So New Years in Paris . . . definitely not what we thought it would be. We ended up standing underneath the Eiffel Tower and waiting for something exciting to happen. It was fairly anti-climatic. The tower was kept dark until the stroke of midnight when it mildly erupted in blue lights, the huge crowd around us started shouting, "Bon Anne!" which means "good year" in French. Actually, that part was kind of cool. i guess I was expecting the huge countdown display . . . there were a few failed attempts at counting down by several random groups of people in the crowd, I guess no one had the exact time. The lighting of the tower was a bit of a surprise, and it sparkled--which is always a cool thing.
The next day Amy and I went out exploring -- we found Pere Lachaise, which is this really famous cemetery where famous people like Oscar Wilde, Chopin, Jim Morrison, Adam Smith and the like are buried. There are also some non-famous French families. in fact, there were quite a few "houses" which belonged to one family and there would be pots of their cremated remains within the "house" with the family name carved above the door. It probably sounds like a really morbid way to celebrate the first day of the new year, but we had a really great time wondering around the cemetery. and THEN we found this amazing little French bakery in the middle of nowhere (it's quite easy for us to get lost) and had some delicious pastries and rolls. the next morning we found an adorable cafe and i had a croissant and my first ever espresso--and i LIKED it! it was kind of a big moment for me since before said moment i did not like coffee without TONS of sugar and milk and chocolate. It was also a very "french" moment, or so it seemed, since we were sitting outside, sipping our coffee, chatting and watching people on the street walk by with a violinist playing on the street corner. lovely. We wondered more streets, i'm going to have to go back some day and hit up the catacombs, it was the only place i really wanted to go that i didn't make it to.
Maylin and i left the next day and went off to Budapest! I think i might be in love with eastern europe. We met up with a friend, which was really helpful since we couldn't read any of the signs and she knew a ton of really cool local places. We also saw Budapest Castle and the largest synagogue in Europe. the Budapest museum was pretty cool, as was the Budapest jazz festival that we stumbled upon the next day--the number that you actually pay might seem big, but considering that it's about 250 hungarian dollars per euro, eastern europe really is the most cost effective place to go. Hungary might be the place that we went to the most touristy areas. The best part though, was the homemade dinner our friend's parents made for us--it was so sweet of them!
more of eastern europe? how about the czech republic? i say yes.