If I could travel to any place in the world I would want to travel to Greece during the rise of the Roman Empire.
As I was saying goodbye to one of the girls I had befriended for the day she told me "You are going to be great and do great things with your life!" I can't let her down, now can I?
I am in Paris! It is truly amazing here! So I took the night train from Madrid to Paris. It left Madrid around 612pm and we got into Paris at 905 the next morning. I had a reclining seat and it was the most uncomfortable thing I have ever attempted to sleep on! At around 4am I finally realized that what I needed was a pillow of sorts so I crammed my jacket into pillow formation and finally got some much needed sleep.
I arrived in Paris with a vague idea of what metros I needed to take to get to my hotel. Let me tell you Metro's in foreign languages a little hard to figure out. I enjoy being in another country where you don't speak the language because then you can't tell when they are laughing at the silly white girl. I was mumbling in Spanish and if anyone talked to me I answered in Spanish. I got this crazy language overload and just resorted to Spanish! Well I got on one Metro, found the stop, got off, and got on another. I took it to the stop and figured out the word for exit in French - sortie. I got out and onto the street and well I was f**ked. No other way to put it. I happened to get off in one of the busiest side intersections in Paris and was totally confused. Couldn't find any street signs, no bright green Holiday Inn sign so I finally caved and found a taxi. Let me tell you taxi edict is different in all countries!
In Chicago we put our arm straight up for a taxi, pretty sure I do the same in New York. But then some places you do the little arm whip out, or the waving or in Ecuador I busted out the leg move a few times! Well here I tried everything and I could not get a taxi. And you have to keep in mind that I have a back packing backpack and brightly covered duffel back and have the deer in headlights look on my face! Finally some nice soul deciders to pull over for me. I get in and start speaking Spanish. Not sure why, but I do. We don't understand each other since he's speaking French and finally I bust out my papers with the address and he takes me. 8 euros later I got to the hotel. I found out at the hotel that I got off at the wrong stop and there was actually a Metro stop 2 blocks from the hotel. Wonderful. Then I was able to check into my room and oh goodness something happened in the Universe that day and I was a lucky soul.
My room at the Holiday Inn in Paris is amazing. I have this huge walk in area with a desk in the corner, another area of the room with a tv, mini bar, and huge comfy down comfit-our bed. Then you go into the bathroom and I have 2 showers! No idea why but there is a normal stand up shower and then a shower with a bathtub! And for my favorite part... I have two sliding doors that open onto a balcony that at the end of you can see the Eiffel Tower. Something terribly wrong must have happened in the booking process because I should not even be allowed on this floor of the hotel!
After taking in my room and wondering what possibly happened I ran out of the hotel at around 1030am and caught 2 metros to get to my free walking tour! If anyone comes to Europe go and check out free walking tours of the major cities. They are free and show you all the greatest things to see. I got there and there were about 90 people which is a lot! They split us up into groups and in my group we had Fred the group leader from England, a couple from North Carolina, a couple from Australia, 2 asians, and this group of about 8 girls. I don't normally enjoy a large group of girls, but I turned out to be wrong!
As we started the tour some of the girls from the group came and talked to me and by the end of the tour they had invited me to spend the day with them! They are all about 20-23 from Michigan, Iowa, or Wisconsin and were all studying abroad in Floreance, Italy. This was their Spring Break. Then there was another girl in our tour group, her name was Megan, and she is an au pair in the Netherlands so we had a lot to talk about! On our tour, besides making friends, we saw many of the main touristy sites! We went to Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Obelisk, bridges, museums, churches, and the Louvre. Its an amazing city here. Its clean and very friendly! We went to this little cafe for lunch and I got the most yummy ham, cheese, and lettuce sandwich on actual french bread!!! Then after the tour I headed off with the girls from the tour to the Eiffel Tower!
On the way we found a little store and bought champaign, and wine, and cookies, and french bread! As we were getting closer the Eiffel Tower just loomed in the distance. Its amazing. I don't care if it is overplayed in movies, or made to seem magical or over hyped or what. The Eiffel Tower is amazing. I have never been to anything like it! It is magical! It is movie perfect! I loved it! And so I sat, with my new group of friends, next to the Eiffel Tower drinking champaign, eating french bread, and having a good old time. My dad called me, which was exciting since I miss him, and just saying the words "drinking champaign next to the Eiffel Tower" are unreal. Really its unbelievable to think about all the circumstances in my life that have allowed for me to be in Paris, making friends, and taking in the beautiful city.
