SOLO IN THE CITY OF ROMANCE (part 2)

There is so much more to Paris that the Eiffel tower. How could one take it all in, on a limited time? I had 23 hours from the time I arrived at Paris airport, till the time I needed to return to the airport for my return trip to Florida.

As I previously wrote, I was on a mission to see the Eiffel tower. Conveniently located near the Eiffel tower, I took a boat tour on the Seine at sunset. During the evening time, and dusk rapidly approaching, I did not hop on and off at all the sites. Instead, I chose to take in the beauty of the Parisian sunset and take in the views from the boat. This was perfect timing to save glimpses of Notre Dame; Musee D’ Orsay; Invalides; Jarden Des Plantes; and the Louvre. As the boat traveled, people gathered along the walls of the river. Some sharing a bottle of wine with a friend, playing checkers, a few lively dance parties, or the occasional couple slow dancing, and some individuals enjoying the night by themselves, but “together” we shared the end of the day in the beauty of the sunset.

That evening, as I tiredly took my final steps back to the hostel, warm thoughts went through my mind. I had done it, one solo day in a beautiful foreign place. I did not feel alone, but very much a part of it all.

Notre Dame (Summer 2018)

Gathering along Seine River
Dancing along the Seine

Morning came early as I woke at 6:00 a.m. I had to make the most of my limited time. Grabbed a croissant and small juice in the hostel lobby and headed on my way. I planned on checking out a few greenspaces. I enjoyed the little parks, walked a little way and jumped on the metro and got close to where I believed I wanted to be. The metro was NOT intimidating for this Florida girl. (WOW, who was I? I was already changing. I hadn’t had a conversation in hours and I was loving the time with myself.) I got off at my stop, rounded the streets, and space began to open up to a park, garden, and Palais Du Luxemberg. I never went up to the palace, just enjoyed the breathtaking surroundings.

Palais Du Luxembourg

I spent the rest of the morning at Jardin Du Luxembourg. I admired the many statutes and fountains, photographed the flowers and watched a band practice in the distance of the park. Enjoyed an ice creek cone, and sat in 3 different spots along the park to read a book. Just before heading away, I had to find the fountain I had read about, The Medici Fountain. I had read so much through the years about Catherine Medici, so I had to see the fountain she wanted put in these gardens.

Medici Fountain

Is Paris the City of Romance? I do not know, but that short visit changed me and taught me to love myself.

Ribe, Denmark

Among the must see places in the West Jutland of Denmark is Ribe. It is a beautiful, colorful medieval town which propels you back in time. I am continually amazed at the beauty, color and amazing architecture every time I look through my photographs. This place was truly charming with it’s halftimbered housed lining cobblestone streets as well as the Cathedral in the center of town.

IMG_3000

IMG_2996IMG_2993If you decide to spend the day you must visit the Viking Center where you will get a glimpse at early Viking life. The demonstrations show marketplaces, housing, farms, hands on activities and games.

IMG_2942IMG_2926

IMG_2955

If you find yourself in southwestern Denmark, travel back in time at the Viking center, take a stroll down the cobblestone streets of Ribe, and stop for local cuisine, a locally brewed beer, dried flatfish and marsh lamb.

Solo in the City of Romance

I had always heard of Paris as called the City of Love, or Romance, and have heard it said to be a very romantic place. None of those thoughts came to my mind as a strolled through the roadways. Six months earlier, I never in my craziest thoughts expected to have a passport, or leave the U.S. but there I was.

My sister had moved to Denmark a few months before, and I had made the decision to take money that I had saved for a wedding that now, wasn’t going to happen, and visit her. As flights were booked, I thought, hmm, a two day detour could work…with the only thing I wanted to do is sit in front of the Eiffel tower with coffee and a croissant.

I had carefully planned everything out. Left my sister in Hamburg, Germany as I took the short flight to Paris. Had my offline map downloaded, a booking at the 3 Ducks Hostel, and a plan for getting there on the metro.

Now let me tell you, I am not brave, hated being alone, hated being out of my comfort zone, hated feeling alone, but as I found my way off the S train and to my metro stop and came out along the streets of Paris, I never felt less alone in my life.

I rounded the streets, taking in the sights of the enchanting buildings lined the roadway and found my Hostel. A cozy little place were you entered a little pub. checked in and rounded the spiral staircase to my shared room. I immediately changed my outfit, as it was a sweltering 85 degrees that afternoon, locked up my backpack and left in search of my destination, the iconic Eiffel Tower.

As I rounded the streets, about 10 minutes away, there it was peaking from behind the buildings. The streets had been relatively quiet but as I approached there were vendors, sprawled out on the ground with toys and trinkets, Eiffel towel figurines of different types and sizes, all working to beat the others prices. As you stepped through the paths, and crossed the road there were loud murmurings of guides, shouting out the reminder “Watch for pickpockets” “hold belongs tight”, as everyone bustled very close through the crosswalks to get a better view.

At this point, I had completely forgot of the thought to take a selfie with a coffee and a croissant. I just took in the magic of these place I never imagined seeing in real life. A movie time visionary. I wondered pass the carousel, down some steps to the walkway on the Seine and took in what I do believe is my favorite visual memory, seeing artistry on the steps while looking up at the carousel and tower in the background. As the night sky began, things began to light up, music came on and I saw “the City of Lights” in all its splendor. So I sat, quietly, by myself, taking in the beauty and eating a panini.

%d bloggers like this: