“They say all good things must end”, according to an old proverb and, as interesting as Lockdown Hell in Paris has been, later this week I must take my leave. As mentioned in my previous post, my Schengen visa will expire soon and, as no other countries have “lowered their shields” to welcome international tourists yet, I’m obliged to go back to the U.S. until things loosen up again.
My flight on Delta Airlines, with a connection in Atlanta, looks to be a day-long challenge. I don’t usually enjoy juggling luggage, carry-on bag, and travel docs at the airport, and adding a face mask, face shield, gloves, re-breather unit, hazmat suit, magnetic boots, blast helmet, garlic clove necklace, hydroxychloroquine injector, glow-in-the-dark Juju skull, and other items I’m assured are required for today’s airline passengers to be safe will just complicate matters.
Last week, Marti and I did manage to have a fun picnic beside the Eiffel Tower. We had some nice baguette sandwiches, chips, and a split of a tasty Bordeaux. We really enjoyed the relatively crowd-free grounds, sunny day, and warm temperature. Sadly, the Tower grounds are now completely surrounded by glass walls and tall fences, so the days of simply strolling beneath it are gone. You now have to pass through gates (presumably with a ticket) in order to get in. I guess that’s a reaction to the huge crowds that used to visit the Tower and will probably do so again in the future.
As in many public places, maintenance work on the Tower is also going ahead at a furious pace while tourists are absent.
I’ve been staying in a really interesting six-story building in the 15th Arrondissment (district). Paris apartment buildings are a wild collection of architectural styles, and our building has a lot of fairly unusual wooden railings, pillars, and soffits. Must be a maintenance nightmare to paint it all but it’s really distinctive and gives the building a softer, almost chalet-like appearance. Our balcony is wide enough to hold a small table and two chairs, and we’ve enjoyed cocktails and sometimes an al fresco meal there.
I’m thinking about what it will be like to return to the U.S. and where will I be able to find a good baguette? Dare I trust Instacart to find good bread? My post-arrival, two-week, self-quarantine will seem like a step backward after the loosening of restrictions here but I’ll get through it.
I’d be remiss not to thank my great friend Marti, in whose home I’ve sheltered for the last 10 weeks. She is a real lady, a jewel, and it was wonderful to be with her as, together, we rode out the horror and uncertainty of this pandemic. Bonsai, my dear.
Let the packing begin, then. I’ll report the details of my trip in posts here, so that you can read a firsthand account of the state of air travel today. Fasten your seat belts!