Sunday, June 9, 2013

Driving through Paris and looking for treasures in Versailles

Today was a pretty eventful day, even by our never-endingly eventful Travelife standards.

In Hong Kong, we boarded a Turkish Airlines flight last night for Istanbul.

We promptly fell asleep in a pretty comfortable flat bed, after a seven-course dinner. I also watched a movie over dinner called "The Best, Exotic Marigold Hotel," starring some of Britain's best actors and actresses.

It's a movie about retirees without much of a life in Britain, moving to India to stay in a rundown hotel and finding a life there in the process.

I thoroughly enjoyed it for the story and the imagery. It also reminded me of my recent trip to India, perhaps because so many of the scenes looked like Gujarat, one of the destinations on this trip.


Then at about 4 AM in my part of the world, somewhere over Iraq actually, I woke up and went on the WiFi in the sky to write a blog entry about the excellent dinner I had on the plane and the overall experience on Turkish Airlines from Asia to Europe.

I've always liked Turkish Airlines. And today, my affection for this airline was just reconfirmed.

More on that later.

The chef earlier today on the Turkish Airlines flight
from Hong Kong to Istanbul


But we arrived in Paris finally after a very pleasant flight from Istanbul that involved a change of planes. Fortunately we still had the flat beds in business class, so it was a very comfortable flight.

At Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport, we picked up our rental car.

There was a very nice top-of-the-line car on offer suddenly to us for a rental. The car looked so nice that it took us all of 5 seconds to say: "We'll take it."

Unfortunately, when documentation was being processed, it turned out that we couldn't rent this flashy car after all, as it needed to be returned to Paris airport, and our original plans were to ditch our rental car somewhere else in France and pick up a flight from there to Paris.


But we did get a very respectable car anyway, and with this we drove through Paris to Versailles.

Paris is one of those cities that I can navigate through with my eyes closed.

I guess I've walked so much of it over the years that I can now navigate through it without a map. It's not like the city has changed much, after all.

And we didn't have a map, while the GPS was useless for the kind of purposeful meandering we were doing.

And that's exactly what we did.

We took advantage of the fact that it was a Sunday and drove through the whole city for a look-through: from one end near the Marais and the Ile St. Louis to the other end near the Trocadero and the Tour Eiffel.

On sale everywhere from June 15
Travelife Magazine's June-July 2013 issue


We even passed the Bois du Boulogne, where the Paris Open championship finals was being held at Roland Garros literally as we drove by.

Rafael Nadal just won, and it's really all everyone in Paris is talking about today. Luckily, we caught the final round in real-time on television, just a few minutes away from Roland Garros.


Then we headed to Versailles, where we chanced upon a flea market in progress along the main street. People were selling antiques, home-made goodies, and cast-offs all in one table.

Of course we stopped as I can't resist the idea of possibly finding a precious antique for a song. It hasn't really happened yet, but I love looking anyway.

And here, I found that my French came back just like that, even if I don't really use it at all.

It's amazing what the thought of shopping and bargain hunting can do for one's language skills.

I found I was once again discussing prices, sizes and all kinds of things in French in no time, in a day of treasure hunting in France, living a never-ending, and never-endingly eventful Travelife.


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