Day #140 in lockdown Mumbai, India hotel…More photos from Paris in 2014…The continuation of the river cruise…

Our second Eiffel Tower nighttime light show after our dinner cruise on the River Seine.

Note: To all of our readers visiting our site via a smartphone, please click the “View web version” tab under the word, “Home” at the bottom of the page to access the web version enabling you to access all of our archives on the right side of the page. We’ll be updating our site shortly, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you. 

Today’s photos are from the post from August 10, 2014, while in Paris, France. See the link here for more photos.
The Assemblee Nationale, the French National Assembly. The interior of many of these buildings is worth seeing by clicking on the links included here.

Today was a late start in working on the post. After not getting out of bed until 8:30 am and out the door for my first walk until almost 9:00 am, not returning until 20 minutes later, our breakfast had arrived.


After breakfast, I’d promised myself I’d get hold of FedEx to find out the status of the overnight letter containing our replacement credit card after it was discovered to be used fraudulently. 

The Palais de Justice, the French Palace of Justice.

Also, I wanted to check on our package of supplies which hasn’t been moving at FedEx for days, stuck in customs. I started calling several phone FedEx numbers I found online, but couldn’t get through on any of them using Skype.


Apparently, I was unable to use Skype to call India, while in India, even using my VPN. Frustrated, I tried using the expensive room phone, but there again I was on hold for so long, I finally gave up.

The scenery along the river was enhanced by the reflection of lights.

Then, I used my cell phone to call which also is pricey, but after 20 minutes on hold, I gave up figuring the best method was to email an inquiry when after entering the tracking number, a message popped up that said:


“A specialized statement is required for clearance from the recipient. Call FedEx.”

Tom’s photos of me are always blurry to some extent. That explains why I take most of the photos.

Frustration was setting in and finally, I sent an email after finding a good email address for customer service in India. I sent a clear and concise email outlining exactly what had transpired, requesting they email me the specified form so I can complete the delivery requirement.


In that same email, I also inquired about our package that has been sitting in customs for the past week and what they needed from us at this point. No reference had been made as to the customs fees which we normally could pay online, most likely since they’d yet to inspect the contents. Who knows how long it will be until that process is completed?

We were nearing the end of the cruise when I took this outdoor photo of Tom.

Most likely, these delays are a result of COVID-19. When I called a few of the online FedEx India phone numbers, people answered with TV sounds in the background, causing me to assume some of their employees were working from home. Calling became totally pointless with no response.


We’ll see how it rolls out. I can only hope they’ll reply to the email. Last month I sent an email asking if they were servicing this postal code in India and received a positive response a few days later. Hopefully, they’ll be as timely in their response to today’s inquiry.

The moon peeking out of a cloudy sky, the green lights, the reflections on the water…nice.

Now, well after 12:30 pm, I’m still working on today’s post, hoping to upload it in the next hour in order to return to my usual daily routine. Yesterday, we signed up for CBS All Access (first month free) to stream the newest Big Brother All Stars series, which is definitely mindless drivel, but nonetheless, entertaining and also, the latest Survivor series, again an entertaining distraction.


On another note, our friends, Lea Ann and Chuck, a lovely couple whom we met on a cruise in April 2017, from Sydney to Seattle who began traveling the world, at times, asking us for suggestions and sources we’ve used, wrote that they are ending their world travels in light of COVID-19.

We loved this shot of the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty.

They’ve purchased a home in Florida and will stay put, traveling from time to time as the world situation allows. One might think this might have inspired us to do the same. But, until we get out there again, flying, booking holiday homes, and living in other countries, we have no idea what the future holds in regards to continuing to travel. 

This was my veal filet. I don’t usually eat veal. However in Paris, one must try new things. I was served a delicious plate of less common sautéed vegetables.

Certainly, the option of living in three or four different countries (depending on visas) may continue to be an option for us in the future. Being unable to cruise may certainly have an impact on our options going forward. 

My lovely dessert, two creamy French cheeses.

In some ways, it might make our travels easier when we’re not manipulating our schedule to comply with cruise embarkation and debarkation locations. 

Tom’s dessert #1, a strawberry mousse. The pink appearance is due to the red LED lights in the boat after dark.

We can only guess at this point. And, right now, our priority is when and how we’ll be able to leave India when borders open here and in another country that we’re allowed to visit in the future.

Tom’s dessert #2, a layered chocolate torte embellished with a strand of delicious French chocolate.

Have a fulfilling and safe day!

________________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, August 10, 2019:

We’d wished we could have posted the identity of all of these amazing highlights in Amsterdam. But, it wasn’t possible as the boat moved along quickly. It rained off and on but we were grateful for what we were able to see. For more photos, please click here.

Day #139 in lockdown Mumbai, India hotel…More photos from Paris in 2014…Gourmet dinner cruise on the River Seine…

Tom was carrying his dress shoes in a bag when the dress code on the dinner cruise stipulated no sports shoes were allowed. However, on a rainy night, they made exceptions when most of the passengers were wearing sport shoes.

Note: To all of our readers visiting our site via a smartphone, please click the “View web version” tab under the word, “Home” at the bottom of the page to access the web version enabling you to access all of our archives on the right side of the page. We’ll be updating our site shortly, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you. 

Today’s photos are from the post from August 9, 2014, while in Paris, France. See the link here for more photos.
As we walked down a few flights of stairs to the boardwalk along the River Seine, searching for the dinner cruise boat we’d booked, the Bataueux Parisiennes.

