Day #140 in lockdown Mumbai, India hotel...More photos from Paris in 2014...Le Louvre, a memorable visit...

Note: To all of our rea
Purse free, with empty pockets, it felt great not to be bulked up when Tom carried our cloth bag with the few items we needed.  I was standing behind the entrance gate to the Louvre.
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Today's photos are from the post from August 11, 2014, while in Paris, France. See the link here for more photos.
On our way to Le Louvre, we drove through the tunnel where Princess Diana was killed on August 31, 1997.
We have yet to hear anything from FedEx about receiving the envelope they are holding in New Delhi containing our credit card when recently the card was used fraudulently and had to be replaced.
The entrance to the Louvre with the Grand Roue de Paris Ferris wheel in the background.
After sending FEDEX India an email, we wait to see what will transpire. There's nothing more we can do. The cost to be on hold for an extended period on our phone or the hotel room phone is prohibitive. Also, when we did so, we were cut off after 20 minutes and told to try again later or use the website for assistance. 
We were grateful for our "avoid the lines" tickets where we were able to enter in a matter of minutes as opposed to waiting in line for what could have been hours.
We did exactly that and now await a response which may or may not arrive for days to come, if not weeks. Businesses in India have slowed to a snail's pace due to the extensive COVID-19 lockdown and lack of support staff actually working.
There were many ways one can make their way through the enormous museum.
As far as international flights are concerned, the only outgoing flights at this time are for repatriation purposes or to a few countries such as the UK, where we aren't interested in visiting at this point.
The vast size of Le Louvre is difficult to fathom.
From this article posted yesterday:
"International travel from India
The international flight operations have not resumed yet. The Bureau of Immigration has announced that all existing visas shall remain suspended till the prohibition on international travel of passengers from/to India is lifted by the Government of India. As of now, international flight operations shall remain suspended till 31 August 2020."
It took a few moments for Tom to figure out where we were to enter to avoid the line. In minutes we were on our way and indeed had no wait at all.
We continue to wait, as patiently as possible for more news, which we check daily from several sources, including local TV news. In the interim, we can't go anywhere until we receive the two packages from FedEx. We're expecting the packages to arrive long before we're able to leave here. 
We entered the Louis XIV and Louis XVI areas.  The crowds were just beginning to accumulate.
On another note, today's photos are from our visit on this date in 2014 to Le Louvre in Paris, the world's most famous museum. It was extraordinary to see the artworks of many historical and modern artists throughout the centuries that have drawn visitors from all over the world. 
We chose to stop and enjoy the paintings that appealed to us.
The painting of high acclaim, the Mona Lisa, was the most surprising when it was very small compared to our previous perception. Of course, it was the most difficult of all the works of art to photograph with literally hundreds of visitors crowding in front of the famous piece.
The Mona Lisa was encased in thick glass with lots of heads and cameras in the way of taking photos. It was challenging if not impossible to manage a good photo through the glass nor through the crowd. We chose not to wait for a better opening.
Thank goodness, I'm tall or I'd never have been able to take the photos we share here today. They are blurry due to the distance from which I took the photos plus I had to "wing it," unable to focus, when I simply held the camera high over the heads of the people in front of me and clicked the shutter.
Taken from an angle, this was the best I could do. Tom was steering me from behind to move me forward into the crowd but I quickly tired of that tactic and cleared the crowd in order to move along.
Many others were easier to shoot but the entire experience was hampered by the excessive numbers of tourists clamoring about, all of us striving for a few good photos of the most recognizable pieces.
The ceilings continued to be breathtaking throughout the museum.
We didn't stay as long as I would have liked, but the crowded space made staying for an extended period stressful and inconvenient. It was difficult to navigate from one room to another. 
We wondered if there will be art from our era that will hold such interest to the public in centuries to come.
In any case, amid all the congestion, it was a memorable experience, one shouldn't miss when visiting Paris. Please bear with my less than clear photos when focusing the lens was often impossible with tourists bumping into me while I attempted to steady myself.
The femininity of the era by Leonard de Vinci.
Finally, we grabbed a taxi to return us to our hotel where we dressed for the evening to head out to yet another dinner in Paris. We'll be back tomorrow with more photos from Le Louvre.
Not only are the artifacts amazing but, the rooms into which they are housed are equally amazing.
There are a few dozen more photos at our old post here. More photos will follow tomorrow. Enjoy your day! Stay safe!
Photo from one year ago today, August 11, 2019:
In Amsterdam, during our to-night stay...A menu of marijuana and other such products are available for sale to any adults who so desire to partake. We happened to walk down an alley to run into people smoking pot outside at the cafe.  From this site: "Cannabis has been available for recreational use in coffee shops since 1976. Cannabis products are only sold openly in certain local "coffeeshops" and possession of up to 5 grams for personal use is decriminalized, however, the police may still confiscate it, which often happens in car checks near the border.[citation needed] Other types of sales and transportation are not permitted, although the general approach toward cannabis was lenient even before official decriminalization." For more, please click here.

