Annie Chandler Checks In From Paris Open

Guest blog from Annie Chandler

PARIS, France, June 23. MY calves ache from our two days of ambitious walking, but it is so difficult to stay in when we're in such a stimulating place for such a limited amount of time. Today is June 23, two days until the EDF Paris Open de Natation begins. Nathan Adrian and several of his California teammates have arrived, and Matt Grevers and I are looking forward to speaking some English with our fellow Americans in a few hours.

Matt and I had been dreaming of an all-you-can-eat breakfast. We figured since we're in Europe, where servings are of a reasonable size (but seem tiny to us over-indulgent Americans), hoping for a buffet was far-fetched. But the Tryp Hotel proved us wrong with a buffet breakfast of pastries, fruit, eggs and les crepinettes (tiny sausages), capable of fueling the most ravenous of athletes.

We took our time getting to the Metro station and rode it to Pont Daphine, the closest stop to the Lagardere Paris Racing Club. We were told to take a bus from there, but the walk seemed brief by map. It should have been a 20-minute trek, but we headed south and curved up which doubled our foot time- such tourists. We had a solid sweat going by the time we reached the pool, so our initial plunge was quite refreshing. The venue is breathtaking. It is in the middle of the Bois de Boulogne, a location that is to Paris what Central Park is to New York, a splotch of green just when you have grown weary of man-made steel and concrete structures.

The coaches cleared a lane for us to splash around in. We try to show our appreciation in some way, but the only thing that pops to mind is "merci, merci" and again, "merci!" Maybe if we say thank you 10 times it will make up for our language deficiency? That's my theory…I did figure out how to ask where to find the toilet… which can refer to the entire bathroom in French. These locker rooms are enormous! I followed the sound of a running shower to the very back of the locker room and got lost trying to retrace my steps on my way out.

Our walk back to the Metro was much quicker and we bought a panini from one of the hundreds of panini/crepe places in Paris. Later, we went back for a crepe that I expected to be a delicate treat, until I opened my foil wrapper to a layered flat cake denser than a Whopper patty. Matt's was savory, mine was "red fruit," as translated on the menu. Both ended our days in delectable ways. It's business time- heading back to the pool!

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