the flurry! London, Paris, Beaune, Paris, London

London and France Mosaic

The trip was a flurry. Six days, five nights…2 countries (England and France), 3 cities (London, Beaune, France). The schedule: Land in London, eat dinner, sleep…wake up the next morning, take the train to Paris, pick up a rental car and drive to Beaune by mid-afternoon. Two nights in Beaune, then drive to Paris. Two nights in Paris, then arise early and take the train to London. Spend an hour in London, then go to Heathrow and fly back home.

It was like drinking concentrate, an overwhelming pace of living, an overwhelming tide of sensation; in the end, I gave in to the pace. I gave in to the fact that I would not be able to see everything I wanted to see. I gave in to the natural pace of things, to all the surprise gifts that such ambitious travel would give me.  I “went with the flow,” and let the river carry me.

You see, I’m normally someone who has a list of things to see, and sticks to them. Not an itinerary (I am not THAT anal), but a list of things to do–and everything beyond that is gravy. But when you’ve got a matter of hours in a town (literally: in London, we waited 2 hours for our luggage, and ended up at our hotel in time for dinner, only to wake up the next morning before dawn to catch a train to Paris)…when you’ve got a matter of hours in a town, you just have to go with the flow. You have to look up at the sky, see the gunmetal clouds holding off rain, or see a red phone booth or a red metro sign and smile.

That has to be enough.

In fact, you have to say to yourself over and over, “This is good enough.” Because you are there, and you know you want to stay longer, but that’s not going to happen. I wouldn’t recommend the “day or two in each town on a week-long trip” vacation strategy–but in the end, it’s a whole lot better than nothing.

I’m home now–realizing that I never made the time switch to Europe. My body recognizes this time zone and I fell asleep and woke up on my regular schedule on my first night and morning home.

Now I sit here, in fond disbelief, of our travels. Some things that make me smile:

  • Indian food in London (we always make time for Indian food in London).
  • Antonio and his martinis (and the way he makes them) at the Egerton House Hotel.
  • Walking through London’s neighborhoods…reading the signs of all the famous people who lived in the homes–in Belgravis, in Chelsea, in Knightsbridge, etc., etc.
  • Going through the chunnel. It was dark and black, and we didn’t see a thing out the windows of the train, but it was also so very cool to be jetting underneath the waters between England and France.
  • All the countrysides.
  • White cows!
  • Boeuf bourguignon in Burgundy.
  • Our friends’ Great Gatsby-like wedding. Complete with beauty and symbolism and irony and romance.
  • Escargots in Burgundy!
  • Birthday in Paris.
  • Oh–I loved that it was eerily cold in London and Paris! I hate the heat.
  • The falafel in Paris! Unexpected. Delicious. And an informal contrast to all the formal gastronomy of the previous days at the wedding and in Paris.
  • Wiener dogs everywhere in Paris!
  • Red, red, red: red flowers in the hotel window boxes, red awnings, red metro signs, red guard uniforms, red phone booths, red buses.
  • Beautiful architecture everywhere.
  • Walking through the streets of Paris, especially the Marais and its Jewish neighborhoods.
  • Stumbling across some great food when desperate and hungry and unguided.

See? It was a crowded, packed week that left me exhausted and yet wanting more…but it was enough.

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12 Comments

Filed under Travel

12 responses to “the flurry! London, Paris, Beaune, Paris, London

  1. momentumsnli

    I am thrilled that you enjoyed the falafel and the Marais! I would kill for one of the standard falafels (with the eggplant and the hummus, my god) right now. Welcome back home. 🙂

  2. Hey, wait! Didn’t you say you didn’t have a camera on that trip? I love your picture grid, and they’re all great pictures. You’ll have to tell me how you sized them. I am terrible at sizing photos in WordPress. Did you spend YOUR birthday in Paris? If so, happy birthday!

  3. We’ll be going to London and Paris in a similar way in October. Thanks for the report. 🙂

  4. Sounds like a great trip!

  5. momentumsnli: the falafel was such a great break from French food–and I loved the Marais!

    bustopher: I discovered that my husband had brought the old point and shoot with us. So we used that, even though we tried VERY hard not to think of the G7 that we’d broken. And you can make the picture mosaic at bighugelabs.com…and yes, it was my birthday in Paris.

    Brian: you’re welcome-have a wonderful time! rest up before you journey!

    elizabeth: it was a really energized trip–got all my traveling yaya’s out, before the semester starts up again next week!

  6. loved london! maybe we did brush by each other! i also enjoyed all the various indian cuisine there. there was a lot of variety compared to chicago. north, south, regional indian cuisine. that was totally wonderful. i wish we didn’t have to be on a budget.

    birthday in paris must be lovely! maybe that should be our next destination.

    did you try any indonesian or malaysian food?

  7. didn’t try indonesian or malaysian food–but will try next time! we just didn’t have much room in our schedule this time around (even in France, where we spend entire days traveling across the country in our rental car).

    i find that paris doesn’t have that much diversity in its cuisine (mostly: french, french, french–and some japanese (for the tourists) and the glorious food in the jewish quarter/the marais)…in Beaune/Burgundy, the food was almost 100% french. and we were in london for just a few waking hours.

  8. Tea

    Hey, Happy Birthday!

  9. hmmmn french food and ‘no milk’ don’t mix, since most of the food has dairy in it, yeah? but i am sure i’ll love the city! thanks for the pics!

  10. Tea: thank you 🙂

    no milk: Well you could always eat some falafel in the Marais–no dairy there. 🙂

  11. What an amazing trip! I’m breathless.

    I once went to a quiet little cafe in the Marais just for a quick break to rest my feet and ended up staying for hours. I could see myself going there every day to write. I wanted to move in. Why didn’t I wander around and try the falafel?? Well, now I know.

  12. It was a great trip, and I am breathless too! I can’t believe all that happened in one week. Crazy.

    I can totally see how wonderful it would be to write everyday in a little cafe in the Marais. Can you just IMAGINE what one might write in such a space and environment?!

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