After 2 hours and 15 minutes of me, myself and spotify I arrived at Guare du Norde, iPhone at the ready to direct me to my hostel. At 10pm local time I wasn’t about to wander the dark Friday night streets without my friend google maps.
“No service” seemed to be more of a permanent fixture on the top left of my phone than I had hoped – so wandering the streets, pop out map in hand it was. Thankfully the hostel was only 3 minute walk away and I didn’t need to rely on my map reading skills – or lack there of.
My first night deserved a toast so I ventured down to the hostel bar. A band was up in a hanging cage playing covers, the lights were dim but the brightly lit bar ensure the atmosphere wasn’t dim. With a G&T in hand, I stood at the bar and coached myself… “I can do this”.
A Frenchman approaches “do you believe in Iove at virst sight? Because I fell in love ze second you walked in to ze bar”. Great. Just what I needed – it wasn’t hard to see that this one was more of a frog – or even a road – than a prince (no racial innuendo intended). I kindly told him no, I didn’t believe in love at first sight (…in a hostel bar in a seedy area of Paris!) and proceeded to look busy on my phone – thank god for Facebook messenger and the time zone back in NZ. He was like a piece of French blue cheese & hung around like a bad smell. Despite my polite rejection he still kept asking for my hand and showing me photos of his family castle where we would apparently one day be married. I don’t know about you but if I had a family castle in France I certainly wouldn’t be residing in St Christophers Inn Gare du Norde. I smelt a rat.
I escaped the toad and listened to a few more songs by the band in the cage. I went to order another drink, caught the eye of love at first sight castle owner and decided to do a runner instead.
Back in my safe haven of a 10 bed mixed dorm I began to re-live my hostel days from 2012. Getting ready for bed by mobile-phone light, putting up with the odd sounds of strangers sleeping, resting my wary body in a bunk bed equipped with power, usb points and a light – luckily it all came back to me pretty quickly – the only thing missing was my dear American travel buddy.
As soon as my head hit the Parisian pillow I was out like a light. The nerves and the curiosity of what my first day travelling solo would entail got the better of me.