Today, we’re sharing photos from Part 1 of our exquisite dinner cruise on the River Seine six years ago. Tomorrow, we’ll share photos from Part 2 of the dinner cruise with more photos. 

As soon as we were seated, we were served these little French pastries and champagne. I didn’t try the buns but took a few sips of the delicious champagne. Tom ate all four of these pastries plus three of the white buns. 
Our story for the first of the two posts may be found here and thus, I won’t reiterate what transpired on that delightful, although rainy night in Paris. Due to the rain, the majority of our photos were taken through the tinted glass of the windows on the boat let alone at dusk and finally in the dark. We did our best.
Dark clouds were looming over the city for days as it rained heavily off and on. 

Instead, I can’t help but focus on the “year ago photo” at the bottom of today’s post, taken on our first of two days and nights we spent in Amsterdam, The Netherlands while we awaited a much-anticipated cruise Baltic cruise, we’d longed to experience for years.

Most of the photos shown here today and tomorrow were taken through the blue glass dining enclosure on the boat. 

Once we arrived in Amsterdam, flying from Dublin after a three-month stay, we found ourselves in a lovely boutique hotel overlooking a canal, we were in awe and overtaken by the beauty and uniqueness of this special city. 

We passed under one of many ornamental bridges.

Chomping at the bit to get outside and walk the narrow sidewalks and streets, a wave of disappointment washed over me as I faced the reality of my situation. It had been almost six months since my open heart surgery and I could barely walk more than a few meters without feeling a need to stop and rest.

This foie gras appetizer was amazing. I savored every morsel along with the single perfectly cooked cold asparagus spear, lying atop a line of what tasted to be an anchovy paste.

Having been on many heart-related drugs with serious side effects, including the FDA’s designated  “black box” drug Amiodarone and two others, my legs just didn’t work well enough for me to embark on long walks. 

Tom’s appetizer of grilled prawns and vegetables. He doesn’t normally care for shrimp. After sharing a few prawns with me, he said, “There was nothing offensive about this.” Nice.

By the time, we reached Amsterdam, I had weaned off all of the drugs, but was left with weakness and leg pain exacerbated by walking which I still suffer from today, along with cardiovascular disease which also contributes to leg pain when standing or walking for long periods.

Some of the spires of Notre Dame.

Subsequently, my memories of Amsterdam, center around the struggle to walk when there was no other way to get around the city than on foot or by boat. Not one to complain, I forged ahead while Tom patiently waited every five minutes or less for me to rest long enough to continue on.

As the boat continued on the River Seine. The 2½ hour cruise eventually turned around to go back the way we’d come enabling us to see the other side.

In any case, we saw a lot in those two days, probably not a lot less than we would have under better circumstances. While walking during those few days, my mind was filled with concern over how I’d walk when we were scheduled for several walking tours at various ports of call during the upcoming cruise.

At this point, we were nearing the turnaround spot.

We’d signed up for a few small group tours before the heart surgery and we were committed to our share of the costs. All we could do is forge ahead to the best of my ability. I refused to cancel it all.

There were many dinner cruise boats on the River Seine for considerably lower prices, as low as US $51, EU $39 per person which were less luxurious with standard fare. We’d researched extensively to decide on the Bateaux Parisiennes which was highly rated on various websites.

As it turned out, we only had to cancel one of the two-day tours in St. Petersburg. There was no way I could keep up with the group on a second all-day walking tour. This was very disappointing, not only in losing the money, which was non-refundable but also missing the second day. 

There were many day tour boats along the river.

I felt bad for Tom when he had so much anticipated this particular cruise, but he never complained or seemed frustrated with me. Instead, he held me up during the long walks on each tour, as I hung onto his arm. 

The sight of all the well lit boats on the river at night was captivating.

Somehow, we made it through the remaining ports of call on that cruise resulting in many wonderful experiences and photos along the way. It’s hard to believe it was only one year ago. I still struggle to walk without pain, but my current 5 miles, 8 km, daily walks have definitely been instrumental in improving my ability to walk for longer distances.

Tom was certainly enjoying the included two bottles of wine plus two glasses of champagne served when we were seated.  He prefers the white over the red.

No matter where we end up after we leave India, I will continue to walk, if safe outdoors and if not, indoors. If I walk every hour for 12 minutes each, by the end of any day, I could manage to get in the necessary steps to maintain this current goal.

__________________________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, August 9, 2019:

Arriving in Amsterdam for a two-night stay before our upcoming cruise, we looked forward to a boat ride on the canals. For more, please click here.

Day #138 in lockdown Mumbai, India hotel…More photos from Paris in 2014…Part 2 of the Palace of Versailles!!…

The famous Hall of Mirrors. This project was carried out by architect Jules Hardouin-Mansart and painter Charles Le Brun between 1678 and 1686.

Note: To all of our readers visiting our site via a smartphone, please click the “View web version” tab under the word, “Home” at the bottom of the page to access the web version enabling you to access all of our archives on the right side of the page. We’ll be updating our site shortly, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you. 

Today’s photos are from the post from August 8, 2014, while in Paris, France. See the link here for more photos.
Stunning artwork is found on almost every wall in the palace.

News is distressing: the explosion in Beirut; the Air India plane crash in Kerala, India; the ongoing increase in cases of COVID-19 throughout the world, all resulting in horrific loss of life, livelihood, and a sense of well-being can easily spin any of us into a flurry of worry and concern.

This is a statue of Marie Antoinette who lived in the famous palace with her children.

This morning, dear friend Kathy (and Don), currently at their home in Oahu, Hawaii texted that the island is going back into extreme lockdown after an increase in cases when only weeks ago their numbers had been dwindling almost down to zero.

