I am sooooooo excited for this coming weekend. It’s not the typical world-traveling excitement that has been a theme lately–instead, I get to relax and finally get settled into a flat and get everything organized finally. I still haven’t changed my address on a lot of things back in the states, still haven’t called to put my U.S. cell on hold (and I have zero reception here so it’s not like I’m getting any use out of it anyway), have no backpack for my books which weigh 1000 pounds, no food, running dangerously low on clean clothes, etc. Tomorrow I will have been in Europe for 2 weeks now. Two weeks of an absolute rollercoaster of excitement, stress, and outright chaos! Every time I start to get really stressed out though (mainly about $$$) I realize what an absolutely blessed girl I am to have this opportunity. I’ve got school paid for so even though those books cost me $600, it’s technically covered by my scholarship anyway. And I had the chance to work an amazing, well paying job over the summer which has provided the funds to pay for crazy things like $10 7ups in Paris, and $40 cab rides home from the train station because even though it was night time, we hit almost every light red. AH!
The last night in Paris (Sunday night), I was feeling better but still not 100%, and so I put on some jeans and semi-dressed up to go out to dinner. Sadly, Alexander had wanted to REALLY dress up (ie dress for me, suit for him) and go to this super expensive, highly recommended restaurant. We got all the way over there and, even though he was paying, I just couldn’t go in knowing I was wearing jeans, and I wouldn’t feel comfortable eating food that expensive. It was an extremely far walk to that hotel, and I didn’t realize he already knew how much it was and that he really just wanted to have a nice night out for our last night in Paris. So I felt bad, but he also understood that I wasn’t feeling well, and wouldn’t have been comfortable in a dress anyway… so we made the best of the night and found a much cheaper place to stop in for dinner (by then it was 10:30pm!) and then we caught the metro up to the Champs-Elysees so we could walk up and see that street and the Arc de Triomphe at night!
I was greatly misled by a sign outside the Haagen-Dazs store which said they had an “ice bar” on the 3rd floor. I thought that meant one of those places I’ve heard about where the whole thing is literally ice and you have to put on those eskimo-type coats to go in. Why I really wanted to do that, I have no idea, but I did! So we went in, and sadly it was just an ice cream place. No ice. No bar. And there were kids running around in there– at nearly midnight. Why are people feeding their children ice cream at midnight on a Sunday night? We stayed and had some ice cream for dessert anyway (very expensive ice cream!) and then kept walking down the Champs-Elysees. Just before the Arc, we found another little cafe that was still open and stopped in because Alexander was hungry for a little more seafood, and I liked the view 🙂 They didn’t have whatever it was Alexander actually wanted, and instead brought him this plate full of some crazy shelled creatures that we still don’t know what they were. He ate the whole plate, and I tried not to look and not to gag too much 😉 I really wished we’d waited to go there for dessert because it was so much nicer, and the desserts were a lot cheaper 😉 Then we took a few pictures outside and caught a cab back to the hotel.
Monday morning I tried to do a little reading for tuesday classes but was unsuccessful and instead got to packing up. We decided to take our luggage to the train station and store it there for 7 euros until our departure time. Since we didn’t have any coins (which the locker required) I had to wait in “hell” while Alexander ran to find some change. It was not just normal hot down there. It was like strip your clothes off, claw at the walls to try to break free and get just a breath of fresh air hot. When Alexander reappeared, I was just about to unload everything out of the locker and get to a cooler place because I had already sweated completely through all of my clothes and was about to literally pass out. Ever heard of a fancy little thing called ventilation Gare Du Nord (the station)? Eh?
Relieved to be out of there, we headed to another neighborhood we hadn’t been to before and did a little shopping for some french wine and got some food at a very yummy, very affordable place in a cute little neighborhood. Oddly, the two places we planned to go were closed. In fact, as we walked through the neighborhood, a lot of scattered places were closed, with no signs indicating why. We’re still not sure whether that’s just typical practice for Mondays or if there was a holiday we didn’t know about or what. But it all worked out perfectly anyway and we made it back to the train station with the perfect amount of time to get our bags and get checked in.
All in all, it was an amazing trip! And really, it oddly felt kind of long. I wouldn’t change a thing, but I think you could really go to Paris for like 2 days if you were on a tighter budget and still have an amazing time and feel like you had a great experience. I wasn’t ready to come “home” yet when it was time, but it was also exciting to know that “home” doesn’t mean all the way home just yet. I still have a few months of European adventures to go 😉
Now, I better get to packing to move into my new flat. After this coming weekend staying in London, the following weekend I’m going to Brussels (Belgium), Strausburg (France), and Luxembourg (a separate little country for those who don’t know). It’s for the “European Union Tour” with all of my classmates, and should be a great time!