What a relief to reach the place we now call ‘home’ (although not for much longer!) at the end of Day Four in Paris, and stretch out our legs on the crisp, fresh sheets of our oh-so-welcoming beds after another marathon walking tour of the beautiful streets and sights of the city! I am in admiration at the stamina and courage of our group: from the first day, when after very little sleep on the plane (or none at all, in some cases), and just an hour to rest after reaching the hotel, we marched them through the corridors of the metro to Notre Dame and a few miles further round the ile de la Cité and the Ile Saint-Louis, to St. Michel and back ‘home’, they have covered several tens of miles on foot without a single complaint, blister or sprained ankle! Today we clocked up over ten miles (according to the app on my phone!) – a few of which were probably quite simply from our almost three hours of wanderings in the Louvre – that’s 24,446 steps, precisely! Needless to say, dinner is a hit – not much left on the plates (well, it is French food, too)!
Continuing on the theme of ‘what a ….’, I must say: what a great bunch this year’s Piette crew is, on all fronts! (I am allowed to be biased, as I wasn’t on the trip last year!). They are not just easy-going, uncomplaining walking champions, they are also masters of punctuality (‘be there at 6:30pm’, we said this evening, after giving them a few hours of ‘freedom to roam’, and they all turned up before 6:25 at the designated spot, the fountain in St. Michel square). They are polite, friendly and appreciative everywhere we go, and make a lot of friends with their valiant (and usually brilliant) efforts to speak French at all times (with just an occasional ‘nudge’: ‘go on, you can say that!’). They are getting good at navigating the metro, saying ‘pardon’ when they want to get through the crowds on the train, working the amazing coffee machine in the hotel’s breakfast room, eating dinner French-style after 7:30 pm, and generally living ‘la vie Parisienne’. I think they could get used to this!
Normandy, prepare yourselves to welcome the Piette 2015 Fam (to use the ‘young-person speak’ I learnt from the students today!) – they rock!