Bonjour! (French is hard, and I suck at it)

For today’s post, I have happy tales, sad announcements, personal reflection, and a new city. I stayed in Paris a few days more after my last post. There’s so much city, I’m sure I just scratched the surface. I went back to CrossFit Original Addicts II. Did some heavy squats, helped with some Olympic lifting coaching, and completed a fun workout of 10-1 T2B, HSPU, and heavy KB Swings. I really enjoyed that box. It was full of people from all over (even another American girl), and the energy was very positive. They were outfitted in all Eleiko bars and plates, but only had one rickety squat rack. I’ll be back.

Btw, kilo bumper plates are massive. Those are 20kg.

This is their business card. I just had to share! I got a good reminder of this yesterday. I walked to the local grocery store to get fixings for dinner for my hosts. Of course, I forgot I was walking because I bought entirely too much stuff. So my trip home turned into a workout: 1000m farmer carry. ?

The main event for the rest of that day was a trip to Champs Elysees, the high end shopping district behind The Arc de Triomphe. Holy crap, the sea of people was incredible. I waiting 20 min just to go into Louis Vuitton where I’m certain my mouth was never fully closed. ($1,400 for a dress!!!) 

The people watching there was the truly entertaining part. The fashion, the cultures, the lack of people who lift… and the smoking! Everywhere, people are smoking or carrying baguettes. 

The next day was a whole different adventure: My first hostel, the bohemian district, and La Basilique du Sacre Coeur de Monmartre.

I arrived at the basilica during Sunday mass. After taking in the beauty of the architure from the outside and the view of Paris from the top of the hill (and after catching my breath from walking up what seemed like a billion stairs), I ventured inside. I spent the first few moments angry at the mob of tourists taking photos when signs clearly state no photos, but then the choir started. I was lost. The anger was gone and I was taken to the past. My own past spent in choirs and that of the church. The energy of the place was almost overwhelming. I was awash in pure love. The pleading and worship in the music was cathartic even though my voice was not included. I just stood silent in my own world with tears rolling down my face, oblivious to anything else. When the nuns finished, it took me a moment to snap back, and I resumed my tour. There was candles lit to various saints, beautiful works of stained glass depicting relevant scenes, and grand ceilings with intricate paintings, marble works, and mosaics. I walked slowly as in a dream until I walked outside again. 

Then, I found my way through the bustling streets of the bohemian district to my Hostel. After checking in, I met two new friends and spent the evening exploring and laughing with them. 

In the hostel over dinner, we met a man who is about to be inducted into the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest time traveling without returning home. He hasn’t been to his apartment in Montreal for nearly ten years! He went to Costa Rica on a whim for a two week stay with his girlfriend, and never came back. His stories were incredible! His nonchalance about his life struck me. He was without pride or boastfulness. A truly kind man who just enjoys people and the world. 

My friends and I decided after dinner to go to the Moulin Rouge. Sadly, none of us had a spare 100 euros to see the show, but we had fun just seeing it from the outside. Kansas (a nickname I mistakenly gave him after forgetting his name and where he was from) had never seen the movie, so Anouk and I decided that night was as good as any. The street that the Moulin Rouge is on is full of sex shops and strip clubs. We got crepes and wandered and joked and even found Eiffel Tower dildos on display! On our way back to the hostel we got more rose and revisited the Basilica. It was incredible at night! 

The steps of Sacre Coeur were alive at night with locals and tourists enjoying the view of Paris at night. After a while and with the need to pee, we went back to the hostel, hunkered into bed and watched Moulin Rouge. We sang, drank, laughed, met our other lovely roommates, and stayed up entirely too late. 

The next morning, I dragged my booty out of bed, said goodbye to Paris and my friends, and went off to meet my ride to Nancy. In Europe there’s this excellent company called BlaBlaCar that connects people for car pooling. For example: if I was driving from Boulder to Denver, I could offer the ride on BlaBlaCar and people could request to join. They pay like $8, meet me somewhere in Boulder, and join me for the trip. It’s like safe hitch hiking! I rode 3.5 hours to Nancy, France with 3 other people for just $16. The train would have cost 60! 

