Little Miss Bri in Frankfurt and Paris (Pah-ree)

Posted by on Oct 11, 2012 in Danish Adventures, Danish Adventures Gallery | 3 comments

“We must go beyond textbooks, go out into the bypaths and untrodden depths of the wilderness and travel and explore and tell the world the glories of our journey.”  -John Hope Franklin

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.  So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor.  Catch the trade winds in your sails.  Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

Yeah these quotes sound wonderful, and I can attest to their accuracy!  True exploration and education occurs through acting on one’s own colorful curiosity.  I was curious about Frankfurt and Paris…so I went.  And I did so without the comfortable company of an acquaintance or travel buddy.  But believe me, it wasn’t all roses and daisies.  I faced a few challenges and frustrations that I honestly didn’t expect.  But in the end, it all worked out and I ended the journey safe and sound in my warm and cozy Danish bed.  And so the adventure begins…



I was so excited to reunite with my best German friend, Carina.  We met when I was a senior in high school and she was visiting Greeneville High for the year as an exchange student.  We had always talked about meeting up at her home in Germany someday, and it finally happened!  Carina is a beautiful, charismatic, and thoughtful individual, and she took the time and effort to plan out my visit to the “T”.  First of all, her family was spectacular.  They were so accommodating and friendly, and their sense of humor definitely added to my experience.  Carina’s mom took me on the double-decker red bus tour all around Frankfurt.  You know you’ve seen them, filled with little tourists and their fancy cameras.  Well, that was me, and I can assure you that those bus rides are actually a blast!  I would even dare to challenge you to try one in a city you think that you’re familiar with, because chances are, you will learn something new about the place you call home.


Later, we met with Carina after her class and traveled to the top of the 200-meter tall Main Tower, overlooking the River Main and pretty much all of Frankfurt.  It was a beautiful site to see, so I just have to share it with you.

Carina and her family also took me to Hessenpark, an open-air museum presenting about 400 years of life in the state of Hesse.  The buildings were actually moved from different locations around the state to create the park in 1974.  I learned a lot about the rural life in Germany, and I saw many artifacts and antiques that I know I’ve seen before in my Grandma Braun’s basement.  Which brings up a whole other investigation I hope to start soon…did any of my German ancestors come from Hesse?

Throughout my stay, I also had the opportunity to meet many of Carina’s marvelous friends, attend one of Carina’s college classes, and try some German marzipan (a truffle of sorts made of sweet almond paste covered in chocolate).  I had a wonderful time visiting her, and I wish the stay could have lasted longer.  But by Tuesday evening, my train for Paris whistled loudly for all to board.  It was time for me to embark on a journey of no plans or expectations…

PARIS Flying Freebird Style

I have to admit that I was a little apprehensive about traveling to Paris by myself.  First of all, my boarding plans were a little shaky.  My French friend had classes while I was in Paris, so I didn’t have anything completely concrete until after I arrived, and that created a little anxiety (probably more so for my loving and protective parents…sorry guys!).  Finally, I ended up staying with a fabulous French family, and they gave me a list of suggested places to explore, dine, and shop.  I went everywhere my heart desired, and I didn’t need to consult anybody about it or wait for other people to get ready.  I was truly free.

The Chateau de Versailles was an extraordinary palace laced with gold and beautiful furnishings.  The only thing that lacked appeal was the crowd of smelly tourists squeezing through the rooms and corridors.  The gardens were my favorite, though.  King Louis XIV appointed André Le Nôtre to design the gardens in 1661, and they took 40 years to complete!  They extended beyond my field of site, and contained beautiful lakes, fountains, and statues.  I loved the fountain with the Apollo statue and the horses.  I felt like I was in a storybook.

Yep!  There I am!  Proof I was actually at the Chateau.

