Monday’s lunch was at Sister’s Cafe – with a good old-fashioned American cheeseburger and side order of hash browns. Since the bacon was floppy (just the way I like it), Robert donated his to me. A soda here ran 6 euros, while Heineken was 2,9. Heineken won. Meanwhile, the lower right hand corner of the menu announced a new drink! Mimosa! “What is it?” the menu asked. “Why, it’s champagne and orange juice, just like in Miami!” Miami? Miami appears to be acceptable to the French.
Afterward, we strolled uphill to the Chateau de Versailles. The Chateau is closed on Mondays, but the grounds surrounding it, the Grand Trianon and Petit Trianon were wide open, so we did what any sane person would do. We rented a golf cart. Our feet thanked us. “Merci beaucoup!” they cried.
A cart runs 30 euro per hour. They give you a map with the path clearly marked with giant red dashes that takes you to the Petit and the Grand Trianon, then back to Versailles’ gardens. As you drive, the cart’s audio system plays orchestral music and a narrator describes your surroundings. Apparently, the correct narrative is triggered as you pass certain points along the path. A short link follows. No judging. It’s hard to video while bouncing along cobblestones in a cart.
FYI, the nice narrator also tells you when your cart has left the prescribed path and shuts the cart’s forward motion down. This way, everyone within a two-mile radius is sure to be notified of your transgression as you put the cart into reverse, which results in incessant and very loud beeping.
It also results in a husband who glares at you and asks, “Really? Your sense of direction is so bad you can’t even follow the GIANT RED DASHES on the map that tell us where to go?”
I defended myself valiantly until the third time the cart shut down, at which point I could only shrug and say, “C’est la vie!” This is best done while flashing a winning smile at the perturbed husband.
Despite the hour-long time frame, we still made it back a few minutes late (probably due to the navigational challenges), but they took pity on us and didn’t charge for an additional 15 minutes, as we had been warned they might.
We walked from the cart return through town to the grocery store to purchase breakfast and lunch items for the next two days. Breakfast at the hotel was going to run 34 euros a day. I cannot possibly eat 34 euros worth of breakfast. The supermarket was two levels, the lower being maintained at meat locker temperature. We purchased bread, cheeses, luncheon meat and some fruit, then took the rear stairs back up to the second (street) level for wine, a knife for the cheese, and to check out.
Here is where yet another incident proves I am not mentally on the ball. Having realized I needed croissants for breakfast, I set two bottles of wine down next to Robert and went back below-grade to the bread aisle. Mission accomplished, we checked out and grabbed our bags to head back to the hotel. Luckily, we hadn’t gotten but a few steps from the store when I realized the bags felt light.
“Where’s the wine? Do you have it?” I turned to Mr. Know-it-all.
They were sitting right where I left them – on a box in the aisle where Robert had waited for me as I sought croissants.
Hey. at least we didn’t get back to the hotel before I realized the error.
I’m hoping the brain has had a lovely vacation and is now ready to return to work, where it will be lively and sharp. I wouldn’t bet on it, though.
Back at the Hotel Trianon, we sipped whiskey on the terrace, watched the Trianon sheep graze in the King’s garden and listened to screaming French children on the walkways below. MaMA, MaMA, MaMA!!
Robert made me take this picture. Really.