I don't remember if I mentioned earlier, but one of the things that people always ask me when they find out about the trip is which place was my favorite. It's usually a really difficult question for me to answer because I loved each city I visited in its own unique way. But Paris.. Paris is the city that I daydream about going back to. This was the city of sidewalk cafes, cobblestone streets, buildings that made your neck sore from looking up so much, terrifying roundabouts, and hundreds of year old churches. But most people already would know that even before going. I think the best part is that coming to Paris truly turned my infatuation into true love.
Again, my original impressions of Paris worried me, and I questioned how much I would really like the city. We took a 10 hour bus ride through Belgium and arrived at a small, dirty train station at 6am with only one worker, whose only English was to explain that she didn't speak English. My first 2 hours in the city were spent waiting for a McDonald's to open, so we could use some wifi and find some directions. Eventually though, we were finally on a train to our hostel and things were exponentially better from there.
Again, we only stayed in Paris for 3 nights, but were able to get a lot done.
Day 1: Finding the hostel, visited the Moulin Rouge, Sacre-Coeur, Arc de Triomphe, and the Eiffel Tower.
Day 2: The Louvre. Go there and you'll understand why that was our only stop. Also stayed with our couchsurfing host who fed us our first typical "French" meal.
Day 3: Versailles, Notre Dame, Seine River, Bastille
My experience there with Rachel consisted of a lot of sidewalk crepes, jumping turnstiles, gawking at the amazing, well-fitted suits that the men wore, incredibly cramped Metros at 5pm, drunk men who liked to flirt, and lots of giggling (What can I say?) The only thing I wish we had time to do was take a river cruise along the Seine on her last day, but we were still really happy with our experience. This trip made me re-think just jumping on a plane and going to a country whose language I only know three words of. But it definitely pushed me out of my safe little bubble that only really knew of suburban southern California cities and the wilderness. Waking up to coyotes howling at 2am while camping alongside a meadow I knew I could handle, but taking public transportation alone with only a map and no phone was a different story. I honestly still think of myself as a child at times, but this trip was a much needed step towards growing up.
More random European posts to come!