Well, it was more than time for me to go on another holiday! This time I’m back in Europe for three weeks, enjoying some early summer weather and seeing friends.I flew to Paris via Auckland and Shanghai. I got to exit into China for all of about half an hour before rechecking my bag and disappearing back into transit to wait for my flight. I also got a free health check when passing into China I set off the heat detectors. China (and other countries) are very careful in the face of many international health epidemics like Bird and Swine Flu.
In Paris, I took the RER to my hostel where I had a quick shower and headed out to meet Naomi one of my friends from my year in France who is now living in Paris. We ate some food and drunk some wine followed by kirs on the terrace of a bar.
The next day I went back to Clermont-Ferrand to spend a night with friends and watch the Champions Cup final between ASM Clermont and Saracens on the big screen with about 50,000 other people and a beer. I wore my ASM tee shirt and painted my nails accordingly.
Unfortunately my team lost, but the atmosphere was great and a great night was had out with friends after the game.
It was really strange being back. Everything felt the same, but I was completely different. It had been almost two years since I had left and I think I have grown up some in that time. Also, was so strange having only a handful of friends there and not all the assistants who I was so close with when I was there. Walking around the city felt so familiar but strange at the same time.
The weather in Paris was so lovely, so it was a good opportunity to get out and see some sights, eat some food and hang out with friends. The only issue… tonsillitis. I get this chronically and I was pleased I packed such a comprehensive first aid kit.
My first full day I got up early and climbed the nearly 400 steps to the Sacre Cœur and the view over Montmartre and Paris. I then walked down the Rue Des Martyrs eating the best strawberries I’ve ever tasted, all the way to the Seine stopping on the way to read some in the Palais Royal. Later in the day I joined Naomi for lunch by the Canal St Martin and a stroll through the bookshop of the 6eme arrondissent and a couple of hours in the Jardin du Luxembourg gossiping. Emma and I had Italian for dinner near the Eiffel Tower after a drink on the bank of the Seine where we were warmed by the evening sun.
The next day I spent a half day in Giverny visiting Monet’s gardens. I arrived on an early train and arrived at the gardens just as they were opening. I highly recommend doing this, as the crowds in the small gardens only seem to increase as the day goes on. My afternoon was spent shopping and attempting to recover from my sickness.
Wednesday I woke late and went to the doctor to get some medication prescribed. This turned out to be really quick and easy in the end and the pharmacist complimented me on my name and said she was impressed with my french!
In the afternoon I went to the Promenade Plantée which is a walkway that was built as another railway/metro line then only used for a short while and now it’s a raised walkway. Yes, like the Highline in New York. Yes, this older and was the first one! After sitting in the nearing 30 degree heat in the park halfway down the walkway for a while I went to meet Naomi for one last drink and a wander around Le Marais. Oddly enough, we ended up at the same restaurant that I took Rhea and her friend to two years earlier.
This morning it was an early one. I had to be up at 4:30am to get to Porte Maillot and catch a bus to Beauvais, the budget airline airport about 75min drive from Paris. Where I’m going? Well you’ll just have to wait until my next post to see!
Write again soon,