Sunday, June 1 was one of those days that starts out with everything going like clockwork, hits about five rough patches, and then ends with everything silky smooth. I had no trouble checking out of Q Greenhotel, rode the tram into downtown Frankfurt with a Sri Lankan-German taxi driver, who had the day off (Please, no “Busman’s Holiday” jokes) and enjoyed a leisurely continental breakfast at the Hauptbanhof (Central Train Station), before boarding the train to Paris. It left a few minutes late, but I was just fine with that, as there were only three of us in the second class train, clear to Saarbrucken. Here a few of the things we saw, between Frankfurt and the French border. First, auf wiedershehn to Frankfurt, my first European host since 1982. You have set the tone, and Europe is less daunting, even for someone like me.
Forty minutes out, we came to Mannheim. I was expecting a fairly large contingent of American servicemen boarding here for Paris, but few people came on board. Here is the Maritim Hotel, one of Mannheim’s grandest.
West of the large city, the mountains of Baden-Wurttemburg began to show themselves. There were some mountains in the area, as is pretty much true of all of lower Wurttemburg. Hikers were out in force, as were filmmakers and barbecue grillers.
Here is a small parish, east of Kaiserlautern.
The row houses of Saarbrucken were the the last notable site in Germany, before we crossed the border into France. It was here that we were joined by about 30 people, most of them academics, who were coming from a conference in Koln.
I arrived in the Gare du Nord District, in good enough time to get on my way to my hotel, or so I thought.
With good directions as to the AREA, I made it easily to Montmartre, which I THOUGHT was the location of Monte Carlo Hotel. I was reassured by a local resident at the base of the hill leading to Eglise Sacre Coeur that that was so. All the locals I asked, atop the hill, thought differently. Turns out the Rue Faubourg Montmartre is a LONG way from the district of Montmartre. A kind Tourist Office clerk set me straight, though sans street number. I eventually got that, in a hotel in the 9th Arrondisement (District), that was about four blocks down from the Monte Carlo. At 5:30 PM, I checked into my cozy room, which is about the size of my old bedroom when I was a kid.
Well, since I was up top on Montmartre, here are three scenes from there.
First, these are the steps. There is a transom, which I at least used going down.
Next, here is the goal of the steadfast among us: L’Eglise Sacre Coeur.
Lastly, here is the view from the top, which spared me from climbing Le Tour Eiffel.
I finally made it to Monte Carlo at 5:15 PM. The first thing I did, once checking in, was find all the remaining hotel telephone numbers on my list. The Monte Carlo is the last photo on this set. I know I said two posts would be up tonight, but downward and sleepward. See you manana.