Friday, November 25, 2011

Oui Paris

After an 8hr train ride I arrived in Paris. I stayed in one of the better hostels but quite far out of the city, about 12 stops on the metro.  Paris is a really dirty city, like rubbish everywhere and it smells like pee. This is the first city I have really been surprised by.  I checked into my hostel which is the most expensive one I have stayed in throughout Europe and also the worst.
The girls in my hostel were lovely and we had dinner downstairs in the Restaurant and Bar. I had a vegie burger with blue cheese, fries and of course red wine.  This place was the cheapest place to eat and drink around.  It was pretty cool too.  It was not a late night, the girls were all leaving the next morning.

While we were having breakfast, an Australian guy came and sat with us.  His name is Scott and was staying in Paris the same amount of time as me so that was good to have a mate to hang out with as the other girls were checking out. 

Our first day we did one of the New Europe walking tours of the city our guide was amazing.  He was a Kiwi and very intelligent and excited to be sharing his knowledge. Informative, plenty of sight seeing and its always a great way to meet people in a new city.  During the tour we came across a bridge, featured in many movies i.e Sex And The City and the fence is covered in padlocks - Love Locks!  Couples come to the bridge, write their initials on the padlock, lock it to the fence then throw the keys in the river as a symbol of their everlasting love.  We learned about the Nazi Occupation, French Revolution, Napoleons Empire, Parisian Architecture.  Saw all the important sites, Tuileries Gardens, Champs -Elysees, The Lourve, Musee d'Orsav, Arc de Triomphe.  Our guide took us out to lunch afterwards (optional)  I had a quiche lorraine with salad and a glass of wine.

That night we went on a Pub Crawl.  Hmm what a disappointment.  There was no nightlife in Paris on this night ...a Tuesday night, the bars were dead, the drinks were overpriced and it was just super lame.  We also were not told the Metro stops running at 1am so when we went to the metro at 1.04am and discovered it was closed up we had to order a taxi! The highlight of the evening was a ham and cheese crepe I ate, it was so fat and tasty.  Next time I need a feed at home in the middle of the night and drunk all I will want is a ham and cheese crepe!

The next day we went shopping in the Layfayette district, but I was not overly impressed.  Its quite cool if you have a lot of money but otherwise window shopping is all that can be done.  The Louvre was opening this evening until 10pm so that was the plan for our day.  We arrived after dinner and I was surprised to see we are allowed to take pictures inside, just no flash.  So we viewed some of the most beautiful artworks in the world, most importantly the Mona Lisa.  She is a small painting but very impressive. 

Next morning  the weather was not great but we made our way to the Eiffel Tower. It is quite impressive from a distance, but up close I can completely understand why the Parisians hated it.  It is an eyesore, a monstrosity of metal.   I went up to the second level and did enjoy a nice view of the city though.  We then had a plan to head to the red light district but got lost, so decided to head back to the hostel for a meal and some drinks.

The next day we visited Notre Dame.  It was magnificent.  I would say this gorgeous church was my highlight of my visit to Paris.  Inside their are many tombs, stained glass windows, candles.  It has a dark gothic ambiance,  a very peaceful energy.  I sat on my own and said a prayer for my family and friends.  Afterwards Scott and I walked around, checking out the souvenir shops.  We ate more crepes, yummy.  

After my fourth day in Paris, I was starting to feel ready to leave.  I had one more night to stay as I was waiting on mail to arrive to my hostel and it had not yet come.  I had decided after Paris I would go back to Munich to visit Patrick. It may have seemed silly and a risk, but I had no definite plans or bookings for after Paris so I decided to go back to Munich.

After more sightseeing, Scott and I went back to the Hostel. I checked at reception to see if any mail had arrived for me. Much to my surprise, both letters I was waiting on had arrived early! So realising I had no reason to stay, I asked if I could have a refund on my final night, which I could!  So I received back my 35euros.  I then raced up to the metro, caught the train back into the city to book my ticket to Munich!  It was all taken care of, everything fell into place and I knew Munich was where I was meant to be going.

Overall, I know I need to see Paris again.  I need a real Parisian to show me the beautiful city, I need to see the ins and outs, the underground!  Not just the tourism side.  I want to come back and get to the heart of Paris, I will give it the second chance it deserves.  I just know that I will need a wad of cash to be able to afford it.  

I look forward to returning to Europe and giving France a lot more of my attention.

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