I’m not complaining. But really, it happens twice?
So I’ll admit: travelling in Paris has little to do with sojourning and even less to do with Transcarpathia. But bear with me – because everywhere I’ve been has gotten me to where I am and Paris was something of a training ground. So back to July travels …
The day after I arrived in Paris, I hopped on a train to Versailles and spent the day gawking. The immensity and grandeur started what became a theme on my Paris trip – I was overwhelmed. After hours of walking through the pristine gardens and opulant palace, I realized that what I really wanted to see was a glimpse of what daily life was like for the people who made this spectacle possible – the servants. What did their lives look like? I decided it would be fun to research and write a book – Usborne-style with lots of text and even more illustrations – about the lives of servants throughout history. I would call it something like As You Wish: 5000 years of servitude, and I would probably be the only one to buy it.
This pictue is especially for Carina, since she very much wanted to see Marie Antionette’s village and didn’t get to.
My orginal plan had been to stay in Paris for three days and then go on to Tours to stay with some aquaintances. The Tours trip did not pan out, and I was not expected at my next destination – Taizé – until the end of the week. So I ended up spending twice as much time in Paris as I had planned. While this left me with some difficulties in my hostel arrangemnt, it also opened up a new kind of touring – one in which I could take my time.
I spent almost an entire day at Norte Dame, just enjoying it’s existance. For instance, I could have stayed on the tower forever and watched the city of Paris change moods with every change of light.
Typical, yet nothing like being there.
I used the metro all the time, and I think I would have had a very different impression of the city if I’d been driven everywhere in a car. Perhaps I would have seen more interesting buildings, but metros are excellent spots for people-watching. And I got to perfect my Parisian look, standing to the side of the platform, absently waiting for the metro train, paging through a book.
This picture is especially for Kathleen, who wanted to see Sainte Chapel and didn’t get to.
I went to the Louvre a couple times. This is a view from one of the long corridors inside. When I first glimpsed daVinci’s Virgin on the Rocks, I got this delighfully squirmy feeling inside – the same kind you get when you’re about to see someone you haven’t seen in a very long time.
This is a cranny in the bookshop Shakespeare and Co. There on the left is a little “cove” with a very old type-writer inside. I made use of it for a while.
Even more typcial. Maybe even cheesy. It gets worse when you know that I walked around it while eating a baguette. (Yes, the entire thing because I didn’t want it to get stale later…) And then all the lights on the tower starting flashing like shooting stars, and I chose to view the sparkly overdone-ness of it all with wonder and laughter.
I went more than once. Wandering in Paris always leads y0u to interesting places.
Six days of travelling alone in an enourmous city when you don’t speak the language gives a person lots of things to practice: non-verbal communication, contentment with personal silence, initiative to forge your own path/schedule/ touring plan … you can see the connection to a sojourn as a solitary English teacher in the far reaches of Eastern Europe.