Sunset, by the Seine.
I've closed many chapters in my life, started on one too many 'clean slates' and journeys just never seem to come around like I hoped it would. I am not much of a writer like my best friend is, so penning my thoughts for this summer may get slightly lost in translation, but I'll try. To begin with, I would like to clarify that this is by no means a travel piece. You will not find very useful information if you're thinking about heading to Paris / London (sorry about that), although I will give you a list of things / expectations, should you be deciding to head there at some point. But first, let me start by saying that while I am not a writer, I am a 'emote-er'. Pretty sure this word doesn't exist in the dictionary so by my definition, I travel with heightened senses. A gush of wind that wraps my heart up into soaring heights, a smell of fresh croissants that sends a rumble to my tummy, the taste of home-made ice-cream running down my dry throat, the sound that my boots make as I make my way through the cobbled streets of Paris, so many other memories that stays fresh in my mind till this very day. While it is one thing to marvel at The Louvre or Buckingham Palace, it is another to remember the tiny details of your adventure. THOSE are what real adventures are made up on. The smile from a stranger on the street, meeting fancy people at the market, vintage shopping and running your fingers through clothes that have a history and story to them. THOSE are the real memories that no one can create but yourself.
I closed a chapter in my life recently, and came on this journey with an appetite to learn. It was like I was starved from the world so when I embarked on this, I felt like I couldn't stop. I just wanted to know more, to see more, to take in so much that my heart could go into combustion. And I am so glad that I learnt not just about the world, but about myself. Just short of a few months ago, the thought of being alone was a fear that I could not face. Yet through these 14 days travelling through London and Paris, I regained the independence that was so fiercely taken away from me and finally I feel like I am living again. I know, it sounds all so melodramatic but when you've been numbed long enough, this is how you should feel. 14 days and now I have dreams and aspirations bigger than what I could have imagined for myself. I cling on to everything I have seen, heard, felt, tasted and smelled.
I created a Top-18 (because I don't like to do complete things) list for Paris, not one for London (yet) but for now, here is what I can offer.
18 Things that you must do in Paris:
1. Have Pierre Herme macarons (you MUST, and far better than Laduree)
2. Eat Bretollion ice-cream (Have it along the il-st-louis and watch amazing street performers)
3. Say 'Bonjour' and 'Merci' (at the very least)
4. Visit Centre Pompidou (I spent 4 hours by myself there, AMAZING ART)
5. Learn to open metro doors (and fast , cos no one's gonna teach you that's for sure)
6. Eat lots and lots of crepes
7. Buy lots and lots of bon bons
8. Lie about in a jardin (garden), book in hand and peace in mind.
9. Eat baguette by the Seine
10. Visit Montmarte (my favourite part of Paris, for sure)
11. Be rude to a rude french
12. Beware of pigeons
13. Go to Sacre-Couer and wait for sundown, amazing view of the Eiffel Tower
14. Have a cup of coffee everyday
15. Cycle in Paris
16 (a) ignore couples making out as best you can if you are single/recently heartbroken or (b) embrace l'amour parce que all you need in life is love! Oui!
17. Visit Chateau de Versailles (must do!)
18. Lastly, create an amazing playlist - Sigur Ros, Morrissey, Mumford & Sons, The Black Kids, Angus & Julia Stone, etc - because music is everything when you travel.
au revoir et merci for reading.
Pictures taken along the Seine and by the St-Michel fountain.
I made it, to Paris :)