Talk about absence making the heart grow fonder, man...
24.05.2015 - 30.05.2015 20 °C
For the past five summers, Eva has helped move her siblings home from college. A few thousand miles and an ocean wasn’t going to keep her from doing the same this year, so she packed a duffel bag and hopped on a doubledecker transatlantic flight to Paris.
After a brisk walk to the Besançon train station at 5 am and a smooth ride into Paris, Natalie made it out to Charles de Gaulle airport to meet Eva’s plane. Unfortunately the horde of taxi drivers waiting for their clients prevented the cinematic running hug that the situation warranted.
But by this time, it was early afternoon, and we headed towards the center of the city to grab some lunch. I was excited to share some of the things that I had discovered in Paris on previous trips, so we grabbed some sandwiches and walked over to the Jardin des Tuileries for a little picnic and our first French photoshoot. (Eva’s three-cheese panini (brie, chèvre, and Roquefort) has opened her eyes to the limitless possibilities beyond cheddar and swiss…)
Next, we headed to the Musée d’Orsay, where Eva discovered that not all museums are soul-sucking dungeons of boredom. If you have the perfect blend of art nouveau décor, historical miniatures, and medieval leapfrog, it can actually be quite a pleasant experience!
Eva’s travel tummy was not too keen on a fancy French dinner that would almost certainly contain meat, so we opted for the pizza parlor down the street from our hostel. But this was alright, because I wanted to introduce her to the egg pizza that I feel in love with on my first Paris trip. So we decided on two fairly typical French pizza variations – one was salmon, egg, crème fraiche, and basil, and the other had a crème fraiche base topped with chèvre, honey, walnuts, and oregano. Though she didn’t quite chew the salmon, she thoroughly enjoyed the concept of an eggy pizza.
The next morning, we made our way over to the Père Lachaise cemetery, which I had visited briefly on my first trip, and had really wanted to explore more thoroughly. Luckily, Eva is also a sucker for creepy history. Though we still weren’t able to find too many of the famous graves that we were looking for (Camille Pissarro, Oscar Wilde, Jim Morrison, etc.), we did find some less-famous people who happened to have had impeccable taste in grave markers.
Neither of us really wanted to spend much time in a super touristy city, so we headed back to Besançon in the afternoon. It turned out that my tiny, 9m2 dorm – which was just barely big enough for me – fits two just perfectly!! It’s a good thing that we are practically the same person, because I only have a twin bed, one chair, one bowl, one mug, and it is essential to have the bathroom door closed in order to open the fridge. The bonus luxury of being short on real furniture was the fact that Eva got to have breakfast in bed every morning! Baguette crumbs everywhere…
The first couple of days in Besançon were spent just getting used to the city – wandering around downtown, picnicking, shopping, and eating some deliciously cheesy baked potatoes.
So far, traveling through France with Eva has been like being in charge of a toddler who is a whole head taller than you – in restaurants, I get to read her the menu and order her food; in the street, I have to explain what all of the signs mean; and when I had to take an 8-hour test on Friday, I just made sure she had enough food in my room and left her sleeping with my stuffed bunny.
Her childlike reputation stayed intact through the tasting of dried figs. I discovered them a few months ago and have not been able to get enough of them. So, naturally, I was really excited to share in the bounty. We walked way out of our way to the co-op to get a bag. Like a parent, proud of the milestones in their child’s life, I decided to photo-document the moment…
Eva also got the chance to meet my wonderful friend Noémie. I bequeathed to her my trusty toaster oven, which had served me so well over the past nine months. We went over to drop it off at her apartment, and stayed for a very fun dinner, made even more entertaining by the fact that I had to serve as the translator for the whole night. Even though conversation was a bit complicated and there were a couple of misunderstandings, it was a lovely evening. She was the first of my friends I had to say goodbye to, which was really quite hard. Now I just have to figure out how to get to Madagascar…
Our carefree traipsing came the happiest of all possible ends on Saturday evening, when we went to the train station to meet up with Mom, Dad, Ben and Chelsea!
Stay tuned for the next installment of The Kammerer Family takes Besancon 2015!