Monday, February 7, 2011

Et Hop!

Best. Birthday. Weekend. Ever.
Friday February 4th to Sunday February 6th 2011
Birthday Weekend of Evelin and Myself
Spent in Paris.
I am now planning to turn 19 next year as well, so I can do this all again.

(Just to summarize.)
(Now to elaborate.)

biggest garage sale of my life

Starting off with Friday, my actual birthday, it was pretty good. I got my numerous wishes through out the day from everyone I know on this side of the Earth, and also from a huge amount of you back home. Always makes my day knowing it’s my birthday.

Grand Palais
Evelin and I went out for a nice sweet before class seeing as I did not get any cake at home. I have a feeling that birthday cakes are a North American thing. I had a delicious berry tart from Paul.

Paris Fashions from les

While sharing our plans for the weekend, my classmates managed to get it out of me that it was my birthday. Trust me, I definitely was not out advertising, which they made well known that they wanted otherwise. Although, if I had made it known, I think I would have had more than plenty birthday cake, which I don’t really think could have been a bad thing. Bringing closure to the day, and the week, I was serenaded in English and French and somebody had drawn a cake on the board. It was great.

L'Arc de Triomphe

Here I am! Again!
Same crosswalk as
2 years ago..
Come evening, I got a letter in the mail (which always makes my day), as well as some computer hardware and a postcard that I have been waiting for. I also opened the envelope that I got a week or so ago that sure enough, held a birthday card. Thanks Gramma and Grampa!

Evelin's Birthday Lunch!!
Check out the chompers on
that bad boy!!

Marie-Anne arrived home, minutes later Evelin showed up and we took off for the train station. We were a little early, but that’s never a problem. It gave me time to read my mail. Which continued to make my day better!

crazy stairs

I spy...

The three hour train to Paris was filled with Evelin and I sharing our stories of travelling and life, I finally sewed my flag patches on to my backpack (they look OK…) and sleeping.

Myself and the Eiffel

Our hostel, the Blue Planet Hostel, was less than a five minute walk from the Gare de Lyon, one of the many train stations in Paris and where we got off. We were greeted by a relatively friendly desk woman who gave us our keys and linen. Up on four flights of stairs, we found our room. We shared it with two other girls, but we only saw them when we would wake up in mornings, never hearing them entering during who knows when in the night. I also discovered just how literal they meant “Sheet” for linen. From my experience in hostels, you would get a cover for your mattress, one for the pillow and one for the duvet, maybe an extra sheet for in between. This was literally ONE SHEET. One enormous sheet that I had to precariously place over my mattress, pillow and cocoon myself in so I would not touch the duvet. Not that the place wasn’t clean, but I even have issues with touching the duvets in hotels. There is something about them that makes me feel icky.
outside the Louvre

Enough of that. Tired from, well, the day, which had now progressed into the tomorrow, we hit the sack.

I had another lovely surprise when we woke up and went down for breakfast (apart from the fact that our roomies had magically appeared during the night). Yes, breakfast was included, we knew that. What we did not know was that this breakfast was two kinds of croissants (one ‘regular’ and one with chocolate) that you got from a vending machine, and/or various kinds of espresso/hot chocolate/cappuccino/etc. from a drink machine of sorts. Each of which cost one token during the breakfast hours of 7:30 am to 9:00 am (oddly short time frame) and we each got three tokens for breakfast. Good, yes. What I was expecting, no.
but why are they sitting?
at a
Sum 41 Concert
"I just remembered... we're going to
I remembered hourly and had my
excitement recharged every
Tid bit of information: If you ask any Parisian where the closest Carrefour is, they will look at you like you are crazy and give you directions to somewhere far, far away where someone else MIGHT be able to actually help you. Why would we think that there would even be room for a large grocery store in a city that is already filled to the brim?

this is what awesome is.

