Saturday, April 4, 2009

Paris Day/ Spring Break Day 2

OK, Emily stole my adapter so I have only a few minutes of battery life left so I have to type fast (please forgive you always do). So our flight (Scott and I) was perfectly on time and we even arrived outside Paris early (where Ryanair fly's into...not the middle of Paris hence the cheap prices). Emily on the other hand was delayed two hours and so we had to wait and call the hostel and make sure they didn't give away our beds. My first impression of Paris was all of us jostling for position to get onto the bus to ride into town. We barely got seats on the bus. It was so incredibly refreshing to be back on the right side of the road...something about riding on the left side hurts my brain, its probably because I feel like I constantly have to remind myself that its OK (in the UK and Australia anyway). We arrived at the end of the bus line with Scott's GPS in hand. We were 2.8 miles away from the hostel and went to look at a map. A very nice couple talked to us and instructed us on how to use the subway to get to our hostel (1.60 euro ticket) we took this advice and had crash course on the Paris railway system. I really enjoy using the subway here because it makes no sense. Unlike Glasgow's nearly perfect circular subway system, Paris is a minefield of many many many different train lines all converging and diverging to different parts of the city with almost no order. That said we got where we needed to go and popped out of the railway to find the not so great side of town...ah the joys of cheap hostels. Before we went to bed we all stupidly paid 8 euro for drinks (yes each one) at what we soon realized was a mostly African restaurant/club...we left quickly. I slept like a baby even without a pillow last night (some random guy had stolen mine and was using two) because I had only gotten 2 1/2 hours of sleep the night before...this was due to an online Clemson class test...but I passed it(pass fail grade) so I am done with that.
Anyway, today totally rocked. It felt really laid back and yet we accomplished/saw sooooooo much. This is all thanks to James who is Scott's girlfriends cousin. He's completing his master degree here in french studies and had the day off so he showed us the city and we basically kicked some Paris in the pants. Today we saw: Versailles (easily an all day event if you don't have your own personal tour guide) Versailles was the first highlight of the day. I did not realize that Neptune's fountain was there, I have seen it in pictures before and always wanted to in person. In Versailles we walked a lot. Apparently, there are many palaces on this one rather large piece of land. we toured the main palace, the gardens, Marie Antoinette's palace, and all kinds of places in between (stables, orange gardens, fountains...ect). Next we walked by Notre Dame. I once helped put together a 3d puzzle of it. being able to actually seeing it in person was almost unreal.
Somewhere in there we grabbed food which ended up being a weird gyro that had fry's in it...apparently it's popular here. I also had some Turkish delight (I ended up spilling powdered sugar all over me thanks to this), and raspberry gelatto (ice cream of sorts).
We traveled from Notra Dame all the way across Paris to see the Eiffel Tower. We just missed capturing it with the sunset, but it was very overcast so it probably would not have been very significant anyway. Emily helped convince us to take the elevator system to the top of the tower, I don't recommend this for anyone who is scared of heights.
We all agree that without James helping us all day we'd never have seen and done everything we have been able to.
Tomorrow is the Louvre and then off to Brussels ...gotta run batter power is low and this Internet connection here won't let me upload photos I'll take care of that asap!

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