After going 67 days without seeing anyone who has known me longer than 3 months, my best friend Kara arrived in Paris! It was the beginning of a fabulous week and I now know I really have the world’s best friend!
She arrived in Paris at 8am on a Friday, so I took a train up Thursday night and stayed in a REAL hostel! It was called Oops! (and I was a wee bit afraid of what it was going to bring) but it was great! I was in a four person room (not to mention 3 girls and one nerdy boy) none of which I ever even met. We spoke little, even though I tried to make some conversation. It was a tad bit awkward, but I was only there to sleep so I could have cared less. However, if you need a cheap hostel in Paris, Oops is the way to go!
I met Kara at the arrivals gate and we hurried on back to catch our train to Limoges. Never in my time here have I been shushed on a metro, but, with our loud mouths and bff withdrawals for 3 months, it was natural we were a little loud. Oops! I was exhausted and expected to sleep the entire train ride, but we didn’t. We talked and talked as if no time had passed at all. We got back to Limoges where Jacques picked us up and Kara kindly said, “Teryn, you didn’t tell me he was a giant!” It was a beautiful day in Limoges (I think the second since my time here!) and so Jacques invited us to have wine at an outside café. We went and began our adventure!
Jacques, Lucas, Kara, and I, with appearances by Lelani, Tros, Klara, and Martina, soaked up the sunlight and enjoyed some good white wine. We later devoured Le Bistrot Gourmand (my Limoges restaurant of choice that I will miss so much!) where Kara had her first “escargot” and we went cheap with the house white wine, which, being in France, isn’t that bad! Dinner was great and afterwards poor Kara slept for 15 hours! What did I learn from that night? My floor is not the most comfortable place to sleep. It was practically like cement so I am glad the rest of my visitors have hotels. J
Saturday afternoon, (yes, we slept that late) I wanted to show her Limoges. We had kebabs for lunch (which I will miss so much back in the States, and which became our favorite meal of the trip) and went shopping. I found some shops of Limoges I never knew existed. There is still a lot of Limoges left I need to discover! Later that evening, we went to the rugby game where Limoges dominated. Klara, Martina, Kelli, Lelani, Lucas, Kara and I all went. It was the first game for everyone except for Lelani, me and Kelli but they all liked it! After the game, we went to a salsa bar in Limoges to dance! We were going to play a game (that never worked out) and created teams. My team was Kara, myself, Lelani, and Tros and we named ourselves “AA: Americans & Afrikaana”! It was funny. However, due to the dancing, no game was ever played, but lots of salsa was attempted. It was very fun!
|Lelani, Me, Lucas, Martina!|
|Best. Friend. Ever.|
Monday we went to Lyon. A five hour train ride later, we headed for Kebabs for dinner and the adventure to our hotel. Funny thing, I had booked our hotel for Tuesday through Thursday (because the French calendar starts on Monday as opposed to Sunday) so I booked a hotel Monday morning. It was nice for the price and not far from the center of town. Tuesday we got up and went shopping and exploring Lyon. It is a HUGE city, and I know we only saw a quarter of it. Kara wanted a trip of relaxation and hanging out, so I tried not to punish her too much by sightseeing. We saw a couple churches and buildings that we passed by in center. A lot of Lyon was modern, at least where we were. We took a ferris wheel ride (it was called The Diamond Wheel) that allowed us to see ALL of Lyon! If it wasn’t a cloudy day, it would have been beautiful, but since it was, it was just pretty. Our favorite lunch place was Times Donuts that had the best bagel sandwiches, not to mention the first bagel I’ve had in France! It was wonderful. We called it an early night and prepared for Strasbourg.
|Statues: Europe is famous for them!|
|In the Diamond Wheel.|
|Beautiful church and mini Eiffel Tower.|
|Super pretty ceramic-ish bouquet in the middle of the streets, next to the river.|
Wednesday we had lunch and began our 5.5 hour train ride to Strasbourg to visit our friend Andre, whom I’ve gone to school with since kindergarten. He is spending the year in Strasbourg where he has family. Strasbourg was such a nice town. It was big, but not huge, and pretty but simple. The houses were colorful and I really enjoyed it. Wednesday night we had tarte flambee for dinner. It is a traditional Alsatian food. It’s a thin pizza-type dish with a cream sauce, onions, and a bacon-ish meat on it. Very good! Alsace is the region of France where Strasbourg is located and there is some German influence there. There is also the Alsatian language that some people living there still speak.
