This trip was absolutely amazing. My friends and I planned a trip to two cities in December, and it was spectacular. We spent one night in Brussels, Belgium, where we sampled everything Belgium is known for: waffles, chocolate, beer. All of it delicious. I can definitely say that the waffle I had there was one of the best I’ve ever tasted. The Grand Place (main plaza) was decorated with lights, a manger, and a giant tree for Christmas, with Christmas music blasting, making the atmosphere very inviting and Christmas-y. One afternoon was more than enough time to explore this cozy city, and the next morning we took off for Paris.
In Paris, we stayed with another Holy Cross friend studying there’s place, James. He had his own apartment and was extremely accommodating to us. We got a tour of the city from a Parisian’s point of view, went to the French markets, window shopped the most luxurious stores, and lounged at the local bars. Although we did do some touristy things, such as climbing the Arc de Triumph, seeing the Eiffel Tower, exploring the Lourve and Musée de Orsay, and taking a million pictures, I’m glad we got to see part of a Parisian’s life through James.
The city is breathtaking. Every single building is beautiful, old architecture and low the the ground. There are no skyscrapers like New York or Chicago. The people inhabiting the city are incredible too. You watch them walk by in awe. They are beautiful, the clothes they wear even more beautiful, and the language they speak even more so. Entering this city is like going to Disney World when you were a little kid, something magical takes place in Paris, and only when you are there can you feel it.
The only downside of our trip was the ending. Not only because our vacation ended, but also because of the unexpected traveling problems we encountered. We were flying out of the Ryanair airport in Charleroi, Belgium, meaning when we bought the plane tickets we thought we were flying out of the Brussels airport, Ryanair has a way of tricking you like that. Anyways, we had to take a train from Paris to Charleroi, which is a random Belgian city an hour or so outside of Brussels. Our train had a connection in a city I don’t remember the name of in Belgium. Unfortunately for us, our connecting train was not marked at the train station, the information line was 25 people long, and our time to connect was only 6 minutes. Needless to say, we missed that next train. Luckily, the train that we missed was a commuter rail and ran every hour. So we hopped on the next one hoping to make it in time for our flight. This missed hour of travel time resulted in us running through the Charleroi train station, paying our cab to speed as fast as possible, begging the Ryanair people to check us in every though our flight was boarding when we arrived, cutting the mile-long security line, and sprinting through the airport. We made it, sweaty and breathless, but we did.
Other than that extreme hassle, the trip was one I’ll never forget, and Paris is a city I will be returning to.