for those who don't want to just wait it out

like the song says this is a blog for someone who wants to say something (anything) and who's happy to wait and see what time will bring...

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Let me set my mood for you – in Sydney I’m guessing that it’s a little cold and grey and that winter is in full swing. By stark contrast, I’m spending most of my days at the moment ‘swanning’ (according to some) around the French Riviera with balmy days and warm sunsets that have the soft scent of jasmine perfuming the air. Life. Is. Good.

But for all of it’s goodness there have been a few moments of confusion along the way. So, what’s a girl to do when she finds herself a little ‘lost in translation’ in a delightfully strange city? I can tell you – I now have the top 5 tips for a girls guide to Paris (and a little further a-field too).

1. I’ve discovered why it is that French women have the reputation for pouting so much. They’re just generally annoyed with the men. They’re not trying to be cute or get their way, they’re saying “bugger off you pervy old man”. Be prepared for the fact that French men stare, a lot (I think I’m getting prepared for standing out in the weeks to come). You can either feel constantly flattered (that wears off by the end of your first day) or just ignore it.
2. Feel free to eat just about any delicious thing that comes across your path. Bethan and I stopped by this market that has been touted by one tour guide as ‘for millionaires only’ and considering that the fruit had no price tag but looked phenomenal I could believe it. I’ve consumed any number of glaces, croissants and succulent meals throughout the last week and have delighted in each bite. Do not wimp out and just settle for food that you know – that’s boring and a waste of the opportunity to indulge with the French in their reputation for fine food. All this eating is ok because…
3. Find the stair-master at your local gym and go into training before hand for all of the walking and steps that you will encounter – so far I think I’ve managed to hike a little over 1500 steps and there’ll still be more to come (and as much as you may love them, also pack more shoes than havi’s to walk around in – as great as they are when you start out you will have blisters within a couple of days. However, once you have conquered whatever stairs you have challenging before you, I promise that the views will be worth it – here is one that we stumbled across at the top of the Sacre Cœur, the second highest point in Paris after the Eiffel tower (unless you’re a little nuts don’t try and climb that though – just bear with the que and take the lift)
4. Do your research and choose your accommodation wisely. After a delayed flight Alex and I got into Nice a little after 12pm only to have to wait half an hour before being picked up to go to the hostel I’d booked. Now, keep in mind that we’d organised to stay in a room for three and the write up had said that this was ‘the best hostel in Europe’… so you can image a little frustration on our behalf when at 1am we were plonked into a room that had 12 other occupants, was at least 25 degrees, smelt and was just above the reception and bar area. Having been assured that the price also balanced out because it was 20 mins from the centre of town, then perhaps you might image that there could be more chagrin when the next day we managed to find a 2 star hotel (in the middle of town) with a bed and bathroom for three. Needless to say we’d checked out within 18 hours and are now happily entertained by ‘Madame” (I have no other name for her) and her little white scotty dog ironically named ‘Onyx’. The fact that she charmingly mocks me because I exclaimed ‘puppy’ when I first saw him is besides the point – now I’m flattered that she chants ‘pouppie’ (just imagine the accent) whenever she sees me.
5. Expect the unexpected – as I type this the practice for the Tour de France (Paris to Nice in 9 days) is finishing up under the bedroom window of my room in Nice (actually that ones just for you Paddy). But in all seriousness be prepared to spend more hours than you’d expected either wandering around a market place, going up and down the Riviera or lingering over point 3, simply because you can.

I’m having a fabulous time. The weather is gorgeous and because the sun is different in Europe I have justified lying in the sun on the coast and swimming in the glorious turquoise Mediterranean waters (and I plan on doing the same tomorrow in a little town called Eze – those in the know would recognise the name because it’s most recent home-owners are Brangelina, just a stones throw from Bono and The Edge places...for a small place it packs it’s own celebrity punch).

The highlight though, without a glimmer of a doubt, has been spending time with some much loved, and much missed, girls from UTS. They are the reason I came and it’s been a blessing not only to be sharing this with them, but to be having some great conversations and finding out how their really going on their year over here.

The plan from here is that Alex and I will stick around until Sunday before we fly to Reims so that I can see where she lives (and enjoy some true Champagne) and meet some of her newest friends. After that I’ll be back in Paris with Bethan for a day or so and then back on another plane to head for the Gulf Region. Team, if you’re reading this too – I can’t wait to see you all and get stuck into all that we have planned and prayed for.

Hopefully (depending on how my internet access goes) I’ll load up some more photos on flickr for those who care to peruse and read some more anecdotes.

Bonne journée and au revoir
xxx

2 Comments:

  • At 7:38 am, Blogger Paul and Beth said…

    So incredibly jealous of you girls. Well, at least the sun shined today, up here in the north :-) Can't wait till you're back here and lighting up little Lagny-the-Dull xx

     
  • At 8:27 am, Anonymous Tim said…

    Sounds like you are having an awesome time. If you get the chance, it is totally worth walking up a hill in Nice to get to the Matisse Museum. The Ciminez monastery is behind it & the Musie de archeologie & Musie Marc Chegal are both on the way too!

    Oh, now the memories come flooding back. Watch for the dog poo on the Nice streets. Man I dodged a lot of poo in that town!

     

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