On the train to Amsterdam. I’m looking forward to a few days here. I think I’m starting to beat out this head cold. I picked up some decongestant pills at the pharmacy yesterday. The Hemingway Special drink I had at the cafe was good but expensive. Probably a good thing because if they were a quarter of the price, I would’ve drank the day away. It amazes me how many artists and actors and such have been drawn to Paris. I’m glad I visited it but I don’t foresee myself coming back. The best restaurant experience was last night at a place called Sacree’ Fleur. The waiter was great and had no problem speaking English and engaging with us. What I noticed is many French can speak English but choose not to even though they know you don’t speak it (French). Overall for the most part they were not too helpful. It could be the culture which is too bad because it puts a big damper on my view of the country as a whole. I wanted to not believe the stereotypes of it but unfortunately there’s a reason for them as they seem to often prove more true than not. I will say it was a pleasure when you across a friendly French person. In my experiences they just seemed too caught up in their own world. I’m hoping that Amsterdam is what I hope it will be. I guess I shall soon see. I’m not sad to say good bye to France but I am happy that I did see the things I did. If I could speak French I’m sure it could have been a different experience with it being the way it was. I’d have to give an overall grade of D to France. The country is pretty but mos of the inhabitants I cam across just didn’t do much to make us feel welcome. That is a huge reason I give it such a low grade. While I’m at it, if I think from what I experienced of Italy I give an overall of B. Granted I experienced less of Italy but what I did seemed more friendly and hospitable than France. Also, the country was beautiful of what I saw. Let’s see what Amsterdam has in store.
As I think upon it now the way I rated the countries really wasn’t as fair as it should have been. It really should have been based on each individual place I had visited. I rounded it off to what I felt was the overall grade from my experience but I don’t really break it down that way as I should have so that’s what I will do now to be more fair and descriptive. Here we go.
Rome, Italy I give a grade of C- from the small sample size. I felt the people were friendly and the hospitality was pretty good from my experience there. The Coliseum was a disappointment to me and I didn’t like dodging dog shit on the streets either which are a couple contributing factors to some points docked on the grade. The biggest thing that lowers the grade is the fucking buskers. They were pretty relentless and it was off season. It’s to be expected in a city anyways but the pushiness of the ones I experienced was what really irritated me. Scenery was nice and that helps to bolster the score but again it was mostly the buskers that gave the place a not as pleasant experience as I would’ve liked.
Cefalu’ Italy I give a grade of A-. This may be partly because the weather was sunny and nice but the time spent in Cefalu was a pleasure through and through to me. It was a nice beach view, people were friendly, and that Enotecca was a great treasure to find. That day we had 4 bottles of wine there it cost under 100 Euro. It was insanely low priced and it was good wine too! The charcuterie plate was awesome as well. The people that worked there were super nice and seemed to like us. The little nook in the back that overlooked the ocean made it easy to relax and drink that day away after our hike up to the fort of the mountain that kind of served as a back drop to the city. The only thing I can really dock points on I think is dog shit on the sidewalks. So between a C- and A- I think it equals to a rounded score of a B. However, it’s not right to give the whole country of Italy itself a general grade. I only visited two places. It’s not enough data to rate Italy as a whole. So now on we go to the places visited in France.
Marseille, France I give a grade of C. Now, Marseille is a pretty big city but the place we stayed was down in the Olde Port. I guess it’s not quite fair to judge all of Marseille when all that was experienced was the Olde Port so let’s just say this the grade for that. It was a pretty looking port filled with too many to count yachts and other boats. I like being by the ocean the seeing the castle in the distance was a nice view. Mostly because we had gotten a nice room with a balcony that gave a great view of the port and the castle in the distance. People were not overly friendly there with the exception of waitresses and such. Hospitality where we stayed was pretty good. There was again dog shit to dodge. There were also a lot of drug pushers there it seemed. Mainly trying to sell coke. That docks some points along with the dog shit. As an overall it was just an average experience and nothing that blew my hair back. Onto Aix.
Aix, France gets a grade of D. Only good hospitality we really had in Aix was the hotel. Our dinner experience was mediocre and again we were playing dodge shit. It was a neat area but the younger crowd almost seemed to make you feel invisible. When I heard about Jason and Matt’s experience about not being “Exclu-Seev” that docked a bunch of points. On to the final destination we visited France. Paris.
Paris, France I give a grade of C. I originally was thinking Paris I would give a D but I rethought it and decided it deserves a C. The dinner we had at that restaurant really was what convinced me to change it. We had gotten some great hospitality that night and it was a joy. Again, docked points on the fecal matter tip toe. Seeing the cemetery was pretty cool, Eiffel Tower was less impressive than I thought, and other than that one dinner that night hospitality was quite lack luster. I also want to point out my point on them knowing English better than they lead on. One of the restaurants we went in just to order some drinks. The waitress stated for us to slow down as her English was not good. No problem that’s understandable. Well, long story short my brother helped a woman by getting her a wine menu because she asked us how we had gotten small bottles of wine. The waitress came running up to my brother and said “Are you trying to take my job!?” Hmmmm…. you’re English isn’t good, huh? Could have fooled me.