When we arrived at the airport, we made our way to the taxis and exchanged $100 into euros. For some reason, the ATM didn't work for us, so we went to the exchange window along with everyone else. For some reason, I was reminded of the money changers in the temple. It was a racket. 76 euros was our lot. Now we could find a taxi. Mercicca had told us to expect to pay around &50, so when a taxi driver suggested $85, we declined. We found another who said he would take us for $60. I thought that sounded good, so we chose him. He was gracious and took all our bags and placed them in the van. We took our seats and began our trip to our first apartment in Paris.
The cabby was a man named Syl from Cameroon, Africa. He has lived in France for 17 years and has an 8-year-old son with his girlfriend. He said that he plays soccer with his son just for fun. Good man. I hope we can reconnect with him next week when we are going back to the airport on our way home. He was an excellent driver and took us right to our apartment door. We hadn't made specific plans on how to connect with our landlord Mercicca, so we just knocked on the door when we arrived. The was an access keypad but no real door bell. There was no response, so we went across the street to a park and sat down on a bench to think what we should do. Soon Linda saw someone by the door we knocked on and thought it may be our landlord. I went to investigate. It turns out this man knew our landlord and had the access#, so he let us in and ushered us to Mercicca's apartment. I don't know his name, but he was a guardian angel in a situation where we were really unprepared and out of options. Ii met Mercicca and his wife before this man left. I will have to ask Mercicca about him.
Mercicca introduced himself and i went to get Linda and Emily from the park across the street. He then spent some time orienting us to the apartment (so cool) and the map of Paris. He had prepared his own little directions on a map with restaurant, cares, stores, pubs, and sites of interest our area. He gave us directions for finding the location to pickup our Paris Pass, issued us keys, and answered our myriad of questions. We got the details to the wifi and once again were connected to the world. Beautiful apartment with antiques and everything one could possibly need.
So back to the events of this day... We walked to the subway station and bought tickets. We found a nice woman who showed us the ropes for the subway stops and traveled to Sertie, where we were supposed to disembark to find the people where we could pick up our Paris Pass. After a short walk, we found the place, got our passes, and asked for directions to the Big Bus. She handed us a map to it's office and we started the not so short walk to this place. Strolling through the neighborhoods of Paris is probably my favorite part of the trip so far. So many beautiful people and beautiful sites. When we found the Bi Bus office, the attendant informed us that we could not activate our pass and still use it the following day until after 4. It was 2,so we said we would go get some lunch and return after 4.
We went to a lunch spot called Ilys recommended to us by the attendant at Big Bus we all ordered something different to experience the cuisine of France. Emily got a sandwich combo. Linda got a pasta combo, as did I. They were all delicious. We couldn't finish all the desserts so we got a box and took them home. The Big Bus tour would let us see Paris close up, and we would use it for our way back to the apartment. The pass also provides a metro pass for our other transportation needs.
So once we got back to the apartment, our exhaustion kind of took over and we took a nap. I just freshened up with our waterfall shower, which is another bonus to this great apartment. The views across the garden street are spectacular. In addition to the double bed for Linda and I, Mercicca situated another bed in the apartments or Emily in addition to the usual sofa sleeper for our convenience.
It's late now and I am just wrapping up the events of the day before I hit the sack. Tomorrow is another active day to see Paris. We are planning to do Versailles on Friday. I better get to bed so we can get an early start.
Mercicca's recommended the following restaurant:
Name of restaurant: Le trois quart