Odds and Ends of Paris

I’m a week late with my post about Paris but I guess late is better than never. Unless you don’t enjoy this post…then it would have been better not to write it.

I have been in Spain for two months and it has been a love-hate relationship between the two of us. I went to Paris for a weekend and fell in love. Would it have been different if I were studying in France and took a weekend trip to Spain? Probably. But I didn’t want to leave Paris. A weekend was not long enough.

I’m pretty sure that Paris might be the only place that you can have a coffee and hangout with Van Gogh, Renoir, Picasso, Monet, Hemingway and many others. I watched Midnight in Paris quite a while before I left for Spain and I loved it! Obviously, I did not time travel but I felt like I did.

I know there are old cities in the world but Paris seemed to be an eclectic version of ancient and modern. You can spend days at the Palace of Versailles and pretend you’re living like the king or you can imagine what it was like to film on set with Kirsten Dunst just a few years ago.

My uncle told me he was deeply jealous of me traveling to Paris. At first, I thought it a because of his artistic nature. Why wouldn’t an artist want to travel to Paris?

Then I realized why. One of the best parts of Paris was doing nothing. The art of nothing is something I have not learned. Paris tried to teach me though.

I didn’t want to sit in a restaurant and eat. I wanted to take my food and sit anywhere in the city and watch the city go by.

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I have been to Rome and Paris now and in neither city I was with a significant other. Rome I felt like I needed to be with a loved one to enjoy most of the sights. Paris wasn’t the same. I felt like I could have been in Paris by myself, with my family, my best gals, or my boyfriend. It wouldn’t have mattered. Because no matter who you are, Paris will wow you.

Sainte-Chapelle

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I know that not everyone is a fan of Paris. How could there be one single thing in this world that every single being loves? Let’s just say I would find it very hard to understand why one may not like Paris.

Maybe those who didn’t like Paris got stuck with too many tourists (like I did in Rome) or didn’t take the AMAZING CultureFish tour like I did. (You can’t do Paris without their tour..you pay by tip only! Check them out!) Or maybe they thought French people were rude (I definitely did not…but then again I’ve grown accustomed to the people in Spain).

Yes, there were tourists. Yes, it was hotter than you know what. And yes, the language is quite difficult. But you can escape from all of those things.

My cousin and I did Rome in 2 days. It was possible. It was kind of a blur but we did it. On foot.

Paris is all over the place! Don’t want the city? Escape to the neighborhoods.

Sacre Coeur

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Van Gogh’s Home

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Of course I want to return to the city. I definitely won’t be staying in a hostel next time and I won’t have such a short time limit. And hopefully, next time I return will be with a significant other so I can finally enjoy one of the most romantic cities in the world with someone I love.

Famous Lock Bridge

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Once Upon an Airport…

While traveling within Europe, I wonder if there is as much drama in American airports. The airports I travel to within the United States are bigger, but I feel as if there is not as much action that takes place. Even when I was trying to leave St. Louis to get to Madrid and our flight to Chicago was cancelled there was no uproar or need for security to be called.

If you have been reading, then you will remember the incident in the Rome airport. Fortunately, nothing as exciting happened while traveling to Paris – Valencia.

We arrived to the Valencia airport very early in the morning, which was probably the reason for little drama. Everyone was still half asleep. There was one thing that happened…

I am not 200% fluent in Spanish and part of me feels like I never will be. BUT, I’m pretty sure I understood this incident.

There was a man and his 3 sons waiting in front of us. The three boys looked JUST like their dad so there shouldn’t have been any mistake.

WELL, the Ryanair worker asked for their passports to check tickets. The dad had a French passport and the boys had a Spanish passport. This is where my translation may get a little fuzzy…

I know the woman asked if he was their father and where the mother was. The man was a little offended and explained that she wasn’t traveling with them. I’m not exactly sure what happened after that but the woman made the dad go to the police for something. That meant he had to get out of line and leave his boys. He was not happy.

He explains that they have done this trip many times but goes anyway. He runs out of line and comes back later. Then the boys and him run out of line and come running back just in time for the plane to start boarding. I’m not sure what exactly happened…but I’m thinking that the worker was questioning the legitimacy of his relation to the boys. Did that just happen?

On our way out of Paris we ran into more little spurts. The first was an American couple arguing about who knows what in front of their kid who was busying himself with his Nintendo. The lesson I learned from them was: practice traveling with your loved one MANY times before a large trip.

While waiting in line for security there was a British family (a mom, older daughter, and her fiancĂ©/brother? Not sure…). The daughter got out of line and the brother/fiancĂ© was yelling at her that they had to get on the same plane, while the mother was yelling her name from the other side of security. It was only a tad humorous because they had super thick British accents and the mom reminded me of Mrs. Weasley.

We wait and wait and finally go outside to wait again for our plane. While walking up the stairs to our plane a little French girl got her hair stuck in an elderly man’s backpack zipper. I looked up when her Spanish grandmother yelled, “Madre mia!” The little girl kept saying ow! Because the elderly man had no idea what was going on until his wife smacked him in the arm to start walking.

Not going to lie. I was laughing my butt off. It was quite a show. How did she even manage to get her hair stuck in his backpack?

The last thing to happen was the last people to arrive were a couple and their toddler. The plane was pretty full so there weren’t three seats available that were next to each other. So instead of un-blocking seats that were empty in the front of the plane the attendants kept asking people to switch seats…still doesn’t make sense to me.

They came to my seat and asked the couple next to me if they would mind to move. The boyfriend said no because he wants his window seat. The girlfriend sat there and didn’t say anything.

What I learned: if that were my boyfriend he would have been physically abused somehow and I would have dragged him out of his seat.

The flight was only an hour and 45 minutes. At night. Where the only thing you will see out of the window is black.

Unbelievable.

The family was able to sit together after someone else gave up their seats.

What else I learned:
You cannot judge people so quickly. The flight attendants were telling the couple it was their fault they got there late. The Tour de France was happening in Paris that night. Who knows why they were late! Instead of blaming someone, just fix the dang problem.

Pretty minor compared to Rome, but just enough entertainment to keep the trip interesting.

I’ve learned to stay extremely calm while traveling. It’s not the flight attendants fault you don’t have a seat. It’s not the airline workers fault your plane hasn’t/won’t arrive. It’s not the pilot’s fault the weather is bad. It may not be the family’s fault that they were late to the airport on the night the Tour de France was happening, with a small child, with an hour and a half bus ride to the airport, AND there was only 2 security lines going in the whole terminal.

My point is:
Stay calm. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Always have a plan B. Negativity and yelling will not get you anywhere, except maybe on a longer route home in a horrible seat or in the airport’s holding cell.

Keep calm and travel on.