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.
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.
Continue reading “France: Day 3, Chartres”…
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.
Giving a pigeon a stern talking-to. Birds are brave here.
At Gare Montparnasse.
Continue reading “France: Arrival”…
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.
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).
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
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.
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.
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.
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.