After my visit to Oslo, Phil and I set forth for Paris.
It was the first time I was traveling with Phil for about 8 years. He had been my first traveling buddy when we were both just kids. Looking back at our travels through SE Asia, we were almost comical in our naivety and greenness. We squabbled and bickered, we didn't know how to interact with other travelers and we went to great pains to bargain over pittances whilst being completely ripped off for other things.
A lot of time had passed though. We were now both far more savvy as travelers, far more world weary, but also far more experienced.
Going to Paris to visit some friends would be fun. It was going to be a laid back trip giving us more than enough opportunity to both relax and enjoy the French culture.
I was shocked by the number of tourists. Truly shocked that you couldn't really go anywhere without being one of a huge crowd. There didn't seem to be any trait or characteristic to the tourists either, they came in all forms and met all the different tourist stereotypes from the tour groups, to families, to school leavers, to grey packers, to a couple of a traveling idiots like Phil and I.
What amazed me the most was that what I found myself enamoured with in Paris wasn't the famous sights.
Instead, it was just the lifestyle.
The cafes, the brasseries, the patisseries, the boulangeries, the salon du the. The general attitude towards existence. It was all very appealing.
Living in Paris is clearly an experience in lifestyle.
The very first meal that Phil and I had, sitting at just a standard little cafe by the side of the road, we found ourselves eating meals prepared with a care and quality that would never be present in similar establishments back home.
We found ourselves lulling over coffees and cakes, whilst just chatting the hours away.
It was a nice change from the frantic rush of traveling from site to site.
The whole concept of slowing down is appealing.
It's got my name written all over it!