Dear Family & Friends,

I thought I would get one more blog off before I hit the road with my motorcycle.

For the last 9 days my niece Leah has come over from California to the UK on her summer break from college. I thought I would give her a treat and take her on a whirlwind tour of London and Paris. (I am going for Uncle of the year award)

So needless to say it has been one busy week!! So just a few of the highlights.

First we spent a couple of days in London doing some of the usual sites and shopping. Bonnie joined us for her last two days in Europe and then she flew home.

Then Leah and I  took the EuroStar train to Paris.. What a great train system. Fast, comfortable, and smooth, makes our infrastructure look antique.

There is so much to see in Paris it is hard to know where to start. I let my niece make a list of what she wanted to see and we started checking them off. 

Of course the Eiffel Tower, a river boat cruise, some good French meals and lots more.

A given was the Louvre Art Gallery. The building is actually several buildings combined. Parts of it are an old palace and even if there weren’t any art, the rooms alone would be worth seeing. 

When you go to the Louvre a must is to see the Mona Lisa. It is a relatively small painting in a huge room full of many paintings done by various masters. If I was any of the other painters I would be upset to have my paintings hanging in there because the room is full of people and 99% of them are looking at the Mona Lisa and ignoring all the others!

Another must was the Notre Dam Cathedral. I have been here before along with many other churches throughout Europe and I have sworn I would never go again because how may crusafications can you see?? It is stunning inside and I have included lots of photos in my blog. One thing I noticed is the Catholic church knows how to market to expand their faith. On one wall was a beautiful oil painting of a CHINESE Mary and Jesus.. I guess 1.5 billion people in China is worth trying to convert.

One of the sites my niece wanted to see was the top of one of the churches towers where Quasi Moto was supposed to have lived (Hunchback of Notre Dame).. No problem I thought until I realized I had committed to walking up 17 floors of stairs on a narrow, tinny, circular stairway! On one hand it was a big work out to get to the top, on the other hand once I got to the top the views were great and I was confident I wasn’t’t going to have a heart attack anytime soon.,

Another site that my niece wanted to see which I had heard of but never really knew much about it was the Catacombs underneath the streets of Paris. We waited in line for over an hour and walked through a small non descript door in the middle of town and again down five flights of a narrow twisty staircase.. (I am getting in good shape). Once we got to the bottom it was literally miles of underground tunnels with over 6 million bodies of human bones neatly stacked in various patterns! It turns out at one point in history of Paris the city  was growing but ran out of room due to all the cemeteries surrounding the city so they dug up millions of graves and neatly stacked them under the city. Sounds creepy but it was actually quite interesting. Also it was 90 degrees in Paris that day and in the caves it was cool and comfortable.

After four days in Paris we headed back to London for a few more days.. We did manage to get in one play because London plays are usually the best. I let my niece pick whatever she wanted.. She picked a play called Killer Joe.. Neither one of us knew anything about it but I am pretty sure she picked it because it stared Orlando Bloom (Pirates of the Caribbean star) and a scene where he was naked (back side only so I am sure she was disappointed). All I can say is he and the cast were fine actors but the story made the play into the top two worst plays I have ever scene. No redeeming qualities, no morality or point to it, no characters that I had any empathy or sympathy for… two hours of my life lost forever..

Sunday morning I got up early and went to one of my favorite activities, Speakers Corner in Hyde Park. On Sundays anyone can get up on a pedestal and talk about any subject they want. It generally attracts crazies and extremists but I do enjoy speaking up and challenging them, giving them  hard time.. I’m bad..

Later in the day I met up with my niece and Aubrey’s wife Flickie and we went to the Wallace House.. I had never been there. It was very impressive. One of the best private collections of art, classic furniture, and antiquities I have ever seen in a SPECTACULAR private home right in the middle of London.

Rather than ramble on go to my blog where there are LOTS of photos and more explanations.

Tomorrow I meet my riding friends from California and we start our motorcycle trip. I am ready to ride!!

Jason

 

 

Some local street entertainment when we visited Portabello Road. A famous antique fair is held there ever Saturday and it is also where the romantic comedy Nottinghill with Julia Roberts and whats his name was filmed.

A local T shirt that just caught my eye..

My great friend Aubrey who lives in London and always opens his home up to me and my family and friends. A warm summer evening having a BBQ with Bonnie, our niece Leah, Aubrey and his wife Flickie and some of their charing grand kids.

Lord Aubrey Finburgh

Bonnie, Leah, and one of Aubrey’s grand daughters Matilda out in London shopping. We stopped for some fish and chips and guess what?? The F1 race was on TV.!!

