The main altar of La Madeleine, Paris, just before a weekday Mass

Kathryn took this photo of the main altar of the Church of St. Mary Magdalene, La Madeleine, located in the heart of Paris, over five years ago, in January 2013. It was one of those right-place-right-time situations we like to take advantage of. We happened to be walking by the church just a few minutes … Continue reading The main altar of La Madeleine, Paris, just before a weekday Mass

Delta missed connection in Minneapolis

We missed our connection in Minneapolis by minutes. It looks like our baggage didn’t make it either. Luckily there’s another flight to Phoenix in a couple hours. We had a confirmed reservation on the later flight before we even stepped off the flight from Paris, but unfortunately we no longer have assigned seats.

Delta ground delay in Paris

We’ve boarded our flight in Paris, but it’s still parked at the gate. It’s just as well, since we opened our Delta apps to discover our bags are indeed on the airplane, but they didn’t arrive there until four minutes after the flight was scheduled to depart. Our connection in Minneapolis is going to be … Continue reading Delta ground delay in Paris

Friday in the City of Lights

We arrived safely in Paris yesterday in the early afternoon. We found the Gare de l’Est train station with no problem, but there were multiple parking garages at the station and it wasn’t obvious which one was for returning rental cars. After about fifteen minutes in the wrong garage we found the right one, completed … Continue reading Friday in the City of Lights

Sauce Samouraï: “Why have you hidden this from me?”

When Kathryn and I were in Paris in 2013, we ate in several kebab shops. Although I had eaten in French kebab shops when I was younger, usually after or during long nights of drinking, Kathryn, for her part, was totally sober and immediately hooked nonetheless. Meat, potatoes, bread, salt, grease, and just enough lettuce, … Continue reading Sauce Samouraï: “Why have you hidden this from me?”

To my fellow countrymen: Who lives in a police state?

We’re in Paris at the gate for our connecting flight to Montpellier. The security line was long here, but it went smoothly. The security agents were cool about the fact that I’d left my computer in my backpack. At home I probably would have been read my rights. Speaking of home, it was easy to … Continue reading To my fellow countrymen: Who lives in a police state?

Once in a lifetime, alone in the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles

If you’ve ever been to the Palace of Versailles, you know what a tourist attraction it is. If you’ve never been, take my word for it. Even on a cloudy, drizzly winter day like yesterday, when the park and gardens were closed and only the palace itself was open to the public, there were dozens of tour buses parked in front of the palace. Getting a photo without other people in it is nearly impossible. So it was somewhat remarkable that, for a few brief moments, Kathryn and I ended up in the Hall of Mirrors, the highlight of the tour, by ourselves.

Regional words and fat Frenchmen

It turns out that Angelina, the venerable tea room on rue de Rivoli in Paris, has an outpost at the Palace of Versailles. Kathryn and I found ourselves there earlier today, enjoying a snack of chocolat chaud africain before finishing our tour of the museum. We were in the tea room all alone — more on why we were alone in a future post — and we had just ordered. As usual, Kathryn let me do the ordering. I think she likes to hear me speak French, even though my French sucks.

Germany: Any reason to celebrate in Monheim am Rhein, Cologne, and Düsseldorf

Christian let me know that I had to order the right beer for the city I was in. In Düsseldorf, they brew Alt, so that’s what they drink. In Cologne, they brew and drink Kölsch. I would be frowned upon if I ordered a beer in the wrong city. Those fortunate enough to live in Monheim am Rhein could order either, when in Monheim, of course.

Frequently asked questions about our road trip in Europe

We’ve only been home a few days, but Kathryn and I have already heard a lot of questions about our trip. For the benefit of everyone else, I’ve decided to repeat some of them here, along with their answers.

Oktoberfest, BMW, Rothenburg, Baden-Baden, Eiffel Tower

Phew! It’s been about 72 hours since the last update, but we’ve managed to pack an awful lot in. We arrived safely in Munich on Saturday, about six hours later than anticipated, so the thought of doing Oktoberfest that evening was quickly dismissed. My friend in Munich met us at the airport and showed us … Continue reading Oktoberfest, BMW, Rothenburg, Baden-Baden, Eiffel Tower

Letter from … Hungary?

Okay, I’m not really in Hungary. I’m sitting by the pool at my parents’ house in Phoenix, and I’ve been home from Europe for over two weeks. I thought I’d send one last letter to wrap up what went on for the last week of my trip. Hungary was a last minute addition to my … Continue reading Letter from … Hungary?