And of course, I saw many of the other well-known “touristy” attractions of Paris.  I went to see the Eiffel Tower and admired its grandeur.  I paid to walk the steps to the second platform, where I could see a panorama of the city.  I wanted to go to the top, but the ticket counter was closed for that!  They decided to shut down for an hour (the hour that I was there of course) because the line was getting too long.  Hmmphh!  I couldn’t believe it!  I walked up probably 700 steps and was turned down like hot chocolate in the middle of July.  That just means that I will have to go to Paris again someday and finally make it to the top of the Eiffel Tower.

Can you guess what this is?

Eiffel Tower!!

The Tower was truly a work of art.


I went to Montemarte to visit the Basilica Sacre-Coeur.  I really didn’t know what to expect, but I saw it from atop the Eiffel tower and knew that I just had to take a closer look.  To my surprise, the area surrounding the Basilica was pretty cultural as well.  I stopped by a cute vintage clothing store, filled to the brim with cool used clothes.  I ended up spending my money elsewhere though…on a new pair of leather shoes, oh goodness.  Finally, I stumbled across the steep walkway towards the Basilica and began my climb up.  When I reached the top, I immediately entered tourist zone, but the live music in the background and the beautiful site of the Basilica made me feel as though I was in my own little tranquil world.  I entered the stately church and felt God’s presence through my every sense.  I was truly touched by the people praying, lighting candles for those they hold most dear.  To my luck, Mass had just begun, so I made the spontaneous decision to go ahead and participate.  I didn’t understand a word they said (it was all in French), but it didn’t matter, because in my heart I knew the message.  And the best feeling – being a part of the vast chorus of other French parishioners singing the Latin Gloria.  It’s amazing how people all over the world can be united during Mass.  And afterwards, we were all led by nuns to the crypts below to continue singing and praying.  It was incredible and eery at the same time…I sort of felt like I was pulled back in time…chills ran down my back!

And later that night I went to visit the Louvre! I was running short on time, so I tried to see as much as I could.  Unfortunately though, as I sped to see the Mona Lisa, the guard cut me off short.  It was right there!  Before my very eyes! I was peering into its home and could see other lucky spectators viewing it up close.  Ugghhh, I can’t believe he wouldn’t let me take 1 minute to see the famous piece of work.  Really..1 minute wouldn’t have hurt anybody.  But he wouldn’t budge, so I decided to just stand there and take a picture from afar.  He couldn’t stop me from doing that.  No sir.  So, I left the Louvre a little disappointed, but I later treated myself to a nice dinner and glass of red wine at a place called L’Estaminet.  I was quickly pulled back into that wistful Paris world of tranquility.  Dinner alone wasn’t really all that bad.  Try it sometime, it’s pretty reflective.


See that woman in there taking her sweet time to enjoy the Mona Lisa? I would have been there and back before anybody could notice…oh well.

But once I left the Louvre, I saw this beauty.  Much better.

Saturday, I was to depart from the airport in the evening, so I decided to walk around the Marais area (the Jewish area of Paris).  I tasted some delicious Challah and wandered the fancy shopping streets.  But I sort of stayed a little too long and had to rush back to my room to grab my bags.  It was raining and I couldn’t find the right bus, so in panic, I decided to just stop where I was and wait on the side of the road, hoping a taxi would appear around the corner…and one did!  I ended up paying 20 Euro extra to make it to my flight on time…definitely worth it.

And my wonderful host mom, Brigette, picked me up at the Copenhagen airport, even though it was around midnight when I arrived.  I owe her many thanks for making the end of my journey so easy…no more taxis needed.


In Mark Twain’s words, I definitely caught some pretty hefty trade winds.  And sometimes, I felt a little out of control.  But that didn’t prevent me from exploring, with my childlike curiosity.  Rather, it made the exploration that much more engaging…I dreamt big…and made discoveries that may or may not be meaningless to everyone but me.  I learned more about the world and about myself than I could have ever expected to, and that’s what happens to a true explorer.


  1. Oh my dear Brianna, you are amazing and I am speechless!
    Much Love, G’ma

  2. Happy you are back snug in your bed. Thanks for the wonderful trip and pictures. All your travel experience came in handy. lol, Gram B

  3. WOW!!! Your photos are amazing. Glad you are having such a good time.

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