Day 5: Versailles and Ostara in Paris
We woke up on day 5 and hopped on the tram, headed to Versailles. I’d wanted to see the gardens there for a long time, and Ostara was the perfect time to do it.
Versailles is included in the Museum Pass, and the trip there is covered by the Navigo pass, so there’s really no excuse to not get out there to see it.
The palace was crowded, even in the early morning on a Thursday. Most of the people there were part of large tour groups that arrived in a row of busses. And they made moving through parts of the palace difficult, to the point where guards would force people to move along. I didn’t appreciate this, but I imagine they deal with that a lot and are probably pretty frustrated by it.
Eventually though, the rooms open up and you can break away from most of the crowd. The audio guide walks you through each room, giving you an in-depth understanding of the palace and why it was built. It comes free with the tour, but at the end of most segments, it tried to sell you something, which got annoying after a while.
Despite that, the palace was beautiful, even though many of the furniture pieces in it aren’t original (because the French Revolution happened and the place was ransacked). They’ve done a good job recreating what it used to look like.
The gardens are also beautiful. We were there in early spring, before many of the plants have a chance to bloom. That being said, the gardens are massive and you can easily spend a very long time wandering them.
After touring the palace, we walked back towards the tram stop, stopping for lunch along the way. We enjoyed what had become a regular part of our trip: the French lunch.
Once back in the neighborhood where our Airbnb was located, we bounced around to different shops gathering small items for Ostara. We spent the rest of the day resting before we decided to do the ritual at sundown.
It was simple, as we’d only brought a couple of small items with us overseas. But anyone that practices Wicca will tell you, the tools are not the important part. As we began our ritual, the Eiffel Tower lit up and began to sparkle in the dusk. And as we closed our ritual, the full moon appeared red on the horizon, right next to the Eiffel Tower. We spent some time watching it rise, being amazed by the show she was giving us that night.
We walked down the street to a restaurant and enjoyed a luxurious dinner before heading back to the apartment to go to sleep.
Day 6: A day solo in the city of lights
We woke up early on day 6 because we had to get my friend to the airport (our flights home were on different days). After I saw her off in her Uber, I went back to bed for a little bit. When I woke up again, the full force of a cold hit me.
Because I was only in Paris once, I got up and got ready anyway. I took the Metro into the city center, in search of a crystal shop and a vegan patisserie. The crystal shop was a bust; I couldn’t find it anywhere. So I went to the patisserie and enjoyed a fabulous croissant.
I thought I might check out some shops, but finally acknowledged what my body was telling me and headed back to the Airbnb. There was a pharmacy down the street, so I decided to get some cold medicine. And that was when I discovered that pharmacies in Paris are a lot different than the ones in the US.
They keep all of the medicine behind the counter, and you have a discussion with the pharmacist, who will then recommend something to you. I described my symptoms, and the pharmacist recommended a throat spray with lidocaine in it. I knew it wouldn’t help with my other symptoms, but even looking at what they had on the shelves behind the counter, I realized they didn’t have cold medicine. (I’ve heard this is a thing in some European countries; can anyone verify?)
So I bought the throat spray and went back home. I spent the rest of my day resting, watching Netflix, and sleeping. I did go out for my last dinner, and enjoyed it very much. Finally, I went to sleep for the night.
The airport was an interesting experience: when I got there, they told me my flight was overbooked, so they had moved me to British Airways and rerouted me through London. As it would get me home only about 30 minutes after my originally planned time, and it didn’t screw me in the layover, I agreed to their plan.
And I’m so glad I did, because that meant my first flight was under an hour. In London, they have a little store called Boots, where they stock cold medicine. God bless Boots for a comfortable 10 hour flight home.