For those of you that are new around these parts, when I studied abroad in London I went to a real British school (not a British campus of an American school), and the way they do things over there is that they give you the entire month of April off. To "study for exams." So, obviously, a couple of friends and I spent three weeks of that month backpacking through Europe. Obviously.
Paris was our first stop. We were overflowing with excitement. We were happy, naive and uninjured, with a fair amount of money still in our pockets, clean clothes neatly folded in our backpacks, and ready to eat ALL the cheese and ALL the bread!
But that ended pretty quick. Our plans to take the train to our next stop were ruined by Easter weekend, and we were then royally scammed by a budget airline that was suddenly not so budget. Couple that awfulness with the fact that I was smacked in the face by a metro turnstile door on our last night, and you get an enraged, bitter girl with a giant bruise on her forehead who is chomping at the bit to get the holy hell out of Paris.
So, while my lasting impression of Paris is tainted by a whole lot of suck, it was a very enjoyable stop on our trip, though not my favorite. The city, to me, felt kind of aloof and unwelcoming and pretentious. However, nothing quite prepares you for that view of the Eiffel Tower. It's majestic, I swear. And we climbed every stair up that sucker! Did YOU know it glitters at night?! And Versailles was pretty insane, and walking through the Louvre was something special. And, of course, Notre Dame, and the Arc de Triomphe, and the Moulin Rouge, and the Sacre Coeur, and Napoleon's tomb... And the crepes. And the bread. And the cheese. Wow.
Paris also gave me one of my favorite travel memories ever. We were walking by the shops near the Louvre, and we passed a street artist with amazing sketches of various objects and animals morphing into the Eiffel Tower, like this:
I was instantly obsessed, but for some reason I decided not to buy one. I regretted it instantly and spent the entire next day kicking myself... until we happened past the same spot the next night, and found the same artist. He didn't have any sketches like that left, though, and I told him how sad I was and how much I adored them. His response? In lots of miming and broken English...
"Come back in an hour."
So we spent some time in the Louvre, and when we returned, he had four sketches waiting for me. Between Amanda and myself, we bought three of them. I honestly treasure that sketch and this memory, and I hope I adequately expressed my gratitude to that man!
And, last but not least, there were several photos taken in Paris that became a must-do in every other city on the trip: 1) throwing up the U (duh), 2) Amanda picking me up, and 3) jumping pictures. So here's the first installment of what became our obligatory trip photos!
(Not our best jumping picture. But it was only our first city. You'll get to watch us progressively improve as the trip continues!)
For my original post on this stop on our trip, click here!