Geraldine and I travelled to Paris last month, at the invitation of the Australian Ambassador, Brendan Berne, to be present at the opening of the William Robinson Art exhibition at the Australian embassy. Robinson is one of Australia’s finest painters, and is so highly thought of that one of his most famous paintings was used for the embassy Christmas cards. The opening was very well attended, and even the American ambassador was one of the guests.
It’s been years since we have been in Paris, and we fell in love with it once more. On the recommendation of a friend we rented an apartment for a week in the seventh arrondissement, which is only a short walk from the Eiffel Tower, and the Pont Alma, which crosses the Seine. The cost was $US2000 a week, which we thought was extremely reasonable for an apartment of this quality. We rented through Paris Perfect, a company based in America, and dealing with a few other great locations. They were absolutely spot on in every dealing we had with them, and we liked the experience so much that we re-booked the same apartment for next October. As we are going to the Walter Scott conference in Edinburgh on the same trip, we have also booked an apartment in Chelsea, through their London Perfect branch
Our Paris apartment
View from our apartment
On the way back to Brisbane from Paris we decided to divert for a week to have a look at Oman. This is a very interesting country, where Islam is the predominant religion. We found the people to be incredibly welcoming and friendly, and it gave us a great opportunity to discuss the world religions. It is worth going to Muscat just to see the mosque, which is one of the biggest the world.
We stopped at Abu Dhabi for the weekend after that and were gobsmacked at the way the place has grown. They claim the population is just 1.6 million people, but we felt we were in Singapore! The country is so wealthy that they have built their own Louvre Museum and coughed up $400 million to the Paris Louvre for the 30-year naming rights! Going to the Louvre was one of the highlights of our weekend.
My Telstra $10 a day plan worked fine in Europe and Abu Dhabi, but there was no agreement to use it in Oman. Therefore we stayed off the phone as much as possible. In Oman you can’t do Facetime either, because that is banned. My 28° MasterCard worked as well as ever, everybody took it.