Friday, August 5, 2011
the actual end.
11 july 2011
we arrived in paris around 7:30pm local time. our bags were still at florine’s, but we definitely needed to eat some dinner before we went to pick them up. we stopped by a restaurant near the station and ate a quick meal before heading over to florine’s place. she met us there and we visited for a while as we reorganized our bags to transport. we finally made our way across town and got to our new host’s flat around 10pm. his name was mikael, and he lived in a teeny apartment on the top floor of an old building (of course). once we arrived and got our stuff settled, he invited us to go sit by the seine and drink wine. um…. yes. he led us to an awesome little spot on the bank and we watched the boats go by. eventually, we kept walking, ending up near the islands. we stopped and got berthillon ice creams on the île de st. louis and then walked over to the île de la cité to look at notre dame in the moonlight. we went back to the right back and got bikes to ride home. :) rachel rode on mikael’s bike and i had my own. it was so fun to ride through the deserted streets of late-night paris. we got back pretty late and got ready for bed. rachel and i slept on the pull-out couch, and we all slept so hard! i barely woke up when mikael got up early for work.
12 july 2011
my last day. rachel and i had planned to go check out the pompidou center, so we got up and prepared for our day. we got our bikes from the little bike terminal down the street and rode over to the museum. unfortunately, the pompidou was closed on tuesdays. blast. we sat in the plaza for a while, and listened to an awesome jazz quartet play. rachel and i even got up and danced for a minute, which earned the applause of all the spectators. we got our bikes and took a long tour down the seine. our first stop was to check out the shakespeare & company bookstore, one of my favourite places on the planet. i bought a copy of “screwtape letters” and we continued on our way. we did think about going to the d’orsay, but the line was so long that we ended up bailing. we walked across the pont des arts and looked around the tuileries, including the carnival. we walked along the rue de rivoli, “window-licking” (great french saying) and enjoying the weather. we eventually got some bikes and made our way through the place de la concorde and down the champs-elysees. we went and checked out the gallery atop the louis vuitton building and walked by the parisian abercrombie & fitch, which is confusingly popular. since my quest to find the best tarte aux framboises in france began at the café ladurée, i figured it was only fair that it end there as well. we had a little dessert treat, which i savoured as long as i could. i did have a fleeting moment of meaningful sadness as i took my last bite… it was so good, and i didn’t want it to end – but i had to take that last bite. just like my time abroad. we paid and stopped by the virgin megastore so i could grab a cd. finally, we headed back and met mikael, and the three of us went out to a last dinner. he brought us to a really good restaurant right around the corner, where i accidentally ordered an entrée of raw meat. whoops. he bought us a bottle of champagne and we had a really interesting and provocative conversation. after dinner, he took us on a bit of a pub crawl. at the first bar, we tried these shots of caramel vodka, and then had watermelon mojitos. the atmosphere was really cool – very nashville. the next place was pretty empty, but still cool. he ordered us these daiquiri-like drinks, which were alright. finally, around 2, we headed home. i stayed up to finish packing and blog a little. i considered pulling an all-nighter, but i did go to sleep eventually, for just a couple hours.
13 july 2011
d-day. i woke up around 6 and got my stuff together. rachel came with me to the airport shuttle stop next to the opéra, where we said goodbye. i boarded to get out of the rain, thinking about how paris was crying for me. the airport was uneventful – i checked in and went through security, arriving at my gate in plenty of time to buy some food and use the internet. my flight was at 11am, so we started boarding around 10:15.
after 180 of the best days of my life – countless adventures and friends – i was going home.