I’m not an especially spontaneous person–which is fine, because I’ve got enough friends who are (see: Fleming, Sarah) that I can live vicariously through their exploits. On Monday, I decided to give sponteneity a go–and so right after writing that night’s blog entry, I booked a rail ticket to Paris. I’d never been before; it seemed like something I should do since, as the saying goes, every young man should see Paris. I’m still young (at least technically speaking), and so yesterday I boarded a Eurostar train at Waterloo Station and headed south at 300 km/h.
When I got there, I walked out of the Gare du nord and got lost–which wasn’t surprising, since I deliberately did not bring a map with me. Eventually I hailed a cabbie, who informed me I’d been wandering in (his words) “the Negro and Arab” neighbourhood. That didn’t seem like the place I wanted to be, and so instead I went to the Louvre…which is closed on Tuesdays. Thus, “see the Mona Lisa” became “buy Bri an ugly key chain” on the day’s itinerary, and disconsolate, I walked away. Naturally, I ended up at the Paris Opera House, which provided at least 50% of my motivation for visiting Paris in the first place. I spent a good hour exploring and taking pictures of things (the chandelier, Box 5, the grand staircase) which I’ve been waiting to see almost for my entire life; I also got a picture of me on the grand staircase, which was actually on my list of things to do while I’m twenty-seven (one down, twenty-six to go!). Then it was on to the Arc de Triumphe and the Eiffel Tower…and yes, I did climb the latter all the way to the second level (the third, highest level was closed). From there I wandered along the Seine, then had crepes and a glass of Bordeaux at a Parisiene cafe. And then I left for the station–because I had to be on my way back to London by six.
If that summation seems rushed…well, imagine what the actual trip was like. I liked the city; I’m also painfully aware that I didn’t really “see” Paris so much as gained a superficial tourist’s understanding of what the city’s actually like. I don’t like travelling like that: to me, it seems self-defeating. But the visit certainly whetted my appetite for more. Next time, I’ll be there for longer than six hours–and I’ll be bringing the Bri Monster with, since being alone in Paris is actually the loneliest feeling on the planet.
So: now I’m back in London and I’m seeing shows. In half-an-hour I’m seeing Les Miserables (yes, again). Then tonight, my mom and I are seeing Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Neither of us had any idea that this was the 1992 Steven Pimlott-directed revival; when we found out we were pretty much willing to do anything to get in, which in our case involved not sitting together (the show is purportedly sold out through 2007). Coincidentally, Les Mis and Joseph were the first two shows I ever saw in London, albeit at different venues. Then it’s back to Salisbury tomorrow for the rest of the visit. I’ll try to write another entry or two while I’m there; failing that, I’ll talk to you all on Sunday!