Sunday, December 19, 2010

to and from Paris

Saturday morning. We step out onto Charlottenstrasse in Berlin and we are dazzled by the bright light. We haven’t seen much of the sun these past days. Snow – yes, plenty of it. Snow falls from gray skies. Today the skies are incredibly blue.


But that’s in Berlin. How is it in Paris?

It appears that early flights have been canceled because of snows there, but ours is scheduled to take off. Packed again with people from previous canceled flights. There is a delay, however, and as minutes pass, I realize that our time in Paris will be very very brief.

We land in somewhat wet weather. It’s just at freezing outside, which, in a city like Paris means the sidewalks are too warm for snow to stick. We don’t quite reach for the umbrella, but others do.

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But we do walk. I have a Christmas list in my head and I am dangerously close to the stores’ closing time. Holidays or no holidays -- 7 p.m., and often times, when the clerks get antsy, a few minutes before. Still, it is quite festive here. The lights dazzle.


We have one errand that’s across the river and as we cross the Seine, the snow intensifies. It must be just below freezing and the flakes are falling, fast and furious, big flakes, huge monster flakes, some surely two inches in diameter.



Beautiful! Here’s the hour for a snowstorm! Come flakes, fall now so that I can wipe everything three times over and still remain wet. And I am wet. When we go into a wine store, I wipe my glasses, the camera lens, everything, and still it’s no use. Everything is dripping with melting snow.

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But then the snow tapers off. Our boots are soaked through because there is so much slush on the ground, but no matter. We had a few hours of walking through this gorgeous, snow beleaguered city. And we have a reservation here:

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And we’re on time. The meal – a sampling menu – is as good as it gets and I could write more about, but I want a balanced post, so I’ll just show off the fantastic (and not too fussy) root vegetable carpaccio with smoked bacon foam and almond bits, and the final sweet bite of chocolate.



We walk back along the Seine... quiet now, after the rage of snow. Somber even, here by Notre Dame.


And very very early Sunday morning, we leave the hotel, glad to see that the predicted snow is holding off...

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...and we make our way past the Gardens, to the RER train and then, straight to the airport. We check in, go through security clearance and wait, happy that today it was all rather easy. We wait for our flight. And wait. And wait some more.

And then we hear the loudspeaker: there is snow, the Charles de Gaulle airport is closed.


I'm crossing the ocean today (weather permitting) and so a post collecting thoughts from the last stages of fighting snowstorms in Europe will have to wait.

But I leave you with this photo for now. It speaks brilliantly, I think, about our final day.