on the way, we stopped in Brussels and just generally wandered our way from the central train station to the south one (where we'd meet our connection). we bumped into and explored churches, went through a park with this lovely fountain, and checked out the palace. i think the best part was all of a sudden coming across the huge escarpment that divided one part of the city from another - what a wonderful view of the city!
and then Paris. we stayed in Montmartre area and every morning i walked
around for at least an hour. it was delightful to get a feel for at least a part of Paris - i think i got to walk up the hill to Sacre Coeur almost every day :)
the view from Sacre Coeur in the morning
we took the bus downtown a couple of the days (even managing to go by the Arc de Triomph because the Tour de France had blocked the bus's usual route!). the view of Montmartre from the Eiffel Tower
and then on Tuesday, we wandered around a bit closer to home, visiting the Montmartre Cemetary.
as much as it was lovely to go away, it was also good to come home again and return to the regular routine of life in community and working on my dissertation (my life has been rather out of routine lately with travelling and the retreat and visitors). and the cat i'd been looking after was also glad that i was home - or at least thrilled to have people around again, so she can be asked to be petted in the middle of the night and hang out in our suitcases :)