Into The Park

I usually walk with a friend two or three times a week in a beautiful park not too far from where we live. This being Spring, it is especially beautiful.

Warm days and cool nights means mist on the lake.

There is a little stream we pass.

Boats for rent.

I made a quick stop at my friend’s place for some tea. She had these lovely ranunculas on this cute table cloth.

Her kitchen has a great view and great light.

She is very into tea, not the tea in tea bags from Lipton’s or even the loose tea from Marriages Freres, but newly picked tea from just bloomed tea plants in china that a lady’s Chinese husband brings directly from there. For tea lovers who know what they are talking about there is nothing better. It’s like the difference between an expensive bottle of Bordeaux wine and a three Euro bottle of rosé from the grocery store. You have to develop a sort of palate for it like with wine. She takes classes about it from an expert. So we had a special green tea that morning and I felt very healthy especially since we had just walked.

A Search for Flowers

Every year I make a trek out to the Eiffel Tower to get photos of flowering bushes or trees in front of the Eiffel Tower. I don’t know if I was too early or too late or if it’s just an off year but I found very little. I was leaving for the States the next day and wanted to find some beautiful flowers. (After arriving in the States I saw all sorts of photos of pink flowering trees in Paris so I guess I was too early.)

I only found one magnolia or tulip tree and it was a bit puny.

A bit of a flowering bush.

It had rained the day before leaving puddles here and there and I found a reflection of the Eiffel Tower.

 So I headed towards Notre Dame where there were flowers last year passing the Conciergerie on the way, once used as a prison.

I passed this clock to created in 1370 and still working!

Last year this restaurant was covered with wisteria blooms. Not this year. They had some pretty potted flowers though.

Color

Paris can be very colorful.

Flowers for sale, always tempting.

Many metro stops are colorful. This is Gare de Lyon.

Vegetables loaded with color. That’s lavender cauliflower right past the zucchini.

Olives for sale over a beautiful floor.

The Flood

As you might be aware, the Seine River is up to flooding levels but, so far, the water is up only along the river and not into Paris itself. A few metro stops were affected and a lower section of the Louvre was closed as it is right next to the Seine but most of us weren’t affected. I read that the population of rats goes up with flooding but luckily I haven’t seen one. The other day I met friends for lunch and decided to go look at the Zouave statue which in normal weather is totally above the Seine. Once the water reaches the feet of the statue, you know the river is rising.

A look at the flooding. Normally you can walk where those trees are.

Here is the Statue on Pont l’Alma. As you can see, the water is almost to his waist.

A close up. If the level of water is at his head then there is a flood like the one of 1910 where streets around Notre Dame were full of three feet if water.

Next to the café were these beautiful mimosa with purple irises. I love yellow and purple together.

We ate here at the Café Varenne. My friend wanted to eat here because Ina Gartner has a place nearby and this is the first place they come when visiting Paris. I loved the interior-so Parisian.

My American friend had the profiterol for dessert. A very pretty dessert.

Hospitality

While in Texas, I had a wonderful dinner at the home of the mother in law of my son. She is a fabulous cook and always prepares meals you think of months later. Our meal was no exception.

The table was beautifully set in an Autumn theme.

There were flowers, of course.

This was a thick pork chop topped with a crushed pretzel topping. So yummy.

She has the sister of this dog belonging to my son, and another one to boot.

London

After seeing some tennis in Eastbourne we headed to London. I’ve been to London several times but never really feel like I know it. It seems much harder to get around than Paris with a lot more walking and things that you want to see long distances apart. We did a city bus tour this time which helps to get an oversight of a city but around Big Ben and the bridge where recent attacks occurred there were major traffic jams due to construction so we spent a lot of time just sitting in one place. I had made a list of places I wanted to see which I found mostly on Instagram or places mentioned in the English mysteries that I read so many of.

Our hotel was in the Bloomsbury section of London and there are several really nice parks in the area. This one is called Russel Square. And you are allowed on the grass so there were a lot of people sitting on the grass, having picnics or napping.

One night we had Japanese food at a place called Eat Tokyo which is a small chain in both Tokyo and London. I really liked how Maurice’s meal looked. It had a great ambiance and was very small and crowded. Beautiful sushi too, which we don’t eat. In fact, I always ask for a fork. I just never got the hang of chop sticks.

One of my favorite things to look for in London are the many taverns and pubs. They always have wonderful signs overhead and there are usually beautiful flowers.

Here’s another pub. Note the beautiful flowers and look at all of the people standing outside. I don’t know if this happened when they stopped allowing smoking inside or not but you have to fight your way through them if walking past. Some pubs have huge crowds outside, inside too, as we found out when we went inside. I’m sort of cranky and not a fan of crowds and places so noisy that you can’t hear anyone talking to you so we went to less popular places. Maurice didn’t like how you have to go to the bar each time and order but that part didn’t bother me. We had some good fish and chips at one or two. Such a part of England, pubs.

More to come on London.,