In the 40 years it took to build Versailles, thousands of workers were employed to participate in the process. Louis XIV not only lived in the palace but was instrumental in its massive renovation. 

Their previous relaxed lockdown has ended that allowed outdoor exercise and activities along with some restaurant dining has now resulted in a rapid increase in cases. As of today, they are in a full lockdown until the end of the month.

This portrait of Louis XIV.

This has been the case all over the world as more and more reduced lockdown measures have precipitated increases in cases and subsequent loss of life. There’s no easy answer. It all boils down to personal responsibility and caring for our fellow humans.

It was challenging to aim the camera toward the ceilings when there wasn’t enough elbow room for properly aiming the camera.

In our old lives, before COVID-19, if we developed a serious cold or virus, we wouldn’t go to work, to public places or spend time with friends and family. That is to say, most of us wouldn’t, preferring not to infect others. 

We believe this portrait is Louis XIV when he was young.
Why would this virus cause any less concern when it fact, based on its easy transfer from one person to another, you’d think one would tend to exercise even more caution. So, we’d think. 
Louis XIV had this statue made of himself dressed as a Roman Emperor to enhance his image.  He was of a short stature and wore tall wigs in order to enhance the appearance of his height.  Others in his court were forbidden to wear a wig as tall as his.

Well, you’ve heard enough about this today and much more over the past many months, from us, from the news and from friends, family and neighbors. We are all in the same spot, unable to predict what the future holds and how we can best protect ourselves and our loved ones, especially amid varying opinions from medical professionals.

King’s chamber and bed in the King’s apartment.

On another matter…our photos today are those taken from our post on this date, August 8, 2014 at this link. With more photos than we can post, we’ve selected a handful of our favorites from the interior of the Palace of Versailles in Paris, France. If you’d like to peruse the balance, please click the above link.

There were many photo taking tourists in the Hall of Mirrors.

As for today, not much is different than yesterday and the prior days. We’re healthy, safe and relatively content considering these ongoing unusual circumstances.

The Queen’s bed.

Stay safe, stay healthy and stay diligent.

_______________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, August 8, 2019:

Our final photo from Ireland posted on our last day. Goodbye, Ireland. Thanks for welcoming us and for being so beautiful! For more, please click here.

Day #137 in lockdown Mumbai, India hotel…More photos from Paris in 2014…Part 1 of the Palace of Versailles!!…

This is my favorite spot in the gardens of Versailles. We stood in the pouring rain without an umbrella for 90 minutes during the garden tour, keeping our camera in a plastic bag to stay dry. By the time we entered the interior of the palace, our clothes were soaked through. It was worth every moment.

Note: To all of our readers visiting our site via a smartphone, please click the “View web version” tab under the word, “Home” at the bottom of the page to access the web version enabling you to access all of our archives on the right side of the page. We’ll be updating our site shortly, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you. 

Today’s photos are from the post from August 7, 2014, while in Paris, France. See the link here for more photos from Part 1, Versailles. Tomorrow, we’ll share photos from Part 2.
Statue of Louis XIV at the entrance to the Palace of Versailles.

It’s hard to believe it was six years ago that we spent an entire day at the Palace of Versailles exploring as much of the stunning setting and property as we could in the pouring rain.

In the pouring rain, we walked all the way forward toward the palace only to discover we had to go to a side street to meet up with the tour group, another 10-minute walk. Also, the walk from the train station to the entrance was another 10-minute walk in the pouring rain.


We boarded the train across the road from our boutique hotel on a sunny morning with little concern with the weather. The reports looked good for a mostly sunny day.

The ornate gold embellished gates to the entrance to Versailles.


No sooner than we began the walk from the train station to the palace, it began raining. In no time at all, it was pouring and continued to rain for the remainder of the day, including the walk back to the train station and our hotel later in the day. 

Louis XIV had installed numerous fountains throughout the gardens when water was not readily available to turn them on. An intricate system was installed at the time to facilitate the running of the fountains at a huge sum of money. Then again, all of Versailles depicts vanity spending in excesses beyond one’s belief. 

We hadn’t brought along umbrellas, although we were wearing lightweight rain jackets with skimpy hoods which proved to be useless when they soaked through to our clothes.

The gardens went on and on for miles. On a nice day, it would have been marvelous to walk further into the garden on our own.

We’d booked a small group tour through Viator, which would ensure we’d avoid long lines to enter the palace. No doubt, this was achieved when we didn’t have to wait in long queues. 

The flowers were the most exciting part of the garden for me as well as the sculpted gardens shown here.

However, with thousands of visitors at the palace, even on the rainy day, once we entered the exquisite property, it was shoulder-to-shoulder tourists slowing the pace to a near crawl.

The flower gardens were interspersed with neatly trimmed evergreens.


We toured the gardens first, per our tour guide’s instructions for our small group, but literally sloshed in our clothes and shoes for the several hours it took to see everything indoors and eventually get back to our hotel.

Astounding view! The crane in the photo is in an area where the palace is under renovation.

We put aside the discomfort of our heavy wet clothing with water dripping down our faces from our wet hair and relished every single moment.

The colors in the garden were a treat to behold.


In essence, in looking back now, the rain added an element that, now as we look back, made the experience all the more memorable. A sunny day surely would have been more beneficial for the garden photos. 

Various pools adorned areas of the gardens.

We did the best we could under the circumstances, thrilled for the experience which ultimately proved to be one of our three favorite touring events while in Paris in this order: Palace of Versailles; gourmet cruise on the River Seine; and tour of Le Louvre, the most famous museum in the world. 