After the Eiffel Tower and feeling the bubbles from all the bubbly we drank, we headed off for the Louvre. Well that turned into an adventure. We stopped for about an hour at a different view of the Eiffel Tower and took a billion pictures! Then we had to find bathrooms, then we finally walked to the Arc de Triomphe and let me tell you that place is crazy. There are 7 lanes of traffic going around it with no lane markers and supposedly there is a car crash every 20 minutes. Thankfully there were stairs going under the road and onto the Arc. Its more pretty so look at from far away, but its surreal to be standing under such an iconic landmark. There was a procession for Saint Patty's day going on, or at least we guessed, so we watched for a while and then attempted to take the Metro back to Notre Dame.
Well the Metro itself is easy, but getting out of it is crazy. It was like a labyrinth. I kid you not, it took us about 15 minutes to get out of one station! We kept seeing the "sortie" signs but that would only lead you to another metro platform and to another "sortie"sign. It was the never ending tunnel of "sortie" signs! Finally we got out and went to Notre Dame. Well at that point it decided to down pour and we had about 10 people and two umbrellas so my hair went from straight to curly and frizzy. We also got there too kate to go inside the church! Apparently at Notre Dame the first Friday of every month they display the Crown of Thorns Jesus wore when he died. That would be amazing and aweshocking to see. At 730pm we were supposed to meet up with some other girls from the group for dinner.
We all waited outside of the St. Michel Fountain until 8 for them. In that time I found this cute store where I could get 12 postcards for 2 euros! I am going back shopping tomorrow! Then as we were about to give up, the 2 girls pulled up in a taxi and came rushing towards us. I guess they got terribly lost on the Metro and people were trying to scam them. So anywhos we headed to dinner. We were told that the Latin District has cheaper food, but it didn't seem that way. Either we weren't in the Latin District after all or Paris food is ridiculously expensive! We finally found this restaurant where the waiter was terribly rude, and the food was a little over priced. In Madrid a lot of the restaurants do this 2 plate deal and they had one here so I did that! I got salad, steak, and moose for 15euro. Not bad, but the steak was terribly undercooked in the middle. Like back home I won't touch the steak if its pink. Here I have learned that pink steak is good steak. This I just couldn't do. I'm pretty sure it was still frozen in the middle. So gross, but it came with french fries so I was happy!
After dinner we decided that we had to go out for a beer because it was Saint Patty's day! A bunch of people had these awesome St. Patty's Day hats and we heard if you buy a beer you get a hat. So we went to one pub, no hats. Then a second and they had hats, but it was for 2 beers. Well Megan, the au pair, had met up with the girl she was here with and she was only 17. At these pubs they were ID-ing us and the drinking age here is 18 so no problem. But this girl, who shouldn't have even been let outside of the United States with her disrespectful, ignorant, nieve attitude was 17 and couldn't get it. I decided that 2 beers for a hat was not worth it when I don't even really like beer so we headed to the Metro. This 17 year old decided to go back to her hostel and Megan came back to my hotel to watch the night show with me! From my balcony we watched the Eiffel Tower Light show. It was utterly amazing. We just stood in silence and watched. The Eiffel Tower is just so beautiful and has this magic about it! Definitely a site that everyone should get to experience in their lives. Then Megan left and I had my big empty room to myself!
I talked to my mom for a while and watched French Tv while uploading 230 photos I took that day! I decided that since I am in Paris I need to see everything they have to offer so I am taking a 6 hour tour of Versailles today! I am so excited. It is sunny, and hopefully warm today and I am going to get to see the regal sites that Versailles gardens and palaces have to offer!
Versailles was amazing! It rained during my tour so I headed home early, but it was beautiful! I do not regret spending the day there! Tomorrow is my last day in Paris before I catch a night train home to Madrid! I'm kind of excited to get back to my city!
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