We took the night train to Paris from Barcelona. I slept some, but after lugging all my stuff on the metro and getting a bit lost, by the time I arrived at my host's house I was dog tired. When I got there, Sannita and Alice were there to greet me. Sannita got me tucked into Dom's bed so that I could catch up on some rest while everyone was out or working for the day. I stayed in bed until 5 and then found myself motivated to get up. It was my first night in Paris after all!
Alice showed me on the map how to get to the Eifel tower, only a short 20 minute walk, so I set out in the cold with Steggy in tow. Walking down commerce street, I was surrounded by shops and shoppers. Christmas lights hung in the street and everyone seemed busily buzzing around in preparation for dinners, meetings, parties and other nightly activities. Still a bit groggy from my nap I seemed to slip silently through their world, taking in the buzz without really being awakened by it or the cold. As Commerce turned into Motte-Piquet and I rounded the corner, there it was. The Eifel, in all her beauty rose above me. Awake with excitement I hurried into the park to get a view of her entirety. The base, strong and beautiful, held her perfectly straight and upright in to the Paris sky. The lit monument nearly brought me to my knees. After all these years of dreaming about world travel, seeing pictures of Paris and this tower, only to have them represent dots on the map. Now here I was, standing under her circling beacon of light. I suddenly had a flashback of my mother making buiscuts when I was very little. I was sitting at the counter playing with the dough scraps and my mother was speaking to me in french. “Ma petite cherie. Ma belle enfant.” She had taken french in high school.
I smiled, staring up at it, accepting the reality that I was both much later in time and across the world from that counter, those buiscuts, and my mother. Just then it turned 6oclock and the tower began to sparkle with crazy lights, going off like a sparkler on 4th of July in the shape of the Eifel Tower. In that moment, I smiled, eyes glazed and happy, so immensely happy to be living this life.
The next 6 days in Paris are a blur of good food, fun shows, art museums, and great new friends.
Friday I met up with another couch surfer named Rafael, he showed me the main sights on Champ De Ellyse. We started at the Arch and worked our way down, seeing The Concorde, Opera, ( ) Garden, The Louvre, and finally Notre Dame. We walked around inside the cathedral. I must admit, I'm a bit partial to Guadi's Cathedral in Barcelona, but the outside architecture of Notre Dame is very beautiful and impressive. Raf and I split up and I walked on to see the Pantheon, then walked the very long walk home. Friday night Dom had a small party at the flat and I helped cook with Sannita. We all drank wine and even small shots of absinthe, passing the guitar around and singing together.
Saturday I took it a bit easier. I got started on my book report for class, and met up with Jack at his host's place for lunch. His host Macsha is really nice. She's from Germany but lives in Paris, studying.
That night was our first show held at Tania and Francis' place. They have a huge art space/living loft that really blew us away. The food spread and atmosphere was quite superb that night. We sang to a crowd of about 70 people. Fun night for sure.
Sunday was free museum day, so I got up at 8 and got out the door. I did one wing of the Louvre and all of both The Orsay Museum and The Orangerie Museum. Saw works by Michelangelo, Van Gogh, Manet, Monet, Picasso, Renoir and so many more. Really packed, but awesome day. I went straight from running around museums to go play our second show. Luckily it was a laid back couch surfing crowd and a surfer named Matt's house. Everyone was really excited about the show, most of them having never had a house concert experience before. Jack and I put on a good show and I believe we both gained some new real fans.
Monday I took it very easy and finished my book report. Didn't really leave the house until Jack and I met up with Matt for dinner. He took us out to Indian as a thanks for the show. What a guy!
Tuesday was my last day in town and it was snowing very hard. I bundled up and went walking around Luxembourg Garden. That was a hoot. It was quiet and surreal in there. All the statues looked frozen and abandoned. There was one covered spot where a few old men were playing chess. Apparently snow doesn't bother them. I spent the rest of the day wandering, grabbed a takeaway lunch, then stopped at the market for that night's dinner. I was cooking for the whole flat as my thanks for their great hospitality. I made a big veggie thai curry, with carrot-zuchini salad, and garlic broccoli. They were quite happy about the meal, and so was I. Jack and Mascha joined us. We had a few drinks, passed the guitar again. Sannita and I sang some Anna Nalick at the top of our lungs. Everyone went off to bed and she and I stayed up late into the night swapping life stories. She's a great gal and I hope I've convinced her to go to Alaska. I think she'd fit in great there. She's from Latvia and has a lot of gusto.
Today I trudged through hellish weather to get to the metro and train station where Jack and I were supposed to meet. He texted me that he couldn't get to the station soon enough so I got a train ticket and he'll meet me here in Brussels tonight or in the morning. After getting a little lost, asking for a lot of help, I've found my address and was saved by two sweet french ladies in this warm and cozy African restaurant I'm waiting in. Best meal I've had yet in Europe and super cheap! Hopefully my host will be home soon and I can explain about Jack being later.