Leaving Amsterdam after my all too brief visit was hard. Much harder than most of my little journeys to many of the cities of the world. I felt like we were just getting to know each other and "boom"! I was on a train heading through Rotterdam and Brussels to my former home in Paris. So although I wanted to explore Amsterdam a little more...nope make that a lot more...the longing to stay was brief.
I loved living in Paris. I have trouble with the Anglo pronunciation these days. The French...correct...pronunciation sounds more natural. It was only 13 months of my life but it made me. I've had some challenges and painful experiences since my time there and when they came along I could always close my eyes and for a moment I was sitting on one of those green chairs near the fountain in Jardin du Luxembourg with a cafe au lait and a jambon et fromage demi-baguette and nothing to do but enjoy, what to me, is the most Parisian place in the whole city. Paris is a bit of a sanctuary. It'll most likely never be home again but I know every few years life will lead me back and for a while all is well in my world. And thankfully my passable French skills hadn't faded so I was able to communicate quite easily. It even felt natural occasionally, but I'm sure to the locals I sound like I'm a four year old.
A trip back to Paris meant a trip to the Tour Eiffel. Doesn't matter how often I go there (well above 20 visits now) it'll always be a beacon. This visit was a night journey back from the 16th arrondissement where I had dinner with an old colleague and friend from my time in Malaysia. The Tower was about to be subject to closure a few days after my visit due to a staff strike & security was tight. The whole area from Place Trocadero down to Champs De Mars was not very busy. (Little tip; want to avoid the crowds, visit a tourist attraction when it's below zero. The smart people aren't out and about).
When I rounded the corner at Place Trocadero and caught sight of the Tower it was just like the first time. It was seriously like an old friend was greeting me. "Hey Tim, it's so nice to see you again" it felt like the old iron babe was saying. She was lit up gold and oh so proud in the chilly night air. I looped around the structure and was on the western side when the hour struck and the lights began to dazzle as they do every hour for 5 of the best minutes your eyes will enjoy.
Forty-five chilly minutes later I was sitting on the stairs above the frozen fountains that sit opposite the Tower on the other side of the Seine. I felt a tap on my shoulder. My friend from earlier in the night had had his evening work called off and had grabbed his camera and some warm clothing and headed to the tower as well. He spotted the "Australia" emblazoned on the back of my inadequate hoodie. Bonus! We waited for the hour to tick over again and enjoyed the Eiffel Tower's light show. For me, the camera was tucked away and I just sat and took it in again as we chatted and he shot some great pics.
Hopefully it's not my last time watching the best twinkling lights in the universe. Actually I'm pretty sure it won't be. Paris and I have a great past but we also have many meetings to come in the future.