Paris In Contrast

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1, 4, 7 & 11 / Along The Seine (wearing J Brand jeans, Zara top and sandals, Lucette vest, Proenzer Schouler hanbag, Michael Kors watch, Gorjana bracelet and rings, Jacquie Aiche ring)  2 & 8/ Scouting for future apartments  3 & 9/ Amazing flower markets  5/ Love locks near Notre Dame  6/ French onion soup at Cafe Panis  10/ Eiffel tower view from back seat of a taxi  12/ View across the river from rooftop at the Arabic Institute

After weeks and months counting down, I am finally here in Europe! First stop, Paris. After the dreaded 24+ hour flight I was deliriously elated wandering the fruit and flower stalls at D’Aligre markets with my Parisian friends, Marta and Peter. I spent the next few days juggling my giddy school girl happiness with jet lag by wandering the Marais, visiting a few vintage stores and strolling along the Seine. Just being here and being so happy made me realise I should have come back much, much sooner. Of course there is a preconceived romance to Paris, but I could genuinely see myself taking a year of my life to disappear in to a cosy apartment and exploring the streets, learning French and drinking wine.

I’m a firm believer in life that with the highest of highs come the lowest of lows. While sitting above a bar (sober) with a large group of friends on the Tuesday night I had my handbag stolen from between my feet. It is one of those situations where you had to be there, to understand just how unexpected it was. Not to mention the professional ninja like skills the thief must have basically scaling the wall of the high stairs beneath me to pull it through thinly gapped bars. I think I noticed within 30 seconds, but by the time I had literally bolted out the front after them they were gone; along with my Proenza PS11, iPhone, SLR, wallet (with ID, all bank cards, and cash) apartment key and address, sunglasses etc etc. The next 30+ hours was definitely the worst of my travelling life.

As expensive as what they took is, the most important thing they stole is my security. When you are a lone young girl travelling the thing you value above all else is safety. I couldn’t go back to my apartment after hours at the police station, due to my key and apartment information being in my bag. Despite having funds in my accounts I had no physical way to access any money. To be completely honest; I spent all Wednesday afternoon sobbing in the street. A lovely stranger finally helped me by offering to use the internet at his restaurant nearby, where I was finally able to call home and arrange a small amount of cash to get me on my flight to Florence. Having not eaten and barely slept I was running on adrenaline pushing me through a minor taxi crash on the way to the airport due to the driver sleeping at the wheel, a 3 hour flight delay, then while in the air the flight was aborted to Pisa due to bad weather. Not speaking Italian and trying to figure out buses and taxis to Florence at 1am with no phone and minimal money I was nearing at my wits end. I finally collapsed in to my bed in Florence in the early hours and when Zanita arrived the next morning I burst into a huge, crying smile.

I have travel insurance but highly doubt it will come close to recovering everything, and take weeks or months to come through. After several months saving up for this trip the last thing I needed or expected was to loose such an enormous chunk so early in, and sad to say I know it will have a direct toll on my blog having no phone (Instagramming occasionally from Zanitas!), camera (again thank goodness Zanita is here at the moment to help with outfit posts) and a very strict budget.

I feel like I purged every stress and worry instantly during that following day, and hopefully paid karma ahead for a wonderful trip from here on in. I spent the next day wandering Florence feeling refreshed and extremely grateful for how lucky I am and how things could always have been so much worse, and appreciated the pasta, wine, gelati and sunshine a little too much. I’m hanging on to Nicole’s comforting reminder of a quote I always say that how this could be “a blessing in disguise”.