Friday, June 25, 2010


My flight arrived in Paris only a little late, somehow.  We didn't have to go through customs or anything as far as I remember.  I came out to where all the people were waiting for their friends who'd been on the plane and looked for Nora, but she wasn't there.  I was hungry and tired and in a foreign country, so I freaked out a little.  I just stood off to the side and waited, but all the time I was wondering if something had happened to Nora and trying to think of what I would do if she didn't come.

Then I saw her in the crowd of people, and everything was okay.  She was just late because she'd missed the first train to the airport.  I felt much better, and we went off to our hostel. Nora and the two friends she'd been in Paris with for the past week were staying in a three-person room, and I was in a four-person women-only room upstairs.  I rested a little, and then Nora and I went out to Victor Hugo's house.  It took us a long time to find it, even though we had a map and there were signs supposedly pointing the way.  I didn't mind, though, because I enjoyed just wandering around Paris.  We happened upon a big market and looked at stuff there for a while.  Pretty soon after that we did make it to the house; it was interesting to see, but not that exciting.

We got pizza for lunch and then went to the Louvre, which is free the first Sunday of the month, exactly the day we happened to be there.  We just wanted to see the most famous things, but we kept making mistakes and going the wrong way (the map confused me), so we ended up walking a lot more than we needed to.  Every time we sat down to rest I started to fall asleep.  But it was cool to see so much famous art, and we really barely saw any of what's there, because the Louvre is such a huge place.  I would love to go back for a whole day sometime when I'm not exhausted.

We went back to the hostel when the museum closed, and I finally got to relax.  My sense of time was really skewed, and it felt like it had been a really long day even though it was only early evening.  I went to bed around 9 and slept pretty well.

The next morning I got up and had breakfast with Nora at the hostel.  After the other two girls came down and ate we checked out of our rooms.  I accidentally left my pajamas in my room, but before we left one of the ladies who'd been in the room with me came and found me and told me, which was nice.  We left our luggage at the hostel and headed off to Sacre Coeur, a big white church, which was pretty close by.  It's on a hill, and the view of Paris got better and better as we went up.  When we reached the top we were so high; it was like we were on top of Paris.  Nora and I looked inside and then walked along the edge of the hill until we could see the Eiffel Tower, which was blocked by trees before.

We walked around Sacre Coeur, and as soon as we left the front area there were practically no other people around, which was nice.  We then met back up with the other two girls and walked around the area, Montmarte, which had nice cobblestones streets and pretty houses.  We got crepes at La Maison Rose, a tiny pink cafe.  The weather was beautiful, so it was really nice just walking around.

Nora and I had to be at the bus station to check in for our bus ride to Prague at 3, so we left Montmarte before long and picked up our luggage at the hostel before heading to the bus station.  On the way we stopped at a grocery store to buy dinner, spending only 4.23 total on drinkable yogurt (which Nora introduced me to and I love), a baguette, an apple, and brie.  We made it to the bus station right on time and checked in, and then we just had to wait till our bus left at 4.

Nora had realized that she'd left her iPod charger in the room at the hostel, so she went to look for a place to get internet (on her iPod touch) to email one of her friends, who was staying at the hostel another night, and ask if she could get it.  I stayed with the luggage and ate some brie on rolls we'd taken from the hostel (it was quite good) and then just waited.

After a while our bus pulled up and people started getting on.  Nora had said she would try to be back within half an hour, so after half an hour had passed I started getting worried, both about whether something had happened to Nora and about missing the bus.  I had a plan to ask the bus driver to wait and then tell one of the bus station workers that Nora was missing if she wasn't back by five of 4.  But then, around 3:50, Nora came in.  She'd had a hard time finding somewhere where she got internet, but she finally had, and then she'd hurried back.  We got on the bus, and pretty soon we were off to Prague.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Airport adventure

So, I went to Europe.  It was my first time flying alone, and after I went through security and left my family behind I felt very independent and a little nervous.  I quickly got way more nervous when my backpack didn't come out of the security scanner and the lady watching the scans called someone else over.  I waited while they talked, wondering what in the world could be in my backpack that could cause a problem.  I'd packed everything I needed for 10 days in Europe in there--clothes, a few small guidebooks, shampoo and toothpaste in 3-ounce containers sealed in a plastic bag.  There was nothing wrong with any of that, was there?

They let my backpack out, and a man felt around inside.  "Do you have maple syrup in here?" he asked, and I suddenly remembered that Nora's mom had sent a quart of maple syrup with me as a gift for the friend of Nora's we would be staying with in Prague.  None of us, not Nora's mom, not my mom, not me, had realized that I wouldn't be able to bring that in a carry-on.  I wondered if they would confiscate it, leaving Nora's friend gift-less, but the man just told me, "Next time, put that in your checked luggage" and let me take my backpack back.

Very relieved that I wasn't unwittingly carrying explosives or illegal drugs, I headed to my gate, where I found that my flight had been delayed.  Even after everyone boarded, it still didn't take off for a while; I actually fell asleep while waiting.  So began my trip to Europe.