For the most part, I’ve loved traveling alone. I’ve managed to get the best of both worlds; I can see all the places I want to on my own schedule, and then I can go back to the hostel at night and find new people to drink and hangout with. Occasionally, I’ll join a group to see some things I wouldn’t want to on my own. There are things I hate about it though, for one thing I’ve realized I hate eating alone (BUT, CHRIS, THE PEOPLE WATCHING), yes I know the people watching. But every time I enter a restaurant where the hostess speaks less than stellar English and I ask for a table for one, she confusedly looks at me and holds up two fingers. Like how could this be possible? How could this strapping, handsome, young intelligent man be eating by himself. I’m pretty sure that’s what she’s thinking. Occasionally I get gentle reminders of my solitude, like sitting next to this couple on the plane.
We’re gonna throw two countries into the mix here; England and France, which is funny because they’d hate getting thrown together. London is the only stop where I’ve been able to stay with someone who lives in London. Thank you to Kurt & Nell for hosting me. Having been to London before, I decided to skip some of the more touristy things though I did go to the Churchill War Rooms (which are excellent), the British Museum, and stroll around the Tower Bridge in the city.
Desiring a more typical London cultural experience a play seemed like a good idea. The play was Edward Albee’s “The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia” starring Damien Lewis of Band of Brothers, Homeland, and Billions. He plays a successful yet forgetful architect who is beginning to come to terms with his son’s homosexuality. The play begins as he prepares for an interview with an old friend in regards to his most recent success: designing the city of the future. Also, he is in the midst of a love affair with a Goat.
He decides to reveal this fact to his best friend who in turn reveals this to his wife. His wife takes it pretty well all things considered, she smashes every item that can be smashed in the house and storms off into the night. His son, on the other hand, is more concerned with how his mom is being treated throughout the two hashing it out. After she exits for a bit, father and son share a kiss on the lips, his best friend returns, and the mom returns with a dead bloodied goat that he’d made love to (raped? Blurred Lines) and drags it across the stage.
After, we got ice cream.
We also took a trip to Greenwich which is famous for it’s tall ships as well as being home of the official demarcation of the Prime Meridian, or the split of the east and west hemispheres. There is a line in the ground you can pay to see, or you can find the line that sneaks out and stand over it for free. The three of us took a picture on each side of the line and laughed for like a half an hour about how clever we were.
Greenwich is also home to Pie & Mash, one of, if not the oldest Pie & Mash shop in England. It is here they sell Eels, either jellied or stewed which believe it or not are one of the worst textures I’ve ever had the displeasure of tasting and I got lucky because Kurt’s still had a bone in it.
After a man date with Kurt into the English countryside, I was soon to be on a night bus headed to Paris. The City of Light and angry waiters.
Recommendations: Churchill War Rooms, Greenwich, the British Museum (I did not return to a lot of the more touristy things that are also worth doing).
Talking to a waiter or waitress in Paris is a lot like approaching a girl at a bar. It could go a number of ways; they could laugh at you, they could be angry with you, they could ignore you, and every once in a while they might take pity on you and acknowledge you. All tables outside in Paris have the seats facing outward, the city was made for people watching and judging anyone who walks by.
Having also been to Paris before, I avoided the things that I would have to pay a large fee for that I’d already done. So while I did visit the Eifell Tower, Notre Dame, and the Arc de Triumph I elected not to go to the top. People watching at the Eifell tower was enjoyable, I posted up with my baguette and just watched as tourist after tourist did one of those “I’m pinching the Eifell tower!” poses while street vendor after street vendor tried to sell me key chains.
On my way back from the tower, I decided to stop by the Arc de Triumph, it was absolutely packed and the street was closed off. There were people everywhere and music blasting from every direction. Unbeknownst to me, I’d stumbled upon a rally for some sort of political movement (judging by the diversity I’d say it wasn’t a Le Pen rally). As I stood there kind of just awe struck, one of the performance buses drove by. Performing was a french reggae artist named Féfé. This guy is good and you should look him up if you get the chance. The whole crowd was going crazy and I was in the center of it. After some songs, he stopped to address the crowd. Not speaking a word of french was to my disadvantage here, because what he was telling the crowd were dance instructions.
What followed was a scene out of a sit com where someone accidentally signs up for the expert dance work out class while everyone else around them knows exactly what’s going on. Everyone shifted to the left and slammed into me, then to the right pushing me the other way. Spinning, jumping, clapping, I was a second behind on all of it. That being said, it was still an awesome experience, there was so much energy in that crowd, I hope they got everything they were rallying for, unless I don’t agree with it in which case screw them and their ideals.
I managed to see artwork of van Gogh and Monet at the d’Orsay Museum, but as opposed to appreciating the beautiful works and their color schemes, I used it mostly as snap chat fodder. Some things will not change no matter how long I’m away.
Recommendations: d’Orsay Museum, all the stuff you already know about, people watching at just about any cafe.