We started our real Paris adventure with a market. A flea market to be exact. The Marché au Puces de St-Ouen was located in St-Ouen (neighbourhood just north of the 18th arrondissment, if you know Paris at all). I have honestly never been to a flea market before. This was something completely new for me. I felt like I was walking through a huge garage sale. Finally we got out of the used, recycled, thrown away but salvaged and now for sale area and got to where they had nice, clean clothes and other things for sale. We spent probably close to and hour and a half wandering the stalls, trying foot ware on. I almost bought a pair of Converse for five euro, but I didn’t. I still can’t decide if that was a good decision.
Deryck Whibley
Sum 41 frontman

Champs-Élysées is probably one of the best known streets in Paris. It is full of shops ranging from Promod (everyday affordable yet chic young women’s clothing) to Louis Vuitton (does that need explaining?), cinemas, cafés, restaurants and hotels. Plus many, many tourists. On one end, you have a park that I believe is the Champs Élysées and on the other is l’Arc de Triomphe. We did not go up on top of it, so I do not have an awesome history lesson for you here (or anywhere else from this trip) but I do have a tid bit of local thoughts:

Slow song. How can you tell?

L’Arc de Triomphe is in the middle of an absolutely giant traffic circle called L’Étoile (The Star). If you look at a map, the name is very fitting. Parisians say that if you can successfully drive in and out of L’Étoile, then you can drive (in Paris). While on the topic of driving in Paris, it is not uncommon to see extremely banged up cars around (nobody drives any vehicles that are bigger). If your parking spot is not big enough for you, just nudge the one in front of you up a bit, and maybe bump the one behind you a bit so that you can fit. No joke. People actually put foam like bumper additions on their vehicles to protect them from such normality.
Post-mosh. Not that bad..

What a beauty I am.

I should mention that my shopping for specific items has been working out in my favour. Not only am I saving myself from buying everything I see (it happens…) but I am also filling out some necessities. Through out the weekend, I was able to find my long lost denim vest, the proper color of brown legwarmers (brown and legwarmers mixed together really doesn’t sound overly fashionable now does it? Haha) and a thin leather belt that is braided (not that I was looking for something quite so specific or anything haha).

post concert on the metro
 somebody just drank nearly a whole jug of
grapefruit juice and was not feeling too hot.
guess who it was.

Flourescent lights follow me
every where I go
the Blue Planet Hostel
a chill place.

En route to viewing the Eiffel Tower, we stopped for lunch in the 16ieme l’heure de Madrid (16th hour of Madrid). Evelin and I had the most delicious meals ever! Seeing as Saturday was Evelin’s birthday, I made sure to let the waiter know. After we finished our main dishes, it was time for dessert. Out came the waiter with the dessert we ordered (it was for two) with a candle on top and singing Happy Birthday! It was spectacular! Evelin was so surprised! I loved it! She loved it! I think the waiter rather enjoyed it too! Happy Birthday to us all!

Artists in Montmartre

Once we got our views in of the Eiffel Tower (no, we did not go up that either, it was cloudy, and there really is not much point if it is cloudy, I learned that last time I was there) we continued on to check out the Obelisk then walked through the Jardin des Tuileries towards the Louvre. If only it were spring and everything would have been in bloom…

can you imagine in
the summer time?

Evelin was feeling really sick and tired, so we headed back to the hostel to recuperate for the night’s events. I have been leaving out a detail of our morning. Remember the comment on the Carrefour situation? We needed to find somewhere to buy concert tickets so we spent about 45 minutes in the morning asking around without success. Finally someone at the train station was able to help us. If you can, imagine:
Here I am!!

Me. Standing in a train station. Barely able to breath. About to explode with excitement. Not comprehending that Yes, this is truly happening. And finally, holding tickets to only one of my all time favourite bands: Sum 41.

Paris for days...

If you can’t imagine it, that’s ok. I’ll just let you know that I LIVE FOR CONCERTS and Sum 41 just so happens to be one of Those bands that you know you’ll listen to for the rest of your life to me. So yeah, this was kind of a really big deal.

This is something that I never forget. Being able to look out and only see city.
I never want my home to become this.

Ask Evelin, you could feel my heart beating through my jacket. I don’t know if that’s healthy.

