Dropping off Sasha and Damir was emotional though Damir tried to power through it by giving us a South Park quote: “screw you guys, I’m going home.” We showered and napped at Josip’s house before going to the airport for our flight to Paris. We hit a cash machine so that we could pay for our share of the tour losses, gave a hug to Josip who was stifling tears, and boarded our Air France flight.
We shelled out the exorbitant 60€ to store our guitars and merch over night at the airport. After an hour on the packed train into Paris we were glad we did. We found our hostel after a bit of confusion. We immediately headed out to be tourists and walked past the Bastille, Notre Dame, the Louvre, and eventually the Eiffel Tower. On the way we stopped to buy souvenirs for our families and then ate “typical French cuisine” in a heavily touristed area. We stopped at a little cafe on the way back to our hostel and, immersed as we had been during three weeks in the van, kept hearing Croatian words at the tables next to us. We were shocked when we got back to the hostel and looked at the time: it was 2:30am and we had to be up in four hours to catch our flight home.
Although our estimation of Paris had gone up since our last visit, our impressions of the airport veered into increasingly negative territories. As Bill put it after walking half a mile to find a luggage cart that we immediately had to abandon in order to get down a broken escalator to our terminal, “it is NOT a user-friendly airport.” Despite the fact that we had 6-8 hours of sleep in the previous 48 hours, we slept only fitfully on the flight to Chicago. Tour done. You’re welcome.