With the exorbitant number of vacation days available to working Germans, a typical summer vacation lasts three weeks and is spent outside of the country. The second part is fairly easy to accomplish given Germany’s central location in western Europe. The duration, however, is another story. I haven’t fully wrapped my head around being gone that long. (Even China this year was a two-weeker.) And so it was with two friends in Paris for a wedding and three more from internships or working in the past that I could meet the second condition but stuck to what I was familiar with on the first: an extended weekend vacation. With rain nearly every day, it didn’t quite turn out photographically as I would have liked, but one night — the last night I was in Paris, incidentally, and of course one I didn’t have my tripod with me — the skies cleared.
It took me 18 weeks to get to Paris. Prior to starting my rotation in Stuttgart and while considering which European cities I’d visit, I was under the impression that I’d be in Paris several times: once to do wine tasting, once as a base for a Normandy excursion, once to be among Parisians, once to explore the tourist attractions. What actually happened was that I ended up spending four weekends in various Swiss cantons whose native language isn’t even French, drawn instead by the allure of the Attractive Looming Pinnacle Sensation to the south. Suffice to say I was chuffed after seeing low TGV prices to Paris and that they happened to coincide with a four-day weekend. (I can’t take full credit for making the pilgrimage, though, as two friends from the US found cheap airfares and suggested Paris as a possible destination.) It was to be my third time in Paris, but I still didn’t feel like I “knew” the city after the first two times. I hoped this time would be different.
Continue reading “Paris retardé”