|Tarte Flambee. I have the recipe so maybe I can recreate it.|
|Where we stayed. Most of the houses in Strasbourg looked like this, but of all colors.|
|Our grocery list for next year. Notice how only "vin" which is wine, is marked.|
|This is the flat church. It is crazy.|
Thursday was our sightseeing day. We saw the Cathedral de Notre Dame de Strasbourg which has the highest spire in France (Bordeaux is second which I was lucky enough to see in February!) and was absolutely beautiful. Big entryway, huge, beautiful stained glass windows and just an all over pretty church that I was happy I got to see. We chose to save the climbing of the spire for Friday. Andre had one class so after showing us around the whole city and seeing a cool church that looks flat against the sky, we sat in a coffee shop close to his university and had coffee and chatted. Afterwards, since it was Saint Patrick’s Day, we went home to get ready for dinner!
We had dinner at a nice restaurant and shared a bottle of wine that comes from the Alsace region. Next it was a jazz bar to see some live jazz music, but the room was small and crowded so we chose to have some drinks and chit chat at a corner table. We ended up becoming loud Americans again and playing some crazy fun game that ending up lasting all night and into three more bars. Since it was Saint Patrick’s Day, we figured everything would be open, but no such luck. Finally we found an Irish pub that was open (of course!) and I met a South African guy who knew Jacques. It was so random. I also met an Australian girl that was so nice. Everyone had these hats that were for St. Patrick’s and for some reason I really wanted one. I talked the South African into giving me his by saying it would be my “souvenir from Strasbourg” and all this other random stuff I thought of. A couple hours later, we headed back home. I haven’t ever done anything for St. Patrick’s Day but I think Kara and I started a tradition!
|Our tour guide, Andre.|
|Happy St. Patrick's Day!|
|The spire of the Cathedral.|
Friday we had a picnic close to the river and climbed the 335 steps to the top of the Cathedral. While I was dying of cardio (sad, I know) it was an amazing view of Strasbourg. Nice houses, little parks, churches, and even Germany far off in the background! After that, we packed up and headed to our shortest train ride of the trip, to Paris, only 2.5 hours away!
Paris was great. We shopped and walked around the city. We talked and just relaxed and enjoyed looking at each of the little shops that were lining the streets. Around 5:00 we headed over to the Eiffel Tower with dinner and vowed to sit there and hang out until it lit up. Little did we know, it lights up at 7:00, sparkles at 8:00, and it gets cold at night in Paris! We had so much fun just sitting there and reminiscing about our trip, high school, and the future. We even met three girls from Chicago who were studying in Austria but spending the weekend in Paris. They asked if we had a cork screw (which we didn’t) but I was able to open it with my pen trick I learned from Jacques. I told you it would come in handy J Sitting there with my best friend, in the grass of the Eiffel Tower, in Paris, was unbelievable. I still cannot believe that I am lucky enough to have this experience and the opportunity to do that. It’s amazing.
|Once in a lifetime chance: BFF and cider in front of the Eiffel Tower.|
|Sparkles! Sparkles! Sparkles!|
Sunday Kara left at 11:15 so we headed to the airport and I headed back to the train station to Limoges. I spent the train ride trying to sleep, while still thinking how excited I was to be home, in Limoges. It’s weird how much I don’t like my crappy bed and the push-on shower, but it is home to me in France, and I get that same feeling when I return to it! Kara’s visit was wonderful and I am lucky to have her as a friend. Next year we are living together at OU and I am sure it will bring ten times the amount of memories this trip brought us. It made me so excited to see my family when they come, which is in two weeks! Enjoy my slideshow of Paris and the trip! Don’t worry, I do still go to school so my next entry will be on that!