The City of Love

La célèbre Tour Eiffel.

Paris is gigantic. The first day and a half were kind of hectic. I really enjoyed myself, but it was the whole, too many people around here kind of feeling. Today was different. I accepted the size of the city I guess and went searching around looking for nothing really, only starting with the Louvre. I’m pretty sure I’m not in the mood to tell you, “ I went here, saw this, it was big, it was nice, then I went here…” Let me just start over.

I have a balcony. It’s incredible. I’m writing from it now, looking at the Pantheon in the distance. The street of Les Gobelins is under me and although not one the busiest streets, it has many people and cars frequenting it. The building are beautiful. Tall and proud architecture shows true in them and the sun, now going down, gives a light orange glow on both their windows and stones. Small birds fly constantly above landing on thin cylindrical and clay looking outlets that fill each chimney, 10 or more per building.  Trees are planted on rooftop gardens with other small plants. Today I realized how tranquil the inner city can be. I found a park on the top of a train station, another filled only with people reading the paper, relaxing in the sun or the shade, and watching their children play tag or soccer. I reached a cemetery and strolled through it, reading some of the names. I wonder what I’ll want to happen to my remains. I’ve been thinking I want to be buried with some seeds in my pockets in a bag or something that degrades with my body. It doesn’t really matter what kind of seeds. Not roses – not a bush. Okay, it matters a little. I wonder if we think about death more than life.

Anyway, I discovered that knowing another language, even if you’re in France and it isn’t French, is awesome. I got this ID card in Linz that says I’m a foreign exchange student studying in Austria. Well, it’s gotten me into 3 places for free. That’s nearly 30 euro. Okay, it’s supposed to only be for EU citizens, but when you show someone that card and say, “Sprechen Sie Deutsch? Ich komme aus Österreich”, it’s kind of hard for them to say you aren’t an EU citizen. Arc de Triomphe, Pantheon, Invalides – FREE. I got an apple for free at a creperie – they weren’t for sale and I asked to buy one. I’m not sure I understand the phrase “On a shoestring [budget]”…

It’s crazy how much I’ve seen in the two and a half days I’ve been here. All of my legs are sore. I’m convinced it’s not from my run yesterday. Also, 25 euro for one day or working out, are you joking me, I’m used to free stuff. I left. Tomorrow I meet a guy named Paul Faresse (pretty sure that last name is right) who is putting me up for 2 nights. Couchsurfing. Hope that goes well. I think I’ll do it again if it does. Barcelona? Mallorca maybe. Tomorrow I meet Chloé here. That starts the point where I will be with friends from Linz for 11 days straight. Different friends along the way, but not alone like I have been in Munich and Paris. That will be nice. I’m excited both about being with them and about being alone on my hikes through some of the Lake District. Sometimes being alone is great. Other times not so much. I’m certain, though, that experiences are best when shared. It will be nice to travel with people.

Pictures from Paris will be up when I get to Belgium.