What will be my new learning goal in my life? Will it be to find a cure for cancer? Become trilingual? Finally memorize all my states and capitals? Hmmm, nope, it will be much more fundamental and base than those noble pursuits. Yes, my life learning goal will be to remember that when staying at a hostel, you need to bring your own towel.
Both times I have forgotten a towel ironically have been in Paris, where I may have been able to get away without a shower for a few days based on the hygienic condition of those around me, but I firmly believe that nothing is as wonderful as the feeling of being clean on vacation. So not showering is not an option for me. At least the first time my friend Dale was able to lend me one of his for the four days, this hostel I was on my own. And how did I manage with this predicament? Let’s just say that bedsheets are no where near as absorbent as proper towels. Thank goodness in a few days I’ll be in a proper hotel.
It then obviously follows that I made it to Paris safely! It was a long day of traveling, worse than any of the days on my epic trip with my family. I took the bus to Heathrow at 8:45 am, made it to the airport by 10, and then had to wait an hour to check in my luggage. Not check in for my flight, but literally just baggage drop. No idea why it was taking so long, but everyone was in the same boat as me, which was oddly comforting. After that, security was a breeze (no random security check on me! woot!) and I finally got to grab breakfast. I figured that I had plenty of time because my flight wasn’t until 12:35–and issues like the bag drop situation are exactly why I leave for my flights so early, so stop giving me the look of exasperation haha. But I ended up with even more time than I had bargained for.
I believe there are strikes going on right now with the French Air Traffic Controllers, so many of the flights into Paris are actually being cancelled, including Janosz’s and one of Kelsi’s friends who is joining us today. Luckily mine wasn’t cancelled, but it was delayed so I was able to make a sizable dent in my current book. I also spent most of the time talking to the New Zealander sitting next to me and we ended up traveling all the way into the middle of Paris together. Finding random people to quickly befriend and travel with make solo journeys so much better and less stressful navigating all of the train changes and stations. And then after we parted ways in Gare du Nord, I walked over to the hostel carrying a stuffed full duffel bag that somehow felt like it weighed 45 pounds even though it barely tipped 11.5 kgs. The popped blood vessels on my shoulder say otherwise.
I did get lost on the walk, but was able to bust out my limited French to ask for more precise directions, and no sooner had I showed up at the hostel then I was bowled over by a huge hug from Kelsi. I found them! Or more accurately, she and Janosz found me, but the point is that there was no stress in meeting up with the people I’m traveling which is always a big concern when meeting people in a foreign country. I quickly dropped my bags in the dorm and then we headed outside to dinner at this adorable cafe in Montmartre near Sacré-Couer basilica (seat of a cardinal, Mom and Kevin!). Dinner wasn’t being served until 7 pm, which gave us plenty of time to wait for Kelsi’s other friends who were meeting us as well, and for the three of us to roughly translate the menu written entirely in French. There was nothing weird on the menu so I was able to give a general concept of what the meal was, and anything I didn’t know was filled in by the waitstaff.
Dinner was in the typical French style, meaning it lasted about three hours start to finish. Lingering over meals is pretty much expected around here, which is totally on par with what we were feeling up to. The rest of the night we took easy because with other people starting to trickle in to Paris over the next few days, there are going to be some very late nights and this may have been our last chance to get some sleep.
More exciting things to come so stayed tuned! Though posting will be sporadic, dependent on my internet access and ability to actually charge my computer 😉