Tomorrow we fly to Paris. A few people have said "Two entire weeks in Paris? Why would you want to do that?" Because it's a place neither of us has been. And we want to live in it for a minute. We've rented an apartment in the 11th arrondissement where we'll hunker down and eat bread.
Some of the best parts of this trip have been the protracted bits we've spent. A month in Bali, two weeks in Siem Reap. When you have a chance to dig in and create a routine, fully-unpack your bags and shake things loose, or return to a favourite restaurant time and again, it feels like you've set down roots. It's comforting. And it's necessary, if you're somebody like me. A trip like this could really wreak havoc on my highly-sensitive brain if I'm not careful. And so, from time to time, we have to slow down a little and get comfortable.
It's also no coincidence that we'll celebrate our 10th year together a few days after we arrive in the world's most romantic city. I'm not one for theme parties, but on the trip-of-a-lifetime, what better place to be when marking such an occasion? Given all the choices in the free world, it would seem a shame to be anywhere else.
But it won't be pricey champagne and Eiffel Tower proclamations. It'll be baguettes in the park and bike rides along the Seine. Slow, meandering walks through rarely-toured neighbourhoods rather than frenzied sites and days-packed-full. It'll be petit dejeuner at the apartment and dinner there too. And if it rains, there may be a day when we do not get out of bed. But it'll be a bed in Paris. Our days in this place will be blissfully unscheduled.
What I know for sure, though, is that I'll silently sing the Nicole Kidman parts of every Moulin Rouge song and curse the day I gave up my free French-language education in my Canadian high school. I'll say "Thank you!" and "Hello!" rather than risk the self-inflicted shame of a poor accent, then wander off kicking myself for being so self-conscious. But I'll squash all those feelings with cheese. Beautiful, French cheese.
MAP BY PAUL DOTEY, PART OF AN ONGOING SERIES.
This is Paul's first city-map for me, and I'm thrilled. Please visit his online shop where you can purchase some of his beautiful illustrations.
LOCATION: Istanbul, Turkey
DATE AND TIME: Sunday, July 7, 2013 8:30PM Eastern European Summer Time/Sunday, July 7, 2013 1:30PM EST
Yesterday we made the rather tough decision to end our trip in Italy, rather than go to India. After 3 months in Europe, we felt we wouldn't really be emotionally prepared to enjoy India as it should be enjoyed and are better off doing it as a separate trip, another time. After all, it's not going anywhere. And so we'll head back to North America in October sometime.