[tgv train to paris]
stranger, the new father type, with his wife and little bébé across me, asks: visitez paris?
oui, pour visiter mes amis.
it’s been some hours, maybe two days, since i’ve flown out of new york, out of its sticky weekday mid-afternoon traffic mess, out of its rain and heavier skies, landed alone in stuttgart. my friends are in paris – only one of the two of them knows to expect me. all tickets to paris are sold out; buses, second-class trains, hitchiking services – i lugged my suitcase in the cold, wifi-less, German-less, across some streets and some buildings and some friendly strangers; stayed in a run-down motel with one lightbulb hanging over the receptionist, and this morning wake up at 5am to make this train ride, and now i’m finally going, i’m going to paris!
[nymphenburg palace – munich]
the surprise is over, new year’s is over, the streets of paris are empty; the only sign of life being the occasional homeless person and the occasional pool of vomit from last night’s celebration – my friends walk me in the quiet chilly morning to the shuttle bus to the airport and i say goodbye again, and three hours later, in a different country, i say hello to another friend.
[alpsee lake – fussen]
breathtaking is a word. surreal is just another. i have once tasted the wonder of an enchanted land surrounded by snowy mountains and the neuschwanstein castle, and now i touch it. i am touching it, the snow, the cold, the wonder, it’s all real here in the storybook dusk by the alpsee lake. for the length of the cold sun traversing slowly behind the mountains, time and the entire world stretches out with the expanse of the lake – only the half moon remains with us in the silence.