Arriving in Paris was an ordeal. We managed to find 2 lockers open, but we had no money so I stood a good 45 minutes guarding our treasure as people of all creeds and colors walked by looking for an open locker. 2 French young guys tried to take one of ours, but they couldn’t get their pack to fit. Frank finally arrives with money, and then of course I have to get money (while Frank got metro tickets). We found a hotel on second try (which is good for 6:00 in the evening) near the Eiffel Tower (Grande Hotel). We relaxed for 15 minutes and then went in search of much needed food. Found Frommer place that was very expensive but with huge portions that thrilled me no end. It included dessert as well — we were totally stuffed, dead tired and partially drunk; we still had to pick up our bags from the train station. We got home at about 11:00 and slept until 1:00pm the next day. It took us 2-1/2 hours to get out. We bought fruit, cheese, and bread and ate it at the Eiffel Tower park. We then stood in line to walk up to the 2nd level only.
For me, the Tower was much more impressive from the ground. A total marvel for the sight. Even walking up – at every step the view was a sculpture, a picture. From the ground in front looking up the tower bends over you.
From the ground the first level doesn’t look that high up, but when you’re up there you’re higher than most buildings. Then we came home and did wash against regulations.
Everything is happening so fast, I don’t have time to think about things like in Salzburg. I was just reading over the old Salzburg entries, I wrote down so much. Now I’m either too tired to write, or I just write in general w/ no details. Things must be absorbed. I had to stop Frank to sit and just look up at the tower today — he was rushing by the most awesome view. I don’t understand. Those are the things that are most important to me.
Well, as we learn shortly, Frank was starting to come down with an awful cold. So on top of being the main coordinator of this whole adventure, he was not feeling well. So, 25 years later, I understand. I travel to Europe at least once a year now, and getting sick abroad is one of my worst fears. And by the time we got to Paris, we really were getting exhausted — apparently by the fact that we got to our hotel with our bags at 11:00pm, slept until 1:00 and didn’t leave the place until 3:30! Another cultural education moment for me, courtesy of Frank, was having wine, cheese, and bread for dinner by the Eiffel tower. That was so good.
The contrast between those long days just sitting by the river in Salzburg and rushing around all these cities was severe. I’ve always thought it was a great overall trip for that reason — I saw lots of cities really quickly, but I also really got to know one in particular. But as I reread these entries, it feels different. I’m not sure what I really got out of this rush tour of Vienna, Venice, Florence, and Paris. Yeah, it was great to say I’ve been there — and the overall adventure Frank and I had of finding restaurants, hotels, and train stations was very challenging in an exciting way. And at the time it felt real, like I was doing something that would change my life. And it did – I’ll never forget it. But my Salzburg experience was on another level. A story Frank tells about this trip is when we were about to leave some hotel, either in Venice or Florence, I threw a map up on the wall and yelled, “I’m not leaving this room until you tell me where the Hell we are!” I don’t remember yelling, exactly…but yeah, it was a shock to be moving around so quickly.
A moment I remember is Frank saying to me at one point, “It’s the people that make these experiences important”. I thought this was really bizzare. First of all, it was just him and me. There were no other people that were adding significantly to the experience. And, in my mind at the time, he and I were similar socially — we just had a few friends and were not very outgoing. So what was all this about “people” being important? I’m serious, I really remember thinking all that. Now it hits me like a high-speed train. One of the reason Salzburg meant so much to me was the people. Although I spent most of the time perfectly content to be by myself, it was the friends I made, the people that befriended me, that made the difference.