Wednesday, May 19, 2010

From Paris to Italy and back again.... Part Un

This is the first time since the 13th of May that I have had access to a computer, and in a way, it has been a good thing! I am typing this blog from the Italian keyboard-computer at the pensioné that I am staying at while in Stresa, Italy.... thus no contractions! However, I should be able to write all Italian and French words correctly! So, voilà!

I am in the Hotel La Fontana, which is a very lovely little place in the resort town of Stresa, which itself sits along a portion of Lago Maggiore. Lago Maggiore is a large Alpine lake between the borders of Switzerland and Italy, and it is molto bellissimo! I am here with my sister, Sharlene, and our friends, Lucy, Jimmy, Rebekkah and Joe. The wedding party we are in Italy with are staying down the street in a villa, which I will post photos of when I get back to the states! It is simply amazing, and descriptions will not do it justice! I will also post photos of La Fontana, which is nothing to sneeze at, either! The friends at the villa are: Tracy, Brian (the bride & groom,) Krisztina, Jevens, Doan, Joya, and many that I have yet to become acquainted with, are all staying at the villa. 

However, our trip started out with Sharlene and I leaving Los Angeles International Airport on Thursday morning, and arriving at Charles Degaulle on Friday morning. It took us THREE HOURS to find our way to our apartment in the 20th arrondissment, as the signs were confusing, and there was no one working in the information booth at the airport! We got our train tickets and got onto the Metro, which had a train directly to the Gard du Nord station, which is where we were to catch a bus to take us to the 20th. We could have also taken another Metro train to our area, but not feeling confident that we could walk to the apartment without getting lost, chose to take the bus, which we were told drops you off directly across from the apartment. Which is basically did. We found our bus, got on, and rode through the streets of Paris on a crowded bus with all of our luggage around us. Truth be told, I was HAPPY to stand after the 11 hours on planes that day. 

We luckily found the correct street, dragged our luggage up a flight of stairs, and keyed ourselves into what would be our tiny home for the next four days. It really was a very cute studio with a shower so small that you could not bend over to pick things up without bumping your ass or elbows into something, and the shower curtain was acting on Bernulli's principal of aerodynamics: it was drawn into the shower by the hot water/air and pulled against us as we would try to shower. Very annoying!

However, the place was cute and clean, and the owners next door were very sweet and helpful! 

The city of Paris is gorgeous. I know that a lot has been said about Paris, and I don't want to repeat in a probably less ingenious way, but it really was mind-blowing! I was in love. I have always wanted to go to Paris, and there I was, with my sister, in the most amazing place.... so full of gorgeous architecture, and a European esthetic that tugs at your heart. I was in heaven with my first croissant and café crème, and it only got better as we walked through the Latin Quarter, and La Marais, and met up with friends at Père Lachaise Cemetery, where Jim Morrison is buried and where Oscar Wilde still gets kisses from the ladies.... I literally lost my s*&% when I stood below Le Tour Eiffel at night, however. My sister, Doan, Bekkah and Joe, our friends from home, and I decided that the tower was best seen at night, and stood there, with a carousel in front of us, and the tower lit up above us, and my heart swelled and nearly burst. I had one little hiccup, and then cried, right there under the tower.... my sister came over and gave me a hug, and we just held each other there, smiling, laughing, and crying. I don't know what it is!! But it was big. As we were leaving, Bekkah saw in a reflection, the tower was sparkling! So we ran back to it, and watched as Le Tour Eiffel twinkled like a 4th of July sparkler, just for us, it seemed. Breath-taking....

Other highlights were: the sun setting behind the pyramid in front of the Louvre, jumping up and down on a bridge over the Seine while my sister took photos, eating charcuterie, fromage, les pains & tartin outside of a café with our friends, drinking a bottle of French wine and talking while we watched the crowds pass by us in La Marais.... riding the Metro all over Paris.... everything just seemed to be magical and wonderful and full of life, as we were there together. The experience of a lifetime! I still want to cry!

The only unfun part of this leg of our journey was the mad rush through Charles Degaulle airport (CDG) with luggage in tow, while we tried to make our flight to Malpensa, Italy, after we spent too long in a café in the 20th, and had troubles getting our train tickets to the airport, and then lastly, taking the wrong train to get to the airport... instead of getting on the nonstop train, we took the regular one which stops at every stop! Luckily (?) our flight was delayed by an hour, and so we had to wait upon reaching the furthest gate at Terminal 2 of CDG. Funny thing about the airport is that it seems designed to keep you from leaving! All of the up-escalators weren't working, so we had to drag our suitcases up one step at a time! It was ridonculous! We were SO hot and sweaty by the time that we got to the correct gate that once in, Doan decided to change into a sundress in a little radioactive barrier room. We don't know what it was for, but we decided that it was being used as a conjugal visiting room for those who couldn't wait to be with their beloveds. Ha!

Interesting side note: the food in Paris was not so delicious.... we thought we would get amazing French food at any restaurant that we went to, but we were disappointed almost every time, when we ate near the city center. The food at the outer arrondissments were better. But for truly delicious French food, we heard that you need to fork out over 300 EU a plate. Um, no thanks. That would be three and a half meals for me, and I would have no money left! However, the pastries and cafés were delectable, and inexpensive! MM mm good!

Next blog.... Stresa, Italy, the lovely town on Lago Maggiore! 


Orion Designs said...

Sounds like the trip of a lifetime. So nice to be in Paris with your sister and best friends! I'm looking forward to hearing about the rest of your trip.

Keith said...

Your post gave me the type of ear-to-ear SEG that leaves me feeling stretched in the face and plump in the heart! So glad you are having the kind of trip you wanted - an unforgettable and amazing one! Can't wait to hear more when you get the chance, and it'll be so great to see the pictures that will help tell your story!

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