Posts tagged with "vacation"

France: Day 3, Chartres

It’s been a great pace so far. No plans, no sched­ule, no goals, no stress. I did­n’t want to cram a bunch of activ­i­ties on this trip; I’d much rather take it easy and enjoy myself, so I can absorb as much of the cul­ture as pos­si­ble.

People would ask me if I was excit­ed to come here, and I could­n’t say that I was, prob­a­bly because there was­n’t any­thing spe­cif­ic I felt com­pelled to see. Sure, I’ll prob­a­bly end up vis­it­ing some of the touristy, must-see sites in Paris, but more impor­tant­ly, I want to live the life, to be a local for a while.

girl buying bread

The defin­i­tive image of France: a young girl dressed smart­ly in cha­peau and tights waves to the bak­er, who comes from around the counter to hold the door for her as she leaves the store. Of uncor­rupt­ed inno­cence, sim­ple rit­u­als, and fresh bread.

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France: Arrival

Getting here was most cer­tain­ly the most gru­el­ing trip I’ve ever tak­en. From door to door, it took me 21 hours to trav­el almost 6000km, car­ry­ing with me near­ly 90 pounds of lug­gage (which isn’t that much of a stretch from my body weight).

I was main­ly focused on mak­ing it safe­ly and with all my stuff, so tak­ing pho­tos was­n’t a pri­or­i­ty. Traveling alone is cer­tain­ly a lot more dif­fi­cult than with a com­pan­ion, because you can’t leave suit­cas­es with some­one and do some­thing quick like walk down a street to find a sign, or go to the bath­room.

talking to a pigeon

Giving a pigeon a stern talk­ing-to. Birds are brave here.

At Gare Montparnasse.

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See you in France

Got a tick­et booked for France in the Fall. Instead of stay­ing in Paris, I’m going to be liv­ing with Frédéric and Misun in the town of Chartres. That way I’ll save mon­ey on acco­mo­da­tions, since the train goes to Paris every hour, only takes an hour, and is much cheap­er than a night for a hotel there.

With three weeks booked, I know I’ll be able to go at my own pace in the city, with plen­ty of time to spend with Frédéric, Misun, and the boys too.

books on France

These three Frommer’s books came in one pack. I was hap­py to find one that focused on Paris alone.

My French com­pre­hen­sion has rust­ed to the point of being non-exis­tent, so the dic­tio­nary and phrase book seemed like a good idea too. It’s filled with hilar­i­ous pho­net­ic pro­nun­ci­a­tions, like “ehs-kuh tueh praw~ lah peel-uel” for “Est-ce que tu prends la pil­lule?” or “Are you on birth con­trol?” in the Getting Intimate sec­tion. I would­n’t be sur­prised if Paris was the only city to have this sec­tion, which includes trans­la­tions for “Harder!”, “Faster!”, “Deeper!”, and “May I come inside?” (although I sus­pect the last one isn’t exact­ly the mean­ing I’m think­ing).

Paris Moleskine

I also bought this Paris Moleskine, embossed with the city’s name on the spine. It’s over­priced for a note­book, but worth it for the con­ve­nience. Contains con­densed ver­sions of all the most use­ful infor­ma­tion, includ­ing num­bers for trans­porta­tion com­pa­nies (includ­ing air bal­loon!) and city maps.

More sta­tion­ary porn beneath the cut

Back To Life

Christmas lights

Thumbnail: Present wrapping paper
Thumbnail: Cat under Christmas tree
Thumbnail: Scented infuser sticks
Thumbnail: Blue-pink gradient
Thumbnail: Powdered candy

The hol­i­days are over. I sus­pect that I’ve eat­en more choco­late over the last two weeks than ever in my life.

The two New Year’s par­ties were great, although I missed see­ing Rob at Aaron’s. I did get a New Year’s kiss though, some­thing I nor­mal­ly feel awk­ward about when the cou­ples are all par­tak­ing and I hide behind my cam­era.

The holes in my ceil­ings have yet to be fixed, and it makes me cringe every time I walk into my bed­room or bath­room, so I spent all my time in the liv­ing room. Every day, I’d wake up, eat, play games, watch movies, then fall back asleep there.

On occa­sion, I’d vis­it friends or see a movie, if only for the sake of get­ting out. Some nights, I’d open the blinds and let the burn­ing sky pour in, just so I could know that there was some­thing out there out­side of my lit­tle micro­cosm.

I’m glad to be back to life. I was feel­ing so lack­adaisi­cal and dis­con­nect­ed, drift­ing aim­less­ly with­out any rea­son or pur­pose. In a strange way, I feel recharged, if only because I had two weeks with­out a reg­u­lar sched­ule.

Going Home

Bike in snow

I’m going home today. It’s been a great trip. Just one more stop for lunch with an old boss before I make the dri­ve back to Ottawa.

Cracking pole

I miss sleep­ing in my own bed. It’s been a dif­fer­ent bed almost every night. But the trip was also filled with good peo­ple. People who are tru­ly touch­ing. And cats.

Bike in snow

I’m not feel­ing as over­stim­u­lat­ed as I expect­ed. Maybe I’ve been too busy for it to sink in.

I’ll be leav­ing in the ear­ly after­noon to catch the sun­set in the 250km stretch along the 401.