Paris: a Story of Love and Disappointment Part II

A man that can serenade me can have my heart anytime.

A man that can serenade me can have my heart anytime.

This isn’t titled A Story of Love and Disappointment for shits and giggles.

Ah, love….the concept I perpetually struggle with.

His name is Thibault.

We met in Prague. We talked. We smoked. We drank. We danced. We looked for my “lost” travel companion. There’s alot of other things we did but I’m not telling you about it.

Well…I guess I am telling you about it because it wouldn’t be titled as such without this story.

Going to Europe, for me, was about the culture, the sights, the people, the food…not the romance story I had heard so often. Or even the hook up stories. Shagging was the second to last thing on my mind. Falling in love was definitely the last thing. I was done with love at that point. All it had brought me was pain, dashed dreams, and innumerable nights of crying. It felt good to be someplace where there was no way in hell I could fall for someone. Someplace where I could forget…

Thibault was hilarious. He made fun of Texans (“HOOOW-DEEEE! My name is Chaz! I like George Bush Senior AND Junior.”). He asked questions. He organized people to have fun. He was passionate and full of spitfire. He talked with everyone. He spoke intelligently not only in French but also in English. I found myself liking him. And then I found myself dancing with him. He was kind and caring. He was optimistic…I found myself liking him even more. We sat up all night and talked and waited…and waited….and then he said “would you like to see my suite?”. We stared at the stars on the roof top patio and then time went out the window along with the last two things on my mind.

He smelled of crisp spring water and ferns.

His eyes burnt with so much want.

I melted under his fingers tips.

We made plans to meet up in Paris.

Yeah, yeah, yeah…it all sounds like a cheesy romantic movie. All those movie writers get it from somewhere!

Paris with my travel companion was disappointing. I admit, I didn’t research Paris as much as I had the Czech Republic and Prague. My original plan was to spend 2 weeks just in Czech so I was under prepared. All the same, it’s hard to realize half way through a trip that maybe…just maybe…..you chose the wrong travel companion. That’s something you can’t take back. Trips like that will either make or break a friendship. It broke ours.

But there was Thibault. He was like sunshine after a month of rain. All I wanted to do was bury my nose in his neck and breathe him in. I didn’t want to admit to myself that he was amazing. He lived in France. I lived in America. And I SUCK at long distance relationships. If you’re more than a 4 hour drive from me, it’s probably going to go south at some point. I was still hopeful and thought I could overcome my own character. Maybe I could move to France?

We enjoyed Paris. We had a picnic on a bridge with hundreds of other people over the Seine. We drank wine in a cafe late at night. We kissed in the streets Paris. We saw the lights of the Eiffel Tower. We hung out in Montmartre with his friend and got pulled over by the police. We napped next to the canal in soft, late summer grass. We made love. We promised to call. I cried when he left to go back home.

That day, the sky cried with me.

Paris: a Story of Love and Disappointment Part I

Due to the events of my trip to Prague and Paris back in August/September of 2011, I feel that Paris got a bum rap from me. Therefore, I am revisiting my memories with a different perspective. I do love Paris. I love the buildings. I love the hustle and bustle of a metropolis. I love how the women are dressed so wonderfully. I love the little cafes and the innumerable crepe carts, boulangeries, and brasseries. I love the Seine and hanging out on a bridge and watching it go by. I love Montmartre. I love the Louvre. And as cheesy and cliché as it is, I do love the Eiffel Tower not just as a structure but the history of it.

If you ever get the chance to go, as touristy as it sounds, you really do need to check these places out:

  • This was his humble dinning room.

    This was his humble dinning room.

    The Louvre: Amazing art. In order to not get art overload, pick the pieces you want to see most and check those out. Don’t stop too much on your way to them or else you will get seriously side tracked. Seriously. Definitely make time to see Napoleon’s apartments in the Louvre. They are stunningly not humble. This is a place you want to get to early in the morning because by 11am it’s a zoo, especially if you plan on seeing the Mona Lisa. Get up early, get a croissant and coffee to go, and get in through the mall under the Louvre to beat the line at the pyramid. Just remember: The Louvre is insanely big. You will NOT see everything in one day and if you try to, your head will explode.

  • It really is stunning in the morning.

    It really is stunning in the morning.

    The Sacré Cœur and Montmartre: Again, this is a place you want to visit in the early morning because it stunningly white and beautiful in the morning. I’ll admit that I wanted to visit this area because of the movie Amelié. Oddly, there was no man pretending to be a statue when I arrived at the top. Or Nino. Shucks. Be wary of artists drawing your portrait as you enjoy an espresso at a cafe in Montmartre: they will schiest you. Just tell them to go away because they will convince you that if you don’t like it you don’t have to pay them, which is untrue. Don’t even start downthat road. But do walk around all the quaint streets on the hill. It’s definitely magical. Except for the birds.

  • Kayakers...they are brave people in very dirty water.

    Kayakers…they are brave people in very dirty water.

    Seine/Canals: Ride a bike along them. The locals do everything from picnics, pétanque (or boules), general milling about, long walks, kayaking, and napping along the waters that flow through the city. I had the chance to take quite the nice nap with my friend Thibault next to the St Denis canal and also picnic on a bridge over the Seine one crazy evening. It was awesome to see how the city comes alive at night along the waterways.