It took 45,000 workers many years to develop these gardens.

Photos of our other favorites, as mentioned above, will appear in future posts in the next several days. No doubt, Paris was an exceptional experience. Often, our readers assume we’re only enthralled with wildlife and nature. But, over the past almost eight years, we’ve often been in awe of many places we’ve visited without a single animal in sight. 

There were more areas to experience than the rain allowed us.  One could easily spend hours in the gardens weather providing.

Now, on day #137 in lockdown in this hotel in Mumbai, we’d enjoy seeing a tree, a market, or a flower, when in isolation we’re only seeing these four walls and the walls in the corridors.

The tour guide explained that all of these plants in pots are brought inside the palace into one of the largest greenhouses in the world, during the winter months.

A special thank you to many of our readers who sent us photos and stories of their own visits to Paris. We love hearing about your experiences. If we haven’t responded to you yet, please bear with us. We will soon as we work our way through the countless numbers of email messages.

Can you imagine the kings and queens walking this path while chatting?

Today, it’s raining again. The ceiling at the end of one of the corridors is falling down due to constant rain during the monsoon season. They keep repairing it to no avail. Surely, they’ll have to wait until the lockdown ends and construction workers can come to the property to make the necessary repairs. This doesn’t impact us one way or another.

Our tour guide explained that the design of this statue was poorly designed when the marble and bronze didn’t age well resulting in constant maintenance.

It’s time to get back out in the corridor for my next walk when most days I’m sticking to my 5-mile, 8-kilometer goal.


Have a pleasant day!

_______________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, August 7, 2019:

In Connemara, Ireland, as we wound down our 89-day stay we spotted this pretty cow and her horns. For more final photos and tally of total expenses, please click here.

Day #136 in lockdown Mumbai, India hotel…More photos from Paris in 2014…Dining and a museum in Paris…Credit card chaos…

Tom, ready to dine at Les Ombres in Paris. We dined early, at 7:00 pm, when most French diners and tourists prefer dining after 9:00 pm.

Note: To all of our readers visiting our site via a smartphone, please click the “View web version” tab under the word, “Home” at the bottom of the page to access the web version enabling you to access all of our archives on the right side of the page. We’ll be updating our site shortly, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you. 

Today’s photos are from the post from August 6, 2014, while in Paris, France. See the link here for more photos.


Once we realized we’d be in lockdown for a considerable amount of time, we knew we had no option than to post past photos from our prior almost 3000 posts which began on March 15, 2012.


At first, we jumped around searching for favorite photos but, as time marched on, we came up with a system we’ve generally followed, by posting photos from the same date as the day’s post from another year in our eight-year history. For example, today’s photos are from August 6, 2014, and so forth.
These warm cheese-filled buns arrived before dinner. Tom said they were good.

On a few occasions, we’ve varied from this plan when the photos we posted from a particular post didn’t appear interesting, our WiFi signal at the time prevented uploading photos, or it was a travel day when we didn’t post any photos at all.

Butter arrived at the table imprinted with “Marie Antoinette.”

Now, as we work our way through the posts from the few weeks spent in Paris in 2014, we have more photos than we can possibly copy. We’ve chosen those we hope to be interesting to our readers and have left the remainder behind. 

The menu at the French restaurant, Les Ombres, situated near the museum. Tom chose the fixed price option at EU $68, US $91.

At the top portion of each post, in smaller font, we provide a link from which the day’s photos have been copied to today’s post. Please click on that link, if you find you may be interested in seeing more photos, such as in today’s older link which had many more photos than we could add here today.

Tom’s lobster, prawn, and octopus risotto was delicious but such a tiny portion, as to be expected in French restaurants.

Using Blogger as we do here, spacing issues ensue when too many photos are posted in a single day. Hopefully, with our new upcoming site, we won’t experience such an issue. We’ll see how that rolls out in the next month or so.

We both had the same main dish (entrée in French translates to “appetizer”), grilled salmon topped with shredded cabbage and a slice of cauliflower. These four bits of broccoli were no larger than the end of a thumb. This consisted of my entire meal, not quite enough after a busy day of walking for hours. When we returned to our hotel room, we ate plenty of nuts after the small portions.

Our new site has been delayed due to the time it takes for the developer to move over those almost 3000 historical posts, one-by-one, a laborious and time-consuming process. We’ve put no pressure on the company to do so more quickly. After all, we’re fine in the interim.

Tom dessert. At the top, is a rolled filled chocolate cake with a Grenache frosting garnished with chocolate candy sticks. Below is a dollop of chocolate ice cream atop of a spoonful of a chocolate sauce containing chunks of chocolate. Each item consisted of no more than two bites. They appear larger in the photo.

On another note, yesterday morning, I received a notice from one of our credit card companies to contact us immediately with an issue. I couldn’t imagine what it was until I looked up the account online to see there was a charge for INR 12.72, US $.17, a definite red flag. The charge was for equine vitamins. We don’t have a horse in our hotel room in Mumbai!

Our dinner bill at EU $116 was slightly under US $155, based on today’s exchange rate. A 20% gratuity was included.

I knew from past experiences that this charge of US $.17 was a “test” for a fraudulent party trying to use our card to a larger amount. They charged the small amount to see if it would go through. Once it did, they’d charge whatever they chose for a more substantial sum.

We simply have too many photos for one post about our experiences of the past 24 hours; a visit to Musee de Quai Branly. For more of our museum photos, please click here.