Day #140 in lockdown Mumbai, India hotel...More photos from Paris in 2014...The continuation of the river cruise...

Our second Eiffel Tower nighttime light show after our dinner cruise on the River Seine.
Note: To all of our readers visiting our site via a smartphone, please click the "View web version" tab under the word, "Home" at the bottom of the page to access the web version enabling you to access all of our archives on the right side of the page. We'll be updating our site shortly, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you. 
Today's photos are from the post from August 10, 2014, while in Paris, France. See the link here for more photos.
The Assemblee Nationale, the French National Assembly. The interior of many of these buildings is worth seeing by clicking on the links included here.
Today was a late start in working on the post. After not getting out of bed until 8:30 am and out the door for my first walk until almost 9:00 am, not returning until 20 minutes later, our breakfast had arrived.

After breakfast, I'd promised myself I'd get hold of FedEx to find out the status of the overnight letter containing our replacement credit card after it was discovered to be used fraudulently. 
The Palais de Justice, the French Palace of Justice.
Also, I wanted to check on our package of supplies which hasn't been moving at FedEx for days, stuck in customs. I started calling several phone FedEx numbers I found online, but couldn't get through on any of them using Skype.

Apparently, I was unable to use Skype to call India, while in India, even using my VPN. Frustrated, I tried using the expensive room phone, but there again I was on hold for so long, I finally gave up.

The scenery along the river was enhanced by the reflection of lights.
Then, I used my cell phone to call which also is pricey, but after 20 minutes on hold, I gave up figuring the best method was to email an inquiry when after entering the tracking number, a message popped up that said:

"A specialized statement is required for clearance from the recipient. Call FedEx."

Tom's photos of me are always blurry to some extent. That explains why I take most of the photos.
Frustration was setting in and finally, I sent an email after finding a good email address for customer service in India. I sent a clear and concise email outlining exactly what had transpired, requesting they email me the specified form so I can complete the delivery requirement.

In that same email, I also inquired about our package that has been sitting in customs for the past week and what they needed from us at this point. No reference had been made as to the customs fees which we normally could pay online, most likely since they'd yet to inspect the contents. Who knows how long it will be until that process is completed?

We were nearing the end of the cruise when I took this outdoor photo of Tom.
Most likely, these delays are a result of COVID-19. When I called a few of the online FedEx India phone numbers, people answered with TV sounds in the background, causing me to assume some of their employees were working from home. Calling became totally pointless with no response.

We'll see how it rolls out. I can only hope they'll reply to the email. Last month I sent an email asking if they were servicing this postal code in India and received a positive response a few days later. Hopefully, they'll be as timely in their response to today's inquiry.
The moon peeking out of a cloudy sky, the green lights, the reflections on the water...nice.
Now, well after 12:30 pm, I'm still working on today's post, hoping to upload it in the next hour in order to return to my usual daily routine. Yesterday, we signed up for CBS All Access (first month free) to stream the newest Big Brother All Stars series, which is definitely mindless drivel, but nonetheless, entertaining and also, the latest Survivor series, again an entertaining distraction.

On another note, our friends, Lea Ann and Chuck, a lovely couple whom we met on a cruise in April 2017, from Sydney to Seattle who began traveling the world, at times, asking us for suggestions and sources we've used, wrote that they are ending their world travels in light of COVID-19.
We loved this shot of the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty.
They've purchased a home in Florida and will stay put, traveling from time to time as the world situation allows. One might think this might have inspired us to do the same. But, until we get out there again, flying, booking holiday homes, and living in other countries, we have no idea what the future holds in regards to continuing to travel. 
This was my veal filet. I don't usually eat veal. However in Paris, one must try new things. I was served a delicious plate of less common sautéed vegetables.
Certainly, the option of living in three or four different countries (depending on visas) may continue to be an option for us in the future. Being unable to cruise may certainly have an impact on our options going forward. 
My lovely dessert, two creamy French cheeses.
In some ways, it might make our travels easier when we're not manipulating our schedule to comply with cruise embarkation and debarkation locations. 
Tom's dessert #1, a strawberry mousse. The pink appearance is due to the red LED lights in the boat after dark.
We can only guess at this point. And, right now, our priority is when and how we'll be able to leave India when borders open here and in another country that we're allowed to visit in the future.
Tom's dessert #2, a layered chocolate torte embellished with a strand of delicious French chocolate.
Have a fulfilling and safe day!
Photo from one year ago today, August 10, 2019:
We'd wished we could have posted the identity of all of these amazing highlights in Amsterdam. But, it wasn't possible as the boat moved along quickly. It rained off and on but we were grateful for what we were able to see. For more photos, please click here.

