Versailles, France, south of Paris
Got up early again and tackled the metro to go to Versailles. It took two trains, the second of which was a rural RER above ground train. It was nice to see a little more of Paris. I was beginning to wonder, but there are indeed industrial sections and business districts with real sky scrapers and everything.
On the journey I met Bill and Kim, Jerry and Betty, and Mum Hazel who was 87 years old. They’re from Toronto and were also going to Versailles. I hope I get around as well as Hazel when I’m 87. Aw, who am I kidding, I’ll never make it that far. We had a nice chat during the 35 minute ride.
After arriving and getting my bearings, I walked down a couple of neighborhood tree lined streets and upon turning the corner, there it was. My immediate thought was, while impressive, I can’t help but be amazed at the blatant opulence and indulgence of such people in such a time. And some Europeans see us Americans in the same way, even though the United States was the first (new) nation to decline monarchy and royalty and its baggage of opulence and entitlement.
But, kind of like a train wreck, you just gotta see it. The road leading to it and the entire courtyard was made of uneven stone. At 9:00 in the morning, the temperature was spiraling out of control. Jeez, when will this place ever stop punishing me? Since I didn’t have a museum pass, I had to buy a ticket for 20 euros. Luckily, the line wasn’t long at all at this time of the morning. I headed into the palace first which is in various stages of disrepair and there are several renovation projects going on. I wonder if there ever is a time with no renovation, considering the size and all.
30 minutes into the tour, to be honest, it got quite boring. As I was forced down the length of one wing, it was the blue room, then the red room, the green room, followed by the yellow room, and so on for as far as I could see. Each room was the same size and empty except for the paintings on the wall. Frankly, if they aren’t pictures of my relatives, not interested. I asked a security guard how long the tour was and he said about three hours more. He was standing blocking an apparent exit and I asked if I could just get out this way and he said no, I must follow the route. I looked away for a sec and then darted for the exit anyway as his yelling grew fainter behind me. I found another guard and asked which way to the gardens, he was a little nicer and pulled a barricade aside to let me through. I’m such a troublemaker.
The gardens and the grounds and Marie Antoinette’s little cottage and grounds gotta be at least 20 square miles or more and people were trying to cover this on foot. I can tell you it would take days to do that. So many gardens and ponds and sculptures and statues and… I rented a golf cart and I still didn’t even make a dent in it.
At some point, way back when, Miss Marie or some Louie or whomever, visited Venice and liked the grand canal and said, oh, I must have one. So they built a grand canal patterned after Venice. Today, you can rent boats and hang out in the canal. Mom, I hope I was never that spoiled, if I was, I’m really sorry.
I headed back to the palace and hung out in the back yard where it was shady. To me, it looked like a park so, I had a little picnic lunch with stuff I grabbed earlier in the morning and watched people for a couple of hours. As I was exiting Versailles, I noticed the ticket line was probably a half mile long. Good thing I got there early.
After the train ride back to the hostel, I was walking the last few blocks and I just knew I had acquired some more blisters and so was going to stop at the pharmacy for more of those thingies you put on blisters; the owner knew me by name now. On the way, I passed a shop called Sport 2000 and as someone exited I could feel the air conditioning, so inside I went. Oh man it felt so good. And on the back wall I could see shoes. I looked at my shoes and said you suck, so I got a new pair. As I wore them outside, they felt so much better.
Got back to the room about 4:00, a little too late for my afternoon nap, but I took one anyway. The weather turned cooler in the evening as a rain storm came through, what a relief. Becks and I just hung out, we watched a movie on my computer. Tomorrow, I get my car, yea….