I wiped my tears away and tried to focus on the fun ahead of us. My unborn son demanded I use the bathroom often, and while up I was careful to follow doctor's orders by moving my legs around a lot. I surfed the radio stations, browsed the Sky Mall catalog, tried to get into the book I was reading at the time, and when they turned on the movie, decided to try to sleep. The flight really seemed to go quickly considering it was about 10 hours, and soon we landed in Frankfurt, Germany.
There was a fresh dusting of snow on the ground, and everything looked beautiful. Now we've been to Canada, and Mexico, but other than Spiral seeing the coast of Africa from the periscope of a submarine, we've never been to another continent, so just imagine our excitement walking through the Frankfurt airport. We didn't have any problems getting to our connecting flight, and learned that we must look very American, as we found most people started right out speaking English to us.
The connecting flight to Charles de Gaulle was short, and soon we found ourselves in Paris France! We had barely slept (isn't amazing how exausting travel is!), so it was almost torture to get down to baggage claim and have to wait forever for our luggage. We finally got our bag and Spiral got us a cab into the city.
That cab ride was so fun, seeing how big Paris is (although I wouldn't see just how big until later.) It didn't take the cab driver long to start talking about Bush and our forgein policy. (Remember this is just a month before we went to war in Iraq, and the French were not on board with us on that one.) Spiral did a wonderful job keeping the conversation neutral.
After arriving at our hotel we stole a quick nap, changed our clothes and went out to explore our new surroundings. Our first stop was an eye doctor's shop so that I could buy a contact lens case, because I had left mine at home. We were relatively close to the Eiffel Tower, so we headed that direction, taking in all of the little shops and pubs along the way. My eye of course was caught by several children's stores. I was also taken with the specialty shops: les boulangeries, les bouchers, les magasins de fleur! We browsed through a toy shop as it was getting dark, and then continued on to the Eiffel Tower.
It was dusk, and as we walked through the trees into the park there were several groups of older men playing petanque. We walked around and there in front of us was the Eiffel Tower, all lit up against the darkening sky. I had just been reading to Gabriella a few nights ago from her Madeline book, and pointed out the Eiffel Tower to her in the illustrations, and now here I was. It was surreal.
Spiral took a photo of me, freezing and bundled up, looking up at the landmark. (A couple of sidenotes here. 1) This is February in Paris, and during out entire trip it was cold, with the occasional snow mixed in. Every picture of us is bundled up in winter coats with all the accessories. There isn't one picture from our trip that you can see that I am pregnant - a regret of mine. 2) We decided when packing to leave behind my digital camera, as well as all of Spiral's camera exquipment so as not to risk them getting stolen or broken, and instead toted along disposable cameras. Spiral's big hands + little disposable camera = 75% of our pictures contain his finger. Lessons learned.)
We stood and admired the world-famous structure, and then wandered back toward our hotel, exploring the streets. We bought a few souvenirs, and then stopped in at Pizza Amalfi for dinner, located right across the street from our hotel.
Being pregnant, combined with not remembering much from my two years of high school French, I had to be careful about what I ordered, because there is a good-sized list of things pregnant women should not eat. Unfortunately for me, that meant no soft cheese (I missed out on brie!), no wine (a crime while in France!). I also had to be careful about seafoods, and any raw meats. I ate a lot of pasta while I was there.
We had heard about the more laid-back culture there, specifically pertaining to meals, but it didn't hit us until we sat down in a restaurant to eat. We could be sitting there still if Spiral hadn't finally asked for our check. It just goes to show you the differences. I'm all for a slow, laid-back meal, but this seriously was a long time to be sitting. (Or maybe it's just that after being married for almost 10 years at the time, we don't have anything new to say to each other.)
After dinner it was back to the hotel for a good night's sleep, for tomorrow we would explore the Eiffel Tower in all it's glory!