Day #139 in lockdown Mumbai, India hotel...More photos from Paris in 2014...Gourmet dinner cruise on the River Seine...

Tom was carrying his dress shoes in a bag when the dress code on the dinner cruise stipulated no sports shoes were allowed. However, on a rainy night, they made exceptions when most of the passengers were wearing sport shoes.
Note: To all of our readers visiting our site via a smartphone, please click the "View web version" tab under the word, "Home" at the bottom of the page to access the web version enabling you to access all of our archives on the right side of the page. We'll be updating our site shortly, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you. 
Today's photos are from the post from August 9, 2014, while in Paris, France. See the link here for more photos.
As we walked down a few flights of stairs to the boardwalk along the River Seine, searching for the dinner cruise boat we'd booked, the Bataueux Parisiennes.
Today, we're sharing photos from Part 1 of our exquisite dinner cruise on the River Seine six years ago. Tomorrow, we'll share photos from Part 2 of the dinner cruise with more photos. 
As soon as we were seated, we were served these little French pastries and champagne. I didn't try the buns but took a few sips of the delicious champagne. Tom ate all four of these pastries plus three of the white buns. 
Our story for the first of the two posts may be found here and thus, I won't reiterate what transpired on that delightful, although rainy night in Paris. Due to the rain, the majority of our photos were taken through the tinted glass of the windows on the boat let alone at dusk and finally in the dark. We did our best.
Dark clouds were looming over the city for days as it rained heavily off and on. 
Instead, I can't help but focus on the "year ago photo" at the bottom of today's post, taken on our first of two days and nights we spent in Amsterdam, The Netherlands while we awaited a much-anticipated cruise Baltic cruise, we'd longed to experience for years.
Most of the photos shown here today and tomorrow were taken through the blue glass dining enclosure on the boat. 
Once we arrived in Amsterdam, flying from Dublin after a three-month stay, we found ourselves in a lovely boutique hotel overlooking a canal, we were in awe and overtaken by the beauty and uniqueness of this special city. 
We passed under one of many ornamental bridges.
Chomping at the bit to get outside and walk the narrow sidewalks and streets, a wave of disappointment washed over me as I faced the reality of my situation. It had been almost six months since my open heart surgery and I could barely walk more than a few meters without feeling a need to stop and rest.
This foie gras appetizer was amazing. I savored every morsel along with the single perfectly cooked cold asparagus spear, lying atop a line of what tasted to be an anchovy paste.
Having been on many heart-related drugs with serious side effects, including the FDA's designated  "black box" drug Amiodarone and two others, my legs just didn't work well enough for me to embark on long walks. 
Tom's appetizer of grilled prawns and vegetables. He doesn't normally care for shrimp. After sharing a few prawns with me, he said, "There was nothing offensive about this." Nice.
By the time, we reached Amsterdam, I had weaned off all of the drugs, but was left with weakness and leg pain exacerbated by walking which I still suffer from today, along with cardiovascular disease which also contributes to leg pain when standing or walking for long periods.
Some of the spires of Notre Dame.
Subsequently, my memories of Amsterdam, center around the struggle to walk when there was no other way to get around the city than on foot or by boat. Not one to complain, I forged ahead while Tom patiently waited every five minutes or less for me to rest long enough to continue on.
As the boat continued on the River Seine. The 2½ hour cruise eventually turned around to go back the way we'd come enabling us to see the other side.
In any case, we saw a lot in those two days, probably not a lot less than we would have under better circumstances. While walking during those few days, my mind was filled with concern over how I'd walk when we were scheduled for several walking tours at various ports of call during the upcoming cruise.
At this point, we were nearing the turnaround spot.
We'd signed up for a few small group tours before the heart surgery and we were committed to our share of the costs. All we could do is forge ahead to the best of my ability. I refused to cancel it all.
There were many dinner cruise boats on the River Seine for considerably lower prices, as low as US $51, EU $39 per person which were less luxurious with standard fare. We'd researched extensively to decide on the Bateaux Parisiennes which was highly rated on various websites.
As it turned out, we only had to cancel one of the two-day tours in St. Petersburg. There was no way I could keep up with the group on a second all-day walking tour. This was very disappointing, not only in losing the money, which was non-refundable but also missing the second day. 
There were many day tour boats along the river.
I felt bad for Tom when he had so much anticipated this particular cruise, but he never complained or seemed frustrated with me. Instead, he held me up during the long walks on each tour, as I hung onto his arm. 
The sight of all the well lit boats on the river at night was captivating.
Somehow, we made it through the remaining ports of call on that cruise resulting in many wonderful experiences and photos along the way. It's hard to believe it was only one year ago. I still struggle to walk without pain, but my current 5 miles, 8 km, daily walks have definitely been instrumental in improving my ability to walk for longer distances.
Tom was certainly enjoying the included two bottles of wine plus two glasses of champagne served when we were seated.  He prefers the white over the red.
No matter where we end up after we leave India, I will continue to walk, if safe outdoors and if not, indoors. If I walk every hour for 12 minutes each, by the end of any day, I could manage to get in the necessary steps to maintain this current goal.
Photo from one year ago today, August 9, 2019:
Arriving in Amsterdam for a two-night stay before our upcoming cruise, we looked forward to a boat ride on the canals. For more, please click here.

