Any of you who’ve been reading this blog for as long as I’ve had it may remember Gigantor’s last trip to Europe, where he composed a guest post or two and delighted us all with rambling, well-turned phrases. Good news! He’s backpacking across Europe! For a month! Which I never did after college! Because I was working! I’m not jealous! Really!
Anyway here’s what he’s up to…My commentary is in italics.
Hey gang. Well, Day three is all wrapped up here. What happened to days 1 and 2? And the time you notified your family of your safe arrival? I’ve finally gotten a handle on jetlag. It took only two miserable days and three nights of wildly varying sleep schedules before I got back to my normal bubbling personality.
What haven’t we done so far? The catacombs, which had a line so long that we were turned away. The Arc de Triomphe, which we forgot to go to. I failed to buy lots of french soaps, because I failed at the second half of the moneybelt to wallet transfer this morning.
On a more positive note–been to the Louvre, seeing the wondrous works of Egypt, which Conor loves, and a few of those French paintings I hear they are keen on in those parts. By cleverly avoiding the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo entirely we were able to take a leisurely and quiet stroll down a seemingly endless hallway of paintings without a single massive crowd in sight. (How often does one see multiple massive crowds?)
The building of the Louvre is itself noteworthy, but not in this case as exciting as the temporary amusement park which had sprung up outside it (Cue the Aged P saying “a wasted education…”). Casting off my last few euros we rode a grand ferris wheel which provided some terrifying/breathtaking views of the city, before descending into the Midway and seeing no less than nine shooting galleries. Conor claims it has to do with the paucity of firearms in this country, but we still have them one upped– the single gallery in any American fair will typically feature fully automatic bb guns, instead of the bolt actions featured here. (Otherwise we’ve got nothing militarily on the French)
My militancy indulged, we strolled onward to the Tuileries, the gardens outside the Louvre, and there rented sticks with which to poke small sailboats around a fountain.
The next day I decided to balance out our Old World culture with a dive in the swimming pool of international modern art at the Papandreau Center, the abstract art center famous for being turned inside out. I’m certain dad would have loved it; it certainly rivals the MoMa but with a far more interesting building.
That part of Paris, the Marais, is thin streeted, though touristy. There I tasted my first and greatest Falafel, the first vegetarian food I can remember that, as Conor put it, didn’t taste like there was meat missing from it. I tried on several pairs of jeans as well but couldn’t find anything that fit, for which I blame French sizes…(I blame Gigantor’s gigantitude. Also, something that is the first can hardly be the greatest. With the exception of first children.)
Earlier that day we made an abortive run on the catacombs, and while in that part of Paris we happened on two things. The first was the saddest lion ever, carved in stone to commemorate the national defense during 1870-71, and also a Tabac (tobacco shop) where I bought a Cuban cigar that I have no idea what to do with, but hey when do these chances come along?