Sadness over “Notre Dame Cathedral…Over 30 flights of steps to navigate…

We took the following photos of Notre Dame at dusk while on a Seine River dinner cruise.  See this link for photos of the extraordinary meal and scenery.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Duikers are incredibly cautious around warthogs, especially when there’s food being offered. Tom makes a special effort to ensure the smallest of the antelope in Marloth Park is given pellets when no pigs are nearby.

We were in Paris. On August 8, 2014, we embarked on a fantastic cruise on the River Seine for a night we’ll never forget. We posted the story and photos the following day at this link.

If you are a foodie, you may enjoy seeing some of the foods we feasted on that particular night. I particularly recall the foie gras, but at the time, I wasn’t aware of the cruelty inflicted upon ducks and geese to produce the delicacy.  Since that discovery, I will no longer partake.

See here for details on how this is done:
“Foie gras is considered a luxury food product made of the liver of a duck or goose that has been specially fattened. By French law, foie gras is defined as the liver of a duck or goose fattened by force-feeding corn with a feeding tube, a process also known as gavage.”

Few people worldwide aren’t aware of the recent fire at the historic gothic church, which will be restored within a few years and once again open to the public. 

At the time, I wasn’t drinking alcohol of any type, including wine (which may be my fate in the future, after recent events). Tom consumed both his and my glasses of French champagne,  an entire bottle of white wine and half of the bottle of red wine served with the meal.  

He never drinks wine but seemed to enjoy it that night when his usual cocktail wasn’t available. He hasn’t had a glass of wine since that night, although it’s been offered to him on many occasions.

We’d booked two weeks in Paris at a lovely hotel close to the Eiffel Tower when we realized it’s not practical to “travel the world” and never see Paris or London.  Afterward, we took the Eurostar, aka “the chunnel,” to London after our two weeks in Paris had ended and stayed in another great hotel in South Kensington.

Neither of us had been to Paris, and for years I longed to see the historical and romantic city. For Tom, who consented to my desire, Paris wasn’t on his radar.  But, as we often do, in our world travels…compromise. As it turned out, we both had a good time visiting many of the popular tourist attractions.

The historic structure was impossible to capture in one photo, especially at night from the river.

Included in our Paris itinerary was a tour we booked online to visit the Notre Dame Cathedral, which included climbing the 30 plus flights of stairs, and, as mentioned above, have few, if any, places to stop to rest.

After we booked the tour of Norte Dame, I couldn’t stop thinking of all of those steps. At the time, I had no idea that I was suffering from severe coronary artery disease.  

Somehow, after booking the tour of the Notre Dame Cathedral for the three days before the scheduled date,  for which we’d spent a non-refundable ZAR 3264 US $116, I had terrible angst over the prospect of climbing all of those stairs.

Tom’s eyes were also riveted on the beautiful scenery.

I was hesitant to say anything to Tom about not going. After all, we’d paid for the tour, and both wanted to see the historical and magnificent gothic church.  What first-time tourists to Paris don’t visit Notre Dame (especially after they’d already paid for the tour in advance)?

As I continued to read about the tour, I became more and more hesitant to go. The monies we spent became irrelevant because I realized there was no way I could climb 30 plus flights of stairs. Was it a hunch on my part that I don’t dare climb those stairs when doctors recently explained my arteries were blocked for decades, not for months or a few years?

Perhaps, it was. I took a deep breath in the morning as we were getting ready to go and suddenly blurted out, “I don’t want to go.” Tom looked at me with his head slightly tilted, “No problem. We won’t go if you don’t want to.”  

A wave of relief washed over me. I had worried about telling him for nothing. He never presses me to do anything I don’t feel comfortable doing, even if it cost us a non-refundable ZAR 3264 US $116.  

We didn’t go. It nagged at me for a few days that I’d been afraid to go, but at the time, I didn’t know why I didn’t want to other than fear of the stairs which I didn’t mention to Tom at the time.  I didn’t want him to worry, nor did I understand why I was worried. Now I know.

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

From this site:
“You can explore the cathedral’s belfry and climb another 147 steps to the top of the south tower. The total climb is 387 steps, and there aren’t a lot of places to rest along the way, so we recommend climbing the towers only if you’re in reasonably good shape.”

I felt in reasonably good shape. There was a day we walked over five miles while in Paris (according to my Fitness watch), and I did ok, although exhausted at the end of the day. And, we walked a lot in our world travels up to that point and beyond. But, never so many flights of stairs at one time.

We continued with our remaining tours without incident and ultimately had a good time in Paris. We loved seeing many other points of interest you can find in our archives for August 2014. It’s hard to believe that we were there five years ago.

As for the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral, we’ve been reading many articles about how this fire may have been started. It’s a hot topic of conversation right now and will be for years to come. We won’t get into the varying views and opinions as we may draw our conclusions. 

Whether it was accidental or perpetrated by humans committing heinous acts of arson won’t be known for quite some time. The early reports are conflicting and uncertain.

For whatever reason, we’re pleased to know that enough of the magnificent structure was spared to allow for renovation and restoration. Perhaps, I too was limited to allow for renovation and restoration from which I continue to recover each day. 

Ironically (or not), this is Holy Week, and it will be Easter on Sunday. We offer our love and prayers for all who celebrate.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, April 19, 2018:

Notice this little three-point design on this zebra’s upper leg. Each zebra has a unique pattern of stripes. Each animal has its distinctive markings and distinguishable features making it easy to identify repeat visitors. For more photos, please click here.