On September 13, 2016, I left my home in Southern California, to begin a rather unplanned trip through Southern Europe, or so I thought. I didn’t really have an agenda, beyond booking a flight to Paris, and reserving four nights in a hostel, near the Place du la Republic and Canal St. Martin.
I picked Paris because … well…. because it’s Paris, and the flight was cheap — $301 from Los Angeles to Orly.
I took an Uber from home to LAX, where I caught a connection to Oakland, a four-hour layover, then Norwegian Air to Oslo — yes, I did say it was a trip through Southern Europe — but after another four-hour layover, I arrived in Paris about 36 hours after leaving home. I grabbed a cab, then a shower, then went to sleep. It had been raining when I landed and on the trip from Orly into Paris, which was kind of nice since I’ve been living in drought stricken Southern California. About 4AM, I woke up, walked down stairs, and stood in the door of the hostel, with the night desk clerk, and let the rain just splash on my face. Of course, I know, then, that I would be getting a lot of rain on my face over the next few days.
It was now the morning of the 15th — two days after leaving home — and even though it was raining, I was out early, as Parisians were heading to work. Between the clouds and the rain, I capture photos of a few dry people and a number of wet ones.
Since retiring from my business as a professional photographer (primarily weddings), I have been walking the streets, camera in hand, and even though I was in Paris, I was more interested in photographing people than monuments and landmarks. I walked along the Canal St. Martin, in the general direction of Sacre-Coeur, without a specific purpose.
I will say that my plastic rain jacket did a great job of keeping the rain off me, but it also did a great job of keeping the sweat in. Consequently, I was probably just as wet with it as I would have been without it!!
I stopped at a couple of sidewalk cafes for coffee — and to get out of the rain, but still have good people watching views.
One of my favorite photos was of a French “Hemingway” writing away on his laptop. For a time, we were ships taking shelter from the storm.
After wandering around Montmartre, I decide to try to locate the Basilica of Sacre Coeur. Contrary to many American’s view of the helpfulness of the French, the first person whom I asked for directions, went out of his way to find a friend who spoke English, who then gave be directions. He said, the good news is that it is close, but it is all uphill.
As you can see, from the photos, above, the rain and overcast sky diminished the view of the city, but I had worked up an appetite, so I looked for a cafe, found an excellent Quiche Lorraine. While is was not in any rush, having to ask for the check, three times, was a bit annoying. Finally, I just went to the bar and ask for it.
A couple of women sat across from me, and one provided a few interesting (to me) images.
The following two days, the skies clear, briefly, during the day, only to open up, again, in the evening. I was fortunate to have my friend, Imie, show me around, make sure that I knew what I was ordering off the menus, and not get too lost on the metro.
Next stop, Bilbao, Basque Country, Spain — and sunshine!
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