Tuesday, October 23, 2012

In an Old House in Paris...


I am about three weeks behind in my blog. Woops. As I've said before, that means I'm just living the life here. Let's put it this way, three weekends in a row I have had the best weekend of my life. I don't really know what to do with myself anymore. Every once in awhile I'll stop and remind myself just how lucky I am to have gotten this opportunity...and then I'll thank my mother. Because this was her idea in the first place.

I spent October 5-7 in Paris. My friend from frisbee, Casey, is studying there for the year. She was kind enough to let me stay with her and she acted as my personal tour guide. I might still be lost in Paris right now if it wasn't for her help.

Oct. 5
My trip to Paris had a wonderful start. There was a bus strike. Again. I really need to do a post about the strikes, because they have a huge affect on my everyday life here. Anywho, sweating profusely, trying to hold back tears, I walked to the metro, which is kind of far away from where I live. I was over reacting, by the way. Little did I know, I had plenty of time. I could have walked to the airport and still have made it. But I'd never made my way to the airport before, so I had no idea whether or not I was gonna make it. I made it to the metro stop, hopped on the bus that would take me to the airport and almost started crying in relief. I had made it! I was going to Paris! I got to the airport, and proceeded to wait for about 3 hours for my flight. I was that early. Yep, my almost tears were unnecessary.
Casey hadn't been feeling well that day, so she had given me directions on how to get to her apartment. I still can't tell you how I made it there. I ran into an airport employee who pointed me in the direction of a train that would take me to another train, that train took me to a tram, I bought tickets and then switched from the tram to the metro. Writing it out makes it sound way less complicated, but believe me, after this, I know I can make my way through any city. Also, I managed to do this without knowing a word of French. Let me mention how annoying that was, I had spent the last month working my butt off to master a new language and once I set foot in Paris, none of that mattered. I was back at square one. So, I made it to Casey's, took a well-deserved power nap and then we made our way to see the Eiffel Tower at night. The best way to see it, so I was told. When we rounded the corner and I saw the Eiffel Tower all lit up, I did a little jump and exclaimed "I'm in Paris!". I don't think I realized how happy I was to be there until that moment. Paris is this iconic, American dream, and I had made it. Also, I had visited yet another Mary-Kate and Ashley movie destination. I'm not even embarrassed to admit that that thought crossed my mind multiple times. We walked around the Eiffel Tower for a bit and then, like proper Parisians, we sat down on the grass and drank a little. Wanna hear the craziest part? We happened to choose a spot right by Jenna and Kayla, two girls from my program who also happened to be in Paris that weekend. CRAZY. So we watched the Eiffel tower light up all pretty (it does that every hour after sun down) and went our separate ways.
Casey took me over to Irish house, where a lot of her friends live (they're Irish btw, in case the name of the house didn't make that clear) and we hung out there for a bit. Then we went out and bought crepes. I had a banana and Nutella one the size of my face.
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Oct 6
I was a beast of a tourist. Casey kept commenting on how much we were accomplishing and I just kept telling her that my mother taught me everything I know about being a tourist. I haven't forgotten those family vacations where Emmie and I would be cranky and dragging our feet and mom would give us a little bit of food and squeeze a little more site seeing out of the day. 
We started with brunch at Eggs & Co. I had the best meal of my entire life. I have no idea what it's called, but there's a picture of it below. It was salad, potatoes, eggs, goat cheese and spinach goodness. After that we went to Notre Dame and the Seine river. I snapped some pictures, we walked through the gardens and then we were on our way. Next stop, the Louvre. We took some pictures and then it started to rain. We quickly made our way through the Tuilerie Gardens and looked for some cover. Next to get crossed off the list, Sacré Coeur. I included a link because it's a really interesting place with lots of fun facts. It's a shame we weren't allowed to take pictures inside, because it's beautiful. I did notice the completely shameless and in-your-face solicitation for donations. I felt like every step I took in there I ran into another huge sign saying how it was a non-profit place and needed my donation. I understand the need for donation, but boy, was this super commercialized. After a quick rest, where we listened to a particularly talented street singer, we made our way to the final destination: Arc de Triomphe. We even got to go up inside and to the top. So. Many. Stairs. I did not know that was going to be a thing. We ended our incredibly successful tourist outing by walking down Champs de Elysee. I even bought my first big girl watch from Swatch. 
Saturday was Nuit Blanche. Basically, that means that museums are open later and a free. There are also some cool art installations around the city. We met up with Casey's Irish friends, celebrated a little and headed out. The thing is, we thought stuff would be open much later. But with the rain and the huge crowds at the museums, we didn't get to see much. So we hung out around the Louvre and then headed home. 
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Oct 7
I slept in and then made my way back to the airport. All in all, I couldn't have asked for a better weekend. Casey was the perfect host and I got to fulfill yet another childhood dream. 

So that was my first of three best weekends ever. I'll leave you with a macaroon the size of my face.
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