Listen to my heart, can you hear it sing?

Trip Start Dec 17, 2010
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Trip End Apr 26, 2011


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Flag of France  , Île-de-France,
Thursday, April 7, 2011

2 Avril 2011

Woke up sick sick sick. Think it might be pneumonia and bronchitis again.  No!!!!  Today begins my 3 week backpack tour of Europe.  Last meal in Spain: churros y chocolate with Matt.  Then to the airport.  Alicante has a new airport since I went to Madrid 3 weeks ago.  We (From now on, "we" means Felicia and I.  She's my only travel companion for these 3 weeks) waited in the wrong line for 20 minutes, got our boarding pass stamped.  Off to Paris!!!

The flight was lovely.  Over the Mediterranean along the coast for a while and then over the Pyrenees.Snow!!  Landed in Paris (or at least what Ryanair considers to be close enough) after 2 hours.  They didn’t stamp our passports :(  Then took a bus to the city.  It’s a beautiful bus ride.  France is so green. 

The weather was great.  We got to the hostel and checked in and then did some grocery shopping. Afterwards, we had some time to walk around to get our bearings.  Basically, in Paris, you just have to figure out how to get to the Seine and then follow it.  You see all of the good stuff that way.  We found the Notre Dame and the Louvre. 

Dinner was just cheese and bread and fruit and then we went to bed early.

3 Avril 2011

Even sicker today than yesterday.  I think I might have strep now.  My throat has never hurt this bad in my life and I can’t catch my breath.

The weather isn’t as good either.  Cloudy and some rain.  We decided it was a perfect museum day.  We went back to the Louvre.  Surprise!!! It was free today.  I don’t think I’ve ever been in a building that big in my life.  I guess the most famous things I saw were Venus de Milo and Mona Lisa, but I don’t get what makes them so special compared to the other things in there that were equally impressive.  I’m glad that it’s become commonly accepted that they’re the best, because otherwise I would have been so overwhelmed and I wouldn’t have known where to start.  My other favorite part was Napoleon III’s apartment.  I wouldn’t mind living there.

Our hostel had lock out until 4 pm, so we had some time to kill.  We walked around until we saw Arc de Triomphe.  It looked close, so we decided to go check it out.  It was not close, just big.  Took us almost 40 minutes to get there.  It was cool though.  If the weather had been nicer, I would have paid to climb to the top, but I was dubious that the views would be worth it because of the rain.

We came back to the hostel for a nap and then went to McDonald’s for dinner and WiFi.  It felt very Spanish to be sleeping in the afternoon. 

 4 Avril 2011

Ear infection- lovely addition.  Medicating with ibuprofen, water, and sleep. 

We took the free tour today.  In Spanish again.  Our tour guide was Argentinean and looked like Michael Jackson.  I think I like South American Spanish a little better.  Fijense instead of fijaos (look/focus/notice command form) is prettier at least and that’s the word that tour guides use most.

The tour ended near a café that had deals for tour groups, so we had some real French food.  Quiche and sandwiches.   Then we walked to the Eiffel Tower for pictures, but again didn’t pay to climb up.  We just like free things better

The plan was to take the metro back to the hostel, but we just started walking and didn’t stop.  Felicia says I’m trying to wear her out like a child so that I can sleep more.  The walk back took more than an hour and we were indeed very sleepy by the end of it.  We decided to lay down for a little bit and then go out, but we slept until it was almost midnight, so we just decided to make it a 15 hour nap.  We’re both so tired.  Part of it is definitely me being sick, but I really think that it’s also some nicotine withdrawal.  They smoke a lot less in Paris than in Alicante, so I think I’m missing my daily dose of second hand smoke.  

5 Avril 2011

 Today we took a day trip to Versailles.  I can’t say that I know any of the historical significance of the place except that “treaty of Versailles” kind of rings a bell and there were signs for Marie Antoinette’s rooms, so I guess she lived there.  Either way, It was a super nice place.  I’d live there too.

I couldn’t believe how many people were there on a Tuesday.  Lots of school groups, but tons of tourists too.  We sweet talked our way into getting in free (yes we do have visas that say we are long term residents of the EU, no we do not have them with us.  Make an exception?  Merci beucoup).

The inside was really nice, but maybe not 15 euro worth of nice.  And it was really crowded.   Overall, I’d suggest it if you’re a little richer me and definitely don’t miss it if you’re a student in Europe at some point in your life.

