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    • Day 1–2

      Anreise nach Paris

      November 28 in France ⋅ ⛅ 3 °C

      So, meine Lieben,
      erster Post 😌 aus dem schönen Paris. Die Anreise war wie in üblicher Viola Manier wieder ein wenig holprig. Zunächst ließ mich die KVB im Stich im Herzen Kölns, dem Neumarkt 😄, von wo ich dann einen Sprint zum HBF Köln einlegen musste.
      Mit großem Backpack auf dem Rücken, Rucksack vor der Nase und einer Bauchtasche ein wenig anstrengender als geplant, wenn man gute 1,5 km hinter sich bringen muss. Zum Glück war ich vorher fleißig im Lauftraining gewesen.
      In Aachen als Zwischenstopp angekommen, wurde ich vom Schnee überrascht, der die Strecke bis Brüssel bedeckte. Wir konnten aber zum Glück weiterfahren. Endlich in Paris eingetroffen, begab ich mich vollgepackt zur Metro. Die Linie 5 war da aber ein wenig frickelig zu finden. Die Franzosen habe mich aber direkt tatkräftig unterstützt. Eine Französin hat mich dann sogar bis zum Gleis begleitet. Da sag mal jemand, dass die Pariser*innen nicht nett sind. Zugegebenermaßen lag es daran, dass nur auf Französisch kommuniziert wurde. Glücklicherweise hat mein Gehirn aber direkt geswitched und ich habe mich soweit gut durchgeschlagen.
      Im Hostel The People im Herzen Paris habe ich ein sehr schönes Mehrbettzimmer ergattert. Anschließend bin ich dann noch durch die blaue Stunde Paris gelaufen. Insbesondere die sich im Bau befindliche Notre Dame hat es mir angetan.
      Morgen geht’s dann ab zum Flughafen Orly, von wo aus mein Flieger auf die Guadeloupe geht. 🛫🏖️
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    • Day 2

      Arrive in Paris

      June 15, 2022 in France ⋅ ☀️ 25 °C

      We arrived in Paris after about 5 hours of sleep in the past three days. (The flight put us in Paris at 2am Indy time but 7 am Paris time- since it is pretty hard to sleep on a plane and I was distracted by the plane’s trivia game (I felt the need to smoke PJ whoever that was) none of us slept that night and the check in for our room was 3pm. That meant we had the whole day with all our stuff to wander. Aiden got an A on his test on French public transportation and he proved it by confidently getting us into the city. Since the point of the trip is to walk with all we need for the trip on our backs I decided we couldn’t really complain. But it is HOT in Paris and always crowded. We rented bikes and decided to hit the top sites all around the city since Jon and I decided that popping up from the subway doesn’t give you a good feel for where you are (we’ve done that method of site seeing here before but both times it was winter and cold). The biking seemed like a good idea because Paris is supposed to be a bike friendly town but I felt like cars and pedestrians were just daring me to play chicken with them and I always chickened out. I decided biking around Paris is not as romantic as it sounds. The trail on the Seine is fine but the Champs Elysees by bike is not for the faint of heart (more power to you, Tour de France riders. That’s some bumpy cobblestone!). I had never seen the Arc de Triomphe so close up and it was a lot bigger than I thought! Napoleon is still taking revenge on the foreign cultures because Jon got his ATM card eaten by a machine at Napoleon’s tomb. Now we are a little concerned about how to acquire cash for the little alburgues in Spain. We still have one more but now we are hesitant to use it.

      Aiden and Ollie’s French has been useful to me and especially their knowledge of culture and history. Aiden even understood the significance of the bike locks on the bridge to Sainte Chapelle. I would have missed that detail had he not known. Madame Blaz has done her job! We even ate baguette hot dogs today because Aiden did a presentation on them for school once. Ollie always acts like he doesn’t pay attention in school but he definitely can pick up where Aiden leaves off. He’s pretty sharp.

