InterRail 2010 – Part 12: Exploring Paris

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After traveling to France and getting a good nights sleep, I started strolling all over Paris.

I had been to Paris once when I was five, but this would be my first chance to truly experience the place.

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Paris is a beautiful city with a lot of wonderful architecture, but it was still my least favorite stop on the entire journey.

I’m not sure if that is a reaction to being alone in the city of love, or because everything seemed to close extremely early compared to everywhere else, or maybe I was just at a low point emotionally at that point, or just affected by the gray weather.

That being said, I still enjoyed seeing all the sights.

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One of the first places I visited were the Louvre Museum.

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I was a bit surprised at how many other things that art they had on display, as I had always just associated the Louvre with artworks, but they had a good deal of archeological discoveries there aswell.

 

After exploring the city a bit more I suddenly saw the Eiffel Tower emerging between some buildings at the end of the road.

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I had been up at the first platform of the tower with my father when I was five, but I had not dared going to the top.

I considered trying this time, but after taking a closer look I decided that I didn’t even want to go up to the first platform this time.

I am not sure if my vertigo had gotten worse, or if it was due to me being there alone, but when I did manage to visit the Empire State Building when I was in New York with my girlfriend some years later, even if I was acting pretty hysterical.

In any case, I took a selfie and got going.

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I walked long into the night, and saw many wonderful sight, before I headed back to my room.

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Then, early the next morning, I jumped on a train heading southward.

 

Jonathan Coulton’s Thing-A-Week

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Between September 2005 and September 2006, singer-songwriter Jonathan Coulton produced and released one song each week, in an attempt to keep himself occupied after having quit his job as a software programmer to focus on his music career.

This lead to 52 tracks released for free on his website, which he distributed onto four albums that he released between August and December of 2006.

Each album is linked with the season it was recorded, the first one featuring fall songs, the second winter songs, the third spring songs, and the fourth summer songs.

Here are three of my favorite songs from each album:

 

One: Fall

My Monkey

This song features a narrator who tries to explain his feelings to their significant other, but projects his emotions onto a monkey.

The version being performed by Coulton, Paul & Storm and Molly Lewis in the video above changes the words “my monkey” into “Wil Wheaton”, a fellow geek icon in the audience.

 

Shop Vac

A song about suburban angst, expressed through vacuum cleaners.

 

Furry Old Lobster

A musical tribute to the fictional original lobster (a type of sea otter) from the book ‘Areas of My Expertise’ written by longtime Coulton collaborator John Hodgman.

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Two: Winter

Dance, Soterios Johnson, Dance

This song was based on John Hodgman’s ‘How to Lead a Double Life (or Death)’ lecture, and the NPR morning anchor Soterios Johnson.

 

Curl

A song about the skipper (team captain) of a Minnesotan curling club, serving as an anthem for curlers from Minnesota.

 

A Talk With George

A song about the journalist and author George Plimpton, with a message of living life to its fullest.

The song won the Plimpton Project’s 2006 song contest.

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Three: Spring

Tom Cruise Crazy

A song lamenting the societal strains that are put on the insanely famous.

This performance features backing vocals by Paul and Storm, with Kristen Shirts on ukulele.

 

Not About You

A song not about the narrator’s ex-girlfriend.

 

Drinking With You

A romantic proposal to go out drinking with a colleague.

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Four: Summer

Sky Mall

A musical tribute to airline shopping catalogs.

 

Big Bad World One

A song about being overwhelmed by a constant feeling of failure, as performed in American sign language by Stephen Torrence.

 

I’m Your Moon

A love song to the planet Pluto, “performed by” Pluto’s moon Charon following Pluto’s demotion to a dwarf planet.

Charon and Pluto are much closer in size than the average moon and planet, causing the two to revolve around each other, something which is quite romantic.

 

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I am saving a few of my other favorite songs from this project for a Halloween songs post and a Christmas songs post, so stay posted!

 

My First Trip to Paris

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In 1995, when I was five years old, I traveled to Paris with my mother, father and baby sister.

We were going there to participate in a family member’s wedding, but I barely remember anything about that event.

 

But I do remember some other minor stuff, like experiencing cola in a can for the first time, and probably having way to much, getting rather hyper in the process.

And while I don’t actually remember it, I found a picture of me experiencing a moving walkway for the first time, and absolutely loving it!

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I recall that Paris is where I got my panda teddy-bear, which I promptly named Pandabear.

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There were a lot of panda souvenirs in Paris at the time, probably modeled after Paris’ then resident panda Yen Yen.

Pandabear and Lars The Doll were my two favorite toys when I was really young, and I still have them to this day, although I’m not sure in which moving-box.

 

I also remember going to Disneyland Paris.

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What I remember most is how the rocket on the outside of Space Mountain towered over the park.

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I can’t remember if I was too young or too scared to go on it, but I did not, which I regret now.

I do remember going in the ‘Beauty and The Beast’ teacups, and getting motion-sickness.

 

I remember that my father tried to get me to go with him to the top of the Eiffel Tower, but I only dared going to the middle part.

For some reason I started dropping coins down to the ground, but I was soon stopped, and told that if they hit anyone they would get severely hurt.

I have later learned that this is thankfully not very accurate.

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But I do find it interesting that I was afraid to go to the top of the tower even back then.

Makes we wonder if I was just born with a fear of heights, or if something happened to trigger it even earlier than this.