[Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by avid traveler Taylor Crenshaw, PhD]
What is the dream of anyone traveling to Paris? I have been traveling to Paris a lot since I have a friend in the French Alps living there. But he had given me only a brief month to decide on my next trip and I had no time to prepare myself. So it was a real kick to get to Paris the day before I was supposed to leave. I had crashed totally, not only exhausted all my savings, I had attended a Cirque de Soleil performance at the city center, fooled around with too many TV shows and too much shopping. But you know what – I enjoyed my trip, I enjoyed the city, I enjoyed the people and I enjoyed the feeling of being one of the locals. I would rather have this than the plane ticket.
What is the dream of anyone traveling to Paris? I have been traveling to Paris a lot since I have a friend in the French Alps living there. But he had given me only a brief month to decide on my next trip and I had no time to prepare myself. So it was a real kick to get to Paris the day before I was supposed to leave. I had crashed totally, not only exhausted all my savings, I fooled around with so much shopping, and on a fairly regular basis attended numerous shows courtesy of Theatre In Paris. But you know what – as a whole I enjoyed my trip, I enjoyed the city, I enjoyed the people and I enjoyed the feeling of being one of the locals. I would rather have this than the plane ticket.
I observed the signs as I passed by, the TV and the Parisian street life that went on around me. There are so many allergies and colds around, it must be a very small world! But I took another turning and kept on going, trying to decide whether I should turn left or turn right, it was a no brainer.
I got to the old city center, the old bay, very nice and calm, not too many tourists and too little money – and it was empty. It was like a vacuum where you can sucks all your energy in. It was interesting seeing how the energy conserved and the light was not noticeable in the old city center at all.
To get to the new city center I took a different route. It was about 5kms away, but in the middle of the road I got a really big “THAT was quick!” moment. That was the moment I thought I should definitely have a cell phone, when in fact I should have continued walking, as the driver of a “Peshta Puglia Tourist Taxi” that I saw in the street was trying to catch up to another one that was in the back, also catching up to me.
I walked even further, to the Annegabetta straight on the waterfront and at the top of that I got a good look over the horizon and saw the hills, a mighty empire of pink buildings, the buildings that would never be built since Nakfa will never be built. I felt a little bit like a marionette master in a fantasy play. I enjoyed the creation of the landscape while it was occurring, a creation of the greatest hero of our times – Leonardo Da Vinci.
I felt some comical relief when it was time to catch the Speed Boat and the enchantingcastle on the bay of the same name. Stuffed to the gills I enjoyed the ride on the “bandana-lined” deck as much as the ride on the actual boat itself, for the moment was in Italian and my Italian.. chic accent resonated across the entire back yard onto the heads of the passengers seated below me.
The boat cruises along the port side of the island to an old Roman port where a new port was to be built. For two or three months I lived there in aBasic Villa Achillel, provided by Laboratorio Linguistico, providing me with a warm welcome and a very hearty breakfast each morning. I had a wonderful balcony at the top of therd floor with a great view over the Mediterranean and the cities below.
I often went out walking by appointment and as I walked I often came across people I had already talked with and it became a good social outlet. I also managed to work in some interesting locations: a ancient shady market and aRoman garden adjacent to the forum.
I found myself walking through the market in one of the busiest times of the day. Fabrics, fragrances, t-shirts, shoes, woolens, herbs, inks, papers, books, stalls, birds and butterflies beckoned to me from every neighboring nook and cranny. I came across stalls with herbs in their original forms, oils, balms, medicines and plants used in traditional cultures and traditional healing methods.
Paris is a well-known travel destination for seeing popular tourist attractions, none more famous and recognizable than the Eiffel Tower. But as soon as you start living here on an everyday basis, for longer periods of time, you begin to experience the nuances of the city that make it truly remarkable. And that is why when you travel to Paris, you should spend at least a day or two just immersing yourself in the city – only then will you see Paris for what it truly is.