At the credit card company’s fraud detection department, our card was immediately shut down resulting in the necessity of us contacting them. I reached the company hours later due to the time difference and informed us to toss the card and they’d send us a new card via FedEx overnight to our hotel here in India.

Wood carving of mother and child.

Thankfully, we have plenty of credit cards as a backup, required for world travelers such as ourselves when at times, we must charge large sums and feel safer with plenty of credit lines available at any one time. Primarily, we use the cards that provide the highest loyalty points, saving the other for emergency situations.

These costumes were made centuries ago in preparation for Mardi Gras in Mexico.

The new card may not arrive for a week or more in light of COVID-19 slower shipping times from the US to India. We’re still waiting for customs to process the package we sent from Nevada to us here at the hotel. It could be several more weeks.

Many of the masks on display in the museum were intended to ward off evil spirits.

That’s all folks! Happy day!

_______________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, August 6, 2019:

Tom standing at the doorway to a house at the Connemara Heritage and History Centre and the Dan O’Hara Homestead. For more photos, please click here.

Day #135 in lockdown Mumbai, India hotel…More photos from Paris in 2014…Yes, I’m scared…

We spotted several merry-go-rounds while walking in Paris.

Note: To all of our readers visiting our site via a smartphone, please click the “View web version” tab under the word, “Home” at the bottom of the page to access the web version enabling you to access all of our archives on the right side of the page. We’ll be updating our site shortly, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you. 

Today’s photos are from the post from August 5, 2014, while in Paris, France. See the link here for more photos.
To the right in this photo is the City of Architecture and Heritage. On the left is the Palais de Chaillot.

Several readers have written inquiring why we haven’t taken advantage of a few available international flights that are flying out of Mumbai later this month. As it turns out, many of these flights are for repatriation purposes only and others are flying to a few major cities in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia none of which we are interested in visiting at this time.

Beautiful sculptures at the City of Architecture and Heritage.
These flights are to locations that continue to see rising numbers of cases of COVID-19 which we’re striving to avoid. If we have to wait it out here to ensure we can travel to desired locations with reduced amounts of virus and have acquired experience in handling outgoing and incoming international travelers.
Another photo of the museum at the City of Architecture and Heritage.
India is working diligently to ensure safe outgoing and incoming international travel. But in a few months, their systems will undoubtedly be revised to further enhance the quality of the protection. We’d rather safely wait it out in the cocoon of this hotel than risk the virus in inexperienced environments.
This building reminded me of an area in Minneapolis, Minnesota called “The Wedge.”
As all of us have seen since the onset of the virus, medical professionals and organizations have revised their recommendations for safety as more and more scenarios are studied. At this point, much of the information is still up in the air.
We stumbled upon the famous Peninsula Hotel where the basic room is US $1500 per night, EI $1117.
But, so far, it appears wearing face masks, social distancing, and washing hands appear to be the universal consensus. But, what about using a restroom in an airport, let alone on an airplane on an extended or overnight flight? What safety measures will be exercised at security check-in, immigration, and while waiting in line to board the plane? What safety measures will be enhanced as time marches on? 
Our walk down the road as we approached the Arc de Triomphe.
How safe will it be to ride in a taxi to and from the airport? How safe is the counter at the car rental facility, let alone the rental car itself and the driver who drove the car to us? 

Bottom line? What will be the consequences of spending an extra few months in this hotel lockdown compared to the rest of our lives, possibly extended by staying safe especially since I am at high risk?
The Arc de Triomphe was a busy location filled with cars and tourists.
Here is information on those with high risk for COVID-19 from this site:
*People above 60 years of age with any of the following conditions: 
Chronic heart disease; hypertension, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, people
undergoing dialysis, chronic liver disease 
 Chronic respiratory diseases, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary
disease (COPD), emphysema, bronchitis, cystic fibrosis or severe asthma 
 Chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neuron
disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), a learning disability or cerebral palsy 
 Problems with spleen, such as sickle cell disease, or splenectomy
 Weakened immune system as the result of conditions such as HIV and AIDS, or
medicines such as steroid tablets or chemotherapy 
 People with organ transplant and remain on ongoing immunosuppression
medication 
 People with cancer undergoing active chemotherapy or radiotherapy, cancers of
the blood or bone marrow such as leukemia who are at any stage of treatment
Midway through our walk, we stopped for beverages. Tom had a non-specialty beer and I had bottled water. Total cost EU $14, US $18.80
I have indicated in red the comorbidities that apply to me at this point, most of which are at the top of the list. Of course, we must be cautious, as would be the case with anyone over 60 years old even without these conditions.
From our vantage point, we were unable to see the name of this church but we were fascinated with its architecture. 
So what if we are stuck in a hotel room as long as we’re healthy? It’s certainly a lot easier than being in a hospital ICU on a respirator. I remember what that felt like only 18 months ago in ICU, unable to speak and feeling as if I was choking to death. No, thank you. 
The Flame of Liberty we passed on our walk. Behind it is the tunnel in which Princess Diana was killed on August 30, 1997. We drove through this tunnel in a taxi on our way to Le Louvre.
Perhaps, that awful experience alone inspires me to be all the more cautious. Perhaps, when my heart rate was 260 BPM and I had to be anesthetized to have my heart electrically restarted (cardioversion) to become more stable. Perhaps, when I was trapped in the recovery room, alone for hours after surgery on my infected legs, when the power went out in the hospital and the elevator wouldn’t work to take me back to my room. It’s no wonder that I might be a little scared. 
Many delis and bakeries line the boulevards.
Whew! I am grateful to be alive. There is no way I’m willing to take a risk and become infected with COVID-19, whatever it takes. And, I’m grateful for Tom for understanding where I am on this. He supports me 100% but certainly wouldn’t be quite as cautious if it weren’t for me.
Bins of delectable appearing treats in a Middle Eastern candy shop.
Each of us has the privilege of deciding how far we’ll go to protect ourselves and our families, within the guidelines of laws and our level of personal responsibility to those around us, in our cities, our towns, and even our own backyards.
 We visited a local market to purchase nuts for snacking.
Be well.
________________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, August 5, 2019:

A pretty rainbow behind the Twelve Bens mountains from our holiday home in Connemara, Ireland. Please click here for more photos.

