7am Friday - We packed a small bag each to take to Germany - catching metros and trains to Orly airport south of Paris.
9.30 - hopped on the plane with a new low cost airline to Paris - Air Berlin
10.30 - stop over in Munich - flying over the city was quite a nice outlook...very neat looking and green
Munich airport had a great shop with cheap jewellery - so brought quite alot - couldn't resist.
1.30 - arrived in Berlin - not fussed on the view of the city from above - or on the ground - but then again - not many cities do (except Cairns! of course)
We met my mate Merren at the airport and found the place to stand to wait for the bus shuttle service to take us to the big train station. Had no idea how to use the ticket machine. JL stood to one side minding the bags and Merren and I decided to join the long queue. Feeling the pressure of people behind us we faced this ticket machine not having any idea where we were going or how to work the machine...even though we had been given directions...nothing was making sense. A frustrated man in the queue started to yell instructions to us...probably just trying to help in that German gruff way that Peter used to do!! So we took his advice and 3 tickets appeared.
We hopped on the bus with JL feeling very unsure that us girls got it right.
I kept saying 'don't panic - its an adventure' ...with luck we arrived 30mins later at the large train station...now ready for the next step - buying tickets and finding the train for the country town of Belzig.
We were given advice to continue ahead and there is a large ticket office on the left...getting there the queue was incredible...JL started to get all panicky again...and Merren and I decided to split up...she'd join the queue at a machine and I'd join the long queue at the ticket office. She succeeded in getting help from a young guy standing behind her - doing a deal if he helped her with working out how to buy tickets first - then he could push in front of her..deal done and success.
We were then off to the platform. On the train and there is no place for suitcases. So ridiculous...we struggle and get a seat and make do for 1hr till we arrive at Belzig. We had no idea when the station would appear and we kept saying ...'next one..it'll be the one' no...again...no...and each time the announcement came over what was coming up ahead..you had no chance in making it out. Definately not a place that is catered to the tourist or english speaker.
Arriving at Belzig - it was a small country town - and as we gathered outside the tiny station with some other people - waiting in front of the only taxi in the village (driverless) - we struck up a conversation with them - and they turned out relatives of the bride from England!
Waiting patiently for the driver ...I decided to take a wander round the front of the station and walked inside the quiet ticket foyer - no one around...I saw a closed door and decided to try and see if there was actually a living person here! Low and behold it was a bar and propping it up was the taxi driver drinking a coffee talking to the lonely barmaid.
After organising him to get back to work he advised us that our hotel was only walking distance down the road. By a nice surprise the hotel was also a brewery! with lovely terrasses to boot. Merren and I spotted their café selling a selection of ice creams so once we dropped the bags off we hightailed it down there making excuses to JL that he should have a little sleep!
Typical girls Merren and I looked at each other clothes for the wedding and the reception for that night and it was decided that my shoes match her dress so well so with some swapping going on we both made up perfect outfits for the day. JL raised his eyes.
Our hotel had ordered a taxi for us to take us to the next little village for the reception
after 15mins out on the lonely street it didnt seem it was coming. So we went back into the hotel and ran into a delivery guy dropping off something and in view of our plight next thing we were whisked into his tarago van off to the reception...and he drove at lightening speed as he was off to a poker game!
The hotel for the reception was really nice. It was going to be a BBQ/buffet at 20 euros a head plus wine. It was nice to catch up with old friends and meet the other family members before the big day.
JL was really getting into the wine and within no time he was happily on his way. Luckily we met up with someone with a car who we could hike a ride back that night and plus he said hed pick us up the next day to take us to the wedding! Great!
Arriving back at the hotel around midnight JL decided itd be a good idea for a nightcap and so with another aussie in toe Tabatha from Sydney Merren and I followed them in and managed to get through another drink then leaving them to it as there was no stopping them Tabatha had a loud laugh and so JL had a captive audience with her so he would not shut up! So Merren and I snuck off. Over an hour later JL and Tabitha sheepishly came back to the rooms.
They sure paid for it the next day. Down at breaky it was decided we go straight back to bed
where we slept till an hour before our pick up time.
Merren quite fancied the driver of the car Bastien is his name single friend of the groom (even if he had a mole on his nose) as I told her thats only minor surgery nothing to worry about. So that proved entertainment for me throughout the wedding seeing Merren play up to him and giving advice! Another funny thing was the dress Merren was wearing was lent to her from a friend and she felt it was pretty shapeless at the breast area so after finding a safety pin she spent the next few hours putting the pin in different positions to make a rouch in the middle of the dress was very entertaining for us.
The weather turned ugly raining dark and cloudy. Arriving at the church we rushed inside as the rain was starting to fall. While waiting for the bride in came 4 girls from London
all wearing bright hats they looked a treat really brightened up the church. Louise finally arrived and the service began in german and English her mum even spoke in german which was impressive she learnt how to do especially for the wedding! I was thinking god if I ever got married (dont hold your breath) Mum would have to learn french! Imagine that!
