Turning water into wine. Why bother…

headfirst Well, it’s over, Brenda and I are back home after two weeks in France and it’s time to begin focusing on Pandora’s run south to Antigua.  Of course, today I’ll have to pick her up from the Hinkley yard in Stamford where she was having her waterline “tweaked”.   From there she will be in Essex for about a week or so of provisioning and on to Annapolis for the sailboat show and then to Hampton VA to participate in the Salty Dawg Rally to Antigua.  For those of you that are familiar with my work in Antigua, I serve as port officer there for the rally and am responsible for all the arrival events for the fleet.

http://veritascaritas.com/podcast/a-few-remarks-on-human-nature/ Normally, during a two week trip, I’d have put up a few posts but this trip was much more of a whirlwind than we are used to, changing hotels nearly every day and covering a lot of ground and of course, trying to keep up with two 30 somethings, our son Christopher and his partner Melody.  “Hey mom and dad, dinner was great, we are heading out for a 10 mile run before bed”.

I think I need a vacation!

Anyway, the trip was great fun, we saw a lot and now that I am back home I can’t really get my head around all that happened and put it down in a post.

However, as this supposed to be a blog is about boating stuff, I’ll focus on some of the boats we saw and there were plenty.

When we arrived in France, our first stop was to spend a few days in Paris.  We decided to sign up for a two day pass on one of the water taxis on the Seine and spent many hours walking along the river.  The amount of traffic on that part of the river was amazing.  This photo shows one of the tour boats that we went on.  They surely aren’t lookers, not even a little.  However, their design is clearly dictated by function and as passengers have to see everything there’s glass on the sides and top for maximum viewing suggesting more of a floating greenhouse than boat.

Beautiful views in every direction along the river.  Tour boats aside, loads of lovely boats, or should I say houseboats, some private homes and many serving as sort of B&B mini hotels rented out to tourists.  In some areas they were moored three deep.Often quite colorful.Loved this blue one.  My favorite color. Wonderful details. Interesting dinks including this one welded from steel. Beautiful lines but she could use a bit of paint.  What a great spot to tie up.  Many were moored in locations that offered with a great view of the Eiffel tower, like this one.
This houseboat featured another landmark from France although now in NY Harbor. There was an active police presence and it seemed that they were always going full tilt and leaving a big wake.  This was one of their more sedate moments. You can get all the way from the English Channel to the north and the Med to the south via the extensive canal system.  This is the entrance to a canal that heads all the way up to The English Channel.  A good part of this particular stretch of the canal is fully underground beneath city streets.  I saw some ventilation grates along road medians.  I wonder if they are lit?   I guess there must be some sort of canal traffic control as I doubt that there are any passing lanes.
There is a huge amount of commercial traffic. And the barges, all low enough to fit under the city bridges, often sport a vehicle and crane to help the crew get around, two in this case.  His and hers?  His and other his?  This one was on the back of a houseboat and it even has a cover to protect it from the elements.  Not sure how they’d get it on shore though.
This upscale tour boat had particularly beautiful lines.  Love the stern.  The views along the river were spectacular and that makes sense as when the city was built, water was the simplest way to get around.
And speaking of getting around.   This beautiful runabout featured two passengers in period clothing and a film crew.  Wonder what movie they were filming or was it just a sophisticated selfie stick.   “Frank, FRANK, put that stupid thing away.  We ALREADY have enough pictures!   And, WHO is that creep in the back of the boat anyway?”
And, where there is water there are bridges.Each more spectacular than the last. And, some really nice fountains. Complete with fleets of small boats. And this guy nearby feeding pigeons.   Obviously someone they knew and loved. And speaking of love, a custom in Paris is to purchase a lock, put your name, and that of your lover on it and “lock” your love to something.   Some places are so packed…You can’t believe so much love, I guess. And speaking of love.  The whole idea of the trip to France was brought up by Melody, our son’s partner, as they were invited to a wedding and asked us if we’d like to come along.  Oh boy, was Brenda on that idea.  I was the official photographer of Chris and Melody outside the church where the wedding was held.  We lurked outside waiting for the crowd to let out. The reception, we learned, was in, no kidding, a castle with a real live mote.  It was the family home of the bride’s grandmother who was too infirm to join in the party but watched from an upstairs window.

As we moved often from one hotel to the next, we were able to try many places in our two weeks on the road and I do mean on the road as we rented a car and put a lot of miles on it.   Anyway, we too spent time in a hotel with a mote.  How about this place?  George Washington might not have slept here but we did. We finished up our trip with a few more days in Paris and spent time in many cafes, actually more than one each day.  So much food to sample. Actually, so much food everywhere and beautifully displayed. Places to eat aboard. Places to eat on every street corner.  Parisians love to eat outdoors.
So did we.  Loved the hat on the chef who served us.  Our last dinner together in Paris before heading home Note the list to starboard in this photo.  The waiter too it seems.  After all that wine, and it’s cheaper than soda so why not, I had a bit of a list as well. Yes, in Paris wine costs about the same, sometimes less than soda so why not have wine?  And there are so many types to try we had a tough time deciding which to have.

In Paris, there’s no need to turn water in to wine, why bother, as it costs about the same amount as water and wine is so much more fun to drink.

Well, that’s about all I have to say right now.  Have to finish packing for a weekend aboard Pandora, meeting up with some friends in Oyster Bay.   It’ll be like old times, not that the “new times” are all that bad.

We did just return from Paris after all.  Just sayin…

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