French holiday ends

It’s hard to believe that several weeks can pass so quickly, but I think when you’re holidaying somehow time manages to move at a faster pace than when you’re waiting for that holiday to arrive.

My time in France was met with some particularly hot weather, the French kept assuring us that it was abnormally hot for June with temperatures ranging from 36 to 38 degrees most days and also humid. I’m not one for spending much time in the sun, thus I was the most obvious candidate for sunburn, I kept forgetting to apply the cream to protect myself, or reapply it when I had put it on. Thankfully by the time my Trafalgar tour returned to Paris weather returned to a more normal mid- to high-20s, though still humid.

One of the reasons I wanted to go to France was to finally use that French I’d learned in school all those years ago. For six years I’d learned the language, and achieved high grades, thus I was keen to apply that which I’d learned. It was immediately apparent when listening to the French speak I was never going to be able to keep up with them, or fully understand all that was being spoken, they were too quick and there was no way our classes could span the entirety of the language. I found it interesting between different hotels I’d stayed in that some used “etage” for floor/level whilst most used “niveau”.

One observation I made during my time in France related to French waiters and their confidence with English and taking orders. When in Rennes our waiter spoke very limited English, in fact most waiters in that restaurant indicated this, thus most in my group just pointed to the menu items when ordering. For myself, I chose to speak to the waiter in French hoping it would make the already nervous individual feel more comfortable, funny enough it didn’t. I found here and in other places despite ordering in their language often items never turned up, either they were on the bill (Rennes) and not delivered, or just not included at all (Tuileries).

I had a great time in France, as well as a day trip to visit the stunning Belgian city of Bruges. I very much enjoyed visiting the many old buildings, many of which pre-date European settlement of my own country, their utter beauty, craftsmanship and engineering skill leaving me in awe. Completing my third Trafalgar tour I am again glad I selected them as my tour company, I have again walked away with several new friends as I did from my first tour sixteen years ago.

One thing I think I have learned is that I really should upgrade my flying from now on to at least Premium Economy, the extra legroom is worth the added expense. Following my arrival in France, and after having walked around the Notre Dame area waiting for my hotel to become ready, that night I had the worst cramping in my right leg and did initially fear the worst that I might have a DVT. I had a massive bruise appear mid-way on my left thigh which really did scare me, it didn’t occur to me until two days later that it had been caused by a Paris Metro turnstile having jarred rather nastily against that thigh when I had to force my way through – I was much relieved once I recalled this.

Returning to Perth on the Wednesday flight I made sure to drink plenty of fluids and for the first time I swapped to the aisle seat instead of my usual window seat preference. The ability to jut my legs into the aisle for additional stretch not available within my usual seat was certainly nice, as was the ability to just get up every so often and not annoy someone to do so.

Now back in Perth it is a chilly 16 degrees celsius, though I think we may have been cooler today and had a crap load of rain, what a difference half a world makes.

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