“Travel is glamorous only in retrospect.”
The sophisticated cafés, the cobblestone streets, the grand boulevards, and the Eiffel Tower. In September, we’ll be immersed in this storied city, gathering memories at every turn.
Now, I’m feeding my hunger for the sights of Paris by scrolling through Pinterest. Hundreds of photos oozing with je ne sais crois are a feast for my eyes. I drool over every quaint nook and cranny, I ogle every grand magasin, I swoon over romantic rainy streets shrouded in fog. But, when we’re there, schlepping around from place to place, will I find the details as delightful? Or will my infatuation fade as we grapple with the not-so-perfect scenarios no one ever posts on Pinterest?
Squishy sandals and an inside-out umbrella are sure to dampen my enthusiasm for strolling along the Seine in a downpour. And what if that impossibly enchanting shop with the cheerful French proprietor is AWOL among graffiti-smeared burglar doors and dingy tabacs?
Getting lost and discovering that charming little patisserie is every traveler’s dream, unless you’ve gone hopelessly astray with my Type A map-clutching husband. Will we go with the flow of the moment, chuckling over our confusion? Or, will frustration erupt into one of those unfortunate teeth-clenched conversations?
“We should have turned back there.”
“Yeah, that’s what I said, but you ignored me.”
“Well, if you were so sure, why didn’t you insist that I listen to you?”
“Wait, it’s my fault you ignored me?”
Then, there’s feasting on French cuisine… what could go wrong? Two words: organ meat. What if le garçon serves up a steaming plate of pig’s brains whose true identity was cleverly disguised on the menu with elegant, incomprehensible French? No amount of sauce du vin could keep me from gagging.
And sitting at a sidewalk cafe sipping coffee? I hate coffee, no matter how much sucre or lait is poured into it. My daytime drink of choice is a Diet Coke, and in Paris, the price of a daily dose in a teensy, lukewarm can could translate into a Chanel bag. Besides, my Diet Coke is sure to provoke an eye roll from the chic Parisians at the next table. How will I quench my thirst for my bubbly thirty-ouncer while I’m quenching my thirst for the Parisian ambiance?
A month in Paris is sure to be loaded with hassles. Rick Steves says, “Travel, like the world, is a series of hills and valleys. Be fanatically positive and militantly optimistic.”
So, we’re packing that fanatic optimism we need to take on the nitty-gritty and the glory of the Ville de Lumieres.