My previous post (available by clicking here) was an introduction to how it came about that I went on my second overseas trip. This post, and over the next few, I’ll be going into a little more detail on that trip, and ultimately how I got to have my second Disney Magical experience, and how it affected me.
First leg of trip – Paris
The first leg of our trip (yes, our, as a very good friend of mine joined me on this trip of a lifetime) was Paris, France.
We only stayed in Paris for three days, but man, the memories that were made in those three days are countless! Some of my fondest memories are things like the night that we returned to the hotel, and before we went in I had a quick smoke. While having a smoke, a couple of tiny snow flakes started falling, and my friend and I got ever so excited about the “snow”, only for it to stop after those initial few flakes, never to be seen again…
The next story is one of my favourites to tell: It was February 14th, yes, Valentine’s Day, and here we were, in the “City of Love”. My friend and I are merely friends, but we decided to take advantage of this day and booked a “romantic Valentines dinner” in a fancy French restaurant that evening, which was to be followed by a river boat cruise through the city on the River Seine.
So after just about killing each other trying to find the place (we can laugh about it now, but it was quite serious at the time), eventually we got to the restaurant and were seated at a table about the size of a chess board. On either side of us, the next table was about as far away as half a chess board, barely being able to squeeze a waiter or waitress past it.
So here we were, two staunch Afrikaans South African guys, in a foreign city, where everyone speaks a foreign language, on Valentine’s evening, surrounded by couples and lovers. I think we were the only “same sex couple” in the restaurant, although we were not a couple at all, but nobody else would have known that. We certainly got some strange stares from the people around us.
The best part is, when the menu was presented to us, we could not understand a single word from it. So to make the stares even worse, we were both on our phones, trying to “Google Translate” the menu so that we just had an idea of what were about to order to eat. Very romantic, isn’t it?
Then there was the time that we found a small little restaurant in an alley close to Pont Neuf, where we tried frog legs, it being a traditional French dish. Needless to say, I didn’t really enjoy it, but at least we tried. The funniest thing was that they had these oil lamp burners on each table, and after taking a picture of one of the dishes we had, the camera’s strap somehow landed up on top of this burner, and we only noticed when it started burning! In my mind’s eye I saw how we would be responsible for burning down an age old restaurant in the middle of Paris! Thankfully it didn’t get to that, and we managed to extinguish the strap quickly and without incident. We did, however, very quickly pay the bill and got out of there…
Then we went to the Virgin Music Store on Champs-Elysées, and when we exited the store, couldn’t understand why there were these hoards of people standing outside in between crowd control barriers. We asked the one security officer what the hype was about (he could actually speak English), and he said that One Republic was to appear there later in the day. It being 2012, neither my friend nor myself really knew who they were, and we didn’t think much of it. If only we knew back then how famous they were to become!
My last story from that leg of the trip was once again not such a pleasant one at the time, but we have a good laugh about it now when we think back about it: When we first arrived in Paris, we took the train from the airport into the city, to where we though would be closest to our hotel. Not understanding the language, it being cold, and the fact that my friend had a very uncomfortable and heavy suitcase that had to be carried around, we were so frustrated and lost, that we eventually hailed a taxi to try and get to the Hotel. 10 Euro’s later, and literally driving us around the block (that’s how close we were to where we needed to be), we reached our hotel and was able to check in. We eventually ditched that suitcase much later in our trip, but as I believe, it somehow made its way back to South Africa some years later…
More on the next leg of our trip in my next post. Thanks for following, and please feel free to leave comments!