      We are staying in a hostel because we had to really spread the grant money thin since I did the budget 2 years ago. We have our own room and many families are here but in true French style what they advertised as air conditioning is really just a fan that doesn’t stay on and a window that doesn’t open all the way. It is hot. (Did I mention that?!) The cool breezes of the Pyrenees will be welcome.
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    • Day 17

      bon après-midi, Paris, France

      November 19 in France ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

      Surviving the dijonaisse disaster, our tour heads to our final destination. Paris.

      The group fatigue is so heavy in the air, you could almost bottle it. We are collectively exhausted. 9 days. 7 countries. Was the best saved for last? Paris is spectacular, though I think a favourite destination will only reveal itself for us all on retrospection.

      We spend the afternoon touring some of the architectural landmarks of Paris by bus. We view what remains of the Notre Dame. The Louvre. The iconic bridges and the grand lady herself, The Eiffel tower. Statue of Napoleon.

      The architecture is so exquisitely detailed. The investment of time. Money. Intricacy overlooked in our modern world, though I do consider the investment in such luxury, was in a time of significant wealth disparity and showmanship of status and power. The beautiful buildings all begin to look the same. This is easy territory for me to get lost in.

      The highlight of our visit to Paris is our city of lights dinner. Our group head off for an evening of French cuisine, entertainment and the Eiffel tower at night.

      I bravely order la grenouille - ze frog. Kermit arrives, and I try a little. The meat is tender, texturally similar to chicken; though it is so heavily marinated in garlic it's difficult to discern the true meat flavour. I do not finish Kermit. Miss Piggy, I am not.

      I move on to the snails. I've had them before at a classy French restaurant in Melbourne. I'm not sure our restaurant tonight is fine dining. The snails are okay. Chewy.

      The highlight of the evening is the entertainment - an accordian player and beautiful multilingual french / english singer. I am overjoyed to hear Non, je ne regrette rien, by Edith Piaf. I request my favourite song, la vie en rose, and my heart swells watching Brandon and Julia, a married couple of ten years, slow dance to the most beautiful ballad of love. I've attached the video. Excusez-moi at my terrible interjections in English. I can usually hold a note much better than this. Just ask me. Though, I've enjoyed some wine tonight, and this is such a beautiful song. And moment.

      I'm seated next to Michelle. I'm saddened that tonight is our last evening together before she returns to California. We commit to our journeys of self-love and compassion, and I'm so very thankful to have made such a connection with such a wonderful human being.

      Our night concludes with another visit to The Eiffel. Too much wine. Not enough sleep. Farewells to the group we've spent what seems like forever with.

      I'm grateful to have an additional night in Paris before my departure on 21/11, 1600 Paris time, to Istanbul, for the final leg of my journey. The Mediterranean (and a little more of Italy 🥰).

      Au revoir, à bientôt, to my newest friends, and an abundance of gratitude for our shared experience.
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    • Day 44

      Ile de la Cite

      May 4, 2022 in France ⋅ ☁️ 59 °F

      We had an exhausting day today - the adrenaline couldn’t hold the jet lag back any longer. But what a beautiful city Paris is!

      We’ve mastered the metro and are getting around pretty easily. (Adam would be proud). We headed to Ile de La Cite (a small island) and saw Notre Dame (the outside as it’s still being repaired from the fire in 2019), St Chapelle Cathedral, The Conciergerie (prison where Marie Antoinette was held), the Luxembourg Palace & gardens and finished it up with Musee d’Orsay. (Impressionist museum built in an old train station). It was a full day seeing places I’ve only seen on TV or in the movies. Crazy.

      Paris’s public water is some of the best in the world. It is natural spring water that is piped in everywhere. We saw a documentary on it at home. Jordan found one of the fountains. Have to say, it DID taste better!