Most days, the gardens outside of Versailles are free, but on Tuesdays, they have fountain shows, so we had to pay 6 euros for that, overall not too bad for a full day at Versailles.  The gardens were huge and so pretty.  If I had to choose to live in the palace or have the gardens, I think I’d go with the gardens.  Tons of ponds and sculptures and flowers.  We had a little picnic of fruit, bread, and cheese by one of the ponds.  Then we fed some ducks and swans and saw an absolutely enormous fish. 

After we left the palace, we walked around the village for a little bit before taking the train back to Paris.  We rested up in the hostel and then I tried to find a fabric store.  My plan is to find fabric in every country I visit.  I couldn’t find the one that I looked up online, so I might just have to give up on this plan and come up with different souvenirs from each place.

I’m feeling much better today, but still super tired considering I slept 15 hours last night.  I’m so far impressed with my ability to stretch money.  We’ll see what a diet of fruit, bread, nutella, honey, cheese, and McDonald’s does to me.  My first tip for living out of a backpack for 3 weeks: take socks and underwear in the shower with you.  Shampoo=laundry detergent.

6 Avril 2011

Today was the best weather of the trip.  Almost too hot.  I’m feeling better, but I think Felicia caught what I had.  Therefore, we decided to go out for her favorite sick day food – Pho, Vietnamese noodle soup.  It was the spicyest thing I’ve had since I came to Europe.  So great.  I love it when food hurts a little.  After pho, I was pretty sure that I would never be hungry again.  

Our excursion for the day was to Montmartre, the artsy district of the city.  We got off the train and immediately saw an ad for a fabric store, Reine.  We went to the street where the store was supposed to be, and turns out that the whole street is nothing but fabric stores.  I bought something at Reine.  Then we climbed up the hill to the Basilica Sacre Coeur, the most recognizable feature of Montmartre.  There was a guy playing guitar and singing on the stairs, so we sat and listened for an hour or so.  He knew so many songs.  Every time somebody called out a song for him to play, he could do it.  At one point during the show, two men walked down the stairs in military uniforms holding machine guns.  It was the second time that we’d seen something like that in Paris.  Can’t imagine that being ok in America. 

After the show, we walked to the red light district.  Shocking.  We took some pictures at the Moulin Rouge.  Turns out dinner and show there is 130 euros.  I would have to be taken up to the elephant for money like that.  Then we got a Java Chip Frapuccino to split, mostly so we could use the Starbucks bathroom.  

We walked some more and came across a huge and awesome cemetery.  Morbidly beautiful.  I wouldn’t mind my body spending eternity in some of those mausoleums.  Is that what they’re called?  We walked around the cemetery and then went back to the church.  We laid down in the grass and bought beer from some guy, again something I couldn’t imagine in America.  Then we stopped by McDonald’s, again for the bathroom, and then walked around for a while looking for cake and wine.

After our last night in Madrid, Felicia and I decided to make a tradition of having chocolate cake and wine on the last day in every city we visit.  This time, we bought a bottle of port and some slices of cake and had a night time picnic by the river.  Lovely way to say au revoir to Paris.

Another update in 6 days or so.  Not saying where I’m going, mostly because my dad is really paranoid and thinks that people are reading my blog because they want to track me down and kill me.  Also, it’ll be a nice surprise for you all when you do read again in a week.  Pictures to come later.
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Comments

Maria Puhl on

Ah, it sucks that you're sick!

I'm just writing comments as I read, so they may seem random.

Latin American Spanish is definitely prettier, but I'm biased.

The second hand smoke withdrawal made me laugh, because it's so probably true.

Ok, so why fabric from every place? That just seems really random to me....

When we visited the red light district, the lady we were with, Karen, who is one of my grandma's friends, had like a mini-heart attack. It was epic. Anna and I were like... 10 and 12, but whatever, it was cool! Hahaha.

I wanna know where you're goingggg boooo. But I guess I'll wait :)

Dad on

I think it's funny to see how your English has changed. For example, you now confuse "math books" and "fabric." Thank you for posting the video of the guitar guy on the stairs on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TvR6d08L3nc.

Nana on

Your father is such a geek. Are you planning to make a quilt? I am so jealous. I wish I could be with you. Can't wait to see you in May. We need to plan another road trip

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