Why do we celebrate birthdays anyway? Let’s face it, we look forward to that special day all year long.
So this year, I had the most exciting and memorable celebration that I can carry through my entire life.
(…insert short dramatic story)
Every year, I go through this pattern of feeling down, anxious and depress after my father died on my birthday three years back. Yes, it was in the morning of April 17, 2012 when I got awaken by his touch while sleeping right beside his hospital bed. I thought he’ll be the first person to greet me “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” but all I heard was his rapid shallow breathing and a warning sound of a fluctuating heart rate. I rushed to call the doctor and my family but we never got to see him alive again. That day was traumatic and painful, can’t stop my tears running down my cheeks. Instead of celebrating my birthday, we grieved. Oh God! I miss my dad so much. *teary eyed while writing this*
Boo… so much drama!
I thought I will never be the same again. I realized that I have been mourning of this tragic event in my life. I hate this feeling of remembering the pain but I can’t help it. I have to do something, feel something and celebrate something on my very special day. It’s time to overcome birthday blues. Told myself, I will fly to Paris, France. Yes, ladies and gentlemen (*wink) – the plan was to take a trip to the most visited city in the world. There’s no doubt that we all look forward eagerly to our birthdays, we expect surprises and anticipates presents, blow candles and parties. Mine was different, I made a promise to that I will explore the City of Lights and celebrate my 27th birthday. Luckily, that dream became a reality. Traveling for me is when I find myself in a constant state of happiness.
So what could be better way to celebrate bliss in a luxurious city but on a backpackers budget?
Here’s how I managed to fulfill my dream.
From Brussels, Belgium I left around 11:00pm on the 15th of April 2015 by bus to Paris, capital of France. I still can remember my facebook status that night “I will wake up tomorrow in Paris, a dream come true”. I arrived safe and sound after 5-hour land trip. Hell yeaahhhh! I’m in PARIS!
Bonjour! It’s 16th of April, I quickly went to the nearest subway station from the coach and find my way to the hostel. It took me so long to find it, thanks to a stranger who helped me out to my destination. After, checking-in I took a shower, left my stuff and headed out. Breaking the fast. I started my trip popped out to a boulangerie with a cup of coffee and cheese croissant, where I could capture a sidewalk table to watch everyone stepping out. What better way to start morning right?!
I always go for a free walking tour as this is best way to explore the city on foot and the a way to meet new pals. The receptionist told me to meet the group at St. Michael fountain at 11:00 am. We gathered at the said place, introduced ourselves and walked around landmarks along with our witty guide.
Strolling around Jardin du Luxembourg, Grand Boulevard, monuments and other landmarks open my eyes to Paris’ charm and beauty. Indeed, the city’s rich history has a lot to offer. The guided tour ended at the iconic Eiffel Tower. Wow! This is it! whatta jaw-dropping architectural eye-candy design. I finally had the chance to achieve a lifelong dream for real. If you ever get a chance to go see the Eiffel Tower in person, count yourself as lucky. Of course, one clear highlight of my epic birthday trip would be Le Tour Eiffel.
Tickets can be purchased at the feet of the pillars of the tower which cost around 15€, be ready of the long queue which usually takes an hour. The ride to the summit of the tower was one hell experience of a lifetime. The elevator takes you to the sky and goes up diagonally on an angle same as the legs of the Eiffel Tower. It’s worth it! The summit gave me a sense of achievement. I so fell in love of the awesomeness 360° view of the entire city.
Oops! by the way, I nearly forgot to tell that my friends whom I traveled with during my Istanbul trip graced me on that day. I met Jeremie and Daniele on a couchsurfing meet-up in Istanbul. These French guys were so amazing and made my birthday extra special. We came up to a nice idea of packed picnic. Exciting! They thought of making the actual day of my birthday “The-Awesomest-Day-Ever-in-Paris”. So, we found a good spot and sat on a grass to relax. We indulged in a few French style snacks and a few bottles of wine. As night approached, we witnessed the enchanting Eiffel Tower. It was a magical experience seeing the shining shimmering tower as it totally lit up. We then waited until 12am of April 17 chillin’ and welcomed my birthday! Indeed, happiest birthday ever! I never expect I’d be happy again.
I could never get bored looking at the Le Tour Eiffel. Paris from that enchanting night perspective is something I will never forget. It was a simple dream that I will treasure forever. That was long memorable night. I bade farewell to the guys and thanking them for a night to remember. I headed back to my place around 2:00am. On the same day I woke up at 8:00am with a big smile from ear to ear. It’s time to celebrate life. Of course, I went to Notre Dame Cathedral remembering my father’s death, lighted a candle and offered a little prayer.
I continued my trip and finally got a chance to visit one of the biggest and most important museum in the world, The Louvre Museum. First thing in my mind is to behold Mona Lisa right through my eyes. Honestly, I wasn’t empress because the crowd itself was a sight to be seen. Pity. I spent half day in the museum and still haven’t seen everything until I get exhausted. There is a reason for me to go back there anyways. I ended the day having a typical French dinner.
On my 3rd day in Paris, I got no plans at all until a roommate convinced me over breakfast to go with him as he also travels alone and take hop-on hop-off bus. It was a nice idea! We took the ride which includes a river cruise. With so much to see, we really enjoyed the panoramic views from the top deck.
My whole trip turned to be a great experience. I love every second I was in Paris. I couldn’t think any present to myself but to travel solo in a place I made promise to visit. I indulged to my first love which is travelling. Hate me for being completely selfish but I believe I deserved it. Once in a while I felt free and very liberated. As much as I do love travelling, after my dream birthday trip in Paris, I have become okay.