      We went back to fall asleep early at 8:00 but we’re so messed up our bodies won’t let us fall asleep (probably because in our heads it’s only noon). Oh well, I’m sure we’ll adjust eventually!
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    • Day 5


      June 20, 2022 in France ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

      Galleries Lafayette .. such a beautiful shopping building ! No €€€ spent here ! Mastered the Met 🚊 spent the day wandering all the little streets. Weather a bit like home ! Warm amd sunny one minute then raining the next ! Almost need a pair of jeans and long sleeve top - which I don’t have !Read more

    • Day 1

      Paris mit Lili

      April 14, 2022 in France ⋅ 🌧 13 °C

      Als ich nach Flügen gesucht habe, war der von Westjet mit ab Paris mit Abstand der günstigste. Damit auch kein Stress aufkommt und nichts schiefgehen kann, habe ich mich dazu entschlossen, in Paris eine Nacht zu bleiben. Als Lili das mitbekommen hat, kam sie auf die Idee auch nach Paris zu kommen. So ist sie Mittwoch Abend schon mit Zug nach Paris gefahren und ich dann Donnerstag Morgen ab Hamburg per Flugzeug.
      Nach anfänglichen Internetproblemen haben wir uns in Paris dann zusammentelefoniert😅
      Als erstes wollten wir zum Louvre, da gab es für den Vormittag allerdings keine Tickets mehr, daher sind wir dann erstmal zur Seine spaziert. Dort am Ufer haben wir uns ein Crêpe geholt. Dann ging es weiter zur Notre Dame. Die Türme sind ja zum Glück unversehrt geblieben. An den Seiten konnte man auf Infotafeln den Wiederaufbau nachverfolgen, das war sehr interessant. Danach sind wir dann am Ufer entlang wieder Richtung Westen geschlendert. Für uns der erste richtige Sommertag dieses Jahr: bei 22 Grad und strahlendem Sonnenschein ☀️
      Nach einer kleinen Stärkung auf dem Vorplatz von Louvre sind wir dann endlich reingegangen (schlauerweise über den nördlichen Eingang, der normalerweise für Gruppen reserviert ist, wo wir überhaupt nicht anstehen mussten). Dort haben wir uns einige Ausstellungen herausgesucht, die uns interessiert haben, alles wäre uns zu anstrengend gewesen. Für die Mona Lisa musste man extra anstehen, das haben wir uns dann gespart. Zwischendurch waren wir mal draußen in der Gartenanlage Sonne tanken.
      Gegen Abend haben wir uns dann etwas bei der Patisserie geholt und am Ufer der Insel gegessen. Hammer lecker 😋
      Danach ging es dann per Metro und Tram zur Jugendherberge und dort auch direkt zu Bett: totmüde und mit schmerzenden Füßen, so viel bin ich lange nicht mehr gelaufen - aber daran werde ich mich wohl gewöhnen müssen…

      Freitag morgen nach dem typischen Jugendherbergenfrühstück sind wir dann direkt los nach Montmartre, um uns Sacre Cœur anzuschauen. Von dort hatten wir einen super Blick über Paris, wieder bei strahlendem Sonnenschein. Wir haben sogar einen Teil des Karfreitag-gottesdienstes mitbekommen. Dann zu Fuß zum Gare du Nord, dort hieß es dann wieder Abschiednehmen.
      Ich werde dich vermissen Lili❤️
      Ab in den Zug zum Flughafen und das erste mal den Kontinent verlassen…
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    • Day 43


      May 3, 2022 in France ⋅ ⛅ 66 °F

      We started at the airport in Costa Rica on May 2nd at 11:00am and touched down in Paris on May 3rd at 5:00pm. Taking out the 8 hr time change, we traveled 22 hrs to get here. It was definitely tiring, but also so exciting.

      We’re staying in our first official hostel - no private room this time. 8 bed dorm bunks with privacy screens - actually very nice set up. Some won’t allow me to stay, if it’s a “party hostel” — no one over 35 yrs old. But many do.

