Europe Part 1

Little known fact: I have a ten year plan for my photography career.  One of the items in my plan was to travel to Europe for work. Coincidentally, one of my nearest and dearest friends was getting married in Italy, and asked me to come shoot her wedding. So since she was covering the the flight, I decided to fly out a week early, and explore Europe.

Paris

My friend Lindsay lives in Paris, and she is one of my favorite people in the world. We met last summer in Denver through a mutual friend, where we quickly hit it off and became drinking partners for the entire summer. Originally I was supposed to come see her in April/May, but the wedding made me push my plans back.   After an eight hour flight, I made my way into the heart of Paris via train, and tried to navigate my way around to no avail.  My original plan was to meet up with Lindsay at the airport, as she was traveling back from Nebraska, but her flight was delayed four or five hours.  So I decided to go out and explore by myself.  My thinking was that If I could handle New York, I could handle anything.  Wrong!!!!!!!   I was completely and utterly lost.   

The first thing I did as a tourist in Paris? Finding the Eiffel Tower of course. 

The first thing I did as a tourist in Paris? Finding the Eiffel Tower of course. 

After wandering the city for most of the day, I eventually met up with Lindsay and her boyfriend, then with her friend Homero and his partner Brett.  I was not prepared for the party that was going on in the streets and alleyways.  The most surprising thing for me was how busy all of these bars and streets were.  I wondered aloud if there was always this much celebration, to which everyone replied all at once "Yes".  These were literally the happiest people that I have ever seen in my life, and within two glasses of wine I was one of them.  

Because of the movie "The Talented Mr. Ripley", I have always harbored a romanticized notion of sitting in a European jazz club and drinking.  Well I finally got that opportunity and it was everything I had ever imagined it to be.  Part of me wanted to find a cigar and order scotch, but I figured beer would be easier for me handle, especially with how jet lagged I was from being awake for well over thirty hours. 

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After leaving the jazz club, our merry group decided to walk the streets where we ran straight into a "Pride" festival, and another celebration that was just a street party in an alleyway.  For some reason all of these events just ran into each other as we walked down various blocks and alleys.  The demographics and music would change every few blocks, but the dancing and drinking went on for miles.  So many miles that I had to take my jet lagged ass to bed a few hours later.

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Brett

Brett

On my second day in Paris, Lindsay decided to play tour guide.  She took me to some of her must see spots, including the Sacre-Coure and the area around, which is full of artists, musicians, and amazing food.   She asked me what my must see thing to do in Paris was, and I responded with "THE MONA LISA"!  As someone who has an art degree, I knew that I had to stop by the Louvre Museum and personally see all of the pieces that I studied in art history.  

Sacre-Coeur 

Sacre-Coeur 

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Lindsay in front of the "I Love You Wall". This wall has I Love You written in a ton of different languages. 

Lindsay in front of the "I Love You Wall". This wall has I Love You written in a ton of different languages. 

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If you have ever watched the extraordinary documentary "Exit Through the Gift Shop", you'll recognize Space Invader's street art. If you have not watched it, stop reading this and watch it on Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Hulu. 

If you have ever watched the extraordinary documentary "Exit Through the Gift Shop", you'll recognize Space Invader's street art. If you have not watched it, stop reading this and watch it on Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Hulu. 

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The Louvre Museum

The Louvre Museum

Venus de Milo

Venus de Milo

I am pretty sure that I was the only person in the whole museum who actually looked at the Mona Lisa and studied it. 

I am pretty sure that I was the only person in the whole museum who actually looked at the Mona Lisa and studied it. 

We spent a few hours in the Louvre and then left to meet Homero at a swanky ass cafe in front of the museum.  As soon as Lindsay and I walked in, the hostess let Lindsay walk by, but stopped me and asked if I "belonged here", to which I replied "Yes I do" in a very calm yet stern voice while pointing at a waving Homero.  Her face was priceless while she looked me up and down as I just strolled right past her.  As we sat down, Lindsay was irate with the way the lady had just treated me, and vented to Homero about it.  As soon as she said something about wanting to talk to the manager, Homero calmly got up and did it himself.  The manager then came over and profusely apologized which resulted in a free drink.  My favorite part was when the manager went over to the hostess.  While he talked to her,  I watched her face go from calm to increasingly infuriated while she  glared in our direction. Their exchange ended with her walking off angry. 

The result of getting caught trying to take a photo in the cafe.  

The result of getting caught trying to take a photo in the cafe.  

Our same group from the night before plus one other person ended our night together by reconvening at an fancy Italian restaurant.  This place served the freshest food and best wine that I have ever had in my life. Between six of us, we tried at least half of the menu and five bottles of wine.  I remember looking at the menu and thinking about how all of the items were expensive, but Brett insisted on paying for the entire bill at the end of the night.  God bless that man.  

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After a long day of eating and drinking, I had to get to a hostel.  I was tired and ready to just go to sleep until three Scottish kids introduced themselves to me, and then peer pressured me into staying up to drink with them.  Next thing I know, we're doing shots with the rest hostel and getting to know each other.  At about 1 a.m., seven of us decided to take a walk up to an area that overlooked a huge portion of Paris. 

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Youth in revolt. 

Youth in revolt. 

Day three was my final day in Paris, and I wanted to see as much as possible. Lindsay and I probably walked over fifteen miles that day.  We tried to see the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit at one of the museums, but it was closed that day.  Later on that afternoon, I decided to put my camera away  and experience the rest of the day without it.  

Arc de Triomphe.

Arc de Triomphe.

Lindsay trying to come to terms with the fact that we would not be seeing the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit.  

Lindsay trying to come to terms with the fact that we would not be seeing the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit.  

Upon my return to the hostel, I met up with the same group of people that I was drinking with the night before.  We played drinking games, and then decided to do an impromptu photoshoot outside, before saying farewell to one another. 

Drunk Parisians photobombing the Scotts.  

Drunk Parisians photobombing the Scotts.  

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The next morning, Lindsay and I decided to go to lunch before my train left for Amsterdam.  We decided that it would probably be better to drink our lunch instead.  This is how we always say goodbye to each other.  

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Off to Amsterdam. 

Off to Amsterdam.