As you’ve all seen last Friday, miss Missouri came to town. Or, as she would see it, to Europe. Even though the Netherlands has been voted most picturesque country in the whole world* time and time again**, she feels too much contained in the 16,000 square miles that is my home country. So, as Americans do, we went to France (and she went to London while I was in class; I’m really committed). More specifically, we went to Paris. Early morning, we got in the high speed train, only to arrive in Paris three hours later. As we spent half the night not printing our tickets and had a mere four hours of sleep, those three hours were spent sleeping by miss Missouri and her dad (who joined us for the trip), and studying by me (again; commited).
Once we arrived, we went to our hotel in the middle of Indiatown. Nothing French yet. We had seen nobody walking around with the mandatory paper shopping bag including baguette, we had not seen even one part of the Eiffel tower, and every street corner had Bollywood music playing. We checked in at our hotel and started walking. Actually, we didn’t stop walking until we were at the edge of our beds and ready to fall in. The weather was beautiful, and I was thrilled to explore a new city. For some reason, it’s never the bigger moments I remember. For me, Paris wasn’t exploring the Eiffel tower and seeing the sun set over the city. It was sitting at the bank of a river, looking at Japanese tourists in a boat floating by, while having lunch in the shade of a tree. It’s the joy of being in a metro and seeing how daily life in Paris looks the same as in any other city, but with the small differences that make it fun to be part of. It’s walking along huge boulevards that make you imagine what life was in the high days of French grandeur. Climbing stairs that are just a tiny bit too long, but make up for it with the view in the end. It’s the little book stores along the river, that create a different atmosphere (and they know it, too). I was in Paris for only one afternoon and a little bit of evening, but there’s something about walking in a new city that never gets old.
*Not an actual contest
**Not an actual statistic