And that’s just what we were, swords poised for adventure – hypothetically of course – and a crazy, fabulous time. And of course we had bags packed tight with Paris worthy clothes and shoes, shoes, shoes (ok well…Emmie and I. Pascal didn’t find us worthy enough to break out his stilettos) and we were on our way. Finally.
Our hearts were pounding still from the breakneck journey to the train. We’d pushed it to the limit, the car was at “zero fuel” for the last fifteen kilometers, and even once we’d filled it – thinking of course then we’d be fine – we hit what seemed like the longest line of traffic. Five minutes we had till departure.
Was the word uttered every few seconds from all of us, the German equivalent to sh*t. Under any other situation it’s a fun word to say. The way you can just pop out with it jumping off your tongue. Foreign swear words are normally fun. Not so then.
But we made it.
And even though our immediate welcome (or lack thereof by a very..uh..grumpy Metro ticket man) was less then sweet. I was determined to make the next ten days some of the best in our lives
Begin the adventure!
We were victorious in figuring out the Metro (totally feel like a professional by now) and when we came out of the ground into the warm sunlight we had another kind of welcome, the best kind, from our host Louise.
And it was with kiss kisses’s on every cheek that introduced us to the family on their balcony. And then into their beautiful home.
Isn’t it beautiful?
Oh lala in our dreams.
This is the Chateau just across the street where one night people dressed all in white spilled out onto the lawn and strings played music that drifted sweetly to our ears. Except the picture was somewhat ruined by the two people who were wearing not really white but only almost white.
But before our explorations could begin…first always must come…
Being gluten free isn’t hard for me. I don’t miss bread, I love the food I create.
But as Louise returned from popping over to the bakery with a fresh baguette in her hand…I admit I felt a little stir of jealousy as Pascal and Emmie bit into the crunchy, golden goodness. My sisters sigh of ecstasy was enough to prove the truth that French bread is the best.
And I don’t really care if either of them hates me for these pictures. They make me smile. So there.
And then this.
Fred and Louise dropped us off on the Champs-Élysées and off we set with three hours at our disposal
To walk by places only before seen in movies.
And of course take selfies along the Seine.
We ended the day here, with knees a bit achy and tummies rumbling. And so it was with sighs of joy that we sat down on the marble bench along the Arc de Triomphe in the very center of the crazy lights and noise, we found a little bit of peace.
Craning our necks we talked of random things (what? Us? Random? Never!). Pascal couldn’t take his eyes of the flag, as if hypnotized, we laughed at him but it was true. The way the huge piece of fabric danced across the old structure, mesmerizing.
The next morning this was my playground
I got a crazy face from Manoa – the fifteen year old who’s just awesome – when I said I was eating mackerel for breakfast
Don’t they look scrumptious?
And then it was Fred, Pascal, and I off to one of my favorite places. The market.
This stand in particular will leave you swearing off fruit in any other place. The people are kind, cutting up pieces with easy smiles and handing them over. Pascals eyes met mine and all we could do was sigh. Sighing. Happens a lot in correlation to food in France.
And the cheese…oh sweet lord let me live here forever. We are all now ruined for fruit, cheese, and I assume bread for the others. How could anything else compare?
Sacre Coeur was where we started of our first full day. And oh…the workout we got hiking up the billion steps. But upon turning around and seeing the view that stretched for miles it became entirely worth it
So of course Emmie and I posed like any normal siblings in such a picturesque place
Aren’t they adorable? The best friends a girl could have. Really. I only pulled Emmie’s hair once.
And of course then to Montmartre. I confess it’s charm was lessened considerably by the swarms of tourists.
But one can still be wooed by the artists whose hands are stained black, and the small streets that wind the surrounding area. We left smiling….
Especially since we were walking downhill.
Then on the steps of the Opera we bit into fruit and sat, listening to the brass group who seemed to breathe energy and joy into everyone around.
Germans are just such good photographers. Where would we be without him?
And now here we are.
Completely by accident is how we stumbled here.
As we were walking in search of the most amazing ice cream in the world (really) the shop appeared and I squealed just a bit. Managing to stay upright as I dragged Emmie behind me. I promise I’ve only ran her into a few things…and people.
Emmie played beautifully and those around watched in awe. And Passi explored like a little boy. This picture makes me smile…but then again…they all do.
And then for me.
I can buy shoes in the United States (if I tried to buy them here we wouldn’t eat) I have been “buying” amazing experiences.
But I wanted something special. Something I would keep forever.
And here it was.
The perfect present to myself. Jane Eyre – a novel I will read over and over – from the small, old section of classics in Shakespeare and Co. I think the women – who’s British accent Emmie and I were obsessed with – thought me a little silly when I told her she’d made my dreams come true.
And then we were off in search of the ice cream so talked about by Fred – our host – and remembered deliciously by me. After six months of none I was starting to get a little giddy.
