I’ve been slow posting this trip from the beginning of March, but it’s important to record uncommon events. Jeff, Julia, and myself took this trip together as a business/personal trip to Paris for 3 nights, Stuttgart for 2, and then 3 in Lisbon. I’ve traveled by myself plenty of times and it’s always more fun with people. I hope you enjoy this trip report.

Paris, France

I took 3 years of French in high school so I knew how to say bonjour, au revoir, and merci. We flew from Philly direct to Charles de Gaulle. I have the American Airline credit card so I was in group 5 and was able to get my carry on stowed easily. This is foreshadowing. We took the hour Uber to the city center and got some breakfast while waiting for the rooms. Hardly any restaurant serves eggs to note.

We saw the Opera House which was quite spectacular. There were many people from many places taking selfies/posing as this was an elegant, masterpiece of a building.

We took a quick nap once the room was ready and grabbed a drink before a boat dinner cruise. It rained terribly and we showed up soaking wet which was not ideal. The meal was delicious with nice piano music in the background and terrific food. The French know how to do food. We called it a night relatively early as the jet lag wears on you a bit. Here are a few pictures of Paris.

I woke up early and got a great French breakfast from the hotel and wandered around the Arc de Triomph, Champs Elysees, and the Eiffel Tower. Jeff and Julia met me and we did a tour of the Tower. Afterward we had an authentic French lunch with dynamite bread, Foie gras, and also where I shot escargot sauce on my shirt that I still can’t get out. Jeff asked the waiter “comment allez-vous” after 90 minutes of serving us when he meant to ask him his name which was comical. “Ca va, et toi?”

We rested for a bit declining to do Julia’s walking tour in the rain, then went to Harry’s New York Bar where we watched a live duet in a basement drinking 20 Euro drinks. I’m not a huge hard alcohol guy so I was tuned up when we went to a bar Julia found celebrating a gothic anniversary that she magically got us into. We went into a fire codeless basement where Julia ordered more shots than we needed and we ended up at McDonald’s at 3:30 spending 50 Euro for a feast. The night concluded with Julia and I arguing whether the a red light on a taxi meant they were available.

Waking up at 10am with a hangover is never fun on a trip but it was unavoidable. I had a drink at an Irish pub to hair the dog and met with Jeff and Julia when they got moving around noon. We went to Montmartre and had lunch at a place recommended by a friend. Jeff ate rooster. Next we went to the church and climbed hundreds of steps for an awesome view of the city. I was able to take that nice pic of Julia which is one of the few I’ve ever taken that worked out. Montmartre was a cool part of Paris. We were pressed for time due to the late start, but were able to see Notre Dame and the Louvre in passing. We had dinner reservations at a nice restaurant and Julia had bone marrow. The dessert of ice cream and mousse was delicious.

Our final day in Paris flew by as we went to the catacombs area only to find out it was closed. Then we saw the Pantheon and finally back to Notre Dame area which is under construction. We sat and had some French cuisine at a cafe on the street for the authentic feel. One note for future travelers was my phone wasn’t picking up any signal, so I would have been totally doomed alone, so beware that can happen in Europe. At 1pm, Jeff and I had to catch a train to Stuttgart.

Stuttgart, Germany

This will be brief as Jeff and I were there for a tradeshow while Julia stayed in Paris. The high speed train was a delight compared to a plane. It was 3 hours and we rode 1st class for, and I can’t remember exactly, a 100 Euro each. It took us a bit to find the right car, which sounds stupid, but this is what happens when you’re abroad. We got to Stuttgart and went to our hotel which was modern and fun as they had music playing and the service staff were attractive babes. I can pick em. This is the only image on this post I did not take to let you know what it looked like.

I won’t bore you with the tradeshow, but Germany is a different flavor than France. It’s very modern and efficient whereas Paris was laidback and pompous. The first night we had dinner at a brewery and I ate some weird pasta contraption. The second night we ate local and I had schnitzel which wasn’t bad but our Austrian counterpart said it was lousy…so what do I know. Our final night we ate Italian and the portion was tiny. Don’t get the ravioli and think you’ll be full. Aside from a run I had in Stuttgart in a nice park, we didn’t do much sight seeing. The trains went on strike the day we were trying to leave so we had to get a 50 Euro taxi to the airport and then the fun began. Here’s a cool wall in a restaurant. Sorry I don’t have more stories but this was work.

Jeff and I had bags that were carry ons for a international plane, but not for a Euro hopper. This meant that as we boarded last (the Europeans are notoriously pushy) there was no space for our bags as every overhead was filled. We had to scramble off the plane to the service desk to check bags and the printer was broken. After 10 minutes of intense, “are we going to miss the plane and is our luggage going to get on?”, they printed some tags, and our bags went bye bye. Live and learn, but know that you’re chancing a carry on with a Euro hopper unless it’s tiny.

Lisbon, Portugal

To add to a fun day of travel, our plane did a go-around which is when your pilot is too scared to land and pulls up. This was a bit scary as you don’t have full confidence in the pilot at that point.

This was my favorite day of the entire trip. We went to the ocean and saw a big statue in a square and a rainbow had formed. There was a Europa league game that night with Portugal’s own Benfica against the Scottish Rangers. They were getting rowdy in the square singing team fight songs.

The 3 of us bar hopped and eventually hit a wine bar that was playing Chris Issak continuously. I had some green wine and we went back to the hotel where we met a character from Detroit and chatted a bit. We then checked out Pink Street and had a meal. Next we went to the J Kash suggested Pensao Amor. This was a low key sex club, but not really. We ended up meeting two 20 something girls from England and a local who I enjoyed talking to as the conversation was engaging, but I was also hammered. We called the night at 2 or 3, who even knows at that point.

The next day I woke up with an amazing hangover and Julia had an awesome suggestion of getting a bifana which is a pork sandwich Lisbon is known for. We then went to the Castle and took some nice pictures. Afterwards, I hit up the Delirium bar and had one of the best beers I’ve ever had called the Tremens. We had scheduled a wine and food tour in the afternoon and met up with a cute tour guide called Camille from Brazil. The others in the group were a few Scots, a woman from Hong Kong, and a lesbian. We traveled around drinking red wine and catching a buzz. One interesting note, a 4 Euro bottle of wine from Portugal can sell for $80 in the US. One funny moment was when I was getting personal with the lady from Hong Kong, and she wasn’t used to the forth right nature of an American, She said she “liked it”, but also ran home as soon as it ended.

After the tour we jumped around from bar to bar and Jeff and Julia ended up staying out late whereas I had to call it a night around midnight. The next morning I wandered about Lisbon and watched the EPL in an English themed pub.

I had texted Julia that morning and she said she was “with a local” at about 10am. I knew they were out late and didn’t think much until they didn’t respond to my texts well into the afternoon. I started thinking the local text was from some stranger and was getting nervous their late night ended bad. Here was our text exchange with each text being about an hour apart and finishing at 3am.

I was nervous they had been kidnapped. It was pouring rain as usual (it did for all 9 days) and we went into a wine bar and had some Mexican food locally. We were all beat and ready to go home and called it a night early. The flight home was at 9 the next day and we got back safely.

Thanks for reading!