The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Paris

Hey honey, how about a stroll along the Seine?

We have been home for just under 22 hours, and I’ve managed to eat twice, sleep for eleven hours, and unpack.  Additionally, I just finished organizing my over eighteen hundred photos from the trip.  I made a ‘highlights’ iPhoto album, with all of the best photos in order.  Of the eighteen hundred, I deemed FIVE HUNDRED of them to be highlights.  So I guess I didn’t have that bad of a trip after all.

I realize that I mainly posted negative thoughts on this blog, and the truth is that most of the time, I was feeling pretty negative.  But I’m pretty sure that was at least 50% exhaustion/starvation, as I was tired and hungry most of the time, and extremely stressed all of the time.  But within that exhaustion-starvation-stress, we saw and did many amazing things.  And I am smiling in many of the pictures (though I did include some grumpy face photos in the highlights album, along with several pictures I took of mind-blowingly long lines!)

But there was more to my unhappiness than the biological issues.  I feel like someone should have prepared me more for this trip–for the reality of it, which is why I was so honest on this blog.  I’d really like to write a series of travel books–something like ‘The Curmudgeon’s Guide to _____’.  The main point would be that yes, you should go to all of these places, but know what you are getting into first.  I wish someone had burst my happy bubble filled with me wandering down the Seine holding hands with my husband; that would have better prepared me for being herded along the Seine amidst throngs of people.

Of course, the throngs could have something to do with the fact that we went during the busiest time of the year.  However, for at least the next twenty two years–until we retire from teaching–that’s when we must travel.

All in all, I learned many things, I was surprised by many things, and I am thankful for many things of and related to this trip.  I would do many things differently next time, and I have different destinations in mind for future trips.  Of course, there will be future trips.  And future blog posts.  Stay tuned for a series of list posts I’m working on–titled, not surprisingly, ‘Things I Learned’, ‘Things that Surprised Me’, ‘Things I am Thankful For’, ‘Things I would do Differently’, and ‘Future Trips’.


11 responses to “The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Paris

  1. Tracy, what was your trip home like? Glad to hear you got to eat and sleep, I’m sure you are glad you are home. As you think about the trip I’m sure you will remembe some great times (even in London:).

    • I have been meaning to post a return trip story, but as of now it does not sound very interesting, so I’ve not written it yet. I hope to include snippets of it in my list posts. Readers Digest version–it was long, the Yotel at Gatwick was awesome, and no one should be allowed to bring a child under the age of six on a seven hour plane ride without sedating them. Actually, I think that’s a good rule to follow–the number of years old you are is the number of hours you are allowed to be on a plane without taking a dose of Benadryl.

  2. I’m looking forward to reading your reflections on the trip after you’ve had a chance to think about it from a bit of distance.
    I’m glad you realize that there *will* be more trips – Scotland as someone has suggested, or maybe Italy or maybe a driving tour through England (the co-pilot’s job is to yell, “Left! Left!” any time the situation lends itself).
    You might even find yourself considering a return to London or Paris – two of my favorite cities (sorry!).
    Will you be posting your pictures somewhere public? (Pretty please?)

    PS: When I’ve been in Paris that road along the Seine is filled with traffic – so the hordes walking down there is a good thing.

    • I’m all for Scotland–in fact, had I kept that as my original solo trip plan, I’d be there right now. I skipped Spain because I realized how uncomfortable I’d be, alone, in a city where I don’t speak the language. And I’m all for driving about the UK. We took a bus trip from Bath to Stonehenge, and the whole time I told my husband how I wished I could be driving on those beautiful roads. I would consider a return trip to London–I think I’m done with Paris for a long time. Oh–and how do people drive on the road along the Seine? Where is there automobile access? We could only access the area via steps, and we walked pretty far up and down the river.

      • I think she means that the road above is filled with traffic, so it’s good that the people are walking down on the bank instead of up on the road.

      • ah–road above. that makes much more sense. and yes, it is filled with traffic (the road above) we tried to walk romantically down THAT road–didn’t work out so well!

    • Oh–and as to your request for photos, I organized all 1,857 of them today, picked ‘the best’ of those–over 500–and am planning on posting them on flickr and linking them here. For now, some of the best are on my photo stream. I just tried to link it to this post, but it didn’t work. Go to Flickr and search ‘elbodans’.

  3. Sometimes when we are giving advice on the RS helpline we do try very hard to give an accurate picture of what traveling in peak season (for example) might be like. And many times, no matter what we say, the person planning the trip is so far into their own fantasy that they don’t really listen, or think about what we are saying. I’m not saying that you were like that, only that many times people ignore (or even argue with) the answers to their questions. It’s frustrating to us, as well as to the traveler.

  4. Tracy, I love your idea about a “crumudegon’s” book about travel. Add a good sized dollop of humor and you could have a best seller (at least a real $$ maker). You have a great writing style- very readable and it brings the reader into your experiences. If you haven’t read Bill Bryson’s books (I love “Notes on a Small Island” & “Neither Here Nor There”), you really should. Keep on writing!!!!!

    • Toni–thanks. And yes, I love Bill Bryson. I read The Lost Continent last summer in preparation for several weeks on the road alone–and I had a great time because of it (stopping in at random little mom and pop places to eat and shop–it was great!)

  5. Marilyn Leslie

    Hi Tracy, Glad you made it home in one piece! Our trip home was disasterous as well. We were at CDG until 3:00 am waiting for our plane to be repaired. Flew back to Copenhagen. Instead of having a half day to sightsee we dashed to our hotel, slept for 4 hrs, ate breakfast checked out and flew home- on a plane with a crying toddler- not even ear plugs helped! Thanks for sharing your trip.

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