Paris – 7/29/13 Up until last week, I was occupied with my students and/or busy with extraneous staff duties for essentially 16-18 hours per day. And then, suddenly somehow, the program finished. The staff had a final night together: dinner out in Fiesole followed by (too many) drinks and shenanigans at the "Festa de l'Unitá" further up the hill. Holly and I limped through the extreme heat of the following day together — we visited Santa Croce, took refuge (i.e. naps) in her friend's charming Oltrarno flat, and shared a final tasty Florentine meal. Then, I made my way back to the bus stop in Piazza San Marco for one last ride up to San Domenico. I gathered my bags at Centro Studi and bussed back down to the train station, where I hopped an overnight train back to Paris. Let the (family) vacation begin!
En route to Paris...
I remember registering, vaguely, when waking up intermittently during the night, that we weren't moving.... But I also remember (vaguely) explaining away the immobility via various threads of dreamy logic. Maybe we had made such good time... that we had pulled over so as not to mess up the grander, capital "s," Schedule? Or maybe time had been built in from the beginning to allow the conductor(s?) a short sleep en route? Or...? Zzzzzzzzz...
Well, the logic-ing stopped when I awoke to a knock on my couchette door sometime before 7am. We weren't stopped for any foreseeable reason. In fact, we were semi-stranded somewhere in the Swiss countryside — and had been for a few hours — due to the fact that our train's engine went to help another, longer-stranded train.
À Paris — We arrived into Gare de Lyon four hours late. I was thrilled that the MIJE hostel was an easy metro ride away — at Saint-Paul, just around the corner from the elegant Église Saint-Paul-Saint-Louis (below)
Looking out on one of the hostel's interior courtyards from my window
After perhaps the best (and most needed) shower of the summer, I got to catch up with Cécile, Marco, and Louise. We had an lovely apéro on the bank of la Bassin de la Villette, wandered up into the 18th, and ended the evening in the Marais, where we ducked into an unknown, very pleasant café for a snack-y dinner when the sky opened up unexpectedly.
Luckily, Cécile, Marco, and I conquered our communication difficulties* and managed to meet for a quick galette at the delicious — and beautifully situated — Crêperie Beaubourg the next day. (*It's amazing how tricky it can be to coordinate sans phone or consistent, free wi-fi!)
Cécile and Marco silhouetted in front of the mural gracing the wall of la Place Stravinsky, behind la Fontaine Stravinsky, à côté du Centre Pompidou
And Brian arrived the next day! We settled into our double room at the hostel — check out the view! -->
Then, we wandered the beauteous Marais...
...and landed at Café Rouge for un apéro. Moments after I took this picture (of a jet lagged and Putney-program-leading-weary B), the sky burst yet again and the couple at the table closest to the street escaped in search of shelter. We stayed put and watched as the deluge turned to hail, which beat down violently for a few minutes before stopping as suddenly as it had begun.
We continued our happy hour reunion fête au bord de la Seine.
Our moods were high despite the cloudy weather, except when Bri momentarily mourned the loss of his long-carried mini plastic water bottle.... (It was a case of uncharacteristically slippery fingers, not littering, we swear!)
Ouais, another magical evening in one of my favorite coins de Paris — and yet another photo that closely resembles the photo that functions as the background wallpaper of Communiqués de Paris