"Everyone knows the more you wear pearls, little by little they become real....And isn't it the same with memories?" - The Madwoman of Chaillot

Monday, August 15, 2011


Next we are in The Netherlands - Bill has a meeting with ISA for 3 days where he will be a speaker and we are spending four nights at small Hotel de Emauspoort in nearby picturesque Delft.
First two nights in a cool room/apartment designed as a tribute to Jan Vermeer, famous Dutch painter who was from Delft and the second two nights in a Gipsy Caravan on the property of the hotel - both should be interesting! Bill will be working most of the three days but I'll be getting to know Delft - hope to get in a visit to the Town Markt on Thursday (market day), the oude kirk (old church) and neuwe kirk (new church), town hall, maybe nearby Escher art museum, and just enjoying the canals and scenery - and I'm sure the food... maybe shop for Delftware or a Jan Vermeer print.

The outside of the Hotel de Emauspoort and the Jan Vermeer Room - only available the first two nights that was are staying at the hotel.

The Gipsy Caravans


Next we move nearer to the 3M plant at Cergy, France where Bill will work for a day while I soak up the history at our hotel, Pavillon Henri IV - the first home of the Sun King, Louis XIV who was born there and lived there before he built Versailles - before him it was also the royal residence of Henri IV and Louis XIII - and also the location where Alexander Dumas lived when he wrote The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo (one of my favorite books).
The hotel is in Saint Germain en Laye - and we will take the RER A train from Gare du Nord to the stop about a 3 minute walk from the hotel.

Reviews say the hotel is a little "run-down" but I can take that in exchange for it being hundreds of years old - and not as expensive as you'd think, especially the weekend night. And its the place recommended by the plant - Bill stayed here some years ago.

Besides enjoying the location, I will probably visit the Castle Museum and possibly some other things - or just sit and chill in my castle...

Two nights there and we move on again.


Just realized I've been labeling this trip 2012 several places.... getting ahead of myself. Hope there will even BE a trip for me in 2012 - maybe Poland when Bill goes there for 3M early next year. The plant happens to be just a short distance from the towns where my great great grandparents - George and Maria Metzner Pohl were born and lived. Oh, yeah, I do know I'm going to Orlando in August... for the Star Wars Convention - Celebration VI... Great timing - Orlando in August and Poland in winter....

But back to Europe 2011 planning and preview....

Day 1 - First we fly to Boston and then into Paris Charles de Gaulle/Paris airport. We did get to upgrade to Economy comfort seats due to Bill's platinum status but according to Bill who just flew that way to China, its not all that great - basically just more exit row sized seats - they do recline slightly more - actually 50% more - went from 10 degree recline to 15 degree.... And he was dismayed that his 17 hour flight had seats with no electricity plugs or personal movie screens (as they are supposedly adding to economy comfort) But here's what they are advertised as.... not sure I'll look so happy and refreshed at 6AM after an 8 hour flight...

Day 2 - Paris

We arrive in Paris about 7AM - plans are then to take the French RER train from Charles de Gaulle airport which is north of Paris, into a main station, Gare du Nord - then switch to Metro/subway.

We'll spend two days in Paris in a lovely Bed and Breakfast, Chambre D'Hotes Saint Georges, hosted by Helene and Jacques in the 9th arrondissement of Paris, near the Opera. It has a separate living room with sofa bed - anyone want to join us?
Very excited to spend time in a French home- meeting people and a more intimate setting is my favorite. We will be on the 4th floor - and of course "no lift" so also working on climbing stairs with my backpack suitcase again. There is a living room, bedroom, bathroom and terrace... and less than most hotels cost! Oh, and it includes breakfast, of course.

Included in my must dos - visit to the Garnier Opera House to buy a book for Colleen (the Phantom of the Opera fanatic), sitting having lunch on the Champs Elysees, lots of eating and lots of walking to wear off all the rich food and croissantes.. . Probably not time for the Louvre but we'll see. Highlight is that we hope to get together with my niece Erin and her husband who are also going to be in Paris the same days.

So, for now the plan for the first day is to drop off our luggage at our apartment, and then go tour the Palais Garnier Opera House.

The rest depends on how tired we are and when we can meet Erin and Erik for dinner and maybe some shopping or strolling on the Champs Elysees first.

Second day in Paris, we are going to do a bicycle tour, which is actually done rain or shine - because (so the site says), we've all seen pictures of Paris in the rain and its still beautiful.... :) This company is recommended by Rick Steves so expect it will be good.

This tour includes a 3 1/2 hour level, leisurely ride with refreshments in a Parisian bakery... and allow us to see most of the sights although not in depth but that is more our intent than spending a lot of time inside in museums or churches. Of course if it rains, well maybe the Louvre... Sights include

Our route covers...
Hotel de Ville - The Marais - Place Des Vosges - The Bastille - The river Seine Notre Dame -
Ile St. Louis/Ile de la Cite - Sainte Chapelle - The Latin Quarter/St. Germain - Pont Neuf -
The Louvre Museum - MuseĆ© D’orsay - Tuileries Gardens- Les Halles- The Pompidou Centre –
and a view of the Eiffel Tower on the horizon.
Along the way we'll see...
- A stray cannonball from the Revolution
- Paris' ancient 1,000 yr. old wall
- Secret gardens and passageways
- One of the most expensive restaurants on earth
- The most famous (yet anonymous) French graffiti artist
- Houses of Jim Morrison & Victor Hugo
- A hidden monastery in the center of Paris
- WWII memorials (and some great stories)
- Our favorite French bakeries
- Famous movie spots (remember all those movies filmed in Paris?
- Our favorite back streets & local neighborhoods.

I can totally see us collapsing after this but hope for a nice casual dinner in Paris...

Well this is the plan, anyway, so far...