Have you ever had that feeling that even though you might be miles away from home, you still feel like you're competely at home? Well I was starting to feel that way after two weeks in Vorstenbosch. The sun had shined his smiling face on my visit so the Spring weather was beautiful for exploring (and maybe sometimes getting lost in...) the area by bike. My relatives are also possibly the most hospitable people in the world and they made sure my days were filled with plenty of things to do and people to meet. I stayed around long enough to see my cousin Eefje's beautiful baby girl, meet an old guy at a farmhouse museum who knew my Opa, celebrate Queen's Day and I think meet almost everyone in the neighbourhood. I certainly met nearly all the Dortmans in the area, including the guy who owned "Dortmans Music Store" who claimed we all came from a French soldier during the time of Napoleon.
But another day, another country and Paris was calling. Paris is not the dreamy city everyone thinks it is though. It has some great history and the Notre Dame Cathedral and The Louvre were amazing, but it's not like a scene from Amelie. Actually it is just another big dirty city with not so friendly people and lots of tourists. But still a lot to see. I hired a bike and rode around town only once riding on the wrong side of the road and once getting burped right in my face as I rode past. If I wasn't so disgusted with how filthy the city was already I might have laughed. The Louvre was too much to take in, so overwhelming. The Mona Lisa wasn't even the best; she was surrounded by people and you couldn't even get close. I liked the sculptures the best. The Arc de Triomphe was cool, but walking back along the Champs Elysees alone at night was a mistake... I kept getting hassled by Africans asking me to go to a discotecque. I had to get brutal to shake one of them off who followed me for ten minutes. The Notre Dame was beautiful and the view from the tower (which I queued for like two hours for) was great, especially as the sun was setting. I saw the Eiffel Tower but I couldn't be bothered climbing it after waiting in the queues at the Notre Dame towers.
Now I am catching a train tomorrow to Nice along the French Riviera where I hope to do some star spotting at the Cannes Film Festival. Hello paparazzi!