Day #138 in lockdown Mumbai, India hotel...More photos from Paris in 2014...Part 2 of the Palace of Versailles!!...

The famous Hall of Mirrors. This project was carried out by architect Jules Hardouin-Mansart and painter Charles Le Brun between 1678 and 1686.
Note: To all of our readers visiting our site via a smartphone, please click the "View web version" tab under the word, "Home" at the bottom of the page to access the web version enabling you to access all of our archives on the right side of the page. We'll be updating our site shortly, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you. 
Today's photos are from the post from August 8, 2014, while in Paris, France. See the link here for more photos.
Stunning artwork is found on almost every wall in the palace.
News is distressing: the explosion in Beirut; the Air India plane crash in Kerala, India; the ongoing increase in cases of COVID-19 throughout the world, all resulting in horrific loss of life, livelihood, and a sense of well-being can easily spin any of us into a flurry of worry and concern.
This is a statue of Marie Antoinette who lived in the famous palace with her children.
This morning, dear friend Kathy (and Don), currently at their home in Oahu, Hawaii texted that the island is going back into extreme lockdown after an increase in cases when only weeks ago their numbers had been dwindling almost down to zero.
In the 40 years it took to build Versailles, thousands of workers were employed to participate in the process. Louis XIV not only lived in the palace but was instrumental in its massive renovation. 
Their previous relaxed lockdown has ended that allowed outdoor exercise and activities along with some restaurant dining has now resulted in a rapid increase in cases. As of today, they are in a full lockdown until the end of the month.
This portrait of Louis XIV.
This has been the case all over the world as more and more reduced lockdown measures have precipitated increases in cases and subsequent loss of life. There's no easy answer. It all boils down to personal responsibility and caring for our fellow humans.
It was challenging to aim the camera toward the ceilings when there wasn't enough elbow room for properly aiming the camera.
In our old lives, before COVID-19, if we developed a serious cold or virus, we wouldn't go to work, to public places or spend time with friends and family. That is to say, most of us wouldn't, preferring not to infect others. 
We believe this portrait is Louis XIV when he was young.
Why would this virus cause any less concern when it fact, based on its easy transfer from one person to another, you'd think one would tend to exercise even more caution. So, we'd think. 
Louis XIV had this statue made of himself dressed as a Roman Emperor to enhance his image.  He was of a short stature and wore tall wigs in order to enhance the appearance of his height.  Others in his court were forbidden to wear a wig as tall as his.
Well, you've heard enough about this today and much more over the past many months, from us, from the news and from friends, family and neighbors. We are all in the same spot, unable to predict what the future holds and how we can best protect ourselves and our loved ones, especially amid varying opinions from medical professionals.
King's chamber and bed in the King's apartment.
On another matter...our photos today are those taken from our post on this date, August 8, 2014 at this link. With more photos than we can post, we've selected a handful of our favorites from the interior of the Palace of Versailles in Paris, France. If you'd like to peruse the balance, please click the above link.
There were many photo taking tourists in the Hall of Mirrors.
As for today, not much is different than yesterday and the prior days. We're healthy, safe and relatively content considering these ongoing unusual circumstances.
The Queen's bed.
Stay safe, stay healthy and stay diligent.

Photo from one year ago today, August 8, 2019:
Our final photo from Ireland posted on our last day. Goodbye, Ireland. Thanks for welcoming us and for being so beautiful! For more, please click here.