During a momentous part of the service the sky opened up with thunder so loud you couldnt hear yourself think! Everyone looked at each other
everyone thinking the same thing.
Then like a miracle the rain subsided enough for us all to make it back to our cars and head off back to the hotel where we celebrated the evening before.
In the gardens of the hotel two guys playing guitars strummed while we drank champers and the newly weds arrived and luckily the sun came out bright and Louise and Sebastien managed to get some photos in the massive gardens on the property.
The dinner was held within 3 rooms so was not the usual wedding set up. The kids had their own table and when we arrived they had set up a lolly table for the kids which was really cute and of course all the adults were hanging around it
The dinner was served as the night before buffet style plenty to select from all very nice. JL was very good and decided not to drink
his accomplice Tabathia didnt follow suit!
We had some laughs made arrangements to catch up with some friends who now live in Luxemborg so that will be something to look forward to. Music charged up and we had some dances. One of the songs came on especially for the Australians I come from the land down under
and that was a big hit.
Around 2am we all decided enough is enough and our chauffeur had decided hed had far too much to drink and maybe JL could take the wheel. Off we went and just pulling into the drive of our hotel the police were waiting for us
.I immediately thought of the Gestapo
we drove into a car space and the police pulled up beside us
JL hasnt got his licence on him
but does have his passport. At this point Bastien said hed not own up that he was German as the Gestapo would interrogate him! God scary.
JL showed his french passport and we showed we all couldnt speak anything but English so after blowing in the bag and coming up clear the copper was happy with that and let us go
Was an exciting end to the weekend!
Got home finally the next day worn out
we had a delay in Munich for an hour and that annoyed the french man to no end
I am sure I snored all night when my head hit the pillow in Paris that night.
First of all to those I have not had contact with for some time
sorry about that
Ive told you before
and I meant it
lifes hectic here!
I thought Id send you a once off blog even thou I have finished doing them these days but its the only way to reach all of you at the one time.
EZYJET advertised a super cheap ticket to visit Barcelona and I think I must have been the first person to take up their offer!
So it was time to pack all those gypsy hoop earrings black shawls with embroided red roses flashy gold and silver clothes and any possible fake brand named bags or accessories I can lay my hands on.
Flight took off without too many delays and it was great to get away from Paris after suffering for a couple of weeks with the transport strikes.
Hotel we stayed in was a Spanish chain called the NH Hotels (appropriate for me dont you think?) The location wasnt bad but I know exactly where to stay next time. (always the way isnt it).
I only marked a few things in the guide book to visit and was blown away with what I saw. I just was amazed at Gaudis architecture and found myself wanting to learn more and more even brought a book on it!!! Howd ya be! And read it already!! You will see by the photos why. His works seemed like entering into an adult whimsical wonderland and you could feel peoples spirits lift
really you could! When we arrived at Parc Guell everyone was smiling and laughing and you just felt happy to be there (except The Inspector but then again hes French and always looking for something negative!) - my photos follow don't show the full effects of this park. So go here to see more...
the famous church
the other Gaudi works
We walked and walked for miles everyday and saw so many wonderful things
ate tapas and the best Paella ever!
I hope you all (if havent already) have an opportunity to go there in your lifetime. And when and if you do
I promise to give you all my secret addresses!
Hope you loved all the blogs and photos of my Parisian life with the Inspector...wasn't it fun!
Was also great to catch up with you all on my recent visit to oz.
The blogging days are now over ...thanks for all your comments you made.
Look after yourselves and hope to see you in Paris one day!
Narelle and The Inspector
Why is it when you go away for a few days you have a good think about all the things your going to change...with me it ranges from losing weight to rearranging all the cupboards at home to talking more intelligently to remember to be more loving to The Inspector to dressing more like a real Parisian (not like a tired old hobo)...etc etc etc...by the time I get back I am exhausted and fall into a big sleep and wake up and end up eating half a baguette with french cheese while watching an American movie on the sofa.
Somethings not right.
Time to make some proper changes, as I am soon to be back in Australia to see family and friends and if I keep up this game, no ones going to recognise me!
Just celebrated another birthday...so that another reason for rethinking how to move onto the next year more positively. The Inspector took me away to Cancale, in Brittany - well known for its oysters...the little rustic place where we go to eat them is run by the grandmother..the daughter and the daughters daughter. I am pretty sure the grandfather, the daughters husband and either the son or the daughters boyfriend are out gathering up the oysters while we are eating them on shore.
I had enough to last me another year. That night The Inspector took me to an amazing restaurant and once again ate a meal like no other, but unfortunately I ended up so so full I had an uneventful night in the salle de bain (toilet) with trouble from both ends of the spectrum (if you get what I mean.
BUT - all thats behind me now (so to speak) - all gone down the gurgler - theres lots of exciting things ahead and I am so excited to catch up with familiar faces and accents that I have missed so much...oh yes ...and some good aussie tucker!