My European Vacation – Paris Day 1

My excuse for traveling to Europe was to run the Paris Marathon. Of course, Alana and I made plans to turn this into another of my “running vacations.” Our trip to Paris ended up being the longest day of my life! We left Cincinnati at 4:00 PM Wednesday and landed at 6:00 AM Thursday Paris time. That means my body thought it was midnight when we landed. Eight hours sitting on a plane followed by a one hour trip to our hotel left me exhausted. So do I nap? Nope! I slam some Five Hour Energy and have some espresso and breakfast. We took a short walk to the Louvre only to find a huge line waiting to get in. The sign outside said (paraphrasing), “We don’t know when we’re going to open today due to administrative reasons.” So, they weren’t opening because they were in meetings? We kept walking and taking pictures and found our way back to the hotel. Later, after a one hour nap, I went back to the Louvre to find out they closed due to a strike! There were protesters outside and there were other protesters across the city. They even shut down the airport when the air traffic controllers went on strike. If they did this one day sooner, we wouldn’t have been able to land!

I walked to the Paris Opera House, which was a beautiful building. I found Harry’s New York Bar. I found out that Harry’s has a fabulous history of famous visitors such as, Earnest Hemingway, Humphry Bogart, Coco Channel, Jack Dempsey, and Rita Hayworth. My experience differed from theirs, I’d guess. So far on my trip, everyone was helpful to this American who can’t speak French. But this guy behind the bar spent so much time talking to what looked like his regulars that all I could do was sit there and wait for him to acknowledge me. I’m at a bar that’s famous for its cocktails but all I wanted was a beer. They had two choices – Carlsburg and the beer I didn’t order. The food pricing included the beer, but I didn’t want to spend 19.5 Euros for a club sandwich! I ordered the 14.50 Euro chili dog instead. I hear a microwave ding a few minutes later as I watch my bartender pick up my hot dog bun with his bare hands. It was in one of those hot dog warmers, so he placed the hot dog in the bun and carried it over to where I imagine the microwave was. He came back with the hot dog in the bun, slathered with mustard, accompanied by a bowl of chili with beans, and a bowl of shredded mozzarella cheese. I know I’m from Cincinnati and I love my Skyline cheese coneys, but no chili dog should come with beans! I’m not even going to start on his dirty hands touching my bun! Overall, it tasted good. I finished my beer and walked back to the hotel.

Since this is a marathon, I had to go to the Expo at the convention center. I planned my route using the metro and headed out the door. As I was approaching my metro entrance around the corner, I turned right when I should have turned left. A mile later, I realized my error and turned around. Once inside the subway, the fun began. Their machines let you choose your language, so I was happy about that. It didn’t, however, like my credit card! Frustrated people lined up behind me, so I apologized and got in line at the next machine. This time, I paid with the Euros and I was on my way. I found the metro for the first leg of my trip and got off where I was transferring. I found the next metro and got on, not realizing I got on the one going away from my destination! One stop later, I fixed that error and managed to get to the Expo. I met my friend, Stacey, who is here to run the marathon, and we went inside. Roughly $110 later, I had my running bib and souvenirs. Now I was ready to find my way back to the hotel. Did I learn from my mistakes from earlier? You don’t know me well, do you? I got to where I was to change trains and couldn’t find mine! So I walked outside and opened Google Maps and walked the mile back to the hotel. Long story short, I now know the Paris Metro system and I can find my way around now.

After dinner, I enjoyed an adult beverage or two, hoping it would help me fall asleep faster. It did the trick, but I woke up at 2:00 am thinking I just finished a nap! At 3:00, I got up and watched some Netflix until I was able to fall back asleep at 4:00. During the 36 hour period from our takeoff from Cincinnati to the time I finally slept well, I believe I slept a total of 6 hours. Plus, I was hungry all the time! I was a dog tired, hungry American traveler in Paris. I may have figured out why the Parisians think we’re so rude! We’re just hangry!

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