9.17.2012

Table for one s'il vous plaît




When you're searching for a way to visit your friends in the Netherlands, and you subsequently stumble upon $30 flights to Paris, you GO.  You go, and you eat macaroons, explore the Louvre, drink too many espressos, get 'escorted' out of the Moulin Rouge for being under dressed, escape the rain on a boat cruise, fall asleep on said boat cruise, drink more espressos, stop at every cafe along your route, order steak tartar in a dodgy restaurant, and watch the Eiffel tower 'twinkle' at midnight.  You'll try to be Parisian, rent a bike, (stuffing the basket with bread and cheese), and immediately regret your decision, completely lost weaving in and out of traffic like a crazy person on two wheels.  Stick to shopping silly tourist!



Katelyn and mom, please note the four ladies enjoying a midday Zumba session with a view of the Eiffel tower.

The Paris metro is mind blowing, and you will spend most evenings with your eyes glued to a map. But then you catch a glimpse of the advertisement below and can instantly feel the breeze at Crooked lake, sitting wrapped in the hammock enjoying the latest Harlan Coben.

And the only downside to traveling solo... asking strangers to take what turn out to be the most awkward photos ever.  Case in point:

Paris is a city of indulgences.  So much delicious food.  And wine.  And bread. I enjoyed visit with neighboring tables. I did not enjoy inhaling second hand smoke from every single neighboring table.

While wandering the streets on day two I smelt pizza and could walk no further.  I sat down in a cafe on the infamous Champs D'Elyss, and next to me was the sweetest little lady from Edmonton.  At 82 years old Elvira was traveling to Paris to visit a friend.  We enjoyed wine and pizza together, an entertaining afternoon sharing more personal information than you should likely divulge to a complete stranger.  And then, much to everyone's surprise, that sweet little lady, dined and dashed.  I laughed right out loud when I realized, and watched the cute Parisian waters with their bow ties, vests, and black pants scrambling about, running down the street hunting for lil' old Elvira. Where did you go?  You are sly my friend, you are sly... I hope you ordered cheap wine!
The crowds swarming the Mona Lisa are arguably more entertaining than the painting itself....
And when you visit the Louvre alone, you get the audio tour.  If for no other reason to find the exit after your three hour visit.  Worth every penny.
For some people, the idea of happiness includes waiting in a 20 person line outside a bakery, as skinny mini Parisians bustle down the street munching on a baguette, after quickly finding a quiet bench to enjoy your baguette, vino, and new book.  For these people, Paris it the happiest place on earth...

Paris,  I will be back.  If for no other reason, than to overdose in bakeries once again.
Lessons learned: Do not pack your favorite pieces of clothing when traveling.  Do not become attached to the new dress and ballet flats you purchase in Paris.  Your bags can, and will be stolen.  But you will not be phased, because you are still enjoying your bread induced coma.

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