If I had my own memoir of self-discovery, it would be called Eat, Eat, Eat. During my ten-day break abroad to Paris, Normandy, and Vienna, days were centered around meals. In Paris, I searched for the perfect macaron. In Normandy, I ate mussels on the beach. In Vienna, I conquered schnitzel and strudel in one day.
However, I did a lot of walking. I walked up cliffs and on beaches and down alleys and followed the Seine. Thus, no matter how many days started with pain au chocolat and ended with pasta, I walked all of it off and never felt too full. I felt satisfied. Walking is also my favorite form of exercise (I don't run unless something is chasing me) and it is the best way to see the cities you are staying in.
I have learned that walking around Paris with a French man is either a) taking your life into your hands, or b) feeling like somehow your walking pace is sub-par to his. As Chris took/dragged Jenny and I around Paris, I tried to soak in as much Parisian thisnthat without feeling overwhelmed, which was futile, because I felt way overwhelmed. About halfway through our day, Chris turns around and says, "Okay, prepare yourself Nichole, it's on the left".
"What's on the left?"
"Oh....oh that old thing...."
The rest of day commenced like this, stopping every two hours or so for delicious food and/or coffee and/or pastries.
After a day in Paris, we drove to Normandy. We drove into the beach town, swerving to avoid tourists, and checked into our hotel overlooking the beach.
That night, we all changed into smashing outfits (I wore a dress I found at a vintage market for 5 pound) and went to explore before going to the casino. Down by the beach, I rushed into a restaurant and asked the barkeep, "Avez-vous une salle de bain?" Literal translation: "Do you have a bathroom?" By bathroom, "salle de bain" means the works: toilet, shower, bathtub, etc. Confused, two of the waitstaff and the barkeep went "Quoi?!" Flustered and embarrassed, I stammered, "Uh, um, bathroom?" in perfect English.
As the sun set over the beach, we played mini golf. In our suits and dresses. It felt like a poor man's Great Gatsby, or some other piece that could possibly have rich people playing golf on a beach before going to the casino.
Jenny and I were denied access to the casino because we didn't have our passports. This did not deter us from having a good night, however. Instead, we ate more food. Between us, we polished off a vegetarian pizza with aubergine, mushrooms, onions, garlic, and sundried tomatoes, and pasta with mussels and shrimp. Yeah, the boys may have won around 150 euro at craps, but I think Jenny and I hit the jackpot. Ah. Ha. Ha.
The next day we explored more of Normandy, and saw sights like these:
We ate pastries, baguette and saucisson for dinner. God decided to join us.
That night, we discussed politics and social stigmas. Who could or could not beat McCain, how homosexuals are treated in America and in France, recent legislation, and taxes. The debate grew somewhat heated but remained amiable. As it drew to a close, we heard shots from outside. As we ran onto the terrace, fireworks popped above our heads, sending brilliant colors into the sky and sending us into silence.