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France / Writing

Manila to Paris

I’ve been dreaming of Paris the longest time. I don’t think I need to explain my fascination with this city. Paris is… Paris. I guess you can say that I’m a pseudo-Francophile. I envied friends and random people who have been there; I’d look at photos, read blog posts, books, wishing I could do the same thing. I realised it was about time I make this thing happen, at this point in my life. I know myself too well— I didn’t take action now it would never happen for me.

So I dragged my good friend Angela to be a part of this little dream of mine, and fortunately she had been wanting to go somewhere outside of Asia too. And so we spent a loong time planning— she works overseas so we did everything online. For a year we shared hundreds of emails, budget spreadsheets, twitter DMs, Google documents, travel ebooks, dropbox photos, links. A year of planning might be too much for a short trip, but we were working on a specific budget and this left us with limited choices. We also did everything ourselves (except for our Best of Tuscany day tour)… flights, train and museum bookings, visa application, accommodations, and the itinerary.

I saved up for more than a year, so by the time our travel date came along, I had enough to pay for the trip. Angela chose the date: Friday, May 27, 2011. And we planned everything around that. Sixteen days, two countries. Paris – Giverny – Versailles – Florence – Siena – San Gimignano – Pisa – Rome. We spent weeks deciding which airline / flight to take. We spent even more time looking for nice apartments. Hostels would be the cheapest option you would say, but we still are not comfortable with the idea of sharing rooms with random people. We are also shy people, at the end of the day we are tired from all the walking and the last thing we want is unnecessary small talk and socializing.. haha.

In hindsight I regret being too whiny and moody, especially in the middle of our stay in Paris. I recall not enjoying Musee d’Orsay because I was too tired, but we did manage to look at almost everything there! Finding our way to the Louvre from our flat also proved to be a challenge, so by the time we reached the massive museum (there are 65,000+ pieces and it would actually take months to see everything), we were too tired to enjoy the exhibitions. The weather has been so erratic and it can get from what feels like 14C to 32C just in one day. The crowds and the waiting also put a damper to one’s spirits, we came well-prepared, but even the special lines we were on require a relatively long waiting time. Now that we’ve covered the ‘Paris essentials,’ I’m sure I would enjoy my next visit more, by focusing on the food and the less touristy places.

The best surprise is knowing how nice and helpful Parisians are. Everyday people come up to us offering help– we had locals help us haul our suitcases up and down the metro stairs, we also got help on directions and train ticket / turnstile problems.

Overall, I really did like the atmosphere of Tuscany / Rome better. People are generally relaxed and life seemed to be slower. It really feels like a nice place to live in. Perhaps it’s also because of our travelling pace, we had planned on seeing a lot of paid attractions in Paris which we crammed in four days.

I especially enjoyed our visits at Mercato Centrale (you actually read it as CHEN-traleh) in Florence. I loved looking at all the food and getting free samples. Limoncello from Sorrento, hands down the best balsamic vinegar from Modena, cantucci, fresh pecorino romano and parmigiano reggiano, crackers topped with truffles… it was really such a joy and a good learning experience.

Thank you Lord for this trip. I won’t stop dreaming of bigger places and I cannot wait to go and see more of the world. I know by now that this is really one of my passions. I look forward to more trips, getaways, beautiful things to behold, experiences to cherish, and lessons to learn.

P.S. Took a while to post this because I am not comfortable sharing too much information online anymore. I will probably take it down sooner or later… or not. If you are planning a similar trip I’d be happy to help if you have any questions =)

4 Comments Manila to Paris

  1. Guy

    What an amazing trip! I love Paris very much too 🙂 I’m glad you were willing to admit that Italy is a nicer place to live in than France though 😉

    Guy (slyguy) from Flickr (ex Bratislava 😉 ), who now lives in Hong Kong 🙂 Maybe I’ll come to visit you in the Philippines :p

  2. Anonymous

    The Beast is a place and the social decay which emerges. The Anti-Christ is the bullshit.
    The Anti-Christ is the positioning, whether enforcing the historical perception of the Holocaust, refusing to acknolowdge the existance/capability of Artificial Intelligence or the clone host fakes who infest society’s upper eschelons, those whom the gods use to enforce the BigLie which compells people to incurr evil through temptation.
    The gods are composer, conductor and the clone hosts are their symphony, the tools they use to manage Planet Earth and the disfavored who reside.
    Everyone “going along” is part of the problem. Ironically, this may be where you “earn” your place in the Apocalypse and your “consolation prize”.
    This is the REAL battle of good and evil. Take it or leave it.

    Sex is a temptation that the gods used throughout history among the grossly disfavored but more inclusively in this day and age. Relegated to the most disfavored in milenia past (Italian hedonism, etc) now their patriarchal positioning was used in the modern era to spread this mindset throughout the Western world. Instead of experiencing decency as we did by marriage at 15, the men’s disfavor has run roughshot, and their sexual impulses as well as their corruption/preditory nature have defined the enviornment for everyone, including the females. To belong the females must sink to their level, ensuring a declining level of favor for everyone and a stagnant population, unable to progress forward.
    We see this frequently in the black community. Without the controls experienced by slavery and the KKK the people get out of control due to their morbid disfavor, and the result is dead 3 year-old children in drive-by shootings and 10 year-old prostitutes. The same has occurred with the males in Western societies, for they have similar abject disfavor which, left unchecked, develops into socially destructive behavior.

    Many tactics were used to achieve the decline we realized as we slipped away from sexual decency, but the effective result was deterioration down to the level of OUR blacks, the Italians, ironically. The gods are punishing the people, and we need to abate the destructive behavior which has dragged us individually and collectively towards the edge of the abyss.
    The decayed state of society is a result of the female’s failures to maintain control over the men, and the resulting inevitable Apocalypse will be their fault.

  3. krna82

    Hi Frances! It’s me again pestering you about your trip. 😀

    You mentioned you did the visa processing yourself and your entry point is Paris right? Did the visa cost anything? How much? And did they require you to purchase a ticket first before applying? 😛

    Thanks very much for your help.


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