  • Now that's a bike sharing program.

    Now that’s a bike sharing program.

    Bicycles: There is seriously no better way to get around a city and see a crap ton than on a bicycle. The first day in I did a bicycle tour with Fat Tire Bicycle Tours. It is definitely worth the €30. I was able to get a handle on how the streets worked and where everything was by biking. The rest of my stay I had a Véib’ subscription for a week. Again, the €8 to be able to ride a bike all over the city was totally worth it. Note: the first 30 minutes of riding are free. What I did to get around was ride for 20ish minutes, find a station, check it back in, then check it back out. Ta-da! Another free 30 minutes! I must say though, do NOT ride your bike on the Champ Élysées. That was pretty crazy. Oh yeah…make sure to inspect the bikes beforeyou check them out. There were quite a few that had issues.

  • Eiffel Tower: I regret not going up it. That says alot. Be a tourist. GO UP IT! Hit one of the farmers markets (they happen everyday all over the city), get a picnic together, and go hang out on the Champs de Mars (the largest public greenspace in Paris) with the Eiffel Tower and the tons of Parisians and tourists that visit this structure. Built in 1889 for the World’s Fair, it is a great example of what some smarts can do. Also, catch it at night when they turn the lights on. It’s stunningly beautiful. Fall in love with it. It’s hard not to.
    It's pretty freaking cool.

    It’s pretty freaking cool. 

     

This isn’t it for Paris, kids. This is your warm up. Part II is in the works.

Things I’ve Learned

So it’s the last night, I’m sitting at the Czech Inn again (happy!!!) and thinking about the past 15 days. What have I learned?
A. Not everyone is on the same trip and that’s ok. We all are looking for different things in life, so why wouldn’t we be looking for different things when on holiday? S’all good!
B. Every city has a different feel and it affects everyone differently. Praha was relaxed and groovy. Paris was up tight yet had lots of freedoms.
C. I LOVE Praha.
D. Making friends is easy once you hang out and relax. Unless you’re in Paris and then every guy just wants to shag you. Eww.
E. Having a good travel companion is HIGHLY important (that is if you choose to have one). Easy going and being able to laugh are important.
F. It’s ok to separate from your travel companion for chances of time. Seriously, it’s like being married. Time apart can be really awesome especially if you have different travel ideas.
G. Make sure you buy the proper metro tickets. Fines seriously suck.
H. Don’t try to make your last night the best night ever. If it’s meant to happen, it will. But it’s also good to chill and be ready for traveling the next day.
I. You might meet someone you didn’t expect and they might just sweep you off your feet. Literally. Tee-hee!
So yeah, it was a great trip with ups and downs, crazy Aussies, dancing Frenchmen, hot Germans, lots of awesome food, good pivo and wine, but most of all the experience of a lifetime.
I’ll write more once I’m rested and back in the States. Writing on my iPhone is a serious pain in the ass.
Live fiercely! Love fiercely!

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Prague and Paris: The Saga Continues

Spooky, right?

On August 23rd, Amber and I will be boarding a plane for Prague. We will stay there for a week, then jet off to Paris for a week before we make the sad trip home. Since you have no reference to where this all started, let me fill in the blanks.

October 2010: After realizing that I had been baby crazy for years with no success, I broke down crying on my couch before I was supposed to be out on the town. A question came to my mind: “If I don’t have kids, what am I going to do with my life?” The answer was simple: TRAVEL. That was the night I decided I wanted to see Prague and it was going to happen in a year. I was pretty sure I would go alone, since most of my friends are committed and/or have kids.

Amber and I had been thinking of going to Mexico for our birthdays (she is Feb 20, I’m Feb 24) so I asked her if she would be interested in going to Prague in September instead of Mexico. Her response was an overwhelming YES!!!

So…we’ve been planning. Planning over mahjong games, tea, devil fries, beer and pizza, and cute guys (there’s a cute waiter at the Atomic Cowboy where we were getting beer and pizza and he was giving us ideas on where to go). At first we were going to Prague and Vienna but people kept telling us we would be bored with Vienna in a few days. Sad.

As we were planning at the Atomic Cowboy one night, we started looking at flights from Prague to other European countries. We found a round trip flight to Paris for $90. Score! We have our winner!

Recently, I helped organize a twilight tutu traipse through one of parks here in Denver. Of course we had to extend our mischief to the surrounding neighborhood. Amber and I went our own way to create our own special brand of fun, traipsing through the Tattered Cover and along Colfax (the longest main street in America), to our last destination for the evening: The Thin Man. It was here that a very nice man at the bar informed us of a place I had heard about.

A church made of skeletons on the outskirts of Prague. Yep. Made of skeletons. It is located in Kutna Hora. Apparently the church became such a popular place to be buried due to sand from the holy land being sprinkled around it back in 13th century that by the 17th century there was just no more room. So they exhumed the older remains and started decoration the inside of the church.

Crazy right? We are so totally going to see this!!

If you have interesting sights (or relaxing sites) that you’ve been to in either of these regions, let me know.