Stand By Me

Beautiful day it turned out to be after the thunder and lightening storm of last night. Great heavenly light show!

The morning started very slowly with a much needed late rise. Ste. Louis Gonzaga School was the venue for a performance this morning but they cancelled. I know, you journey 7000 miles to give a gift of song and they don’t have time for it. Their great loss. So what do you do when you are disappointed? You go shopping of course. And that is exactly what we did. We turned the kids loose on Galeries Lafayette to do some shopping for the folks back home. They were in small groups for a couple of hours, had lunch and then returned to our meeting place on the steps of the Paris Opera House (the real phantom anyone?). We hopped the bus for the short trip and a date with a smiling girl at the Louvre.

Our guide this afternoon was again Frank who gave us a history of the place and his take on the various sculptures and paintings in this marvelous place. For example, he showed us how to distinguish between Greek and Roman statues. He’s a great story-teller and knows his stuff. It was very cool. Mona was there smiling as she has for a few semesters. The room in which the picture hangs was jammed packed with tourists and school children so it was difficult to get intimate with Ms Lisa. But we saw it and were intrigued.

We were picked up by our fantastic bus driver, Jorge for dinner in Montmartre art village. Jorge is from Bilbao, our last stop before heading home. He will be with us throughout the week. He is Basque and knows the area like the back of his hand. On Montmartre we set the kids loose again to wander the little square with all it’s artists and to find a place for dinner. Chad, Andreas (our tour manager) and I settled on an outdoor cafe. Chad had a beef stew kinda thing, Andreas had salmon and I thought I’d try the steak tartare because it sounded interesting. It is uncooked hamburger with an egg in the middle and spices around it. Evidently you are supposed to mix all the stuff together and eat it raw. I ate almost all of it and I can tell you it wasn’t bad at all as long as I didn’t think it was raw hamburger. How very French of me.

After dinner we walked down the hill of Montmartre and the kids road the carousel at the bottom of the hill. It was cute. It’s good to be a kid every once and a while.

On the bus again, this time back to the Eiffel Tower at dusk for a walk under it. The ticket office was still crowded with people trying to get up the elevators. Our little chamber singer group stood smack dab under the middle of the tower and gave an impromptu concert for the people standing in line. The two songs “Africa” by Toto and “Stand by Me” the great Ben E. King song. The captive audience started clapping to the songs and gave us, because they were standing, a standing ovation. You can’t script things like this. These are moments that come and go. I wish all of you could have seen and heard it. The kids were beaming.

We are now back in the hotel on our last night in the “City of Lights.” Tomorrow we say good-bye to Andreas our companion since we arrived in Venice so long ago it seems. Then it’s off to Bourdeaux and points south. Here are a few shout-outs from the kids. Written down after our visit to the Louvre. Not everyone had something to say…but they will…I will make them!

Cecilia:
“Yo ma, I’m alive. No worries, It’s awesome here.”

Gwen:
“I got lost in Paris today-the macaroons are great.”

Monica:
“I can cross off Ste. Chapelleon my bucket list.”

Christen:
“Miss you a lot. Actually putting my friends to good use.

Gabe:
“Miss you dad and the motherland without my favorite Gumba.”

Eric:
“Hey family back home, having an awesome time in Paris. Saw the Mona Lisa today – wish you were here.”

Meghan:

“Dad you have to try European coffee.”

Ashley:
“The art work is cray.”

Shannon:
“Happy birthday Victoria.”

Leah:
“Hi mom and dad.”

Carlo:
“Miss you Frank.”

Eddie:
“Having a great time. Miss you, see you soon.”

Josh:
I’m enjoying Europe. I wish things were cheaper.”

Zoe:
“Help”

All as dictated. As I said others will bound to have a shout out soon. So until Bourdeaux, good-by Paris, we still have you.

and so we sing…