A hitchhiker’s guide to Paris

On december 29th, I decided to hitchhike to Paris together with my brother. Just so, without any real reason (perhaps a visit to the museum Orsay, I thought). It turned out to be pretty easy: we caught our rides quick enough to arrive in the City of Love at night. Taken into account the fact that it was not hitchhiking season, and we were two not perfectly shaved guys, this was pretty good. On our way, we collected some typical hitchhiker’s stories. We hitched a ride from a Belgian guy who sold Brussels sprouts picking machines and was on a two week leave to the coast. You don’t make that up, I guess. After a couple of hours on a boring highway parking area, we got fortunate. An old diesel-van with friendly Dutchmen and three dogs picked us up. We ducked at the highway toll stations because officially you’re not allowed to take people in the back of such a van. It was exciting in it’s way. We had a pretty long road ahead, but arrived savely in Paris at about 9pm. The RER brought us downtown, and we were in time to join our American hosts for some cheese and Beaujolais. We exchanged stories and learned about life in Paris for an American expat English teacher. Since our host was from Illinois, the topic Obama was inevitable. It was a good idea to bring him up, because Americans overseas are Obamacans.
It was a nice evening, and time just slipped – we slept at 3am.
The next day we bought some breakfast and left at noon. It rained, and we walked through the Tuilleries park, saw the magnificent Louvre building, the Eiffel tower, the mysteriously lit Notre Dame, and the huge line in front of the Musée d’Orsay entrance. We decided not to visit the museum this time, and walked around instead. We saved this museum to have a reason to come back, something like that. So we walked down the Boulevard St. Germain, peeked in the cafés Flore and Deux magots, studied their pricelists too, and walked on. We ended up having a sandwich at the Seine, when we felt it was time to go back. Getting back north from Paris by hitchhiking is easy. Take the metro line 12 to its last stop, and you’ll see the entry of highway A1. After half an hour, a friendly Belgian woman offered us a lift to Antwerpen. From there, it was easy to come back home, where we are going to celebrate New Year’s Eve with our family.

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Kamiel Choi

Dutch philosopher and poet, sometimes sharing thoughts on the internet.

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