Edit Blog Post
Published: September 5th 2007
We finished our jobs, left our flat in London last week, and began our European adventure. First stop Paris!
We arrived at around 1pm by Eurostar, having left London early on Sunday morning with Eddie, my workmate from Tait (who arrived in London on Saturday). We were a bit worried for a while as the tube was unexpectectedly suspended on our way to Waterloo, and we were informed that all underground lines were closing and everyone had to get off and find alternative transport. Luckily, we were able to flag down a taxi which got us to the station with plenty of time to spare.
After checking into the hotel, we got in contact with another workmate of mine from Tait (Sheryll), who is also in Europe on holiday. Eddie and Sheryll had arranged for us all to meet up in Paris, and they were ken to have a photo under the Eiffel tower to send back to Tait, so thats exactly what we did. After hanging around on the ground for a while taking photos and admiring the tower (and watching a group of boys making a strange music video), we joined the mile long queue to buy
tickets for the lift to go up the tower. The queue to walk the 1165 steps to the top was considerably shorter, but we decided the wait for the elevator was worth it. The elevator runs up the side of the tower on an angle, so you can see the city as you rise. There are 3 levels to the tower, and even from the second level we could see amazing views all over the city. After waiting in more queues, we made our way to the top level of the tower, where we could see in every direction for miles. The top viewing platform is around 300m high, which is very very high indeed. You may think the roof of your house feels pretty high when you're standing on it but that’s just peanuts compared to standing on the Eiffel tower.
After seeing the views, we joined more queues to descend back down the tower. It took about an hour to get back down again, and by this time we were all starving and getting pretty. Being so hungry, we grabbed a table at the first place we saw. It was warm and friendly enough (I won't mention
the food) but terribly overpriced. However, whatever else it lacked, the restaurant was in a lovely location. The tower lights up with gold lights up and down, but at 10pm for about 15 minutes the tower lights up with spectacular flashing lights as well. Everyone was out on the streets taking photos (we took a short video but are having trouble uploading it).
Before calling it a night we headed to the Arc de Triomphe and Champs Elysees. We saw all the crazy traffic on the 10 lane roundabout that goes around the Arc, and saw a few near misses. The lack of lanes and strange road rules seem to cause the problems. We saw one car go round and round, and the 3 times it tried to turn off it nearly caused an accident. With an early start planned the next day, we went back to the hotel for some much needed rest!
The following day it was pouring with rain - perfect for a visit to the Louvre. We met up with Eddie and Sheryll again and were pleasanlty surprised to find there were virtually no ques and the museum wasn't too crowded. We said hello
Mona Lisa, but as expected it was hard to get in close due to all the tourists. The security guards don't really seem to do a lot, and there are numerous signs around the museum saying no pictures are allowed to be taken, but everyone was. There are also security barriers around the Mona Lisa, but children were climbing underneath and going right up to take photos, and the guards just looked at them. Makes you wonder if it’s the real thing...
There is still a lot of hype and touristy stuff around for 'The DaVinci Code', but we managed to avoid that and look around the egyptian, roman and iranian exhibits as well as the paintings. Eddie had to leave us at this time to catch a connecting train, so we left the Louvre, and the 3 of us remaining went looking for lunch. We stumbled upon a fancy area of town (Concorde) where we did a little window shopping at the big name stores. There were strips of very fancy restaurants, along with some very official looking people with security people everywhere. We decided we were a bit underdressed to eat in this part of town (even
if we could have afforded it!) so we took a tube back towards our hotel for something to eat, and then continued on to Notre Dame. We even managed to spot the hunchback (see photo)!
Sheryll left Paris yesterday, so we were alone for our last day. We decided to take a walk around the city and find some nice shopping and eating areas. We had a good look around and found a nice park to lunch in. In the late afternoon, we eventually stumbled across a few blocks of little cobbled streets and alleyways with pavement dining areas which was what we had imagined Paris would be like. We had a great dinner, lapping up the lively atmosphere.
This morning we had another early start and we are now on a train heading to Amsterdam.
p.s. there are two pages of photos this time 😊
Tot: 2.069s; Tpl: 0.058s; cc: 6; qc: 45; dbt: 0.0263s; 1; m:saturn w:www (220.127.116.11); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb