A view from the front gate of Versailles toward Paris
The day was supposed to be rather short. There was talk of seeing the sites around Versailles. The truth is I walked from one end of the Versailles grounds to the other and then turned and walked half way around the front… Miles. I felt I had seen enough for one day. Better to save Louis’s Palace for another time. I followed the grand boulevard in front of the Palace and headed for Paris. Sidewalks were there all the rest of the way. My footsteps cut thru 11 miles of urban area before reaching the edge of Paris. There was one last ridge to climb and then a view of the city finally was given. When landmarks become visible, there’s no holding back. By 4pm I was resting in a Hotel near the Arc de Triomphe, and the Avenue des Champs Elysees. The next morning the sun visited. Ed & I made our way back to the Arch for a final shot of the journey.
More on the city and summit to come.
Walking the Avenue Du President Kennedy
Crossing the Seine
I’ve walked across a big chunk of France this month without speaking their language. It has been difficult of course. In France, it seems English isn’t a commonly used 2nd language. Just as French isn’t easily found in say, Kentucky. I hope I didn’t just offend all y’all back home with 2 years of high school French! Without question, the greater number of folks here have made a huge effort to help me with my deficit. It was much more than I expected.
What This really brings to mind is a broader aspect of “language”. Without understanding, interactions between people can be rather unsettling. The mind can create fear and misunderstanding. We have some timely examples of people whose culture isn’t understood, or whose faith isn’t heard. As I head into Paris I am aware of language … how important it is. With the climate issue we have the active language of our past, A language easily communicated. A language tied to 200 years of fossil fuel prosperity and the values it created. There is another language. It may not be your native language but try to learn it, and teach another.
It was supposed to be an early day. A day when we could catch up on laundry & such. What happened? There’s a late breakfast, some photo breaks, a few tweaks of my route to avoid the traffic… No more early day.
We made Houdan at about 4pm. The well worn Morrocon restaurant with rooms upstairs to rent was the choice spot in town… Because it was the only spot in town. A young manager finishing kitchen clean up checked me in and made me aware of a code for the front door. After lengthy instruction I was ready to come and go from the building. Then he left. There was nobody in the building but me till Ed showed up. I had texted the code so he made it thru our security system. We had no towels in the room. With nobody to call , we improvised. I made a trip downstairs to the front desk and chose a key from all the empty rooms, then went back upstairs, entered another room and took their sets of towels… The place was mine. It was hours before the hot water furnace started to creak, gurgle, and knock. This went on all night. I would have taken another key and moved rooms 10 times over if it would have helped but the whole building was howling all night long. Every trip should have a sleepless night in a Morrocon hotel.