for the Farmer and nice pens for me. In the US, it's hard to find fountain pens. They are not as readily available as they are at the places I've found in Europe. The cheapest Waterman pen I saw in the States was $40. They get much more expensive than that, of course, but in Europe they can be had for as cheap as $10-12. That's at today's exchange rates. If I had time, I'd search the neighborhoods for gypsy-style places that set up in seemingly vacant store fronts that have (to me) quality, cheap European and other local things.

There were also unique coloring books including one depicting Norman Rockwell's art; and a book on the cats of Paris taken by famous photographers going all the way to the 20's. Now it was time to go back and pack up. I had to go on the computer for a while, though, and for a further distraction Gene Kelly in "An American in Paris" was on dubbed in French. The ultimate French lesson.

They let me check out at noon for no extra charge so I could finish the movie, take my shower, and feverishly pack. (Did I remember everything?) I checked my bag with them and headed out to the Eiffel Tower. First, I had to check out the Rue Cler area for The Farmer. This is where Julia Child lived and developed her French recipes. So off I went.
Last edited by Weldon on Sun Apr 19, 8:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Bohannon
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Postby Bohannon » Sun Apr 19, 8:20 pm

On my first trip I stayed just off the Rue Cler. I actually had a view of the top half of the tower from my room. I stayed there on the recommendation of Rick Steves.

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Postby moe. » Sun Apr 19, 8:27 pm

Bohannon wrote:I stayed there on the recommendation of Rick Steves.


He is on PBS here every Saturday night. Last night was the best of The Netherlands.

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Weldon
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II

Postby Weldon » Sun Apr 19, 8:46 pm

I came up the Ecole Militaire Metro stop and memories of my first trip to Paris came rushing back. I had stayed there before in '98 when France won the World Cup (we were there when they actually won it!). We stayed at the Duquesne Eiffel and I got the coffee and chocolate at a place called Shopi.

From the Metro, I walked over to Rue Cler and found it alive with diners and grocery shoppers. It's places like this that make you wish you had an apartment or at least a small cooking area to make some of the things you see. It all looks so fresh and ready to be prepared. The place was bustling for a Thursday afternoon. Also Spring Break without a beach. Not too many kids, little and otherwise.

After this, it was off to the Eiffel, where i hadn't been near since that '98 trip. Lo and behold the thing was closed! Seems there was some sort of general strike and it wouldn't open that day until 6:30, too late for me. Oh well, still a photo op and I snapped away. It was a nice day and the place was crowded. The busses kept arriving. The souvenir stands at the base were open.

I noticed that the elevator to the Jules Verne restaurant was open. I thought I might go there just to have some sort of view; have a drink at the bar for, I dunno, 20 euros it probably would have been. It looked, according to the menu, that a salad was 120. I didn't get much of a look because a waiter showed up and took the menu out of the display case and announced the restaurant closed.

They had a Spring Fair by the river, so I went to that. They had most of the same tricky tacky stuff one would find at a county fair in the US. Do people still wear berets in Paris? I hardly saw any, maybe 2 or 3. Hardly any hat wearers. Some of the food looked interesting, especially the crepes. Didn't bite. I had plans.

A few more pictures in the area and it was time to shove off. They have a taxi-boat that goes up and down the Seine that costs 14e per day. Seems like a good way to get around and see the sights by the river. I saw the line queue up when I started looking at the Spring Faire and when I was done some 20-30 minutes later, a boat had not shown up. I dunno, you coulda walked to a Metro and been where ya wanted by then. I made my way back to St. Germain des Pres.

I had to have a Salade St. Germain at Cafe Les Deux Magots. Got a table right in front. Perfect for watching life in Paris walk by. They seemed to change the salade over the years. They substituted a balsamic vinaigrette for the honey mustard dressing. The lettuce seems more hearts than just the leaf of butter or bib lettuce. Either way, that was it, that was good. The sliced chicken, hard boiled egg, haricot vets and raisins were still the same. With it, I had a proper cafe viennoise. That's an espresso served with whipped cream on the side. One adds it to taste. It was a warm day and the waiter was good enough to bring me a carafe of water and a glass filled with ice. He knows an American when he sees one!

I think I killed about 90 minutes to two hours at Cafe Les Deux Magots. I had rushed around on the other Paris trips. I had been to the museums and seen other sights on previous trips. I think at that point I had taken 300-400 pictures in Paris alone. I would get more because they needed culling and editing. That's what train rides are for. So, after a few more souvenirs from CLDM, I was on my way again.

