I arrived in Paris at about 9PM, after over 15 hours of traveling; one segment of this one trip gave me quite a surprise. As soon as I boarded the train from Copenhagen headed for Frankfurt, I fell asleep, because hell, I just got up before 6AM, and the morning and I are not great friends. Someone tapped me awake and said, “We’re on the ferry now, we have to go upstairs.” I was bewildered and perplexed, in addition to being worried that I had somehow boarded the wrong train. As I went up to the main deck, I noted that the WHOLE train had been driven right onto the car deck of this ferry, on tracks the length of the ferry… I was still confused. The ferry ride was only about 40 minutes, after which we reboarded the train and continued our journey. This whole ordeal was never actually explained to me, but Denmark, if you didn’t know, is made up of a number of islands, and I think it just made more sense to put the train onto a ferry, and then continue the journey on German land, rather than crossing many bridges through Denmark. Once back on the train I slept some more, and then continued on another train after reaching Frankfurt. By 9, I was in Paris, and by 9:45, I was at the Pernety metro station, waiting for one Miss Katy Willis.
Katy and I have not seen each other in many years, but because I talk to her brother, Adam Willis, I knew that she was studying in Paris for a semester. I had tried to see her when my dad and I were there in April, but she was out of town at that point, and it didn’t work out. After catching up with one another for a while, I took a shower and we headed out to go and get drinks in the area around Tour Montparnasse. By the time we were done, the metro was no longer running, so we walked back to her apartment.
On Tuesday, Katy had “Suzie classes.” In addition to studying in Paris, Katy was employed by a local company that teaches English. The girls are affectionately (I hope) known as “Suzies” and they create classes in which the students do whatever the Suzy chooses for the lesson. The students then participate for two hours, and get the opportunity to practice some functional English. We left for her first class, the aim of which was to go and get some sort of African food. We went to a mosque, but their menu was expensive, and then we tried a Moroccan place in the area, but they were no longer serving food by the time we arrived; we ended up getting Subway… not particularly African, but a compromise because we were all getting hungry. After the class ended, we headed back to Suzy HQ so that Katy could round up the students for her second Suzy class of the day, which was due to take a trip to the Champs Elysées. We ended up walking the opposite direction from the shops, and walked through the Place de la Concorde to the Tuilerie Garderns, where we spent the duration of the class. After classes, we headed back to Katy’s, ate dinner, and then went out for drinks. Once again, after our drinks, the metro had stopped running, and so we had to use a combination of the Noctilien (the Parisian night busses) and our feet. Eventually, we made it home, and it was definitely time for bed.
On Wednesday, I was planning to leave, but before I did so, I wanted to take care of a bit of shopping. Katy had more Suzy classes, so I headed off to the Rue de Rivoli, over by the Hotel de Ville, an area which I became quite familiar with during my stay in Paris three years prior. Upon exiting the metro, I caught sight of the Centre Pompidou, and decided that I definitely wanted to visit, as that was one thing I had wanted to do when I was in Paris in April, that I didn’t get the chance to. The museum was spectacular, and the displayed work had changed considerably since I had last been there three years ago. After the museum, I scoured the surroundings area for gifts for a few delightful people, and eventually had nearly everything ticked off the list. I had planned on heading to Brussels that day, but by the time I was done shopping, I still would have needed to head to Katy’s to get my bag, then back across Paris to the train station to catch the train to Brussels. I decided to prolong my stay in Paris one more night… I have trouble tearing myself away from the place! I headed back to Katy’s and picked up roast chicken and cheap champagne on the way so that we could enjoy dinner and a night in. It was awesome and we watched quite a few episodes of Lost, a show which Katy had recently gotten hooked on. Subsequently, due to the few episodes I saw while with her, I now am too. Damn you, Katy Willis!!
On Thursday, Katy Willis’s parents were due to arrive to visit her in The City of Light. Their plane was due in around 9AM, so we figured that they would make it to Katy’s apartment within a few hours, so I decided to wait around to say hello before headed to Belgium. In the afternoon, Katy got a phone call from her mother saying that they had just landed… they had been delayed by a few hours due to an incident. Shortly after their take off, they had to turn around and land the plane, because a bird had flew into the windshield and shattered it! How horrifying is that!? Luckily, there was another plane handy, and they were able to get back in the air within a few hours. Katy and I watched too many episodes of Lost, while we passed the time waiting for her parents to arrive, and I stuck around for a while once they did. It was absolutely fantastic to see Dianne and Don, as it had also been years since I had last seen them. I said goodbye so that Katy could spend some time with her parents, and headed across the city to the Gare du Nord so that I could get a train to Brussels. After a few complications, I was on my way, though taking a route that added a few hours onto the anticipated length of my journey.
The Place de la Concorde
The view over Paris from the Centre Pompidou
More of the view from the Centre Pompidou; the white church you can see on the hilltop is Sacre Couer in Montmartre, which is a beautiful and charming area of Paris, perhaps best known for being the primary area of Paris in which Amelie was filmed.
Leaving Paris is never easy… but eventually I did manage it, and headed on to Brussels.