Monday, September 24, 2012

5 Things that Surprise Tourists...

So much discussion strolling the Seine... 

When tour guiding, I get asked all sorts of fun questions.  Do I like Paris?  Do French people hate Americans?  Where can I buy children’s chewable aspirin?  You know, normal things that people are curious about when visiting.

Sometimes, however, my responses aren’t exactly what the client thought (or wanted) to hear.  I’ve been making mental notes and have decided to put fingers to keys and share a few of the responses that have raised a few eyebrows lately…

Q: Does your family visit constantly?
A: No.  Well, that’s a lie.  My brother came for a few days while visiting his girlfriend in London, but we only saw each other for a drink or two.  The rest of my family has some Francophobic tendencies that might only be rationalized by the German blood in our veins.  World War II is over.  We’re all friends again.  Get a passport and come visit.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Run, Bryan, Run...

1st marathon complete!
Forty-two kilometers and, just like that, it’s over.  After five months of training, I completed my first marathon, the Marathon du M├ędoc, and have returned home [soberly] to share the tale.

The marathon, the brainchild of Secrets ofParis’s Heather, was not quite what he had prepared to experience.  Late summer heat (33 Celsius), 8500 other runners, and wine breaks at every 2k mark were not part of our weekly training routine.  While our livers were naturally prepared for the wine, which we enjoyed minimally, our legs weren’t as ready for the beating.

Dressed as cowboys, strutting our American best, we joined Roman soldiers, Norse Vikings, Egyptian pharaohs, and other costumed runners from around the world to celebrate this year’s theme, civilizations in history.  The sun beat down as the sweat began to race down our skin, but once we started to run, we were determined not to stop.  Then we hit the first chateau.

Wine flowed freely as if Bacchus himself were running alongside us, quantities of red that would not diminish as we hopped from chateau to chateau.  Heather and I abstained until about halfway through, but not everyone did.  By the 5th kilometer or so, heads were already popping up over the vines throughout the vineyards as women were hiking up their shorts and men were shaking the dew off the lily, if you will.  I admit I took my own bathroom break halfway through, so think of me when you crack open a bottle of 2012 Bordeaux…it’ll be a good year.