Austria and Paris

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May 25th 2011
Published: May 25th 2011
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Bonjour mon amis, comment ca va? Thanks for being so patient for my next travel blog.

Saturday May 21st - Last weekend myself and some friends went to Austria to visit a family. We traveled along the German Auto bond Highway east across Germany to Austria. I was surprised in a few ways traveling along the Auto bond. First, I was shocked to see that this highway stretch we traveled along only had 2 lanes going in each direction. I must have “hyped up” the lore of the Auto bond that I’m sure most Americans have. Another observation is how strictly the travelers follow the rules of passing on the left lane and once done passing moving your vehicle to the right lane on the Auto bond. It was refreshing to see this especially because I’ve been commuting on the highways to Detroit for dental school the last 4 years and it has been horrendous. The total trip to the town we visited in Austria was around 8 hours.

While we were traveling I noticed Europe’s efforts in green energy. Scattered amongst the German and Austrian countryside were many wind powered fans and many houses had multiple solar panels installed on their roofs.

The city in Austria which I can not remember now was small with a population of around 2,000. The town was founded by a river and most of the people in the town lived close proximity to this river. To the north and south of the town stretched small mountains covered with forests. Once we arrived to our guest’s house in Austria they came outside to meet us and exchange pleasantries. The entire family which included a teenage boy and girl and the exchange student Johanna my friend knows and their parents. The house beside theirs lived some extended family which also came outside to visit us. The family we visited lived on a small farm that had several cows, chickens, and a small garden.

After we arrived everyone ate lunch outdoors together. Most of the Austrians spoke broken English which was good enough for us to share stories and ask questions amongst us.

After lunch we gave the Austrian children and teenagers some gifts. These gifts included candy and peanut butter that is commonly found in the USA such as Starburst, Peanut Butter M&Ms, Jolly Ranchers, and others. Most of this candy and especially American Peanut Butter (JIF, Peter Pan) is very difficult to find in Austria. The kids ravaged about half of all the candy within 2 hours, haha. After this we played volleyball with the kids and they took us on a tour of their small town. We came back to the house and the adults and drank some Schnapps. The adults my age said that most Austrians drink beer and Schnapps. The Schnapps is not anything like the kind in the USA. These were 42% alcohol and were produced by the grandpa of this family. We all drank 5 or 6 shots of different flavored Schnapps.

After this we ate dinner outside again and we started to break out the Austrian Riesling Wine and Austrian beer. The wine flowed very late into the night while we shared each other’s company. The father of the house brought out a bottle of “Eggnog-Schnapps”. This tasted like alcohol flavored Eggnog that is served during the Christmas season.

Sunday May 22nd - The next day we left early so that my buddy Chuck and I could travel to Paris, France. We went to the town of Kaiserslautern to jump on the French TGV High Speed Train. The train was awesome. It traveled at 315km/hr, which is around 195 miles/hr. We arrived to the Paris station Gard du Nord which is one of the busiest train stations in Europe. We arrived to our hotel near the train station and crashed so we would be ready to tackle the next day.

Monday May 23rd - We woke up and headed to the office of a double decker bus tour of Paris. The bus tour was good for 1 day and it visited all the major sites of Paris. You can exit and jump on the bus anytime and anywhere which makes it very convenient. We both paid 29 Euros to get on. We visited the major sites of Paris such as Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower, Sacred Coeur, Moulin Rouge, and the Louvre. After a day of sightseeing we went back to the room exhausted and burnt from the sun to take a nap.

We woke up at 9pm and decided we would try to get a last minute ticket to see a dance show at the Moulin Rouge. After waiting in line for 40 minutes we luckily got a ticket to see the 11pm showing. We both paid 102 Euros for the showing and a ½ bottle of Champagne. For those who don’t know the French take their Champagne very seriously. No wine makers in France can label their sparkling wine as Champagne unless it comes from the highly regarded wineries of the Champagne region. In the USA any wine maker can label their sparkling wine as Champagne but it doesn’t even come close to the quality of REAL Champagne.

The show at the Moulin Rouge was amazing and worth every penny. The atmosphere was vibrant, inspiring, and the staff were friendly. The show consisted of men and women dancing and singing. The women wore beautiful costumes that exposed most of their body particularly their breast. The women danced and sang and the audience cheered for more. I wish I could have taken pictures of the show so that everyone could see their awesome costumes but photography was prohibited. The show lasted for 1 hour and 45 minutes. After the show my friend and I traveled back to our hotel to get some rest.

Tuesday May 24th – We woke up early so that we could get a good spot in line to take the cable car elevators to the top of the Eiffel Tower. We arrived at the Eiffel Tower at 9:30 am and waiting an exhausting hour to finally get our ticket and be hoisted to the very top of the Eiffel Tower. The view of Paris was absolutely stunning; all the beautiful historic monuments were in our view. My friend and I had been joking the entire trip about how clueless and rude Asians are when traveling. This entire trip we have been annoyed with how rude and pushy they are. We definitely noticed this today when 3 of them tried to push Chuck and I out of the way while trying to get on the elevator. We both yelled some choice words at them and held them back with our arms. I think my next trip may be to China so I push and yell my way through their cities.

After visiting the Eiffel Tower we headed to the train station Gard de Lyon to travel to our next destination Chamonix (pronounced ‘Shuh-Muh-Knee’). Chamonix is a small city located on the border of France near Switzerland and Italy. Chamonix is at the heart of
Moulin RougeMoulin RougeMoulin Rouge

Saw a show at the Moulin Rouge =)
the Alps and because of this has breathtaking views of tallest mountain in Western Europe. This mountain is named Mont Blanc (White Mountain). This area is one of the best skiing sites in the world but my friend and I won’t be skiing. Instead we will be taking the Aiguilles du Midi cable car to 13,000ft. The cable car is the 2nd highest in the world and holds the world record for the steepest climb. My friend’s book describes the ride as “terrifying but gives breathtaking views”, haha. We are both slightly nervous about it, but are still very excited.

Well my friends, this is where I leave you, right now I am on another high speed train heading to the city I just mentioned. Thanks again for reading my travel blog and feel free to post any comments or questions and I will try to respond.


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