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Published: September 5th 2016
Hello my fellow travellers!
This is the first part of an old language learning trip I did back in 1997, it was the first time I travelled on my own.
After a long and dreary bus ride I arrived in Paris together with both nice and awful people who was to become my classmates for the coming three weeks. Before I arrived here I had an image of Paris as the capital of love, a place of grand and impeccable splendour and a shining beacon of light in the world. I guess I had kind of put it on a pedestal in my naive youth. What I found was quite different from what I had expected.
I found a Paris overrun by aggressive street vendors and a feeling of darkness closing in around me. Don't get me wrong, the splendour was there as well, I visited the Notre-Dame de Paris and I went to the top of the Eiffel Tower and enjoyed the view.
There, far removed from the ground, I could see Paris in a loving light where the sensations below couldn't get to me. I did end up buying from some street vendors near the
Eiffel Tower, one of the mandatory statuettes depicting the tower. It's one of the few memorabilia I've bought in my younger years that I no longer have in my possession.
The others I travelled with shared my sentiments, when we left our hotel room in the evening to find something to eat we all turned back quite quickly, disheartened by the stares of the shadowy figures surrounding us. The others all settled for minor sandwiches from the nearest convenience store while I took my chances with a sorry excuse for a pizza that was laying alone in a heating cabinet, it looked like it had far pasted it's expiration but I was too hungry to care. The others didn't dare to chance it though.
Back at the room we flipped through the television but everything was dubbed to French, trying to watch an Arnold Schwarzenegger action movie with Arnold dubbed in the weakest French voice ever is a horror I will never forget.
Luckily for me the pizza was okay (but my stomach is pretty hardy) and I was the only one of us that went to sleep with a full belly that night. At this point
I must admit that I was wondering what I had gotten myself into when I went on this trip and I was starting to miss home. I was just hoping that this trip would turn around for the better.
The next day we all headed to Disneyland Paris and while it was a leg up from the rest of Paris it did leave some things to be desired. My strongest memory of this amusement park is from the haunted house, during the elevator ride down into the house there was a guy that walked around amongst us dressed in a cape that tried to scare us in a softly spoken French tone, it didn't work. The animations and special effects inside the house was cool though and a couple of them was genuinely quite spooky, but mostly is was just visually impressive.
From there I headed out on the Mark Twain Riverboat and went around the Tom Sawyer Island on the Rivers of America. It was a nice ride and would have been quite relaxing if it hadn't been for the crowds.
Next I checked out the rest of Frontierland, the Fort Wilderness and Big Thunder Mountain,
Three of my Classmates
In the Middle of the English Channel
before I headed into the Fantasyland. Here I went through the hedge maze from Alice in Wonderland and I also joined up with one of my classmates and took a rest on the steps of Cinderella's Palace before I topped it all off by checking out Captain Hook's Ship and the Skull Rock from Peter Pan.
All in all this was a better experience of France than what I had yesterday, but considering how yesterday went I guess it didn't really take much to top it. Still, at least I could now leave France feeling somewhat satisfied.
We took a bus to Calais where we boarded the ferry to Dover, it was a fairly bumpy ride with high waves. Being from an old family of sailors I guess it ran in my blood because I loved it. I stood on deck and experiences a thrilling sense of freedom while most of the other passengers was puking their guts out.
Until next time I wish you all peace and happy travels!
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