Thursday, May 31, 2018

Au Revoir Paris Hello Tel Aviv

Since we still had a bit of time left before we had to call a cab to the airport, we stopped by a grocery store on the way back. It was a fancy one! All of the price tags on the shelves were digital.

Also, they had an entire section of flavored mayos???

After some difficulty, we got hold of the cab company and our driver arrived in a very fancy car in only about 3 minutes. We hardly had time to collect our bags and walk out the door! Very nice driver, too. There was even free wi-fi which made the drive go by so fast.

Check-in at the airport was not nearly so pleasant or quick. The line was HUGE and after we'd waited for quite and while and still not moved, we discovered we were in the wrong line. The second line was much quicker. The security line was also very fast, which gave us time to eat while we waited. Turned out we had plenty of time because our plane was late coming from Zurich, the very place we were headed. This meant our already short layover in Zurich was about to be much shorter.

Turns out we didn't really need to buy food at the airport. Even though it was only a one hour flight, they fed us sandwiches. They also provided gate info and an airport map for the five flights with the very same departure time.

Unfortunately, our gate was in a completely different terminal that was a train ride away. But God is good, and we made our flight. Whew!

Our second plane was not the greatest, but the flight was only 3 1/2 hours, very smooth and we got a hot meal before arriving at the Tel Aviv airport at 3am.

It was the first time we had been at an airport in the middle of the night that was so busy. There were people everywhere and everything was open. Turns out 3am is a popular departure and arrival time in Tel Aviv. But since we hadn't slept all night, it also meant it was tough to find a quiet spot to settle in and get some shut-eye before we had to meet our group at 10:30am.

Needless to say, that was easier said than done. Airport chairs are NOT comfy!

But while I was staring at the ceiling, trying to get some rest, I noticed that a large number of balloons had escaped the grasp of excited visitors...

Eventually, we just gave up and Walt and Dena arrived from their flight from London. So we moseyed upstairs to grab a bit of breakfast and try to stay awake until we moved back down to meet up with the rest of the tour group...

Paris Day Five: Pantheon

The rain had pretty much stopped, so we walked all the way to the Latin Quarter to see the Pantheon.

There are always cool buildings to see while walking in Paris...

I don't know what this one is???

This is the Sainte-Genevieve Library across the street

And yet another gorgeous church behind:
Eglise Saint-Etienne-du-Mont de Paris. 
Wish we'd have had time to go in.

In 1744, Louis XV vowed that if he recovered from his serious illness he would rebuild the ruined Abbey of St Genevieve. He recovered and had this built. But it wasn't completed until 1790, the beginning of the French Revolution. It was then changed into a mausoleum to bury the honored dead of France.

"To Great Men, The Grateful Homeland"

And it is a worthy memorial for great men and women who contributed and gave so much to France and the world.

In 1851, Leon Foucault conducted his experiment to demonstrate the rotation of the Earth by constructing a 220-foot pendulum in the central dome. 

In the crypt are the tombs of so many famous people. I am once again embarrassed by how excited I was to see the burial places of people I have taught about for so many years. My favorites, I went there specifically to see them, were Pierre and Marie Curie, but I found so many others...

Then we walked back to Notre Dame to catch the bus back to the Arc de Triumphe for our last walk down the Champs Elysees to our hotel.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Paris Day Five: Sainte Chapelle

Right next door to the Conciergerie was the palace church, Sainte Chapelle. Built in less than 10 years and completed in 1248. Louis IX built it as part of the palace.

The chapel was a bit dark but the golds and dark blues gave it the feeling of a medieval palace chapel.

But it did seem a bit odd to have a gift store inside a church...

But there were beautiful works of art, stained glass windows and this statue of Louis' mother, Blanche de Castille. She ruled during Louis' childhood, during the 7th Crusade.

While it was beautiful, turns out we were in the basement where the commoners had services.

We walked up this narrow, steep staircase to the upper chapel. And I gasped when I stepped out...

It was absolutely breathtaking! It seemed as if there weren't any walls, only stained glass.

In fact there are fifteen 50-foot tall windows depicting 1,113 scenes from the Old Testament to when Louis brought his 30+ relics to Paris, including a fragment of the cross of Christ and Jesus' crown of thorns. And this glorious chapel was where they would be kept.

The chapel is surrounded by carvings of each of the 12 disciples.

The window directly behind the choir shows scenes from the Passion of the Christ.

The rose window is scenes from the Apocalypse.