Thursday, November 18, 2021

Back to Paris and Amsterdam, i think . . .

I haven't traveled as much as some folks I know - a couple who owns a villa in Italy as their second home, for instance.  Followed by some good friends who own an elite travel agency, along with others.

Although I haven't traveled as much as I might have liked, I have traveled to most of the places I have wanted to.  Ireland and Italy are still on my list.  But funny enough, whenever we start talking about our next trip, we end up right back in Paris via Amsterdam.  

Over the years, I've traveled with large groups of 20 and smaller groups of 10, 5 or 4.

And I've traveled with an even smaller "group" of 2.

There are memories attached to each and every trip I've ever taken.  Some are memories that will make me smile for a lifetime - some . . .  not so great.

And, of course, there are those travel stories that might have been not such great experiences while happening, but make for great stories once you're back home.

Memories - just a few . . . 

Having the waiter in a Paris restaurant telling your group the bill had already been paid by "the men."  What men?  Who?  Why?  But, thanks very much . . . 

Actually finally (after many tries) getting up on a surfboard and riding a wave all the way in while in Hawaii.  My mom on the beach applauding my arrival.  My dad watching but forgetting to take a picture.  That's a fun memory, but I was kinda mad at my dad at the time . . . 

Being asked to leave a ski lesson in Snowmass, CO because my buddy and I were "disruptive," comes to mind.  (Nope - we never did learn how to ski, but we laughed a LOT, explored a lot and found John Denver's home.  You make your own fun, right?).

Waking up in a tiny hotel where no one spoke English in a tiny town on a small island in Greece the day of departure, looking around the room only to realize my travel companion was nowhere to be seen was  -   -   -  disconcerting.  Travel companion showed up onboard our flight seconds before take-off.

There's also traveling solo.

Some people don't even consider doing this, but I like it quite a lot.

Some of my solo trips, however, have been run-away trips.  I spent a week in Ocean City, MD one cold November without Practice Husband No. 1.  He had no idea where I was, which is exactly how it needed to be.  My mom and dad knew how to reach me, and they were, at that time, the only people who mattered.

Traveling with Practice Husband No. 2 always ended up with bickering and arguing and ended only because I moved out.  After a few run-away solo trips.

I spent the next ten years traveling when I wanted and with whom I wanted and, for the most part, the trips were fun and memorable.  

But then I met the person who is the MOST fun to travel with.  

Bet you can't guess.

Okay - it is Don Barley.


And we have sorely missed traveling these past couple of years.

We did take a beach trip a few months ago and all it did was whet our appetite to do more.


This past week we've been making some plans and hoping everything pans out.

I have missed Paris.

Photographer Unknown

This is not a surprise to anyone who knows me - right?

For those of you who miss traveling, you understand.

The urge is strong.

Coronavirus has kept us all home for a very long time, and could continue keeping us home for even longer. Some of Europe is going through another resurgence right now and new rules are emerging - Traveling to France during Covid-19: What you need to know before you go | CNN Travel

Personally, as long as there's a danger, I'm okay with lockdowns.  I'm okay with them, and I agree with them.

The people refusing to do the right thing like get a vaccination, refusing to wear masks, endangering others - they're the real problem.  And they should be ashamed.

And, of course, they're the ones screaming the loudest.


Donald and I are planning a trip next year.

To Amsterdam and to Paris.

We're also being as prepared as we can possibly be for the chances of the trip being cancelled or postposed.

Our flights are refundable (which makes for probably not the best flights, or the least expensive flights, but that's okay).

We've purchased travel insurance.

We've booked places that guarantee refunds for cancellations, and we're not paying lodging fees in full at booking.  Airbnd and hotels are all well aware of the dangers of another virus resurgence and most are being steadfast in working with their customer base.

Believe me - I know some things can go wrong. There's always the chance of losing some money in cases like these, but we've done what we can to assure that those losses, should they happen, will be minimal.

We love Amsterdam.  In the past we've enjoyed stopping there for a few days before scooting along via train to Paris, but we've never stayed long enough to do some of these things we want.

We have not visited the large street markets, flea markets, or the floating flower market, so those are on the itinerary this trip.

Flight schedules have changed since we last took this Amsterdam/Paris trip.  American Airlines is cutting a lot of flights - many of which include North Carolina.

The flight we've always taken will no longer be available when we go, so we're flying to Amsterdam with a short lay-over in Atlanta. (Flight Booked - "check" - Refundable and WITH travel insurance. If we've learned anything over the past couple of years it's to not take anything for granted. Right? Travel insurance just feels like a necessary, although fairly small, expense that we would be silly to overlook).

The apartment we stayed in the last time we were there is not available. 

After much searching, we found one about 10 minutes away, still in the Jordaan District.

It's located in one of the old canal houses, and it looks adorable.

The neighborhood is delightful with several good restaurants, bars, and coffee shops.  There's plenty to do, including some shopping or whiling away a good part of the day on a terrace watching the world go by.

We love riding the train from Amsterdam to Paris. Comfy and hassle free. (Note: Make train reservations!)

After much debate about where to stay and whether to book another apartment or a hotel we decided to go back to the Ile Saint Louis which is my favorite area. We got to know many of the shopkeepers and waiters when we stayed there a few years ago and since this trip, for me, is going to be more about relaxing than anything else, it just felt right to choose a place that feels familiar. Ile Saint Louis is a small village in the heart of Paris, and convenient for walking, convenient to the Metro, buses and to the Batobus (water bus), which is my favorite.

Map by Nik Neves

We pretty much just flipped a coin to decide between an apartment or a hotel.

Hotel won. (Reservations made - Check).

We'll be staying at the Hôtel Saint-Louis en l´Isle. Yay for Promotional Coupons! And for their free cancellation policy.  (And a sweet little balcony room overlooking the Seine 💗 ).

Because we've visited the places in Paris that we wanted to, and the places all good tourists should visit, many (but not all) of those will be passed on this time.  While I don't feel the urge to wander the Louvre again, I do want to spend a little time in the courtyard around the pyramid while drinking a cup or two of Marly's hot chocolate, maybe at sunset 

Photographer Unknown

 and spending some time sitting in a green chair in Tuileries Garden. 

This trip will be more a "sit in a garden or on a terrace and soak up the ambience of Paris" kinda trip.

That means, of course, Luxembourg Gardens (more sitting in iconic green chairs 😊.  I love those green chairs!).

searching out carousels we've missed,

and re-visiting carousels we love.

I want to spend a day exploring the bouquinistes.  

and having coffee or drinks at Paris cafes, including, of course, Cafe St. Regis

In the meantime, until we actually get there, the fun is in the planning.

And in the dreaming.


Gram said...

Thank you for my morning mini trip. Dee

Lesa said...

I'm so glad you and Don are making plans to go back, Kaye. I hope 2022 treats everyone with kindness, and we can go back to a little bit of life before COVID. I know it will never be quite the same.

Kaye Wilkinson Barley - Meanderings and Muses said...

You are very welcome, Gram!

Kaye Wilkinson Barley - Meanderings and Muses said...

You know your invitation to come with us is sincere, Lesa, and if your plans change I hope you'll join us. I agree, travel (and life) won't ever be exactly as it once was.