Tuesday, July 27, 2010

a year after paris

I've been listening to nothing but French oldies since last week. There's just something about songs in a language so foreign that you don't need to understand what the lyrics mean but which emotions that transport you to another era where life was much simpler.

I particularly like this which goes on a loop with other similar songs from Marlene Dietrich and Yves Montand. Youtube's new play loop function is just so nifty - you can pick almost any song and listen to the mix just like in a radio. Don't know why but having foreign songs in the background works for me especially when I'm buried at work!

Then it occurred to me that it's been 1 year since my Euro trip, and Paris was our last stop. The nostalgic in me was reminding me that I still haven't really posted up pictures of the romantic city!

So thus began our last train ride from the countryside town of Mâcon to our northernmost destination of the French capital. It was quite calming watching fields of golden rapeseed flowers (colza en français*) spread out in glorious hues and dried grass all rolled up in neat cylinders.

We made a brief stop at Dijon to switch trains. Seeing the word Dijon reminded me of the yummy mustard sauce which I grew to love and eat in Japan. I've never been a big fan of mustard, but I started craving for it cause I can't seem to find the same brand here. >.<

David was sweet enough to arrange his meeting in Paris to coincide with our arrival. Even though he's been there for work, this was his first time being as tourist as us, but he was knowledgeable enough to be the tour guide! After greeting us at the Paris Gare De Lyon station, he brought us around for a walk.

For a Belgian to be able to show us the landmarks of Paris was pretty remarkable, and it made a difference between us trying to figure things on a map ourselves and being able to appreciate a city without having to worry about where to go next.

One of the stops we made was the famous Notre Dame Cathedral. Seeing the animated version on TV is a whole lot different than seeing the real thing in person. I remember texting home about some of the things I'd seen, and thinking to myself, "So this is how it feels like being in Europe surrounded by so much history!" 

I would have loved to bring something like this back, but too bad I was not in a pretty summer dress to pose for a proper picture, and my backpacker mode did not allow for such extravagant purchase >.<

It took us all afternoon of walking around the city to finally end at the Eiffel Tower. Weather was cool despite it being the middle of summer, and exactly the reason why long walks all day is possible.

It still didn't strike me how surreal it was to be there until I saw all around me people from all over the world marvelling at the structure.

We laid on the grass looking up at Eiffel, glancing occasionally at the queues waiting to go up to see the view from the top, and at the many other people who in similar fashion decided to enjoy the sparkling light show that go on every hour just like us.

It certainly felt like a magical moment there; and to think that I've always thought Paris was overrated! :)

* Found the name from MyKugelHopf


Yap! It's 3088.. said...

Quite frankly I like Paris because of their wide walkways and pretty public realms. But the cities i love most are in Germany and Italy. They rate above all ratings!

Crowned Fish said...

France including Paris is definitely overrated. Not only do people refuse to speak English despite the fact that they are able to, but some people think Paris is the best place in the world, so much that they are able to talk about it for 2 straight hours during our train ride from Strasbourg to Paris. Not to mention, Paris smells like a waste dump, and the Eiffel Tower area is full of scam artists who try to steal your money. Did I mention the subways are full of petty thieves and pickpockets?

I would much rather go to Germany and go down the Romantische Strasse, visiting sites like Creglingen, Wuerzburg, Paffenwinkel, and Fusssen. Did I mention Germans are extremely kind, going out of the way to show you to a youth hostel, and attempt to speak English even without you begging for it?

§nóflèk said...

aruden-san : coming from you, i'm sure that's something to be taken note of ;) which is your next euro destination?

crowned fish : hahaha knowing you, i bet that was how your experience would have been :p but honestly, in comparing italy and france, even though france is cleaner n more modern, the italians are still warmer & friendlier. overall i still prefer the raw openness of the boot-shaped country :)

i haven't been to germany, so your list there helps if (not when :p) i plan to do a visit there one day!

Crowned Fish said...

I agree that Italians are more friendly than French. In fact, I think they're more friendly than Germans. Germans are very logical and accurate, so they will give you information that is reliable. Italians will actually go out of their way to do something for you. But I must say, Italy was not all that clean or better smelling... Germany definitely has the neat and orderly feel.

§nóflèk said...

Crowned Fish : hahaha not all that clean or better smelling?? well i did couch surfing with 3 of them, and they were fairly clean, some better than the rest but overall, nothing to complain in terms of hygiene hehe

now i must get myself to germany to experience their logic & accuracy :p