Our travels to Paris were a blur. We hopped on a train from Salzburg to Munich, searched in vain for Oktoberfest (which ended up starting the next morning at 10am...barely missed it!), boarded another train and took an overnighter to France. It was probably the worst travel I've ever had; my romantic notions of an overnight train were certainly proved inaccurate. I imagined a cozy room with bunk beds and a toilet, scenic countryside passing by, all the while being lulled to sleep by the soft rocking and white-noise of the wheels on the train track. WRONG! We shared 2 toilets with an entire boxcar, it was pitch black outside, the train constantly jerked throughout the night, and we stopped at least once in the middle of the night to let on additional travelers which was noisier than I had planned. All the while, I came down with a terrible cold and could barely breathe in our stuffy room. Needless to say, by the time we arrived in Paris I was not a happy camper.
I've never been particularly interested in visiting France, but Jason loved his time there back in 2006 so convinced me that we should go to Paris. Yes, there's lots of history and art there, and the culture is one-of-a-kind, but to me there are so many other cities I'd rather explore. After spending 3 days there I wouldn't say I fell in love with it -- but I certainly left feeling like I only hit the tip of the iceberg in seeing all the city had to offer.
We started our time in Paris searching for our apartment, a pharmacy, and taking a nap. We couldn't believe it when we woke up and half the day was already gone. Apparently after 3 weeks of travel, our sleep deprived and exhausted bodies started getting weary! We still managed to visit Musee´ d'Orsay and the Musee´ Rodin, and saw the opulence which is Napoleon's Tomb. The best part of our day came when we shopped at Carefour for some salad, wine, bread, meat, and cheese, and headed back to our apartment to watch some French TV and rest.
The next two days included seeing even more historic sights, but also getting lost and failing to see some of the biggest attractions in the city. The Catacombs were one of the coolest and evocative things we saw....millions of bones stacked underground in the span of a mile. We took a page from Rick Steve's book (literally) and did the Historic Walking Tour, including Notre Dame, the Deportee´ Memorial, Saint-Chapelle, and more. Sadly our attempts to find the right Metro to get to the Pantheon failed, as did our attempt to get to the top of the Eiffel Tower: after an hour of waiting in line, they closed it. Bummer! We still got some photos and spent some time in Champs de Mars.
Other highlights included the Arc de Triomphe, the Champs-Élysées (which was way cooler from on the Arc de Triomphe), the Louvre (crazy packed and the Mona Lisa was tiny), Sacre Coeur (our thighs burned by the time we got there), and ordering a warm baguette all in French!
It's hard to believe this adventure was already a year and a half ago. So much has changed, and I am so grateful for that time in our lives. It was a crazy 3 weeks with little sleep, sore feet, and thousands of miles traveled. But I'm confident it will remain one of the best memories of my entire life. Here's to hoping we can relive this again some day, with 6 new countries on the books!