Where Endings Start
Paris, in winter, may seem like an odd dream to pursue.
However, we have been there in every season but winter, so why not? The images others have posted, show the “wow” of the lights and crowds along the Champs-Élysées as they ring out the old. I can’t think of a better dream (this time round) than to celebrate the start of the new year, as the old ends, in the City of Lights – Paris.
This journey began December 28, 2018 ………… with intrigue, subterfuge and a sprinkle of ‘white’ lies.
*It started in August, after we got back from our summer European holiday. For several years Brian has given Gerda a Christmas gift of a European summer travel vacation. This year he decided to float the idea of a winter trip …. we have never been to Europe from October to April. So he raised a “trial” balloon of New Years in Europe. Gerda didn’t grab on, so he became more specific – Barcelona? Rome? Amsterdam? Paris? Venice? Still no response other than, “… we won’t be able to do a summer vacation next year” . So the next question was, ” … how’s about New York? … New Orleans? … San Francisco? or Paris? This time the response was “I don’t know …. you decide” So the final question was Paris? ….. or ….. Moose Jaw? …… same response! “You decide. “
So, since Gerda was born in Moose Jaw …… Brian decided Paris was the correct response …. and so the plans began.
Central to New Years Eve celebrations appears to be the Champs Elysees – with a light show on the Arc de Triomphe and fireworks at midnight as the old year greets the new.
That determined, the next step was to find a reasonable hotel near by. A little harder than one would assume, although there were four months left before year end. Should we use our staple – the Derby Alma (which was 1 km away) – or someplace new. Probably new and closer ….. 1 km is a long way to walk at 1:00am New Years Eve day. After many reviews and comparisons, the final choice was the Belmont Champs Elysees, about 200m from the prime celebration points. That done, what to do next? Well we need to have places to explore during the rest of the trip (the other 6 days). Brian decided we’ll try the Paris Pass – not cheap but convenient (6 days of transit and access to over 50 museums & site for 2 people).
Next was the “gravy” …….. where to go for (1) New Years Eve and (2) New Years Day dinners. The first will be “Restaurant Firmine” to visit Rabar (our friendly waiter from summer 2018) …. the second will be “58 Tour Restaurant” ….. 9:30pm reservation for fine dining and view of Paris – from the 2nd floor of Eiffel Tower!
Plane, hotel, meals, vacation all booked and confirmed ……. everything ready. Now how to get Gerda to the airport and surprise her, without her finding out? Christa and the kids were informed just before Christmas; however, there was one wrinkle – we were leaving Dec 28 returning Jan 3, but the kids were leaving Dec 29 returning 4. So we decided to tell Gerda the kids were leaving Dec 28 and needed Gerda to drive them to the airport to fly to Phoenix.
The final activity was packing bags, which required another bit of subterfuge to get Gerda out of the house. The grandkids did a great job having her take them to breakfast, while Brian scurried around packing two bags.
Next task was to drop the bags off at Christa’s so she could pretend they were for their trip to Phoenix. That’s when the grandkids (who didn’t know our destination yet) informed me that Gerda kept asking when “their” plane was taking off and she proceeded to look it up on her Flight App ….. nope, there were no flights to Phoenix at 9:30 on Friday. Also their grandmother confused Gerda when she called to chat and mentioned she was ready but would finish her laundry on Dec 28 to go to Phoenix (Gerda thought they were going Dec 29). Confused? …. so am I- and I was planning everything.)
Well, all the intrigue was worth it …… The kids now have stories, pictures and video (to follow) of how surprised Gerda was when they handed her the tickets ……
and we’re off! ………..