The last few days of raving posts probably makes this a bit of stating the obvious, but I can't express enough my love for Paris. Because I'd been here three times before, I had considered trying to sandwich in two or three days in Paris plus another city somewhere in this week, but partly just in a case of running out of time to plan, I decided to just take the whole time in Paris. I'm glad I did. The time allowed me to take it at a slow pace and just drink it all in. On my last day, I met up with my friend Francois and his friend Bruno for some time soaking in the sun and observing life parading by one of his favorite cafes. I tried to make it to Notre Dame in time to climb to the top, but in almost typical fashion, found the line closed off literally right in front of me. Though seeing "sights" isn't my priority, I did feel a little odd thinking that I hadn't seen the Eiffel Tower even from a distance this trip. So I wandered the Seine for a ways, then through the neighborhoods around the Musee D'Orsay, Assemblie Nationale, Palais de Invalides, Ecole Militaire and on through the grounds around the tower. An odd sense of serenity set in sitting on a wall beside the tower overlooking the Seine eating a hot dog (yes, a hot dog. At least it was in a baguette and with french mustard whose spice the seller felt the need to warn me about.) There are times I get a bit emotional even just walking around and can feel my eyes well up a little. And writing this on the train having already left Paris, I'm even moreso. I know how lucky and blessed I am to have these experiences and meet the people I have along the way. They're the most special part of my travels by far. Its times like this that I feel good knowing that no matter what happens, I've lived.
[apologies for blog posts before 1/2009 that are not yet updated to format]