so here is the story of an encounter in paris. or rather, what should have been an encounter in paris. tapi tak jadi. and for the independent traveller, there may even be a moral to this story too! ;)
first of all, you need to know that my dates for france were generated completely by random. i was on my way from munich to barcelona and so i thought that i would stop over in paris for three days in between. i took cheap ryanair flights and stayed at the woodstock hostel that was really really seriously in need of scrubbing. but you know what, it was spring and i really wanted to experience la primavera in the most romantic city in the world.
i arrived in orly airport in the evening. three train connections later, i was in montmartre. it was 10.30pm. and it was raining. heavily. the hostel was a ten minute walk from the train station and at this point, my 12kg backpack felt like it was carrying concrete bricks. this is my first day in paris. the wind was blowing and i was cold and wet and hungry.
but you know what, i was in paris! i finally made it here! i was on a budget that bordered poverty, but i made it. and i was so damn happy and excited. i went to sleep dreaming of awesome adventures in the world’s most romantic city.
it was still raining when i got up the next morning. the breakfast the hostel gave me was brown water coffee and french loaf which doubles as a hammer. and marmalade. and it rained and rained and rained.
but hey, it is paris! and i am going to go and see the city, no matter what! so i wrapped my heavy jacket around me and set out. i learnt that there is a free tour that leaves from saint michael’s monument everyday and i wanted to catch it. i wonder if the tour still ran in the rain. i was worried it did not. but hey, i took a chance anyway.
the rain got heavier, of course. it was so lebat. i did not have a payung and and two trains later, i stood patiently at a sheltered kaki lima for the tour group to assemble – and it did! everyone was in raincoats of all sorts but there they were. and all i had was a jacket but it is a free tour on a monday, and if the free tour walks in the rain, i will walk in the rain.
and off we went and the guide i had, spike, was really good. since its a free tour, we weren’t really going to enter any museum or monument, but she told us about the history and the landmarks and where to go and all the free sights we could catch.
by late afternoon, we got to the lourve. i had already planned to visit the lourve the next day – my only other full day in paris. that’s what they tell people, you actually got to spend the whole day in this museum. it is that huge and interesting. and so i happily told spike, i will be back here tomorrow!
that’s when a parisian finally told me – the lourve is closed on tuesdays.
oh. my. god.
i was so close. so close. so close! and know there are dozens of other art museums in paris, i know that i would be flabbergasted in every one of them. i knew that i would be flabbergasted in the lourve too, but dude, if i could pick a museum to be flabbergasted in, it would obviously naturally be the lourve, you know what i mean?