First Time in Europe
11th May 2012 - 15th May 2012
The hype about Paris
OK – I finally get what all the hype is about. Paris is pretty cool.
We spent just three nights in the so-called most romantic city in the world. It’s fairly typical of our entire trip – just a brief stay and a taste of each city. Paris was no different, although it’s just the second time we’ve had three nights in a row in the same bed. That was appreciated. We’ve been flat out for the last four-and-a-half-weeks, with only one or two nights in each place. So three nights felt like we should settle down and buy our own furniture!
As soon as we exited the train station, I got a taste for why this city is so adored worldwide. I said to Bridie: “Why don’t they make every city look like this?” Paris is just such a cool looking city. And that’s what really attracts me to any city to be honest. We did plenty of “stuff” in Paris – but I would have been happy strolling the streets and looking at the buildings, and all the street corners. I love cities that are great to simply look at. I mentioned this in a previous blog, but it’s the same feeling I have about San Francisco and Edinburgh. Sure there are plenty of fascinating and entertaining activities and attractions in these towns – but what really stands out are their good looks. I applied the same technique to choosing a wife.
I can’t fathom how the restaurant industry can sustain so many locations. We were forever stumbling upon new squares packed with restaurants, and every second street appeared to be lined with a hundred new dining options.
It’s a frustrating city to navigate though. I immensely dislike driving through towns like Vancouver because they are so strictly gridded – you’re forever stopping at red lights. However, such cities are easy to find your way around. So many streets in Paris are one way, and shoot off at strange angles. Of course, I can recognise various patterns to the streets when viewed from above. But you could say the same for spaghetti.
Now, I have a list of random observations that I’ve been collecting to write in my blog. I’m going to start dishing them out now.
RANDOM OBSERVATION 1: There couldn’t be a more appropriate occasion to use the very crude “WTF” acronym (mum, don’t Google it – you’ll be appalled). It’s about the ridiculous proliferation of condom vending machines across Europe. It seems the European libido is ignited in the most unremarkable places. I get it when they are inside the washrooms/toilets of a pub or bar. But what is going on over here that means you need an emergency condom at a gas station, a supermarket, and a Westfield Mall?!
We’re in Barcelona right now – and I’m eager to share my thoughts about this place in the next few days.
Song(s) for this portion of the trip: “April in Paris” – Count Basie Big Band. We were a few days late to qualify for this song, but still pretty close.
Best site since the last blog: Place St Michel. This is such an exciting and bustling hub of activity, shops and restaurants. But for me, it serves as just a single example of the many bustling public squares in Paris.
Cliché proven true: So far I hadn’t found Europe to be as ridiculously as expensive as had been reported. Paris is the exception. Still, I wouldn’t say ridiculous expensive. But it’s much more expensive than anywhere else we’ve been so far.
Surprise: Aside from the condom machines? The Eurostar reminded me of Air Canada and WestJet. Everything in French and English.
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