Friday, November 19, 2010

Day 1 - Flights & Paris


I have just checked into my hotel room after 21 hours flying. It’s 3pm here and roughly 1pm back home but surprisingly I don’t feel too jetlagged. Fortunately, on both flights I had two seats to myself, so I could sleep in relative comfort. Arrived at Charles De Gaulle airport only to find my transfer wasn’t there. I wasn’t the only one though, and met an Aussie guy waiting for the same transfer and just when we were making plans to take the train he finally showed up (one hour late!!) and we headed off to our accommodation.

After reading the reviews for this place I wasn’t expecting much, so I was pleasantly surprised on arrival. The staff are very friendly, I have a double bed all to myself, and a rather large bathroom, and speaking to some other guests, I’m very very lucky. The fun/worst part is the teeny tiny lift. It says it can fit two people and maybe it can fit two French people but otherwise there’s some serious invasion of personal space happening.

What better way to spend your first night in Paris then to go see the Tour Eiffel. I am extremely proud of myself for working out the Metro system, which means I can get from the hotel to anywhere in Paris in less than 20 minutes and for about 1 euro. The system is amazing and fast and so long as its not peak its relatively comfortable. If we had something like this back home, I wouldn’t be so averse to public transport.

ANYWAY, I took the metro to the Trocadero, walked around a corner and it hit me. The Eiffel tower is GORGEOUS. I took some photos from the Trocadero, which means you can get a nice view of the entire tower. I then went to the tower itself, and after seeing the queue decided not to climb it today. It was about 5pm and around 3 degrees and the queue was still enormous. I’d hate to see it in summer. There’s all these men floating around selling ‘illegal’ souvenirs of the Eiffel tower. After seeing the price of the actual souvenirs, I know why they’re so popular. The armed soldiers don’t mind them, but the police turn up and they scurry away. I bought dinner from one of the little vendors under the tower (crepes chocolat) and wandered through the Champ de Mars as I ate. And just when you start to accept how beautiful it all is, the Eiffel Tower lights up and blows your mind. It was a billion times better at night.

I had booked to do a cruise down the Seine, so that’s where I headed next. Everyone was waiting out the front but I decided to go in and just as well. I ended up third in line and seats right up the front. These two lovely old English ladies sat next to me, and we had a wonderful time seeing the sights of Paris all lit up.  The entire boat was encased in glass, so it wasn’t too cold and we had beautiful views of the Eiffel tower light show, Notre Dame, the Louvre and many many more.  After the cruise, I went back up to the Trocedero for more photos of the Eiffel tower, this time at night, and to catch the Metro back ‘home’.

Until tomorrow!

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