When I got to the hotel, they told me I checked out of the room and left my leather jacket and prescriptions still in there. Oops! The housekeeper was good enough to return them and I breathed a sigh of relief and was also glad I left 5euros for a tip. Service compris indeed! I think it's something that's too ingrained in me. I drove a cab for 18 years, my mother was a waitress for 50. Whaddya gonna do?

After a cab ride to the hotel (I didn't dare take my now bulging bag on the Metro during rush hour), I went online in the lounge for about an hour before getting on the train. Whenever I had wifi in Paris, it was fast, unlike my hotel room in Amsterdam. I had been on the 615AM train the day before and the 720PM train this evening, so I had two full days in Paris. I had a nice visit. In some ways I liked it better than Amsterdam. There were people of all ages everywhere in Paris. More places serving just meat and fried potatoes.

There was an armed soldier presence in Paris that I didn't see in Amsterdam nor did I see in previous Paris trips. The soldiers were grim and patrolled with their fingers on the trigger guard ready to spring into action if necessary. I saw them on Boulevard St. Germain and at the Eiffel Tower. My Counterpart said she saw them in other places too. The soldiers were also in front of the Synagogue des Tournelles.

The train left promptly at 7:20 and sped through the sunset back to Amsterdam. Hard to take photos but I tried anyway. I spent my time editing my photos. The wifi was free, just as it had been on the way, but I chose not to use it because it had been slow. When it got too dark to see anything, I dozed. The steward kept coming around every now and them bringing drinks and snacks.

Arrived back in Amsterdam at about 1035PM and exactly 20 minutes later I was standing in my room at the Rho.

Pretty good for a slow mover.

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TrekknHil
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Postby TrekknHil » Sun Apr 19, 11:10 pm

Love it!
Thanks for sharing, Weldon....you've really taken me back :)

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Bohannon
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Postby Bohannon » Sun Apr 19, 11:37 pm

moe. wrote:
Bohannon wrote:I stayed there on the recommendation of Rick Steves.


He is on PBS here every Saturday night. Last night was the best of The Netherlands.


The Amazing Race goes back to Mokum next week.


I have a photo of a policeman? (dunno, he looked like a soldier in camo fatigues with an automatic rifle of some sort) Right in the shady tree area behind Notre Dame in 2011.

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chigusa
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Postby chigusa » Mon Apr 20, 12:08 pm

nice one, Weldon.

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Postby worldcitizen1723 » Mon Apr 20, 3:30 pm

thanks for taking the time to writ it up! really enjoyed your trip both Paris and Amsterdam)

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Postby Hammer » Mon Apr 20, 5:06 pm

Me as well. Thank you. I'll remember the little bits.

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des
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Postby des » Mon Apr 20, 5:25 pm

Was there no sign of the hordes of 'thieving gypsy bastards' oft reported in the pages of the Daily Mail?

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... ng-UK.html


Peace, Des.

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Postby Dazzler » Mon Apr 20, 6:11 pm

Belting trip reports here, Welders.


I got the ring scam tried on me a couple of times in Paris. It's pretty easy to avoid though.

Istanbul is undoubtedly the worst place in Europe for pickpocketing and scams. Barcelona is bad, but at least you know it's mainly concentrated in one area, around Las Ramblas. In Istanbul they're fucking everywhere.

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Banks
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Postby Banks » Mon Apr 20, 7:17 pm

Again nice work Weldon, and thanks for taking the time... :)

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Rudy
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Postby Rudy » Mon Apr 20, 7:18 pm

Dazzler wrote:

I got the ring scam tried on me a couple of times in Paris. It's pretty easy to avoid though.




Just say

"It is for you, a reward for being so honest. Thank you!"

... then laugh a little too loudly.

Worked for me.

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des
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Postby des » Mon Apr 20, 7:25 pm

Dazzler wrote:Belting trip reports here, Welders.


I got the ring scam tried on me a couple of times in Paris. It's pretty easy to avoid though.

Istanbul is undoubtedly the worst place in Europe for pickpocketing and scams. Barcelona is bad, but at least you know it's mainly concentrated in one area, around Las Ramblas. In Istanbul they're fucking everywhere.


If we ever have to use a cash machine in a busy city centre, my Missus stands at the side of me looking out for anything dodgy occurring around me, and I do the same for her!

A lot of crime could be prevented if people just used a bit of common sense!


Peace, Des.

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Postby 27guldens » Mon Apr 20, 9:33 pm

Three years ago i got my camera stolen from my coat pocket in the subway in Paris without noticing the skilled fuckers...

Enjoying your reports Weldon.


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