If you’re reading this blog, you have probably already heard that I am traveling through France, Spain, and Italy with all my siblings this summer. In many ways, it’s the quintessential Euro Trip; we are traveling to Paris, Barcelona, and Rome and staying within walking distance of the Eiffel Tower, La Sagrada Familia, and Vatican City. However, for us it’s a big deal because typical family vacations usually mean pitching a tent and warding off raccoons in the White Mountains for a weekend. Here, we are definitely out of our element, but are trying very much to appreciate the culture and all the aspects of French history that we didn’t learn while sleeping through Western Civ sophomore year of high school. I told some friends I would blog about what we are up to, so here is a small update about our first three days!
We left Boston on Tuesday evening, and in typical Colford fashion we met three friends before we stepped off the plane in France! After chatting with some people from New Zealand in the airport, we got to know the flight attendants pretty well! They thought it was hilarious that we were all flying together, and since the plane was so empty, they let us all change our seats and sit in one row. Then one of them noticed our Foss Running Camp backpacks, and it turns out that her son runs cross country and goes to the same camp every year!
Since that time, we have made all the amateur mistakes and seen many of the most prominent tourist attractions that one can expect to experience in Paris. Some of our most embarrassing moments include:
– Shannon trying to wash her hands with mouthwash in the fancy admirals club at the airport. (Because Brendan clearly flies too often and Shannon hasn’t yet flown enough.)
– Walking into the wrong apartment next to our Air BNB. We saw an open door, walked inside, and found an elderly man who stared at us with confusion and fright. His wife came down the stairs exclaiming, “I don’t know you, you don’t know me, GET OUT NOW!” All five of us were out on the sidewalk in about three seconds with all of our luggage and hastily found our Air BNB one door away. In our defense, both doors said #156, so how could we have known?
– The metro is right outside our place, which is very convenient, and it is far more efficient than the T. However, the one challenge is that most stops have exit doors which are very heavy that you almost have to slam open. This presented a huge problem for bringing bags on the train!
Beyond the embarrassing moments, here are a few of the most notable activities so far:
– On the first evening we chose a random stop on the metro, got off, and went to a happy hour for a drink together. We also shared an amazing meal at a restaurant older than our country… it’s hard to imagine how historic everything is here!
-Yesterday morning we got up and toured the Palace of Versailles- which was more than we could ever fathom in one building! We felt like we walked for hours and only saw a small percentage of the gardens!
– We walked around that night and ended up on the lawn of the Eiffel Tower. In the span of an hour and a half, we were offered more beer, wine, and champagne from vendors than I’ve been offered my entire life!
– This morning we had tickets to the Louvre, so we were in line at 9am, along with all the other people who were hoping to see the Mona Lisa and whatever other art happened to be in the monstrous five story museum. The building itself was brilliantly ornate, seemingly larger than Versailles itself, and probably more interesting than the nude statues and paintings which seemed to occupy about 90% of the space. Apparently the French, Greeks, and Romans hated clothing much more than I ever thought previously. After about three hours of getting lost and trying to find each other, we headed home for the next adventure to come!