Then the day after that we had another volleyball game. It was the first time we played a team of boys our age! Needless to say I was very excited ;) Although I don't think boys like it when you are 8 inches shorter than them and can out joust them...twice. Or when you ace them a few times. Needless to say I did not get a boyfriend out of the game but we did get a big old victory! Which was celebrated with more pizza from Coach Kevin followed by a team karaoke version of We Are the Champions!
Next next next...oh yes...PARIS! A bus ride, train ride, eurostar ride through the chunnel, and metro ride later we were there! May I just say that the city of Paris is beautiful! It was one of my favorite cities I have been to so far. We spent our first night trying to find the Eiffel Tour which turned into a 3 hour walk but we finally made it! As you might have guessed it is much better in person! I did not realize this but at night for the first 10 minutes of every hour they light it up even more with twinkling lights and it is gorgeous! My favorite thing to do was lie underneath it and look directly up. The structure of it is just amazing.
We spent pretty much every night walking to the tower and drinking bottles of wine beneath it. During the day I spent most of my time with my best friend Missy, which included lots of shopping, wandering and staring at the models in the Abercrombie Palace. Some highlights were climbing to the top of the Arc de Triomphe, which is basically in the middle of the city and you can look out and see for miles! The Arc was made to honor those who died in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. It also holds the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from WWI. If I am remembering correctly Napoleon wanted the Arc in order to celebrate victories of the French and was used for successful victory marches. I even believe US troops have marched around it after victory. It made me remember how much I love Washington DC and want to go back there someday. We also spent one night out at a church on top of a hill called Montmartre. Apparently it is a very popular place for the locals to hang out as you can see most of the city from up there too. There was even live music and fire performers at the bottom of these large staircases. The unfortunate thing however was all the men. Missy and I loved the live music but could not sit for more than literally 30 seconds without two men sitting on either side of us. Even after they figured out we didn't speak French they would not give up. So after moving to 5 different spots we finally gave up and ran away from the ones that offered to pay for our hotel next time we came to visit. Thankfully our other friends were nearby and we could stay by them in safety. If it weren't for the locals it would have been an ideal night. But none the less it was a beautiful view.
It’s always weird how much volleyball influences my life and I never really realize all the benefits I get out of it until I am put in very exciting situations. For instance when I was playing club volleyball I believe when I was 15 or 16 I met this girl that was new to my team. Her name was Hannah, or as Mom calls her Hannah Banana. Well after a long dreadful season of G-Force volleyball I made some pretty good friends. Hannah would be one of these friends and I don’t think we ever thought we would meet up to hang out for a day in Paris but that is what happened. She is studying there for the semester so I was able to meet up with her and we walked around the city on one of the many beautifully sunny days I got to experience. We wandered the streets and got some cheap steak and wine, and then she showed me Notre Dame Cathedral and took me to a quaint ice cream place. I think it was the first time I ever had to wait in line outside of a building just to get ice cream but it was worth it!
On our last full day of wandering the streets of Paris I had one of my greatest lunches of all time. Missy and I started out by hitting up a burrito place near our hotel then we took our 10 pound bag of 2 burritos on the metro and to the Eiffel Tower. We were trying to find a nice place to sit and eat our romantic meal and decided that walking along this ledge around a little pond was a great idea. Well all was going nicely until we realized we were in a field of fountains. Somehow we had managed to sit perfectly in the middle of all these fountains that went off around us as we just stared at the tower. It was one of my favorite meals of all time. After lunch we walked around like usual and stopped in the Musee du Louvre to check out the gift shop and rest our feet. Well that was until we looked up and saw a man 10 feet away from us holding a camera directly at us either filming us or taking pictures, not really sure, so we ran out of there pretty quickly. After that we spent some time in the park, I even enjoyed my first Nutella Crepe! After that we decided to head back, which basically turned into being watched by a man for ten minutes that was following us along the sidewalk (don’t worry Mom we literally sprinted away to the safest location we knew) that is how we ended up at the Abercrombie Palace yet again. After standing outside there for a few minutes taking in the last scents of our future husbands we decided to actually go back to the hotel.
In the end Paris was one the prettiest cities I have ever been to. I also learned many new things because of it. It made me really want to live in a big city someday which I have never wanted to do before. I just loved how there was always something going on no matter where you were, whether it be protests near the tower, groups of people chanting together under the tour, live music outside churches at night, or bands of people my age performing in parks. Paris also really made me realize how much I love traveling by myself. Besides the people outside the church and two weird guys watching us, the people of Paris are all extremely nice or at least to me they were. (I'll have a great story for you all in about 10 years!) The weekend also showed me that the best way to experience a city is to get completely lost in it. That is also how you will create the most memories.