The following is a special ‘guest’ post written by my wife Diane. Thank-you Diane! If you’d like to be a guest contributor, please contact me.
Paris. I have long dreamed of the day that I would visit this wonderful city. I always envisioned it to be romantic, chic and alluring in a peaceful kind of way. For me it was all of that.
Thanks to Patrick’s perfect planning we arrived in Paris on my birthday. We got up early and took a train into Paris. The 45 minute journey only helped to build my anticipation. The weather was not the best (windy, cold and with rain on and off), but how could I complain when I was headed for Paris.
Of course our first day in Paris would not be complete without a tiny bit of excitement. We began at a quaint café for a small bite to eat and some espresso. A perfect way to start my day. We ordered a toasted baguette sandwich (very French) and a café Americano (not so French). We were ready to go with the coffee and baguette in hand, but had difficulty paying. Neither our visa nor our bank card would work at this shop, and we did not have enough Euros with us as we hadn’t been to a bank machine yet in France. The very nice man behind the counter (originally from Afghanistan and who spoke excellent English) told us where there was a bank machine. Patrick set off and I waited. And waited. And waited.
Of course I drank my coffee, but thought I best hold off on the sandwich in case no money arrived. Patrick was gone for what seemed like hours. At one point the nice man said, “He’s gone a long time.” I smiled and agreed, not sure what else to say. What I was thinking was “do you want your sandwich back?” After another 10 minutes went by the nice man said he thought I should go look for Patrick. I really thought I should stay put. There’s no use both of us being lost, but he was insistent. So off I went. I had no idea where I was going but thought I would walk around for a minute to make it look good. I was relieved to see Patrick as I was heading back to the coffee shop. It turns out that the two bank machines that he found (both from the same bank) would also not accept our debit card so he ended up having to take a small cash advance on his Visa. We paid the nice man (he even reheated my sandwich), and we were finally off to see the Eiffel Tower.
It was a short subway ride from the café. As we approached our stop I was really getting excited. We exited the train and headed up the stairs to the street. I turned around and there it was, larger than life.
As I first lay eyes on this magnificent structure I gasped! I am not sure what I expected but it was much bigger than I thought. I wouldn’t call it beautiful though. It’s an enormous metal structure painted brown. For me the beauty came from its size, strength and view of the city. There were huge lines to take the elevator, so we hiked up the stairs to the viewing platform, not letting the howling wind and rain deter us. When we reached the top the view of Paris was stunning. I loved it.
We spent the rest of the day wandering the famous boulevards of Paris. We finished off the day with an incredible French dinner, some great wine and a lovely birthday kiss. It was the best birthday.