It’s mid-January and I still haven’t written anything about the Paris trip I went on last April beyond the marathon race recap. Oh, and this Friday Food Round-Up. Since The Blog is one part internet scrapbook and one part vehicle for me to share my life with others, I need to get going on this, because I know that if I don’t get this done by April 2014 (AKA within a year) it will not happen and at that point I will have 100% forgotten everything that even remotely mattered.
As I was driving home from a spa afternoon a few weeks ago, I was talking to Lindsey when she said, You didn’t ever take a day off for you last year. And she was right. I was squarely in the middle of my first-ever Personal Day and it was magical. Could I handle that much zen and peace every week? Absolutely not. But for that moment it was really quite nice.
When it was time to leave for Paris last April, I was a little non-plussed. I was still on a little bit of a travel hangover from my Israel adventures, and I wasn’t terrifically excited about getting a plane again for a trans-Atlantic flight after sacrificing my ear drum on the last one.
We were going to Paris because my Mother had visioned a girls’ trip in 2011. After she sent out the call, she managed to round-up me, Life Friend Sally, my brother’s Godmother Liz and her friend Vicki. All of us ready to visit the City of Light.
When people would ask us why we were doing this, we’d give really shiny answers like, We love Paris. It’s fun to do a girls’ trip. We’ve never done this before. Once I had registered for the marathon, Mom got to glowingly share that little tidbit as well, which mostly just lead to a lot of explaining about how the race just happened to be on the last full day of the trip and it wasn’t actually why we were going to France.
What we really meant to say is, We are not promised tomorrow and everyone is healthy and able to walk around the city right now. Really we should have just said that the first time around.
So anyway, the big day came and it was time to Go To France. We drank wine in the Delta lounge and talked over our itinerary.
The flight was hell. The Naughtiest Three Year Old In The World was on board and as a result, nobody slept. I completely understand that children are children, but when your child is shouting and yelling and running up and down the aisles and rows of the plane for the better part of eight hours and you are sanctioning this? It is naughty. Of course all of this lead to passenger interactions (“We should throw him out the door” was one opinion that was voiced) that nearly landed people in zip ties.
So we landed and were more thankful that we had escaped our fellow passengers than we were for solid ground.
Sally, Liz and Vicki had never been to Paris. As we boarded the RER train that would take us into the city, Mom and I were just antsy. It is probably a 30 minute train ride to get from CDG to Paris proper and we could do no more than wait, admire the neighborhoods we were passing by, and fend off sleep.
Our stop was Saint-Michel, placed firmly in the Latin Quarter. We disembarked and wound our way through the station, trudging up at least (conservatively) two dozen stairs with our suitcases and gear. It was miserable. If there was a way to glamorize jetlag and channeling a packhorse, y’all know I would do it in a heartbeat, but even my best work is ineffective when wielded against a dirty metro station.
And yet, Mom and I forced Sally, Liz and Vicki ahead of us, up the final tunnel and into the sunlight because we wanted to see the looks on their faces when they emerged onto the sidewalk and saw France all around them.
Because that is exactly what happens. You leave the airport, which could really be Any Airport On Earth, for the controlled environment of the train. It is only when you come up into the open air, look straight up and are surrounded by the architecture of La Belle France that any of it feels real.
My espresso is only two blocks away. I announced. A source of motivation for hours, we had no sooner deposited our bags at the hotel, than we found ourselves sitting in the sunny 45 degree air, on a sidewalk sipping at our coffees.
Hello France, we are home. Or at least here, at last. Again.