So, obviously, Evelin had to be well for the Sum 41 concert. After a nice kebab, she was. Oh, by the way, you know Donairs? Aka Schwaarmas? Aka those sandwich like things I made for two months at that place over on 33rd and Idylwyld? They’re called KEBABS here, and are not greasy at all. The combination of no grease and KEBAB is enough for me to fall in love with them all over again.
This should be on a postcard

The Sum 41 concert was at Le Zenith, a concert hall. Fairly large, but not as big as CUC, and absolutely PACKED. All the admission was general and I have no idea how people could sit through a concert. Something I will never understand.

After the warm up band, no idea who they were, but really, they were not good, in my opinion, I went out and bought a red Sum 41 shirt. I considered it a necessity because I didn’t own any red tops.
Happens to the best of us

Sum 41 rocked. They were SO GOOD! I can’t even explain just how amazing they were and how proud I am that they too are Canadian. Some songs I can list off hand are “Pieces”, “Heart Attack”, “” and “Mr. Amsterdam”. After pounding out every single word to “Fat Lip” somebody asked me if I was French, in the kind of way that they could tell I wasn’t. I don’t even have to tell you I crowd surfed a number of times, but to one song in particular, the classic; “In Too Deep”. They played a couple of songs from their new record set to come out in a couple months (Finally!! It’s been YEARS!!).
finally blue sky

I do have to mention that the French really need a lesson in how to mosh. Not only did a circle pit never form, but the general moshing, although I always enjoy it, it lacked a little something. It seemed like people were more content to get absolutely flattened against the gates for the whole concert than to move around like myself. Also, there were not any of the giant bald guys towering over everyone. They were all just really small Frenchmen, and not many girls. Which may have accounted for why they kept pulling me to the side. I appreciate the thought, but I’m sorry, I can more than hold my own in a mosh pit.
looking outside from inside the Louvre
Whats all the hub-bub about?

Downside of the night: Evelin lost her phone and in a fit of thirst, I guzzled half a litre of water and almost 800ml of grapefruit juice on the metro. Needless to say, my stomach was not happy with me.

Come Sunday morning, I was disappointed in my lack of battle wounds. I have nothing to show for my courageous efforts the previous night except for my one shoulder is still a little sore. But you can’t actually see that so it doesn’t count.
Oooh! Hub-bub!!

Since it was Sunday, Evelin and I went to church. She had found the closest location of a church she wished to go to, so off we went once we had our vending machine breakkie.

I’ve been to a couple of Mormon churches before, always a good experience I find. The people are always very friendly and welcoming and show incredible amounts of faith. It’s inspiring. It really is. We arrived in time for the lesson before the service. It was in French, so I acted as a translator for Evelin. I did the best that I could, but functioning in French and English at the exact same time was proving to be difficult. The fact that I had no idea what I should be translating did not really help either. Thankfully the service offered an English translation, so Evelin made sure to get a head set. It turned out to be the Sunday when people read their testimonials. I found most of them very moving.
I think I spent more time
looking out the windows than looking
at art...

Although the majority of people around us were conversing in French, when ever they came and talked to us, they turned out to not be originally from France, and spoke English as a mother tongue.

We hopped onto the Metro and rode to Montmartre where we had another very delicious lunch. I once had a very bad experience with French onion soup and had never tried it since. I decided to give it a chance to redeem itself. Sure enough, I had the most delicious French Onion Soup of my life that day.

After lunch we walked around a lot, got a feel for the area. We saw the Basilique du Sacre Coeur on top of the hill. This is the highest point in Paris and is the only actual hill of notable size. The Basilique was made all from a white stone that was mined from that area. The really old buildings in Paris that are white (probably darkened with age and pollution now) were also built from that stone. Interesting eh?
more or less what most
of the main halls of the
Louvre look like.
Some dont have windows in the

Also, Montmartre is the artsy area, home to lots of artists, and people who would like to be called artists. I was already wary of the many artists who sure enough wanted to have the honour to draw my grand beauty, and although they were so pleasant and full of compliments, I would not be charmed… Like I was last time. Evelin on the other hand, regardless of my efforts, was spell bound. And after she received her self portrait, she said herself: “I was charmed.”. Text book case right there.

some where in the Greek Antiquities..
right before we got lost.

