Hi everyone. Sorry I've been gone so long. I had very important places to go and people to see.
Those place were Paris and Aix-en-Provence, France and Camogli, Italy. While I was there I learned some very important things, and I'd like to share them with you.
1. Europeans don't use conditioner. I found this out while in the shower rinsing out a good shampoo lather. So, I did as the Euros did and went au natural. My hair did not like it. It was like I was 6 years old all over again with my mother trying to comb the tangles out of my hair. Apres Shampoo, Parisians! Si vous plait!
2. There's fashion, and then there's Paris. I like to consider myself a fashion forward lady. I keep up on what's happening in NY, SF, London. I challenge myself to toss on more than a shirt and a pair of pants each day. I spice up an outfit with a pair of orange heels, or an electric blue scarf. In Paris, I might as well have worn a sweat suit. For two and a half days I tried my hardest to come close to fitting in, and I always felt like the nerdy girl with a snotty nose, stringy hair (thanks to the no conditioner), wearing a tattered, hand-me-down skirt and (unfashionable) slouchy socks. All the Parisian women had donned their fall wardrobes, and I was still wearing skirts and sandals. It was a humid, balmy 75 degrees! Strike One. Dark colors, no matter what. Me, royal blue coat, yellow heels. Basically, clown. Strike Two. Scarves, scarves, scarves. I thought I would have this covered. Nope. Not even close. My scarves didn't count because of the aforementioned two strikes. Out.
3. Crocs are alive and well, at least in France and Italy. The hideous rubber sandal is popular in the French countryside and small fishing villages in Italy. However, they are used to house slipper and actual gardening shoes. I saw them all over the place. Surprising, actually. Crocs may want to think about uprooting from Boulder and heading to the French countryside.
4. Large people (i.e. over 6 foot) do not fit in France or Italy. This mainly applied to Gentleman Husband. Being 6'5, he was too tall for many doorways, cars, parking garages, and stuck out sorely in most crowded cafes. The good thing was, I could always find him.
5. A hike in Italy listed as 2:45 total time will take a German family that long, but will take two athletic Americans, 4 hours. GH and I stayed in a picturesque fishing village in Italy called Camogli (soft 'g'). It was, almost literally, clinging to a hillside on the coast of the aquamarine Mediterranean Sea. You could hike from our village to to other villages. We had nothing better to do than hike along the Med, so we embarked on this journey. From Camogli to the first town, San Rocco, the trail was completely stairs. We huffed and puffed our way up hundreds of stairs. From there, we continued on a lovely path through two small cliffside towns. That was the easy part. For the remaining 3 hours of the hike, we ascended straight up, across rock faces of a mountains with nothing stopping us from plunging into the Med but a chain rope, and then back down. Over and over. It was worth it. At the end of the hike was San Fruttouosso. A small monastery only accessible by footpath or ferry. Did we tour the monastery? No. I did, however, have some amazing trofetti and pesto and swim in the Med.
6. Everything sounds better when spoken in a foreign language. I learned French approximately 4 minutes before we got to France, and Italian on the drive from France to Italy. Needless to say, I wasn't prepared.I quickly learned that to pronounce French all one must do is swallow the end of a word and not pronounce the hard sounds. Montmarte, for example, is not MonT marT. It's monmar. Bangolet is not BanGoleT. It's Ban(swallow G sound) o lay. See, you too can speak French. We, as Americans, will never sound as suave as the French. One of the men that owned the house we stayed in while in Aix would always be looking for something while scurring around his kitchen, and would say: "Ou est? Ou est? Ah. Viola" Which translated just means - Where is it? Where is it? Ah, here it is. But, how boring does that sound in plain old English?
THere you have it. Very important lessons learned while in Europe that can apply to my life in general. I'm every so thankful for hair conditioner, high ceilings and Rosetta Stone CDs.