June of 2010, my mother and I embarked abroad from home town Alaska to visit my aunt in Europe. We spent the night at her house in Germany, before hopping on a morning train headed into the hustle and bustle of Paris, France. As soon as my toes touched the ground, I felt transported to another planet. My world I had known was behind me, and ahead laid a maze of stilettos, quaint bakeries, and intricate artwork. We merged in with the traffic, looking embarrassingly American in jeans and Nike running shoes, but strode on swiftly, too engrossed by all the sights, sounds, and smells to hardly notice what we lacked in the fashion sense. Our schedule packed as much activity in as we could handle, and then some. A quick run through of the catacombs was followed by art in the Louve, lunch at a sidewalk café, viewing of the multiple statues and fountains, a tour of Napoleon Bonaparte’s tomb, finishing with deals from the local merchants and pictures under the Eiffel Tower.
All service was carried out with a smile, though some vendors were rather pushy to bring their goods to you. I did learn; do not stop unless you want to pay! I made the mistake of looking at a bracelet that a man was being offered, and before I knew it he had tied it on my wrist and gaily asking for a price. I had to grant the request, as I could not return the piece by that time, and quickly walked on as to not be deterred from my route again. The food was excellent and prompt; at times excotic and not reccomended, yet it all added to the adventure of stepping out of the box and experiencing a different side of life.
Although my time in this beautiful city was short, it will never be forgotten. Everywhere you turned, the surroundings were filled with historical significance and their personal stories. The precision with which all the buildings were assembled from the ground up is mind blowing; you become quickly transfixed and wide eyed all the time. Not that our group needed another reason to stand out, as we already played the part of obvious tourists. Our stay in Paris allowed me to learn another style of life while experiencing the culture first hand. The energetic and high class vibe running through the weathered streets was so foreign I almost didn’t know how to describe it at first. I am not sure I could even now. I very much enjoyed my visit, and count down the days until I will once again return to the "city of love".
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