Croissants and Pay Toilets

A Word on Travel in Europe

A few months ago a friend contacted me and the following conversation ensued:

Friend: Hey, a few of us are getting and trip to Europe together and we'd like you to come.

Me: Hmmm. I don't think so. Everything I'd want to look at would bore everyone to-death.


Another few weeks later:

Friend: How boring are we talking here?

Me: Like a three hour factory tour in a language none of us speaks. 

Friend: I think we can deal with that.

Me: Are you sure?

I still maintain that they had no idea what kind of mania they were in for on my part, but long story short is that I went.

I had contemplated taking a trip to Europe before, but I could never figure out exactly what I would do after having spent all that money on the plane ticket. That sounds ridiculous now that I've actually gone, but nonetheless that was my thought. So when my friends put this trip together it seemed like the perfect opportunity. They really did all the planning and scheming and reserving and they did a great job. I just had to send them money and show up. They only part I insisted on was, of course, some time at Volkswagen headquarters in Wolfsburg Germany. 

I think the best way to post about this trip is to break it up a bit so we'll start,...uh...at the start.

Because I live in the most isolated place in the lower 48 I had to start my trip with a 4 hour drive to Salt Lake, followed by a 3+ hour flight Seattle. In Seattle I met up the other three members of my travel group (we'd all been in the same ward our Freshman year of college at BYU). After a short layover in Seattle we began our 10 and half hour flight to Frankfurt Germany. Because of the flightpath the sun never went down during the flight and I got to see Greenland, Iceland, and Scotland (albeit from the air). Jet lag on the way over didn't bother me too much which was great. We got to Frankfurt and then began our 10 days of not understanding anyone. We picked up our rental car (a nice car, but a profound disappointment as I was finally in Germany and we were drive a Ford).

The car was more specifically a Ford Kuga, which is a small SUV with a diesel engine and manual transmission. At speed it sounded like a sick coffee grinder and on the Autobahn it struggled to hit 120 mph. (a tragedy, I know). We managed to get out of Frankfurt without getting a parking ticket and pointed in the direction of Paris France. We got to Paris that night and went straight to our hotel and crashed.

For me the trip really began the next morning when we road the metro into downtown Paris, stopped for breakfast at a street cafe outside of the Louvre, and ordered omelets where the waiter happily brought our plates with a pleasant "voila" and a sincere "bon appetit". I guess I just wasn't expecting that and honestly it made my morning.

From there it was on the Louvre where we saw the Mona Lisa and some Asian tourist get yelled at for standing on the statue Winged Victory to mug for a picture. I believe the exact words said by the guard were, "GET OFF, this is not Disneyland!"

Then we saw some cathedrals, walked some, ate some more buttery french food and then went and saw a bunch of dead people at the Catacombs. I was more uneasy about being that far under the ground with that many dead people than I had planned on being. It was interesting and creepy and I was glad I went.

Of course we did the Eiffel Tower clear to the top. Afterwards we had crepes and then walked around seeing things like the Arc de Triomphe, and some other stuff. I was usually concerned with eating. We stayed in Paris and then went to Church the next morning before leaving.

To be Continued......