Wednesday, October 11, 2006


And who can forget, the first hostel experience. All I could say in the moment, was “ew.” People aren’t kidding when they say in a hostel you are paying for the bed you sleep in, and that’s it. I had to make my own bed, with rented sheets. Luckily, I was smart enough to bring my own pillow case and hand towel. As I am writing this, I am literally perched on the corner of my bed, trying to have as little skin to surface contact with anything in this room. I inspect every speck of lint to make sure it is not a bed bug. I knew I’d be “roughing it” (hence why all the pictures I have my glasses on, look ma! No contacts!) but I have never experienced a room where the only wall decorations are chipped paint. And it took me a full minute and a half to figure out how to flush the toilet (2 floors up), awesome. And then, I realized, I am in Paris, by myself, just picked up and went to Paris, and I say it again with no trace of irony, Awesome.

In reflection, my first night in the hostel was truly a horrendous experience. When I left the next morning, I was downright depressed (and extremely sleep deprived). Tile floor, tile halfway up the walls. A bed and a sink, with a sheet covering the window. And as I was describing to some of the people I was visiting, one said “It sounds like a jail cell.” Which is exactly how it felt. If I had a traveling companion, at least we could laugh about it together, but alone, it was oppressing. Luckily, my next two nights were in a hostel recommended by a flat mate, and it was the complete opposite. The office manager exclaimed as I came up the stairs “You must be Lynn!” And proceeded to pull out a neighborhood map to mark all the local attractions and supermarkets. My room was on the top floor in the corner, so I had minimal traffic with a cute sloping roof. I had sheets, wallpaper, a little desk and chair, mirror, and hardwood floors. It felt like a hotel and was exactly what I needed to relax and actually enjoy my mini-break in Paris. The next two mornings, I got to go around the block, purchase a fresh pain au chocolat from the baker, and wander the neighborhood as shops opened, commuters buzzed past me, and Paris awoke (at 9:00am, they are late starters here). This is the type of city I could fall in love with, and the chocolate croissants and fresh espresso have charmed me already.


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