Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Europe Pt. 1 - London & Paris

The streets of Paris

    It has been a few days since I’ve posted which has provided plenty of material for me to share with you. I’ll start with London, my full day and first night away from the rest of the team, and then move on to Paris, sharing one of the most adventurous walks of my life through a breathtaking city (no pun intended).
     London. It was a bit nippy as I jumped on the tube and headed into downtown. My first adventure alone in Europe was to simply attend church. I say simply, first I had to find it. That proved quite simple since Hillsong Church London meets in a well-known theatre not far from Soho. I walked in to welcoming smiles, and the graceful direction of Kenny, a young lady who guided me to my chair in time to catch the last two songs. Worship was wonderful. I was so blessed to be in the same atmosphere with so many other believers on another side of the world.
The view from the Basilique Du Sacré-Cœur 
Basilique Du Sacré-Cœur
     The sermon came from Pastor Steven Penny (I believe that is the spelling), and was a “right now” word for me. He shared about the “Right Hand of God” and how we have the ability to be God’s right hand men and women. You see God’s right hand mentioned throughout the bible as the hand of power and valiance. Pastor Steve took it to another level, explaining our need as Christians to be “right handed thinkers” not allowing a “left handed thought” keep us from walking in the fullness of God’s power. I was encouraged, as I begin this next leg of travel, to valiantly walk as God’s right hand man! I am leaving tons out from the sermon for the sake of time. Hit me with any questions if you want to know more.
   After church I set out on foot without a certain plan, only the desire to take care of some hunger pains. It was chilly, so I stopped in a local pub and grabbed some soup and bread for brunch. Then it was off to find the hostel I was planning on crashing at that night. Piccadilly Backpackers Hostel sounded like the kind of place I could enjoy and, for 18 pounds, could afford. I checked in then, continued my trek around the streets of London. The sleep was good; though it was a bit odd sleeping in a room with several other people I’d never met. I awoke before the sun and made my way toward the St Pancras International Train station to catch my ride to Paris.
Arc De Triomphe
     I arrived to a chilly Paris, and the immediate inability to communicate. That more or less handicapped a bit of my day, but I wouldn’t let it keep me from a great experience. As far as experiences are concerned Paris didn’t disappoint. It actually surpassed every expectation I had. I came to the understanding that while the French in Paris aren’t necessarily mean, they just don’t really speak English or care to. It reminded me of some places in the U.S. where if you don’t speak English you’re not really going to communicate. I had one gentleman ask me if I needed help as I stood on the street corner looking at a map like it was also written French. In his broken English, and my immediately acquired French-accented English, I was able to start heading the right way. I stumbled upon the Arc De Triomphe while looking for the Eiffel Tower, and discovered a city bathed in art and culture. I was kicking myself for not at least trying to pick up a little bit of French before trampling its streets. 
Dinner in Paris
So from my start at the Basilique Du Sacré-Cœur to my resting point at “Hotel Printemps” and everywhere in between I found ol’ París to be a place I would love to revisit, with more French of course.
    So as I ride toward España and another culture to appreciate, I’m leaving a country that has not disappointed. Au revoir France, until next time. 

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