Day #134 in lockdown Mumbai, India hotel…More photos from Paris in 2014…

The Paris Statue of Liberty, which is the second of two replicas, is much smaller than the one in New York Harbor, USA.  See the quote below for details.

Note: To all of our readers visiting our site via a smartphone, please click the “View web version” tab under the word, “Home” at the bottom of the page to access the web version enabling you to access all of our archives on the right side of the page. We’ll be updating our site shortly, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you. 

Today’s photos are from the post from August 4, 2014, while in Paris, France. See the link here for more photos.
The inscription at the base of the Statue of Liberty. Unbeknownst to us, we discovered that there are two replicas of the Statue of Liberty in New York’s harbor, the second of which is shown here, which we visited yesterday.  See link or quote below for details:
“The first (original) statue stands in the Jardin du Luxembourg an information panel on the pedestal claims that it is a bronze model used by Bartholdi as part of the preparatory work for the New York statue; the artist offered it to the Luxembourg museum in 1900 and it was placed in the park in 1906. The date written on this statue’s tablet (where the New York statue has “JULY IV MDCCLXXVI”) is “15 November 1889” (November 15, 1889), the date at which the larger Parisian replica was inaugurated.

Pont de Grenelle

This second Statue of Liberty in Paris is near the Grenelle Bridge on the Île aux Cygnes, a man-made island in the River Seine (48°51′0″N 2°16′47″E), 11.50 meters (37 feet 9 inches) high. Inaugurated on July 4, 1889, it looks southwest, downriver along the Seine. Its tablet bears two dates: “IV JUILLET 1776” (July 4, 1776: The United States Declaration of Independence) like the New York statue, and “XIV JUILLET 1789” (July 14, 1789: the storming of the Bastille). This statue is shown in the movie National Treasure: Book of Secrets as one of the historic locations.”

With the high cost of taxi fares in Paris and the fact that one outstanding site followed another, walking proved to be the best means of getting around. We’d considered the Hop-On Hop-Off Bus, but “hopping off” would still result in tremendous amounts of walking.

We walked on a bridge over the train tracks with the Eiffel Tower at a distance.

By walking, we were able to take our time, see many interesting points along the way and take photos at our leisure. By the end of each day, we were exhausted. 

A River Seine cruise ship, perhaps docked for the day to allow passengers to tour Paris.

Our boutique hotel, conveniently located near the Eiffel Tower, was an excellent starting point. It was always the return walk at the end of the day that was most challenging. I never complained.

Statue on the bridge of the River Seine.

At that time, I had no idea I was suffering from cardiovascular disease, but I pushed myself each day to forge ahead, never knowing why my legs hurt so badly. Tom was always patient when I often asked we stop to rest along the way. Once I rested for a minute or two, I would be ready to carry on.

A River Seine cruise ship, perhaps docked for the day to allow passengers to tour Paris.

Now, as I walk the corridors each day from 8,000 to 10,000 steps, I still find myself struggling but require less stopping. At this point, I can walk about ½ mile, .8 km, non-stop. I don’t get out of breath, but I have to stop due to pain and cramping in my legs.

One of the popular Viking cruise lines river cruise boats.

Doing all this walking reminds me of our time in Paris, where we walked more than anywhere in the world except for the port of call tours from a cruise to St. Petersburg, Russia in August last year, only six months after I’d had open-heart surgery and had yet to strengthen in my legs after two leg surgeries four months earlier. 

When in crowded tourist areas, Tom carried this pen in plain view in front of him as a deterrent to pickpockets.

But, even now, with all my daily walking, I’d still struggle to keep up with the long non-stop periods of walking such as experienced on the St. Petersburg tour. Going forward, we’ll have to accept this limitation that may continue for the remainder of my life.

As we walked toward the more modern areas of Paris, we stumbled across this shopping mall.

Thus, my memories of those long walks in Paris were a mix of painful walking along with the thrills of the many sites we saw along the way. The only time we used a taxi was from the airport to our hotel; the round-trip visit to The Louvre; and to the train station to travel on the Eurostar (the “chunnel” when we left for London a few weeks later). We took the train, across the street from our hotel, to travel to Versaille, our favorite sightseeing outing in Paris, on a very rainy day. 

The interior of the shopping mall could have been in any city in the USA or another country. We looked at cameras in an electronic store but with the 40% taxes including VAT, the prices were outrageous.

A portion of our photos consists of scenes we encountered along the way on our daily walks, many of which may not necessarily appeal to most tourists. Yes, we saw the highlights, but we also treasured the sites we discovered by surprise each and every day.

The City of Light is mostly known for its historical architecture. However, many modern buildings occupy the skyline

With the lack of interest in shopping and our restrictive way of eating, we still did a fair amount of window shopping and never missed the full flavor of fantastic foods in Paris when we dined at a few upscale gourmet restaurants and many divine cafes.

