As it turns out, Paris was not as entirely done with me as I originally thought. In fact, in my last few hours Paris showed me the time of my life, without any real input from me at all! As we speak, I’m currently hurtling my way towards Munich (of course I’ll be already in Munich before I can post this but you know what I mean) and what I hope will be a few days of blur with the odd memory or two thrown in. I completely intend to consume my own weight in steins when I visit the fair Deutschland but more on that in a minute. Right now I’m here to tell you about the events of this morning.
As usual, I spent too much energy thinking about what would be of my last day in Paris – I was kicked out of the hostel at 10:30am but my train didn’t depart until 15:24pm so I had a few hours to kill. I really wanted to spend those on my feet seeing as I would be spending the better part of the evening sitting down but I had the nuisance of my pack weighing me down. Normally I would leave it at the hostel for the day but the hostel luggage room was just a hall that was completely open to both other backpackers and the public and there was nothing to bolt it to; and also the hostel was out of my way and I couldn’t be bothered having to go back for it. So I decided to take it to the train station and put it in a luggage locker instead. On my way out I saw these two Australian guys that had only arrived the day before so I headed over to see if I could sell them my unused metro tickets cause I couldn’t be bothered keeping them for my return to Paris but I arsed the whole thing up and ended up giving them the tickets for free. I’m really bad at selling things and I was kinda annoyed with myself afterwards but oh well. I scored a book someone left behind in the dorm so I guess it all goes around. Speaking of the dorm, I had the good fortune of spending the last two nights with a dorm full of Australians (note the hint of sarcasm here), four of which were complete dickheads and came in at 4am this morning yelling and carrying on. Great times. I even had to shush them! The other guys were great though and it was kinda nice to talk to some fellow Aussies – I know it sounds stupid but I find it easier to talk to them than anyone else, even native English speakers. There is no accent barrier; your brain doesn’t have to pay such close attention.
Anyway, I digress. So I leave my luggage in the lockers at the train station, which is in a manned room. Being the idiot I am, I couldn’t figure out how to use them and had to call the lady for help – she must have thought I was a complete imbecile but oh well. I headed out in an unknown direction for a 2-3 hour walk before my train and ended up walking all the way down to the Latin Quarter where I decided to grab a bite before I had to head back. On the way I popped into the monoprix (the local supermarket) and grabbed some Camembert and crackers (and some toothpaste but I’m not sure you really care about that) to have it get hungry on the train. I got the hugest wheel of cheese you’ve ever seen and it was only €1.99! And to top it off, it tastes incredible to boot!
It is a really lovely area down in the Latin Quarter and I’m so glad I ended up wandering down there – it has these tiny cobblestone streets lined with little cafes and shops and I popped into an authentic little French one for a €15.00 menu lunch. I figured seeing as I wasn’t going to get any kind of substantial dinner I might as well fill up with a nice warm lunch and besides, I was eager to give boeuf bourguignon one more go. I considered boeuf tartare but I needed something warm. That’ll have to wait till next time. I’m starting to think that I may have been French in another life – feeling like I can speak French, loving raw meat and now, ordering snails without missing a beat! I was considering it, one of the entrée’s was escargot and I thought, when in Paris right? But I wasn’t sure whether they would be any good, not being in a really good restaurant and all when the waiter came to take my order. Even though I hadn’t committed either way I found myself ordering the escargot. It went something like this.
Me: Bonjour, Je voudrais Menu €15.00 s’il vous plaît.
Me: Escargot, Beouf Bourginon et mousse chocolat s’il vous plaît.
Me: Merci! etc. etc.
It flowed out of my mouth so smoothly that when he left I had a double take, a little unsure what had just happened but whether I liked it or not, I’m now eating snail. Turns out though, it’s not that bad; and my concerns about it not being cooked very well were unfounded in the end. It kind of has the texture of a cross between a fatty piece of meat cooked really well and calamari. It’s not really that chewy, which is a good thing! I can’t really tell you what it tasted like cause it was smothered in this buttery, herby sauce that if I’m honest with you, tasted a lot like grass. It was odd though; it wasn’t that great but it wasn’t gross either. I did feel kinda bad though cause I like to think of myself as a bit of a snail savior, I often look like I’m dancing down the street when it rains cause I’m dodging all the slippery suckers and having to dig in to the shells to scoop them out made me think of them shrinking back into their shells when they are scared but I eat meat, no animal is worth more than another. If I’m going to eat a cow then nothing can be sacred in my books. And yes, even dogs & cats. Not that I would eat them per say – I love dogs, they’re so cute! And no one is eating my Meny, that’s for sure but no soul is worth more than another, mine or anyone else’s. Actually that reminds me of a sign I saw on the window of a shop today – it said: Be yourself, everyone else is taken. I like it! But half way through my entrée the waiter asked if I could move as he had sat me at a table of 8 and a large party had come in. I wasn’t fussed but to make up for it he offered me a glass of rouge that I happily accepted! It was the perfect company for the Boeuf bourguignon, which was good, different to the other day and not as good but still tasty. It was more beefy than the other dish I had, and didn’t seem to have any bacon in it either. It was quite salty on the palette though but still carried a rich wholesome tone about it. To finish I had mousse chocolate that was rich enough complement the first two courses perfectly! An awesome, cheap lunch with free vino to boot! What could be better? As I headed back to meet my train, I couldn’t help but think about the awesome but completely unexpected afternoon I had had. Cheap, delicious cheese, escargot and free, great wine; I couldn’t have done it any better or anymore French if I had tried! And, on top of it all, I am now watching the French countryside roll past from the comfort of my train seat, compact but perfectly proportioned with a foot rest that elevates my knees above my hips. I think the next few hours will be a breeze indeed. See you in Germany!
BTW – is it bad that I ate ½ kg of cheese for dinner? With nutella? On bread?