A chronicle of Alison and Ron's trip around the world in 2009-2010.

"Not all those who wander are lost"
- Tolkien

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Our Friends from Brittany

We met our friends from Rennes under the Eiffel Tower at high noon and began our marathon adventure around Paris. Eva had lived only a few hours from Paris her whole life and had never been. Never been! I suppose it’s like if I’ve never been to San Jose, but San Jose is no Paris. Can you imagine?! So we were sightseeing together. Her cousin Anthony, like a young Russell Crowe and fellow musician of a band called Pop n Roll, bonded with Ron over music immediately. We met them when they were traveling through the US and hosted them through couchsurfing.com for a couple nights in our apartment in San Francisco.

First stop was lunch at a nearby brasserie where we had faux fillet and pomme frites or grilled steak and fries. Yum…one of the better meals we would have in Paris, and so simple. There was an older woman at a nearby table, drunk off white wine at 1 in the afternoon, a self proclaimed abstract artist and dancer she was a real character and we chatted with her for at least half an hour.
Next we went to the Montmartre area and climbed the hundreds of stairs to Sacre Couer, french for sacred heart. The climb under the savage sun wasn’t very fun but the view of the city afterward was well worth the effort.

On to Notre Dame, we followed the snaking line into the building, one of the greatest gothic cathedrals in the world. Dark and somberly we circumnavigated the interior in silence. A man sneezed and I jokingly shushed him and burst in to giggles. It is a million more times fun to sightsee with friends. In this photo you can see the first flying buttresses on a cathedral, like spider arms supporting the body of the building.

Taking a brief break by the river Seine. We laughed and talked and shared a bottle of sweet wine called Melmor, they brought from Brittany.

We walked down the river toward the Louvre and the famous pyramid entrance designed by I.M. Pei.

Through the Tuileries garden, down the long Champs-Elysees, towards the Arc de Triomphe.

We were dead tired by then, my legs about to fall off so we took the metro to Saint Denis-du Fauborg, back to our neighborhood for dinner. We sipped an apertif of Ricard. Ron had some delicious turkey dish with creamy gravy and I had a duck salad that had just a few too many gizzard parts in it. But I was too hungry to be overly picky.

This is where it starts to get blurry. First was the idea to get a bottle of vodka and a 6-pack of redbull at the local super-marche. Very sensible, because it can be 10 euro a drink at some bars. We would save a fortune! We went back to our apartment, mixed drinks, and Ron dj’ed music on his Ipod for hours as background to our boisterous conversation.

And then at nearly 3am Ron and Anthony wanted “just one more”…

So we headed to a nearby bar. Eva and I stuck to the water but it displeased the greedy waiter not wanting us to sit and order nothing, in his dead empty bar in the dead of the night. The bill came to over 25 euro for two drinks, and we were all shocked. But I did have an opportunity to use some French I just learned. “Va tu faire foutre!”, I said clearly and confidently to the face of the waiter, he frowned and slunk back inside. Serves you right, jerk.

The next day came too soon and arrived with a head spinning hangover. Ugh. Worth it? Absolutely, we had a grand time. We were sad to see our friends go, but only until next time. Eva is thinking about moving to Quebec early next year so perhaps our next adventure will be there!

Eva et Anthony, nous vous aimons!


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