Well, Paris was a paradox, in a way.
It was my first time in France (except to be in the Paris airport once long ago), so everything was new. And I don't speak the language, other than enough to be polite and to explain that I don't speak the language. Of course I can read a lot of it, which helped, but essentially I was in a truly foreign land for the first time in many years. It made me realize how "at home" I do feel in Italy and Croatia, where I have lived and travelled a lot.
So Paris was very new to me.
It also served as a connector to the old and familiar. My hostess and I spent many hours talking, and realized that we had many people in common. I found myself in the company of people I had not thought about in a long time but who were very much a part of my life.
And I reconnected with an old friend from twenty years ago.
Another friend from twenty-one years ago was going to meet me there, but it didn't work out.
And the reason it didn't work out is that my sister joined me in Paris. Her flight was postponed by a day, though, thanks to "tornadic activity" (I find that a ridiculous adjective and overall term, not sure why) in the part of America she was taking off from. So it just wouldn't work out for the other friend to come.
So, when Lisa arrived at the airport, we had only a few hours to "see Paris." With her suitcases in tow, we walked from St. Severin to Notre Dame, through the Louvre and the Jardin de Tou-bad-I-haven't-yet-learned-this-name, peeked across the Seine at the Musee d'Orsay, and then got on the metropolitain to go home to Colette and lunch, a nap, and taking off for another night train.
Paris was where I saw new places I'd read about but never seen. And it is where I hugged my sister. And ate trail bars that our dad had made and sent over.
It was a lovely mixture of seeing new things and finding old friends.
And as we left on the train, we saw a huge double rainbow over the beautiful green fields. I couldn't help but wonder what it might mean? It was a beautiful adieu.