“When I say I want to travel I don’t mean I want to stay at resorts and go on tours with tour guides or buy key chains from souvenir shops. I don’t want to be a tourist. When I say I want to travel I mean I want to explore another country and become part of it. I want to discover small coffee shops in Germany and Italy and France. I want to walk on beaches in Australia and browse the book stores in England. I want to hike the Great Wall of China and go cliff diving in Hawaii. I want to meet people who are not like me, but people who I can like all the same. I want to take pictures of things and places and people I meet. I want to see things with new eyes. I want to look at a map and be able to remember how I was transformed by the places I’ve been to, the things I’ve seen, and the people I’ve met. I want to come home and realize that I have not come home whole, but have left a piece of my heart in each place I have been. This, I think, is what is at the heart of Adventure and this is why I plan on making my life one.” -Unknown
I’ve never been one of those girls that dreamed of going to Paris and having a romantic weekend with some guy. I always thought that Paris would be a little bit overrated and I’ve always heard bad things about the French. So when I went this weekend with a group of friends I discovered that only half of my assumptions rang true.
Paris was amazing. It exceeded every single expectation that I had. Seeing the Eiffel Tower sparkling at night has to be one of the better moments of my life. It only lights up for 5 minutes on the hour so you only get those 5 minutes to take it in, but that makes it more special I think. I can’t really put into words the beauty of this glowing metal structure. And I wouldn’t trade my experience with my good friends for anything.
We hit the Louve and saw the Monna Lisa, which is certainly the most beautiful building I’ve ever stepped foot in. We walked through Notre Dame and the Arc de Triomphe. We crawled down to the Catacombes. We drank champagne on the Eiffel Tower and even went ice-skating on it. Yes, that’s right: we went ice-skating ON the Eiffel Tower. We ate crepes and croissants and crème brulee; had an amazing French dinner with a non-English speaking waiter. Pointing at the items on a menu is okay.
We figured out the Metro system, and actually used maps to get around — getting lost a few times along the way. We seized a city without knowing a lick of French. But I’ll keep it short and just say that Paris is one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever seen and I’m glad I saved it for my last trip of the semester. Even the rude locals couldn’t ruin it for us.