      So we arrived, took the metro to the hostel, dropped everything and headed to where else but the Eiffel Tower for the first night! So amazing! Can’t wait to see all the history and sites. It doesn’t get dark here until 9:00 so lots of time to explore every day.
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    • Day 1

      Zwischenstopp in Paris

      February 11, 2022 in France ⋅ 🌙 5 °C

      Nach der Landung - Benni ist pünktlich zum Aufsetzen eingeschlafen - verließen wir den Flughafen CDG in aller Ruhe und machten uns auf den Weg in die Stadt. Mit dem RER zum Gare du Nord, wo wir nach einigem Suchen Schließfächer für unsere Koffer fanden und von dort aus zu Fuß zum Canal Saint Martin. Unsere Buggy-Babyschale-Kombi funktioniert übrigens super 😅
      Am Kanal fanden wir ein nettes Bistro, in dem wir das französischste Gericht überhaupt verspeisten 😉 Frisch gestärkt ging es rund durch das zugegeben weniger schöne Xieme Arrondissement, wo wir aber immerhin auch noch Dinkelbrot, Käse und Äpfel kaufen konnten. Ein Pain au chocolat musste natürlich auch noch sein 😉 Zurück zum Bahnhof und wieder in den RER Richtung Flughafen ORY, wo wir dann nochmals extra für den Shuttle bezahlen mussten 🤯
      Unsere 8 Stunden in Paris haben uns also schon knapp 100€ gekostet, für uns franco-austrische Schwaben durchaus bemerkenswert 😅
      Jetzt sitzen wir im Salon bébé (großartig übrigens!) am Gate und warten aufs Boarding für den Nachtflug. Benjamin hat bisher alles großartig mitgemacht und schlummert schon in meinem Arm. Hoffentlich melde ich mich morgen schon von der Insel! 🙌🏼
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    • Day 3

      Art Day

      June 16, 2022 in France ⋅ ⛅ 26 °C

      We had early morning tickets to see some art so after a lovely breakfast and good strong coffee we hit the bikes again and risked our lives in the Paris streets. We were 30 minutes late for our time slot but Aiden said it was very Parisian of us to be late. It didn’t matter anyway because no one even checked our tickets! (Note to self, just walk in like you belong there and save the dough!) Here’s where Daniel shined. He has read every Rick Riorden book on the planet and really knows his Greek and Roman gods. The Mona Lisa was in the new room which is nice considering the last time we were there she was in a dark hallway. I prefer the big art anyway over her. The Wedding at Cana is more my style.

      Then Saint Chappelle- I heard Daniel walk in and say “whoa!” That says it all.
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    • Day 46

      The Louvre … just wow

      May 6, 2022 in France ⋅ ☀️ 63 °F

      Each day on this trip brings a new wonder to behold, it seems like. Today we saw SO much again … Paris has a remarkable affordable public transit system, and the city is surprisingly walkable - in sections.

      We started our morning at The Louvre. It is the largest museum in the world, and it was obvious. I found the building itself to be a work of art! We only scratched the surface there. Did see some amazing statues - Nike of Samothrace (winged) which Jordan sketched - 190 BC, and the Venice de Milo! 100 BC. Other noteworthy piece we saw was the Mona Lisa - the crowds were intense, but we managed to get to the front eventually to see her.

      The French have created magnificent gardens everywhere - reminds me of what I’ve seen in Canada. They are just gorgeous. There were also two arches - one smaller and one massive. Really massive. The biggest surprise was seeing the Place de La Concorde - this is a square (where kings/queens were beheaded during the revolution) with what looks like a small version of the Washington monument from far away, but as you get closer it is clear it’s different. It’s an Egyptian obelisk!! No kidding. It’s 3300 years old! The Egyptians gifted the 230 ton Luxor obelisk (it has a twin still in Egypt) to France in the mid 1800’s. It took SEVEN years to transport it across the Atlantic, the Mediterranean, up the Nile and finally up the Seine river. And then it took a feat of engineering to raise it.

      We took a metro ride out of the historical district to what looked to be the suburbs of Paris - Wandered the canal and then what else to do when in Paris with the biggest Marvel fan ever (Jordan), we went to opening night of the Dr. Strange movie. Found one playing in English. It felt familiar, kind of.
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    You might also know this place by the following names:

    Paris, París, Parigi

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