From the moment we stepped off the train in Paris, it was obvious: this was unfamiliar territory.
The great thing about London is that all the things that are different from the states are cute, awesome things. Since England essentially birthed us, London still feels relatively safe and comfortable for Kansans. I remember feeling like I was cheating a little last spring when I took my first international excursion to study abroad…. in another English-speaking country. I mean, I had friends going to places like Italy and Costa Rica and China and Ghana. And this was for weeks at a time. Off I went to spend a week speaking English and being quite familiar with most of everything (except the street signs and the fact that they really have a place called “Cockfosters” and only the Americans laugh when its stop on the tube is announced).
In Paris, everything was different, and even taking a taxi to the hotel was nerve-racking. Even though we accomplished that and eventually found a place willing to serve us dinner, the first night there was a rough start.
The rest of our stay, however, was just great. The sites are amazing and beautiful, the city is interesting, and the food is wonderful. Here are just a few of the highlights, starting with the first morning’s walk in the Luxembourg Gardens:
Next was the Notre Dame. We climbed all the way to the top for a beautiful view.
We also saw the Conciergerie and then walked a long ways down the Seine to the L’Orangerie to see Monet’s Water Lilies. There I realized my camera was missing, and I went into kind of a panic. But my ever-amazing mom navigated the Metro, got us back to the Conciergerie before it closed, and kept me calm while the kind museum staff helped us–even in spite of the language barrier–to reclaim the camera I’d left there. Yes, this is one of those moments where I kick myself and then thank God I was so lucky.
We went to Versailles and the Musee de Orsay Saturday, the Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower Sunday, and the Louvre and the Saint Chapelle Monday, ending our last night with a scenic sunset boat tour on the Seine. I tried to write everything down in as much detail as possible before it could slip away, but it still feels like it went by in a whirlwind.
The trip really was the best graduation celebration I could have had, and I’m glad I got to be there with my mom 🙂