Saturday, April 26, 2014

Paris Part 1

I'm going to update the rest of this so it is immortalized on the internet, but obviously I'm no longer in Europe.  So the rest of it will not be italicized, but still straight from my journal :)

July 11, 2013:
Train to Paris through the Chunnel (got a blurry pic going in).  Off at Gare du Nord then onto the metro - and I got stuck in the turnstyle!  Tried to call for help - no luck.  Some nice guy gave us his ticket then helped shove Nathan's bag over.  Got to the hostel then up to 4th floor room 407.  Now relaxing after a shower.  Hanging in hostel lobby - not super useful host, terrible WiFi - tried to call mom but crappy.  After awhile we headed up the hill and a ton of stairs to the Sacre Coeur.  Took pictures, tons of market-type stuff around and hawkers, great views of Paris.  Stopped for a nice meal at Le Deli.  18.5 euros each for appetizer, entree, and dessert.  I had ravioli, salmon, and chocolate cake and it was delicious!  Nathan's was not as great.  We then walked around, took more pictures, then headed home and to bed.

July 12:
We elected to sleep in this morning but were rudely awoken by cleaners knocking,  We indicated the room was occupied but that just inspired them to take out their keys and try to get in!  That wasn't fun, but they finally gave up.  Got up, packed, and headed down to check out (~11:30am).  Set up our luggage in the luggage room and went to the metro to figure out day passes.  Was pretty easy - then walked around and finally got back to the hostel to wait for mom and Megan.  They arrived!  Got dad's phone, put their bags in the room (after they changed), then wandered around Montmartre for a bit.  Bought some stuff for lunch at the supermarket, then got a bit turned around heading home.  Finally made it, checked in, and mom and Megan took a nap while I set up dad's phone.  Then we all headed over to the Lourve.  Megan, Nathan, and I got in for free and it was 12 euros for mom.  Saw the Venus de Milo, Mona Lisa, and tons of other famous art work.  Finally headed out to the Palais Royal, walked through the mediocre garden (where is all the grass?) and then went on a food hunt. Eventually stopped at Le Royal Cafe - another "formulae" meal: ravioli and delicious chocolate mousse.  Drank tons of water - very thirsty and footsore.  Met some Minnesota girls and got our pictures taken.  Finally a long walk back to the metro and home.  Crappy WiFi, but bedtime anyway.

July 13:
Early morning (8am) - a good breakfast with hot chocolate and croissants.  Then out to the opera to the Discover Walks tour.  2 French women "Louise and Lauren", lesser known landmarks, 1 hour 30 minute tour.  Ended at the obelisk.  Not as good as Sandemann's.  Tried to find the Batobus stop - wandered around 1 km in the wrong direction, but we figured it out and headed back (played some games along the water while we wandered). Got on and found seats and busted out the lunch we packed (sandwiches and chips).  Enjoying the ride and the views.  We got off at the Eiffel tower and were disappointed at the huge  lines.  Bought some ice cream and back on the Batobus (after Megan got some mini towers) to the Notre Dame.  Wandered over a bridge covered in locks and walked over to the Cathedral and another huge line! Back on the Batobus (and some napping) then off to the Champs Elysees stop and a long walk to the Arc de Triomphe.  Passed a lot of fancy shops and a McDonald's.  Then (couldn't get near the Arc) a very long walk back to the Eiffel Tower. Got some food (a cheesy hot dog and coke) and then checked out the still super long lines, but now the top level was closed. We all decided to try for early tomorrow morning or Monday.  Now back on the Batobus to the Orsay to jump on the metro home.  Unfortunately there wasn't actually a metro stop there so we had to go find one.  Got home, jumped on WiFi and realized there was a "block party" by the firemen for Bastille Day tonight 1 km away from 9pm to 4am.  So we changed and limped over.  Donations in a barrel and entertainment cheesing up singing Elvis and Tina Turner etc.  Finally our feet hurt too much and we headed home and bedtime.

July 14 (Bastille Day):
Very early morning - up at 7am! Shower, breakfast, and out the door by 8am.  On the metro, 2 transfers (the #6 train was aboveground!) to Bir Hakeim.  Short walk to the Eiffel Tower - arrived around 8:45am.  Bit of a line already, got in and got tickets and up to the top!  Everyone (but me) surprised at the height.  Bit crowded but got pics of major landmarks like the Arc in the morning haze.  Back down to 2nd floor for more pics then saw a mini air show!  Tons of military jets with the first ones trailing red, white, and blue smoke.  Nathan had fun, but then we finally headed down to the ground and went and got delicious Nutella filled crepes!  Watched them make it - Nathan got strawberries in his and Megan and I were just Nutella.  Delicious.  Now back on the Batobus - helicopter fleet went by and just now more jets trailing colored smoke.  Rode to the St. Germaine stop and walked over to the Ponts des Arts (the real lock bridge).  Then saw a sign for St. Germaine Church and headed there - but we got the wrong church!  Still was pretty inside.  Then we hit up some tourist shops and Nathan and I headed back while the other two continued shopping.  Had some ticket issues on the metro but eventually got home.  Hung out downstairs and used WiFi and ate leftover cheese and breakfast breads.  Megan and mom got back and we all went up for a nap (though I read for a bit first).  Got ready and went on a walk looking for a park - found a sandwichery but kept walking.  Went to a bar by the hostel for happy hour drinks - tequila sunrises and Nathan's lime thing, I could barely drink mine. I ran back to get my phone and then we tried (and failed) to find the sandwich place again.  Jumped on the metro to the Eiffel Tower for fireworks.  Got a decent spot on some stairs.  Nathan and I went off for food first and got some iffy sandwiches, now Megan and mom are food-hunting.  Awesome fireworks and music, Megan and Nathan got us home on the 12, overall great late night.

July 15:
Okay so we got up around 9am and got dressed (Nathan showered).  Went down for a quick breakfast then back up to pack up.  Nathan grabbed his bag and then we all went to the post office for stamps.  Then Nathan and I jumped on the metro to Gare du Nord (while Megan and mom went exploring).  Said goodbye as Nathan went on to the airport and I back to the hostel.

Going to cut this off here as this is where my traveling companion roster loses its first member (and I'm getting a little tired of typing/reading my tiny handwriting).  Will return to finish Paris (and the rest of the trip) eventually!

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