Ice cream drunkenness was on its way!
Past Notre Dame and the famous “love bridge”. And no we didn’t lock our hearts there…the appeal has worn off. Who wants to lock their heart away?
Cinnamon, pistachio, and dark chocolate. I couldn’t eat ice cream anywhere else after this anyway so why not? Although I thoroughly annoyed the lady behind me after I asked which flavor was what for the billionth time. Pfft. She just doesn’t even understand.
I think this is the first silly face I’ve gotten out of him in a picture. It’s the ice cream, like magic, it brings out the crazy in us already crazy cats. And oh was it the most amazing, mouth watering treat.
So now skip ahead a bit (We.Walked.So.Much.) After all the thousand million steps we’d taken doing all the typical tourist things but then making them more fabulous. After packing our first few days full… it was time for another treat.
But a German one
In thanks for his stay Passi decided to bake. It was probably one of the sweetest things I have ever seen. Ohlala.
Well bake and eat. And eat. And eat. I swear all the flour would have been gone if I put a stop to this. Yay me!
Technically this could be considered helping. Sort of.
While we waited for something to be ready (the milk to boil? Pudding? I don’t remember) I dragged him into silly dancing in the small kitchen, accompanied by the Amelie soundtrack playing on my phone. I think the ice cream was still in my system, because I couldn’t have been happier.
While the Apple Crumble Pudding was in the oven the piano was seriously put to use and dinner was served.
One of my favorite times in both Germany and Paris is the meal times all together. We’ve lost some of this in the States and I’m determined to bring it back. The way everyone sits and engages, and no one rushes up when finished, instead we sit, speak, and enjoy as long as we won’t.
Oh I love it so. Each day was a surprise, with us wondering what heavenly smells we would find as we came through the door.
And speaking of delicious smells…I kept running into the kitchen simply inhale the fumes twisting from the oven (so…um…the next morning the first thing I did was open the cake tin and smell…and smell…and then a little more…don’t tell anyone!)
It must have been nearly midnight by the time it was done (I’ve actually gotten used to this eating late thing…There’s something a bit badass about it. Makes me feel edgy…or maybe that’s just me falling asleep at the table)
A job well done. And yes there was more sighing, more ooing, and definitely gross amounts of awwwing.
Then our Chef was back at the piano (because his life goal is now to be a pianist…he’s now giving Emmie a run for her money) and candles were lit and it was like being in a five star hotel in a sweat pants and lazy sort of way. And yes I did bring sweats to Paris, I’m sorry but I find silky, pretty pajamas to be one of the worst forms of torture ever created
He was frantic. Literally. It was Passi’s last night in Paris, we had packed a cheesy dinner to take to the bottom of the Eiffel Tower, the day had been long and a little frustrating (who knew if you want to have a nice picture painted for your mom -Pascals- in Montmartre it can cost up to €120) and we were running late. For what exaclty? Fußeball. Football. Soccer. The silly boy didn’t exactly express to me just how important it was for him to see Germany vs. Ghana (I’m getting really really good at all this football stuff!) but I probably could have used my spectacular intellect to have figured it out. So we get to the Tower (it’s already an hour into the game) and we can’t find the public viewing anywhere (no not a funeral, this is what they call watching a football game in public) he’s looking a bit frantic (ok more than a bit) and we were basically running around likes chickens with our heads cut off. Up and down streets we ran finding no TV’s anywhere, which was ironic as everywhere else we had been in Paris had them in every single restaurant.
But finally, finally we found one. I remember pointing and exclaiming as if I’d found a superstar. It was worth it to see Pascal’s face after the first German scored (cause let’s face it, Germans are the best – Ahh Fred don’t hurt me for saying it!- really)
So we sat in a crowded little pub, surrounded by loud, happy people, listening to music from a live band, and cheering on the team no one wanted to win. We’re so cool.
It was simply fabulous…after five minutes of feeling a bit annoyed though, of course.
It really was perfect.
We sat under the Eiffel Tower, nibbling on cheese and fruit (and mackerel cakes for me…they are really so amazing…I mean really thank you mommy for awesome recipes) staring up, a little bit dumbstruck, I turned to him to say something amazing and fitting the moment…
…and was interrupted by a man shoving a rose in my face and a bottle of wine in Pascal’s insisting we buy.
So romantic, I think I could have cried.
But after the initial shock of being so accosted we were left in peace and a bit of tranquility and ease began to sink in. Then of course I asked him of his thoughts…and he responded “I’m wondering how those elevator thingys work”….Typical.
I laughed and he laughed and we waited till midnight to see the magnificent structure light up like a billion faeries, dancing in the sky.
A part of me feels like it was a dream and it feels so good to know it was real.
That night at the same time Emmie was singing in a bar surrounded by Parisians, her first European/impromptu gig.
Who knew that we would all be in this city of light, at our ages? Not I.
But this is only the beginning. So much more is on the way!