All posts tagged: NaBloPoMo

Train Wreck

DC has the Tourist Trolley. Boston has the Duck Boat. France (and many countries in Western Europe) has the Petit Train. These are two- or three-car tiny trains that would fit in at an amusement park or an especially large zoo, meant to drive tourists past notable attractions in any given city.Walk around the city center anywhere in France, no matter the size of the town, and you are likely to hear the clang of the little train’s bell beckoning tourists far and wide to climb aboard. Chambéry has one of these “Petits Trains Touristiques“and from my arrival, I was dying to take a ride on it. Yes, it’s overpriced. Yes, it’s a ridiculous tourist attraction. But, c’mon! It’s just so darn cute! Not too long after I arrived, the train sadly went on haitus, making way for the Christmas market and waiting for the snow to clear up. It is very difficult to understand why and how these trains became such a weird obsession for me. Any time one passed, it gave me a little burst of joy. I think the thing …

Smell the Roses

In dark times, sometimes we just need to be surrounded by flowers. Being fall, it’s not so easy to find many flowers in nature, so I thought it would be a perfect day to throw way way back to a beautiful and flower-filled place I visited back in 2013, when I interned in Paris. Then, I saw from the Chicago Art Institute that yesterday was Claude Monet’s birthday, and I knew my idea was meant to be. In June 2013, some friends and I took a day trip out to Giverny, famous for the residence and gardens of renowned impressionist  Claude Monet. The village is about 80km west of Paris. To get there, we had to take the train to a slightly larger town called Vernon and then a shuttle bus to Giverny. I remember that we all had major issues purchasing our tickets, because the machines in Gare St Lazare only accepted cards with the little chips. We were so afraid of missing the train that we dared not wait in the long line at the ticket …

Courage, Paris 💔💙

I was planning to write something fun and light-hearted tonight, maybe about some high points of my week, or another random story from my life, but I’m just so sad and in shock. Paris tonight suffered one of the scariest and most unprecedented coordinated terrorist attacks in recent memory. The death toll continues to rise, though the terror seems to be over for the night, thankfully. Social media has been both a comfort and an annoyance tonight…The cynic in me is frustrated by all the surface-level “solidarity” posts, which ring somewhat meaningless in the wake of such devastation. The misanthrope in me rolled her eyes at every person who tried to break the news to me, as if I hadn’t gotten it from French newspapers 2 hours earlier (she’s also a little bit snobby). But the humanitarian in me shushed those other guys down and was exceedingly thankful to have a direct line of communication to my people in France and all over the world. I am heartened to see strangers opening their homes to those who …

I’m basically famous now

Several months ago, I published this post about everything I love about my adopted French hometown of Chambéry, following a National Geographic Intelligent Travel questionnaire. After revamping my answers a few months ago and sending it in to be considered for the site, I got word yesterday that Intelligent Travel decided to publish my post as part of their weekly “I Heart My City” feature!! They made a few edits to make it more consistent with their questions, and they added a bunch of flickr photos, some of which I don’t even recognize where they were taken….but hey! It’s still pretty cool. I hope that this highlight will encourage people to consider visiting this little corner of the world 🙂 And I hope some of you will also be encouraged to publish similar pieces on your own blogs, and to share them with National Geographic. Then maybe you, too, will feel as famous as I do today !! ❂

Postcard from London

Once upon a time, many moons ago, I went to London. I had originally planned to go way back in February to see a play my friend Natalia directed, but it ended up not working out. Still, I couldn’t leave the continent without visiting the theatre capital of Europe, so I planned a few days’ visit in between moving out of Chambéry and hopping on my flight back to DC. After a 5am wake up call to lug my hundreds of pounds of luggage across cobblestones, onto two different trains, through the airport, and across Paris to catch the Eurostar, I was 100% exhausted, and in a very strange mood…leaving my French home probably forever, saying goodbye to dear friends, and suddenly being thrust back into an English-speaking country (who know how disorienting that would be?!). So I wanted to keep my plans as uncomplicated as possible. The universe must have picked up on some of those karmic vibrations or something, because after being in London for less than one day, it helped my trip become simple in a way …