Wow. For the past month, I have been traveling every weekend. It has been a blast…but between school work, midterms, classes, and travel, I have given up a great deal of sleep and blogging time. Sorry for the month of no blogs! I will begin with Paris in this blog!
One month ago, I embarked on my first journey outside of the Barcelona area. I flew into Paris to meet up with my friend from Babson, Kelly. She is studying abroad over there and offered to host me for the weekend. The only parts of the weekend I did not love were:
1. Not having a functioning cell phone to meet up with Kelly at the metro station I arrived at from the airport. My Spanish cell phone company promised me that the phone would work in France. However, after dialing and waiting over and over again for about 20 minutes (frantically), I was not able to connect to Kelly. Long story short, I wandered around the city streets of Paris searching for Kelly in the general area we spoke about meeting up for about 45 minutes. I could not find her OR a payphone. Everyone I asked said that payphones were long gone in the city. Finally, I wandered into a department store and made friends with the security guard. He eventually let me use his cell phone to call her and about an hour and a half after arriving in the city, I was reunited with my friend! That was one of my scarier moments abroad, as it was getting dark and had no idea where I was or if I would ever find Kelly!
2. The freezing cold weather…made me appreciate Barcelona even more! However, the light dusting of snow as I looked up at the Eiffel Tower made the city seem even more romantic!
3. The EXPENSIVE prices of everything. Paris is a much more expensive city than Barcelona.
However, besides this…I fell in love with the city!
Highlights of Paris:
1. The food! Wow…I have been deprived in Barcelona. Well, that is a lie. I actually love the food here. However, the food in Paris was just on a different level. The bread at every restaurant melted in my mouth and tasted so fresh. The crêpes and the macaroons were purely amazing!
2. On the note of food, Kelly took me to Angelina’s, a famous hot chocolate restaurant that usually has a line around the block that takes about an hour to get a table. However, the hot chocolate was the richest, most pure, and smooth hot chocolate I have ever tasted. After a few sips, Kelly and I had to slow down because it was so strong in our bellies! This is where things get funny:
Just a few minutes into drinking our beverages, the waitress comes up and politely asks us if we can pay now. As we had her the money, she pulls out change from her pocket. Meanwhile, as I comment on how amazing the hot chocolate is, mid-sentence, the waitress accidently loses grip of one of the Euro coins. It falls out of her palm, into my hot chocolate glass. The chocolate splashes all over my shirt, jeans, purse and the table cloth. Kelly and I look at each other and DIE laughing! However, then I realize that I’m covered in spots of chocolate. The waitress is so embarrassed. Her boss comes over to apologize and brings us a complimentary dish of macaroons. I think this might have been a “you had to be there” type of moment, however, we just could not stop laughing.
3. Sacre Coeur: What a gem! This Catholic Church was built at the end of the nineteenth century. There is a beautiful green-grassy hill in front of the church. Since it is constructed on top of a steep hill, the views from the area are breath-taking! The back of the church was my favorite. It seems as though the grounds-keepers do not clean the back. As such, there are very contrasting dirty shadows on the walls.
4. Just a two minute walk away from the Sacre Coeur, in the same neighborhood, Montmartre, we stumbled upon the famous square where dozens of artist display their artwork and ask if they can draw your portrait.
5. The Love Locks Bridge! While I have seen it in dozens of movies, there were many more locks than I ever could have imagined! Both of the entire sides of the bridge were covered in locks of people who were in love. I learned that if the love ended, the couple was to go to the bridge, remove their lock, and throw it in the river below. How sad!
6. Just on the other side of the bridge is the famous Cathedral: Notre Dame. To be honest, it was much like many of the cathedrals I have seen while in Europe. However, it still had that Gothic beauty that I have come to appreciate very much! My art and architecture class this semester had taught me how to enjoy old churches.
7. The Eiffel Tower! Obviously a popular gem of the city. Unfortunately, we were unable to climb to the top, as the summit was shut down the weekend I was there. However, we went at night. Kelly surprised me, as she knew how much I would enjoy seeing the twinkling lights of the tower. I got some amazing photos and was blown away by the size and beauty of this famous landmark! I understand why this is the most romantic city in the world!
8. The nightlife. There is so much to do in Paris and people were so friendly. I had preconceived notions that French people were standoffish. However, I could not have been more wrong! Everyone we met was welcoming and the bars and clubs were a blast!