In August of 2008 I was sent to Europe to blog about my experience on a Contiki bus tour. The European Discovery tour had us seeing 10 countries in 12 days. I was one of 6 paid student bloggers for the Royal Bank of Canada, and was chosen specifically because of my writing style. Here is my story.

 

As My Most Anticipated Destination, Paris Does Not Disappoint

Coming into Paris, I was still feeling the effects of The Contiki Cough. It was actually getting worse. The one place I had REALLY been looking forward to, and it would have to be experienced while sick. Not only was I sick, but I had next to no voice. I was approaching the one country in which I could speak the language, but I could hardly speak! Still, I refused to let this ruin my enjoyment. Upon arriving in Paris, we had a few hours before dinner would be served so The Object of My Affection (upgraded from Attention) and I set out to see Paris instead of waiting around. There was a bus (the bus we had been riding for SO many hours) tour of the city that night but my companion was familiar with the city so we skipped that and explored.

I was immediately impressed with the city. I thoroughly loved hearing French being spoken around me. It was nice to finally understand the locals. We saw the Arc de Triomphe and The Eiffel Tower that night – both awesome sights. Later, we met up with some other tourmates and walked an incredibly long distance (seeing much of Paris in the process) to end up at a place called The Canadian Bar. It was nice to have a little bit of home, but by this point I had NO voice. My partner in crime, refusing to let me be miserable, was patient enough to read what I typed out on her Blackberry. Challenging situations require creative solutions, and now she has a permanent record of my end of the conversation.

Having slept in the next morning, the day had a bit of a late start. I did venture out but along this exploration I discovered that one of my contact lenses had a huge tear in it. Frustrated I threw it on the ground and proceeded to walk around with one eye, and not much of a voice. I still refused to let these things get me down. I was in PARIS! Even a challenging time in Paris was excellent, so if you’re able to experience it without these little annoyances you’re in for an amazing visit. This was the last night of the tour and a lot of my tourmates were checking out cabaret shows, but I had opted out of this one. It’s the only optional excursion I chose not to do. It’s a good thing, too, because something presented itself that required having some extra cash – an impromptu extension to my Paris experience!

The final night of the tour, T.O.o.M.A asked me to stay in Paris with her, as she had already planned to stay for 3 more days. After some deliberation I decided that it was an opportunity I could not pass up. Thus began my magical relationship with Paris. It was during these days that I got to feel what Paris is all about. We did things according to our own schedule and I absolutely had the time of my life! Paris is a city that is better enjoyed when slowed down, as compared to the go-go-go of the tour. As of the first 2 days, I would have left having enjoyed Paris but the extra 3 days solidified my love affair with The City of Lights. There is such an air of romance and relaxation that it’s difficult to not become consumed by it all. Overall, Paris was definitely the highlight of the tour for me, and I would highly recommend seeing this beautiful city.

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