It's Thanksgiving Day in America and we spent the day at Chateau de Versailles. At home our families are celebrating a holiday that started because the pilgrims were thankful they had enough to eat, while in Paris, we strolled through room after room celebrating having more than you could ever use and wanting more. After listening to the stories of life in those rooms, living always in public, always with the threat of death from enemies, never a normal quiet moment to yourself, I couldn't help but be thankful for what I had: A cozy little house in the country, more friends than I can count, and the love of my family. My house will never be a national tour site, but I wouldn't trade my life for the life the royals of Versailles lived for all the 'OOH! SHINY!'s' in the world.
We did have our own expatriate Thanksgiving dinner in Paris that night with some of our tour members. Rolinka, our guide, had asked Philippe, owner of La Varangue restaurant, if he would be willing to cook us a turkey. He did us one better. He made us a special Thanksgiving dinner of Turkey Cordon Bleu, and served chocolate mousse for dessert. I might be persuaded to trade a family member or two for another piece of that dessert!
Strangers on a Train
On the train ride to Versailles, Mike and I sat next to a young woman and couldn't help noticing that she was reading a Rick Steves guidebook. We introduced ourselves, began talking about our travels, and made an instant new friend. We were so impressed by her bravery. On her own, with only a Rick Steves guidebook for a reference, she'd been traveling all over Europe for weeks. We shared stories during the train ride, introduced her to Rolinka, who was able to give her some really good advice on where to go for a good wine tasting experience, and wished each other well as we reached the end of the train line and continued on our travels.