Again on the Metro (yes, we are now seasoned pros), we changed our minds I think five times on where we were to go next. We ended up at the Louvre. Pretty much had to go.
First Sunday of the month =
Free Admission.

It was an odd visit though. We only had an hour before closing (thank goodness the first Sunday of the month is free) and there really was not anything we wanted to see. I for some reason felt like I had seen it all before (well, I had) and for once in my life was not in the mood to dissect some art. I managed to drag Evelin to see the Mona Lisa, even if she said she did not want to see it, I knew she would regret it if we did not. So, we saw it. I think I enjoyed seeing all the people in front of it trying to get a photo more than the actual painting. Actually, I don’t think I actually looked at it. Hmm. Well then.

The time came for the museum to close. This is where our visit gets interesting.

Although we had a map dot dot dot
some more Paris fashions

We could not find out way out. Or more importantly, a washroom. The rooms we were in were not marked on the map and neither were the things we were looking at. Corridors led us in circles, even though they were all rectangles. Nothing was making sense. And every washroom we found was locked. You can imagine us being very fatigued from two days of touring, the mere idea of not being able to escape (note the use of the word Escape) from the Louvre very entertaining.

The Bastille.
Why did I never notice the bus?

Finally free, we walked up and down streets, getting on and off the Metro until we grabbed some supper to go and sat down in the Place des Voges. I had wanted to go inside the tiny park, but it was closed from December until March so that the grass could grow. That is one more out of 1000 places that I have seen. Current count: 29 (I think).

and thus I started saying good bye to
everything in Paris..
Still having time to kill before our train, we sat down in a café by the station for some warm drinks. Evelin got a very tasty hot chocolate (I would assume it was tasty) and I tried some of their hot wine. It just did not compare to Germany’s. Oh well, like everything, it was worth the try.
One last cafe to kill some time..

I spent the following three hours drifting in and our of consciousness on the train back home. I was oddly uncomfortable all the time and oddly aware of the fact that they never dimmed the lights on the train for the whole ride, even though we had an arrival time of after midnight.

Which brings us to the end of my Birthday Weekend.

An excellent weekend at that.

PS. If when you read this, there are not any photos, check back in 12 hours or so. It is almost midnight and I really don’t have the energy to add them in. Sorry. But thanks for reading!!
PS REPLY. so it just took me two hours to put up all the photos. Hope you enjoyed them! :)

Basilique Scare-Coeur
(didn't fit up with the rest,
as you can imagine)


  1. aww Anna! It sounds like you had a wonderful birthday!!! but. You promised me that we would have a huge 19th birthday party celebration together. so. When you Turn '19' again next year, I plan to be there. And it will be LEGEN-wait for it... i hope you're not lactose intollerant cause it's- DARY

  2. Sounds like you had a great time. You could probably lead a tour of Paris now that you know all the places to go and how to get there - twice!

  3. "I for some reason felt like I had seen it all before "

    Wow, bored at the Louvre? Talk about a blase world traveller. Just kidding.

    Great pictures kiddo, they really look good. You always seem to have an eye for vanishing points in your photos. You should get a mini tripod for when Evelin isn't along, much better than holding the cam at arms length.

    Love Dad

  4. Hey! Well I had seen it all before, I was very thorough with my last visit! And this was the last thing we did after a stupendous weekend, I'm allowed to be a little tired here and there during the day, not just before I go to bed.
    I should get a tripod..but it would have to be super light and fit in my purse. THink it can be done? Maybe when I get a better camera. I think I want to invest when I get back home and have the money..
    With a little more knowledge on the historical points of the city, I might be able to. I have considered being a travel guide before..
    I did promise didnt i? Dang. Well, next year it is. Good thing that I control how time works eh? :P