After realising the most economical – and most awesome – path back to New Zealand would lead me towards Europe for the first time in my life it forced me to make decisions on where to go and what to see on this whistle-stop tour.
After three months logging serious kilometres on buses around South America I was over the idea of any time consuming or overnight travel, so my soft play on arrival for a 12 day tour was moving at my leisure from Paris, through Brussels and Amsterdam before ending this visit in Stockholm.
Two of us were making our way from Morocco and fortunately a friend from Victoria moved to France two years ago for his Master’s and has since landed a job in Paris. So not only did we have a place to crash, we also had home court advantage on the: who, what, where, when and how of Paris. It really doesn’t get better than that.
One of the first nights in town we met up for dinner and a few drinks ‘after work’ (for Nick, that is). As the night was winding down (or so I thought) we started discussing how amazing this city is and how we as North Americans aren’t as fortunate to have the rich history and architecture that makes Europe… Europe.
Ten minutes later, the three of us had set off on a late night bike tour of Paris. We rode the streets for 2-3 hours and every few minutes we were stationary looking at one of the most magnificent buildings you’ve ever seen. Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Pompidou, Saint Chapelle, Champs Elysees, Bastille… you get the idea.
Another interesting thing to note with our adhoc tour is the whole thing was done using the city’s transit system, where a transit pass (day, week or month) entitles you to use Paris’ bicycles. So we rode the city to the first hours of the following day on city bikes, using the designated bike lanes. Between a pass and Uber the city is yours… World class city (or as some would say ‘stud city’.)
I think I said the word ‘unbelievable’ about 100 times that night… because it was. That was an incredible experience and such an amazing way to see a city as beautiful as Paris. We were very fortunate to have local knowledge on our side that night; Nick was able to amplify my time in Paris immensely. That’ll go down as one of my favourite nights this whole trip.
To put the icing on the cake, the photo of us (shown above) at the Eiffel Tower is as epic as it is fitting. John’s Mum got into and won a fight with breast cancer as I was moving to New Zealand and since it was breast cancer awareness month the tower was sporting the familiar logo along with a brilliant pink lighting. Since we all left on our travels she has been our biggest fan throughout so it was a very emotionally charging picture to have taken and one we all will cherish.