This charming bag shop so well depicts Paris with its awning, quaint architecture and highly-priced items.

Looking back, we’re grateful for the experience and the wonderful memories and are delighted to share some of our photos of Paris over the next several days.

A narrow one way street with minimal parking for residents of these buildings. Driving in Paris and parking in Paris is difficult, to say the least. We felt it would be pure frustration for a visitor to rent a car with intentions of seeing the city.

Stay safe, healthy and hopeful.


Please click here for more photos from this date in 2014.

_______________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, August 4, 2019:

In Connemara, Ireland with fresh fish caught and sold by the friendly fishmonger John, who showed up at our door every Tuesday morning, I made myself a dinner of sauteed garlic butter calamari and hake. My vegetables were on a separate plate. For more food photos taken in Ireland, please click here.

Day #133 in lockdown Mumbai, India hotel…Our original photos from Paris in 2014…

We were enthralled with the lights of the Eiffel Tower.  We made the video of the light show below.

Note: To all of our readers visiting our site via a smartphone, please click the “View web version” tab under the word, “Home” at the bottom of the page to access the web version enabling you to access all of our archives on the right side of the page. We’ll be updating our site shortly, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you. 

Today’s photos are from the post from August 3, 2014, while in Paris, France. See the link here for more photos.
Check out our video of the evening Eiffel Tower light show!

With neither of us, particularly interested in big cities, I surprised myself when at the onset of our travels in 2012, I mentioned to Tom it would be nice to visit Paris and London if, after all, we were on a mission to “see the world.” 

This view is from the corner near our hotel which was a short distance from the Eiffel Tower.

How could one strive to travel the world and not visit these two historic cities rife with culture and art? The conversation never came up again until a year later when Tom suggested we go to Normandy, France on a small group private tour while on a cruise docked in Le Havre. 

Statue on the bridge of the River Seine.

Although, at the time, not much of a history and war facts buff, I suggested a trade-off (with tongue in cheek). My compromise? Let’s do Normandy and then stay for 15 days each in Paris and London. Tom agreed. 

We assume this longboat on the Seine may actually be a river cruise ship.

It didn’t take him long to realize he wasn’t the best negotiator in the world. My end of the “bargain” was considerably more expensive, time-consuming, and comprehensive. As it turned out, I too, felt the power and emotion of visiting Normandy and have since changed my interests to lean toward Tom’s vast knowledge and interest in world history.

Driving into the city of Paris was an experience in itself.

No, he didn’t love the hustle and bustle of Paris, although he thoroughly enjoyed the sites we visited. But, overall he felt more at ease in South Kensington when we stayed in the fantastic historical, and artsy area, away from some of the commotion in the center of London.

Crossing the bridge over the Seine. Each day we walked no less than 5 miles, 8 km.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll share some of our favorite photos from our 15 nights in Paris and later the photos from our 15 nights in South Kensington, within walking distance of some of the finest museums in the world.

The streets are lined with one café, bistro, and restaurant after another.  We’ll never have trouble finding great dining establishments.

At that time, I wasn’t drinking wine nor did I consume any of the foods restricted on my ongoing low carb diet. It was in 2016 that I decided to try drinking wine again, and from there, I’ve loved it. 

The lobby of our boutique hotel in Paris, across the road from the train station.

As mentioned, I haven’t had a glass of wine since February. Alcoholic beverages continue to be banned in India during the lockdown. Even if it becomes available in India, while we are here, we’ll both continue to abstain until we leave here.

Looking out the window of our hotel to the train station. We couldn’t have been in a more perfect location.

Taxes on wine and other alcoholic beverages in India is 34% plus, prices are high. It’s just not worth it to either of us. We’ll wait until we get to Africa or another country to have an official “happy hour.”

Tom, standing in what may be the smallest elevator on the planet. It took a few trips to get out bags up to our room.

Of course, while in Paris, the first site we were determined to see was the Eiffel Tower judged by the number of photos we’re posting today. It was more magnificent than we’d expected, especially at night as shown in our video above.


As for now, the continuing dreadful news of the spread of COVID-19 throughout the world gives us little hope of getting out of here anytime soon. Each day, we resign ourselves further as to the magnitude of the imposed lockdown we continue to bear, along with others throughout the world.


This dinner salad was perfect for our late night supper at a local outdoor cafe.

We pray for the safety of our loved ones, friends, readers/friends, and those suffering in every corner of the world, including those who’ve lost loved ones and have been stricken with this dreadful virus.


Stay safe.

_______________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, August 3, 2019:

An island in a small lake in Connemara, Ireland. For more photos, please click here.

Day #130 in lockdown Mumbai, India hotel…Final photos in Madeira in 2014…

We were thrilled to see a full moon over the hills of Madeira or a clear night, six years ago today.

Note: To all of our readers visiting our site via a smartphone, please click the “View web version” tab under the word, “Home” at the bottom of the page to access the web version enabling you to access all of our archives on the right side of the page. We’ll be updating our site shortly, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you. 

Today’s photos are from the post from July 31, 2014, while in Madeira, Portugal. See the link here for more photos.
Tom recalls our months in Madeira as a memorable experience.

It was July 31, 2014. It was our last day in Madeira, Portugal, after a colorful and fascinating 2½ months living in a beautiful, well-equipped contemporary home overlooking the ocean and lush green terraces, prolific on the hilly island.

Always windy, but I loved every day in Madeira.

Although little English was spoken in the tiny village of Campanario, somehow we managed to meet many locals, engaging in choppy conversations, and dining in fabulous restaurants where seafood was always the most popular item on the menu.