In Nancy, I have been couch surfing with a lovely couple. They are young, into metal, and all around cool cats. Nancy is a wonderful city. It is very similar to Boulder, actually. A smallish college town with wonderful culture. There’s beautiful buildings, a ton of restaurants and cafes, a cute downtown, and entirely too many opportunities to eat pastries. Unfortunately, there’s no CrossFit, but I did drop into a regular gym which was interesting as always. Besides two other guys, I was the biggest one there. You’d think I had an extra limb the way some of them were looking at me while I lifted (legs and shoulders). I was entertained. For my post workout, I had an incredibly delicious strawberry tart with the smallest to go coffee I’ve ever seen,and enjoyed them at the base of the cathedral in old town. 

Last night, we went to the city center to watch the historical light show that happens every night telling the story of Nancy. It was super neat! This town is very proud of its history and has clearly put effort into preserving it. 

I’m convinced there’s a princess in there somewhere. ^^

Tonight I’m having dinner with my hosts at a traditional French restaurant, and tomorrow I depart to Strasbourg, France on the border of Germany. It’s safe to say that I’m in love with this city,and hope to return. 

Now for some sad news: while I was in Paris, Andy called. Our cat, Hades, had been struck and killed by a car. Our neighbors brought him to Andy in a box after finding him while walking their dog. We had only had him a few tumultuous months. I’m extremely heartbroken that I couldn’t be there. It’s been a terribly tragic year for us for pets as we also lost Buddy and Piggy to sudden, untreatable health problems. ??? 

Andy wrote a beautiful eulogy for Hades that can be read on my Facebook wall. ❤️

Thank your for reading. New post after my first few days in Strasbourg. ?

I made it, guys! Today was my second day in Paris and the first full day of my trip. When I arrived in Paris last night, I couldn’t check into my AirBnB yet, so I got myself to the Eiffel Tower and just sat on a park bench admiring my surroundings. The metro (subway) here is easy to use, but not the first time. I definitely almost got lost, didn’t know what kind of tickets to buy, and probably looked like a sad puppy. I figured it out, though. Some very nice people answered a few questions for me, and now I’m using the metro like a pro. You can get almost anywhere in the city in 30 min or less. I love it! The food here so far is not my favorite (mostly because I’m cheap), but the pastries and coffee are amazing!

Today, I went to CrossFit Original Addicts in Paris for a workout. The coaches there were welcoming as if we were old friends. We talked about the crossfit games (they had attended too) and Ido Portal movement methodology. In fact, they may come to Boulder to study with Matt Bernstein at Boulder Movement Collective. I told them to drop by Flatirons for some fun.  The gym itself was small, but nice and well equipped. Up front they had a lovely shop with tea, snacks, and merch. 

I helped a new friend with his snatch technique and did a quick 21-15-9 of power cleans and burpees over bar. After the workout was The Louvre! 

The Louvre was breathtaking. The vastness, the detail, the history. The smile on my face was hard to contain. I saw three of the many exhibits as I don’t care to take the full 5 days the information lady said it would take to see everything. I chose: Italian painters, Greek and Roman sculpture, and Egyptian history.  It’s really hard to say what my favorite was. The history contained in those walls is astounding. Often I would get lost in memories about mythology and folklore. The descriptions were all in French, but I was able to get the gist of everything. The Italian painters were often humorous for me as the people portrayed had hilarious facial expressions. I narrated for them in my head like live memes (example below).

This cracked me up!!

The architecture inside the museum was just as impressive as the art.

Of course, I saw the famous pieces like the Mona Lisa, Venus de milo, and Nike of Somanthrace. 

Mona had her own wall and security (and a mob).

And here’s other pieces I found noteworthy:

Marcus Aurelius

Actual mummy cats. I want all my future pets mummified. K? KTHXBAI.

There was so much more. Too much for my little blog. 

The rest of my stay in Portland was fantastic. Morgan and Zac were the bestest hosts ever, and I love them to pieces. We had an obligatory ladies night which was fabulous. As expected. 

I think I’ll stay in the city of love a few more days, then head east toward Germany to meet up with friends.