Trying to enjoy Notre DameYou always regret the last drink you had. The one you think knocked you over the edge of this is one heck of a hangover into the pit of am I dead? Maybe I’m dead and this is what hell will be like forever. If it weren’t for that last shot of Jamesons.. oww my head.  Never the fifteen beers before it.
This is the second summer in a row that I have traveled at length on my own. Ever, really. I’m not sure if I’m getting better at it or not, but at least this time I remembered q-tips and aspirin.

Some of the feelings I had in certain cities surprised me (I’m looking at you, Amsterdam & Vienna). It’s hard being a good capitalist consumer-tourist when you know too much. And, Paris. Oh goddamn you, Paris you piece of shit heart breaker. I definitely did not see the town of my art-school-girl dreams in either of our best lights considering the crowds and all my money troubles, but I’m willing to give it another shot someday. Next time, I won’t do that city on my own.

Part of the reason for this trip was to see if I could come up with enough material for a book chapter or two, and to see if it was a subject I’d want to keep exploring for a year or two more… And, wow, I have some thinking to do, which is all I’d like to say about that at this point.

I made some new friends and had some wholly new experiences, which should be the two most important aspects of travel (in my opinion). And I learned a little bit more about my limitations. Didn’t I once love crowds? That time has passed. Also, to not spend money, I really REALLY really need to just not have it. Good thing I’ve picked the career I have.

Gardens. I lust after them everywhere I go… but I still don’t know whether that means I need a more like forever home or a just a hot gardener.

Below are the pictures from my tourist day in Paris. When I post my Instagrams, you will see how hard I tried to be stoked, even though the cold and the crowds and the asshats and the credit card rejections and the junk food. Because, MONTMARTE and NOTRE DAME and CREPES and the SEINE and etc. It’s a case of expectations, to be sure… but in this case, I didn’t realize I had them until my trip was in full swing. They grew organically out of an otherwise awesome trip. In other cities I had friends (or friends of friends)–and this makes a lot of difference when you don’t speak the language.

>>>But for the record I TRIED TO SPEAK THE STUPID LANGUAGE (she raged, bitterly). Yeah, my French is shitty and Jeanne Bangs would be appalled–but I did try.<<<

And so Paris becomes more and more like a night of binge drinking–beginning with such good intentions and ending with a litany to justify one’s regrets.

Each long trip seems to end so stressfully–is it because I know that it’s all over soon and I don’t want it to be, or is it that I am already lamenting everything I couldn’t do and taking it out on myself? Or is it just that I am tired of not sleeping in my own bed and not doing my laundry and not knowing where anything is or how to use the freaking toilet (sometimes it’s a hole in the ground and sometimes it costs €.70 and sometimes it is “sanitized” after each use which means you need to hurry the fuck out of it)?

I know, for one thing, that I am very tired of buying each meal. The next time I travel for an extended period of time, it will need to be somewhere with a kitchen. My favorite breakfasts all month were at the homes of friends, and two of the best later-in-the day meals I had on this trip were in a kitchen in Haringsee, Austria. The first was a Niçoise salad with  homemade dark sourdough and the second, simply potatoes and asparagus–both farm-fresh. Don’t get me wrong, I had some great food… but I ate way too many cheap white rolls and not nearly enough eggs, too.

Speaking of eggs, I have got to get a couple of egg cups. All over Europe, the coolest thing to do is soft boil eggs. By the time I finally got some eggs, they were all soft-boiled, and they were the best ever, so I want to make them a habit (so much more tidy than poached! plus, cute egg cups!). Granted, the egg thing sort of detracts from my drinking metaphor. I’m so damn tired that I’m okay with that.

On that note, I am going to try to sleep for the next 10 hours so that tomorrow involves a bare minimum of defeated/exhausted crying jags. Here are my pictures from one day of Paris tourism, where I seemed to have missed almost everything REALLY great, but managed not to miss even one single heaving mass of tourists. Click here.