We always enjoyed it when the low lying clouds and fog rolled in.

The charm of the locals and the manner in which we were welcomed will remain at the forefront of our memories of this stunning island. The weather wasn’t always ideal with fog, rain, clouds, and high winds common during the spring and summer months.

Early on, we purchased this tuna from the musical fish truck, caught that morning.

The sunny days were appreciated and comfortable, rarely requiring air-con at night and we left the doors and windows wide open during daylight hours. High on a hill overlooking the sea, on occasion, we sat outdoors on the huge veranda in the comfy chaise lounges.

We arrived in Madeira mid-May when the flowers were in full bloom. They were the most beautiful flowers we’ve seen anywhere.

Every few days either both of us or me alone, climbed the breathlessness inducing steep hills. Talk about getting exercise on a short walk! At the time, I had no idea I had cardiovascular disease, severe enough that I could have had a fatal heart attack when I was huffing and puffing to climb the steep hills.

The goats and two kids next door were a constant source of enjoyment. Although too far to get good photos, they were close enough to always respond with a hearty “baa” whenever we sent a “baa” their way. 

It was only 4½ years later I was diagnosed with 100% blockage in three of four coronary arteries, including the most dangerous LAD, described as follows:
“When the main artery down the front of the heart (LAD) is totally blocked or has a critical blockage, right at the beginning of the vessel, it is known as the Widow Maker. (The medical term for this is a proximal LAD lesion.)”

We purchased fresh organic produce from the musical truck every week during our time in Madeira.

Of course, I am grateful every day that my life has been extended after triple coronary bypass surgery in South Africa 17 months ago. However, right now, I can’t help but feel that precious time is being wasted locked in a hotel room as the months fly by. Oh, I can’t think about that!

Beautiful non-traditional colors of vegetation.

Back to the final day in Madeira in 2014, when the next day we were flying to Paris for a blissful 15-night stay, followed by another 15-night stay in London in the lovely South Kensington area. 

We never ceased to enjoy the terraced gardens so typical on the island.

Over this next month, we’ll re-share many photos from that wonderful and memorable month, including a wide array of experiences and photos we’ll always treasure.

A surprising close up of what appeared to be a blue stalk from afar.

And today? What’s happening now? We ordered a package via FedEx from our mailing service in the US with items we’ve purchased since we left the US in January. Our new second passports are in that box and a number of much-needed supplies including my contact lenses and toiletries we can’t get in India along with other odds and ends. 

We were amazed by the green fuzzy buds on this colorful flower.

Tom always follows the package via the tracking number on FedEx’s site. Right now, the package is at a standstill in New Delhi, awaiting customs inspection and subsequent fees. 

We were delighted when these orchids were growing on our patio.

The cost to ship the box from Nevada to Mumbai was INR 29909, US $400 when shipped 2nd-day air. Most likely we won’t receive the package for two to three more weeks.

We squealed when we drove under a waterfall in order to continue on the road.

Otherwise, all is status quo. The past three days I’ve reached my walking goal of 10,000 steps a day. I may alternate between 8000 and 10000 steps, day by day. I am unwilling to try to do this in one fell swoop since I feel it is more beneficial walking once an hour. Tom is doing great exercising as well, although he does multiple flights of stairs and corridors walks once in the morning.


Have a good day! Stay safe. Stay hopeful.

______________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, July 31, 2019:

Belted Galloway cattle all possess this unique pattern of a white belt around their midsection. For more photos, please click here.


Part 1…A day in Normandy..Profoundly moving experience…

The Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial.

Tom has always been the war buff in this family. His knowledge of wars astounds me at times. Having never taken a particular interest in past wars, other than feeling pride and compassion for our loyal soldiers, I didn’t expect I’d find the 10 hour day exploring Normandy interesting.

The region of Normandy is rich in history and charming for its appealing French architecture of the century’s past.

Not only did we both find visiting Normandy interesting, but our hearts were embraced by the way France and the US have maintained a peaceful and respectful tribute to our fallen soldiers from World War II.

Of course, we’re anxious to share some of the many photos taken throughout the day. Unfortunately, we just returned from our small group of eight chartered tour and time is short. 

The fog rolled into the Normandy region as shown in our early morning two-hour drive

It’s almost 7:45 pm Monday evening and our dinner reservation is at 8 pm tonight leaving little time to complete today’s post with photos before getting changed and ready for dinner. Most likely, we’ll return to our cabin after 10:00 pm tonight with another early morning chartered tour. Sleep will be the first priority.

As in many other areas of Europe, many of the homes and buildings are attached, each with its own definitive front.

This Thursday will be our first “sea day” and Friday, our second, during which I’ll finally have time to complete Parts 2 for today’s, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays tours. As a result, over the next few days, there will be a short post each day with only a few photos with more following upon completion, each of which will be clearly marked as to the event and part number.

Once these are posted, we’ll be back to our normal daily schedule with many sea days as we sail across the Atlantic Ocean sharing information as to the ship, the wonderful people we’ve met, the activities, and of course, many food photos.

The area is filled with tourists from all over the world.

Please check back tomorrow at about this same time for Part 1 of the short post regarding Tuesday’s chartered tour to the Stonehenge in England. By far, this will be the busiest cruise we’ve ever experienced, and look forward to sharing details with our readers.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, September 1, 2013:

The final goodbye to the house in Boveglio as we began the drive to Venice to spend the night and begin the 22 hour flight to Kenya.  For details of that date, please click here.