The Culture Vultures

Trip Start Dec 11, 2012
Trip End Oct 17, 2013

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Flag of France  , Île-de-France,
Friday, May 24, 2013

The problem with being in the middle of Nowhere, is that it takes a darn long time to get back to Somewhere. 38 hours, in fact. Since Somewhere was Paris, a stylish mode of travel was called for: cots on our night train. Horizontal travel (sans screaming babies) is sweet.

Claudia's family were lovely enough to take us in on very short notice and, on top of that, pick us up from the train station at 1am. We slept like the dead, wrapped up in duvets (the luxury of such an item is almost impossible to describe to the non-nomad).

Since even the guide book had described Paris as the city that enchanted and bitch slapped in equal measure, we were prepared. Paris must have been resting its palms, though, as we'd even go so far as to say the Parisians where nice to us (this could also be because of our appallingly nonexistent French - ignorance is bliss). And even though it rained every day we were there, even overcast Paris was thoroughly enchanting.

We kicked off by exploring Marais, the Jewish quarter. We possibly broke the record for most vintage stores visited in one day (8). Of course, the most expensive hot chocolate and milkshake had to be sampled on the Champs Èlysées (embracing our Worst Backpackers Ever title with gusto - as well as that extra hole in our belts...). It was essential that we queued out on the street for the best macaroons in town. Art was pondered upon from this angle and that at the Musee Marmottan. After all, what is a trip to Paris without at least one gallery? In fact, the god of travel would probably smite you if you even entertained the thought. We got terribly lost trying to train our way to Versailles and ended up having to buy new train tickets (twice). But we made it in the end. Admittedly, we only walked in the gardens - getting caught in a torrential downpour - as the kilometers of queue was too much for even us to brave. It was with this same sense of queue aversion that we decided to walk up the Eiffel Tower: all 669 steps. Sweating and wheezing like asthmatics with emphysema, we reached the top - only to scamper down again to join the other picnicking tourists with our by now very battered and cultured packet of sushi and macaroons on the Champ de Mars and wait for the lights to turn on.

Our feet haven't felt this sore since our waitressing days...

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Ulf Hitzeroth on

Travelling by sleeper couch?! You are now officially disqualified as backpackers.

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