Showing my niece the usual London tourist spots…

We toured Westminster Abbey just to see where he was buried. Photography is not allowed so I violated the law to bring you this photo. Actually when I looked at it I found the plaque very moving.. What an intellectual  giant.

Had to get some food photos in!! This was lobster and crab tortellini..MMMMMM

This statue indicated you are entering the actual city of London which is only one square mile. Below are some sites of the greater London tourist area.

Had to do a river cruise on the River Thames. The river was originally supposed to be pronounce with the TH sound but since the king at that time could not say it, the name was pronounced Tames.

Off for four days in Paris.. This is my niece after I surprised her with this side trip. She did not realize we would be leaving London..Do I deserve Uncle of the Year Award???

Just had to get some humor in..

A few shots of the river cruise we took through Paris.

A little culture too. A visit to the Louvre art museum.

I was inspired by this photo.. Another couple of months and my hair will look exactly like royalty..

A boy and his goat,…… true love.

The Louve is an abandoned palace so the rooms are spectacular.. This one gave me some ideas for my next garage..

The French Royal Jewels.. Sorry Bonnie but I couldn’t sneak any out..

Notice that spec of a painting behind me… that’s the Mona Lisa and this was as close as I got.

This painting reminded me of the look Bonnie gives me when I touch her and she is thinking.. “Why does he always have to grab my boob??”

To understand why men do this watch this video…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sF7K5bsj7mk

A room full of great art and everyone is staring at the Mona Lisa.

At the underground exit of the Louvre was an Apple store!! No wonder they are worth a trillion dollars.

Walking around Paris.

A very typical road side cafe found all over Paris.

A Turbo Porsche on the streets of Paris… nice.

A Ferrari toy store right in downtown Paris..

This was a very interesting site in Paris. It is a large series of under ground tunnels beneath Paris. It was only recently discovered. At some point in Paris history the city ran out of room due to all the cemeteries so they dug up over 6,000,000 graves and neatly stacked all the bones in these tunnels.. Creepy but cool.

This guy died from a very painful fracture… My niece is studying to be a nurse so I got an impromptu anatomy lesson on all these bones.

The French way.. A bathroom for no matter who you are…

Lunch time at a traditional French sidewalk cafe..

Time for a visit to Cathredal Norte Dame

His Holiness, Father Jaguar.

I have been traveling in Europe for 40+ years. I have seen countless churches and they are stunning but I am so tired of seeing cruxifications. This is my last one.

Here the Catholic church is marketing to the future. They know where the demographics are going so here is a Chinese Mary and Jesus..

We walked up 17 floors of a narrow spiral staircase to get to the top of this. By the time we got to the top I was quite sure I wasn’t going to have a heart attack anytime soon.. 🙂

Made it to the very tippy top!

17 fights up, 17 flights down.. by the end my legs were rubber but at least my heart was still ticking..

The Monet Museum. I liked the impressionist style but most modern art doesn’t do it for me.

Above is art, below is not art.

What a shame I cleaned my garage floor, the oil stains were better art than this.

Salmon lasagna 

Veal stew.. ah the French know how to make a sauce!

For our last night in Paris we splurged and went to a high end restaurant. Above I had a glazed duck and below Leah had a fillet of sole.

The waiter assured me there was no calories in this desert.. One quick walk around the planet would burn off the calories..

Mona Lisa giving me the eye….

Finally back in London and a trip to Borough Market for a huge selection of great foods. I think this trip is getting rather fattening… 🙁

We also visited the Camden Market.. A fun place to go for quirky shopping and quite good food!

A “Snack” for Leah.. The largest donut I have ever seen. About 6″ across, 4″ thick, filled with cream, and weighing about 3 lbs…. glad I didn’t eat it..;)

Like my new London car??

Speakers Corner, home of the London crazies.. This man was preaching how Islam was going to take over the UK. Needless to say he was not to popular, but that’s half the fun.

This dashing young man was lecturing on how to woo women.. an obvious expert.

This loser was wailing about how feminism was holding men back.. Every one has an excuse when life doesn’t give you what you want..blame someone else.

This in the inside of the Wallace House.. Would love to have a place like this to come stay at…even enough extra rooms for a few dozen friends and family.

Time to load up and go riding!!

My friend Aubrey who we are staying with has a wicked sense of humor. He has been reading my blog (at least one person does) and notice my complaints about the lack of toilet seats in Italy. So this morning I came out to my bike to notice this “accessory” he left me… 🙂


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