I’m way more excited for Asia than I was for Europe. So since I last wrote, we were in Budapest. Since then we had roamed through the streets and treasures of Paris eating one croissant at a time. Then we had taken a little breather in Prague. So a few things:
- I LOVE BUDAPEST. I can definitely see myself living there one day.
- Paris was extremely terrifying for us.(more details below)
- Prague was resting time.
- I realized how much time and effort and how expensive post cards were becoming so I opted to stop writing after Paris. It’s about 3-4 a pop to buy/ send and lug around, so I gave up.
- At this point, Tonga and I have gotten used to flying/ prepping for travel day. Paris has a very practical and easy to understand public transportation system. It cost about $9 for us to get to our hostel. Moving within Paris is also very easy.
- This has been my 3rd time in Paris, so I felt like I was going to be the last time. I wanted to do things I hadn’t done before and eat in places I hadn’t yet.
- We stayed at Arty Paris Hostel. It’s by no means a cheap hostel. It was kind of a pretty penny for a hostel, but the customer service was amazing. Shout out to Helene for being the best host! The rooms were pretty cramped with a bunk bed and a bathroom. Imagine a normal sized room for a bunk bed and maybe a desk and closet. Put the bathroom with a shower in the closet…. that is your bathroom. Very small, but I guess it gets the job done. The WiFi was shoddy, so going to a coffee shop was an easier way to get WiFi.
- French Porn aka 50 shades darker in France. We opted to see this movie the same day we landed. Going to the movies was a nice little reminder of the small things that can really ground us on this long trip. It was a gamble for us to go to see this movie. It was either going to be in French or English… but there was no indication of what the movie had. So when we went and the show started, we were relieved to see that it was in English with french subtitles. There wasn’t a lot of people in the theater like maybe 20 people in a place that seats 150, but the crowd that was there was hilarious. Everyone was entirely inappropriate and loving it. As always, 50 shades was terrible.
- This is where the crazy happens…. We wanted to go to the biggest flea market in town, so that would be marché aux puces st.-ouen de clignancourt. It was an easy ride to get there, and once we got there we got lost. This flea market is blocks and blocks of pop up shops. So we went through an alley way and stumbled upon the furniture….. I kid you not, the only reason I’d ever go back to Paris is to buy furniture or eat some bombass bread. They had everything from classic pieces, to modern, to mid-century. You name it, they have it…. but for a hefty price. So after walking around and finally seeing more and more of the flea market, we turned a corner and ended up walking where the scalpers were. They literally sold the things they stole under a bridge…. Then we continued down a street and this is where it gets sad. We saw people with tarps of clothes and hundreds of people buying as much as they could by grabbing whatever they could. These items were suitcases stolen or clothes found on the ground. They would sell a handfull for about 5 Euros. This made me uncomfortable to witness. This isn’t something you want to witness. It was truly sad to see these people in this grand city, pushing and shoving each other for dirty clothes and used socks or underwear. I had to leave.
- As we were figuring out lunch, we opted for this place called Holy Belly. As I’m trying to catch the McDonald’s wifi, we go down to buy metro tickets. Paris is notorious for pick-pocketers and we knew it. I had a lock on my backpack, a scarf on top of all my items in my backpack just in case, a body sling that holds my important cards and IDs, and my trust bra to hold my phone. So literally I had chapstick in my pocket for anyone to steal. As we’re buying tickets, they get closer and closer to me and Tonga. As she was trying to buy a ticket, I turned around to watch the line of men who stood before the machines. They had hoped that we were going to turn around for them to open our backpacks. As we go through the gates, I get through completely, before I hear Tonga make a commotion. She’s halfway through the gates, when she turns around, and realizes that one of them has stolen her phone. She pushes her way back out and runs after him. At this point, I’m in panic mode. I can’t get out of the metro because it’s a 1 way entry. To get out, I’d have to go through the tunnel to who knows where and I’d end up in a completely different place. Tonga and I don’t have phone service and wifi hasn’t been reliable so we wouldn’t be able to find each other. The only thing I could do is stand there and wait for her to come back. She runs after him with his cronies whispering to him that she’s running behind him. He didn’t think she’d be running after him so she is able to catch up and throw him against a wall and demand for him to giver back her phone. He does and he cowers while doing so. This was a moment for the both of us. We take a breather and continue on.
- Eiffel Tower….. Now I’ve never actually been up the tower. So I figured…. this is it. let’s do it. So everything is great and beautiful and amazing but super cold. As we descend in the elevator, this man next to me says the strangest thing. He asks the operator if he were to die at this moment, if the tower would pay his family. The operator plays dumb and says she doesn’t understand. He continues to push, asking if the tower’s insurance covered deaths here. This moment….. I will never forget this moment. I thought I was about to die. We weren’t sure if he had a weapon on him, or a bomb, or whatever, but everyone around me was on high alert. He pushed again, asking what happens if he dies here now and the operator continues to stall while talking to him. Finally the doors open and we get the hell out of there. We immediately go back to talk to the operator and we go talk to the security about the man. Who knows what he had on him or what he was planning, but we kept our distance from him. When I thought about the ways I could die, I saw my life flash before my eyes. My body was pumping with adrenaline. I couldn’t sit still. Tonga and I went to a bar and drank the night away.
- Bread and butter all day, everyday.
- We had some notable hole in the wall food places, but we also drank a lot of coffee on this leg of the trip
- So easy to get around. You can walk and get to where ever you need to in 15 minutes tops. As soon as we got off the metro, our hostel was literally across the street. It wasn’t a tiring day. We had an afternoon flight, so we didn’t have to wake up super early.
- Stayed at the Equity Point Hostel. It was definitely dorm like more than I’ve seen any other hostel. But it was also a lot of fun. We met a lot of people, but we staying in a mixed dorm where we had mostly guys sleeping in our space. I ended up getting sick so staying in bed for awhile. But at one point, one of these assholes stole my body wash and super nice microfiber towel. FUCK YOU whoever you are.
- The hostel was in a great location, making it easy to get around and go out at night.
- I got food poisoning from the dinner we had the first day…. don’t go eat at places that “specialize” in too many different genres of food. This made me out for the count on our first day.
- Day 2 in Prague was still not the greatest for me. I was still not ok, but I knew I needed air. We explored the city for a bit and even went across the way. But we ultimately came back for a nap. We had dinner plans on a jazz boat where there was a live jazz band and dinner that took us up and down the river to see the night life. Food was great, atmosphere was great. We somehow continued onward ended going to a jazz bar which was awesome. Very smooth and lounge like. I would definitely go back. I still felt like crap so I went home, but Tonga continued on all night and came back hella late. Which made her hungover all day the next day, so our last day in Prague was spent with me continuing to explore the city by myself. I took my camera with me and just took pictures all day.
Final thoughts about Europe:
- It’s been great. I’ve learned so much and have gotten to enjoy different atmospheres and coffee shops. But I was ready to be at the beach and for awesome street food.