There is always that one place that you cannot wait to visit for the first time. You can look at photos of your dream destination for years until the snapshots just won’t do anymore and you have to see the beautiful city for yourself with your own two eyes. You just know that every single second is going to be exciting once you set foot on the pavement. For me, the city I always dreamed about seeing was Paris.
I couldn’t wait to see the Eiffel Tower, practice my French (high school French, but French nonetheless) in shops and museums, and just sit in a café with a café au lait and a pain au chocolat. I literally had dreams of just walking down a neighborhood street and glancing to my side for a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower.
However, not every single second can be a dream when you travel. There were a few instances during my week in Paris that had all the hopes built up in my mind come crashing down. First, my friends and I decided to take a day trip to Euro Disney, a cheesy tourist spot yes, but it’s Disney! We were walking through the crowds to the next ride and I got completely sideswiped by a Dad holding his daughter, lost my balance, and was literally flying through the air until I fell flat on the pavement. My hands were scraped and I could already feel a bruise forming on my bum which the next day resembled the huge bruise that baseball player in A League of Their Own got after she slid into home plate. When Tom Hanks tells you to slide, you slide. How did I get knocked over by a Dad and his daughter? I’m just really weak I guess.
As if that weren’t enough, the next night my friends and I went to Buddha Bar near the Champs-Elysee. The place was very dim when we walked inside to find a table and I didn’t see the two steps leading down to the main floor and I tripped and sprained my ankle. We were still able to enjoy the night and have some drinks but I walked home with not only a bruised bum but now a limp.
The final blow came to my stomach. I thought I had an invincible stomach, one that could handle anything I consumed but I guess Parisian food was the exception. I think it was the steak and frites that did me in. I enjoyed every single bite but by the middle of the night the richness of the food woke me up and made me feel nauseous forcing me to become very good friends with the porcelain bowl in the bathroom. This was not the Paris I imagined. I wanted magic!
How do you deal with bad days on the road? You just have to laugh everything off and keep enjoying the rest of your day and that’s exactly what my friends and I did. Getting knocked over by a family at Euro Disney and flying through the air and falling on my bum doesn’t have to be that painful and is actually funny. The bumrush coupled with my fall at the bar inspired my friends to give me the name “Gimpy” and I am fondly proud of it. While I may have been nauseous for a couple days, that didn’t stop me from eating the most amazing banana and Nutella crêpe from the stand around the corner from our hostel. I just couldn’t resist buying one on our very last night. It was worth it and I will always remember that crêpe stand.
The good days are always inevitable. There is nothing that compares to standing under the Eiffel Tower at night, staring up at the glowing lights with hardly a soul around. I was speechless that night, my first time seeing the structure. Every photograph I had in my head and every dream I dreamt suddenly came to life. On a another day, I sat on the steps of Sacred Heart Basilica in Montmartre listening to a Mexican guitar player sing Beatles songs as I looked out at the view of Paris. My friends and I just sat there for a while singing along with some Italian school kids on a field trip. These moments are what stand out to me the most when I reminisce about Paris. Despite the not so ideal days, I long to go back to Paris and have even more wonderful days and when I do I can just remember the falls and laugh. They give my travel story a little bit more character anyways.