Sunday, August 29, 2010

Paris Day 2 - Eiffel Tower and The Louvre

I have to start off by saying that today has been a lot better than yesterday and it looks to be even more awesome tomorrow. I'm sure you were all very sad to know that my first day in Paris was less than perfect ;)

That's all in the past now though! Another learning experience under my belt. I believe the biggest issue is that I didn't have anyone to talk to or walk around with. There was no one in my room when I arrived and after I met them I went downstairs to post my blog. By the time I was finished they had left for the night. So yeah, alone for the night. I ended up going out and getting pizza and beer and then I just went to bed, full and fighting the urge to be cranky. "Tomorrow will be better" I told myself, and prayed that any new bunk mates would be friendly.


Someone wants me to have a good time in Paris, because my new bunk mate is super friendly and outgoing! She came stumbling in at 2 am and woke me up because she tripped on a chair xD It was funny. The night was full of mostly restless sleep. I also received the most painful and persistent calf muscle cramp of my life. I sat up and stretched my foot back, that usually eases it right away, but this one was not going away. Every time it started to and I'd relax it would just spring back together. Massaging it didn't work and neither did stretching over my extended leg with my foot flexed. I was so tired and just wanted to sleep D: I finally scooted down the bed a bit and forced my foot into a flexed position against the button rungs of the bed frame and fell back asleep. A few hours later I woke up and my foot was pretty much completely asleep, but the cramp was gone, so hurrah! That calf muscle has been uncomfortable and acting up all day though so I expect it to happen again tonight :(

Anywho, woke up at 8 and was greeted by Michelle introducing herself. She's from Zimbabwe and is in France because she attended a wedding a few days ago. She's traveling on her own now and she's having a lot of fun! She had plans today to go into the city to see The Louvre and the Eiffel Tower with another hostel-resident that she met yesterday. I told her I was planning on doing the same thing and asked if I could join them, to which she very enthusiastically said yes!


So we were off and getting ready for the day. This place offers a complimentary breakfast from 7:30-9:30 so we made sure to be downstairs for that! I had a rather delicious croissant and a bowl of cereal. I met Leigh, a nice man from Australia, who Michelle met yesterday. We were planning on all going together, as well as with Michelle's friend Tawanda, but we dallied a bit too long so Leigh decided to go off by himself. That was OK though! Tawanda is super nice, so the three of us had a really great day together.

I fancy myself pretty good at reading maps by this point. Never really needed that skill until recently! I was able to deduce the best routes to get to the Eiffel Tower and then the Louvre, then back to our hostels! Go me :D Take the 2 then get on the 6, 6 deposits us at the Eiffel Tower, then take the 6 back and hop on the 1, 1 takes us to The Louvre, then take the 1 back and get on the 2! haha There are stops in there of course but I don't remember their names so that's all the information you get!

Michelle, me and Tawanda!

Seeing the Eiffel Tower for the first time was pretty exciting, and then it just got strange. There are people about every five feet selling crappy little Eiffel Tower replicas. They're aggressive and annoying. While we were en route by foot a police car started to drive slowly down the road, stopping every so often in front of a street vendor. The vendor would then quickly pick up their wares and start to walk away. I had no idea what was happening and then Michelle explained that they're illegal immigrants and the police will take them to be deported if they don't leave. It didn't seem to do much good though because as soon as the police car left they just sat down at a new spot and rearranged the figures. Hm!

We didn't go up into the tower, the lines were very long and we wanted to make sure we had time to have lunch and get to The Louvre with sufficient time to look around. We settled for walking out onto the sprawling grassy area and taking lots of pictures of ourselves in front of the tower! There was a lot of broken glass in the grass, as well as beer caps. Just so messy. There were also some people dressed in weird chicken and gorilla costumes. I was taking pictures of Michelle in front of the tower and the chicken just wandered in and stood with her while I took pictures. Then he harassed her for money. I can see if she approached him and wanted a photo, but man, he wandered into HER photo. So when she had my camera and was taking pictures of me and the gorilla tried to hug me I flapped at him and ran away. It's difficult to focus on what I'm there to focus on when someone is in my face every two minutes trying to get me to give them money. It has been quite an experience.

French bill!

The next adventure landed us outside of a public toilet. A public toilet that cleans itself after every use, forcing us to wait 45 minutes so Michelle could use it. Hygiene is important, but now I understand why public urination is so popular! While Tawanda and I waited we explored the souvenir shop that was adjacent to the toilet. I told her that I wanted something interesting and not something I could get in the States. I've seen those tiny Eiffel Tower keychains back home so I wasn't about to buy one here. I'm also not sure I'm really a I <3 Paris shirt kind of person. Then she pointed out something rather interesting: I <3 Paris... condoms. They had me laughing a lot so I bought one. Unique souvenir acquired!

The Louvre!

Once we were safely landed near The Louvre we scoped out a place to eat. We ended up at a nice little cafe with very friendly wait staff. I had a cheeseburger that was too expensive, but the fries were plentiful and delicious so all was not lost. I considered buying a soda, but they were 5.20. The beers were 5. What the heck is with the inflated soda prices!? I had water instead, which was the better idea anyway because it was warm and I was walking and needed actual nourishment.

So, The Louvre! We had a blast playing around in front of the fountains and the pyramids. It was a while before we actually even got in line. Fortunately for us, the line moved very quickly and we found ourselves in the museum! At long last, The Louvre! The famous museum seen in so many movies, such grand wonder awaited us! Oh, and also, sheer exhaustion. Someone told me, it may have been Ann, that you could literally spend days in there. She was not exaggerating. I didn't even know what I wanted to look at, I'm not a big museum person. It's all very fascinating at first, but then it all starts to look the same to me. Saying these things makes me feel like I'm a horrible person, and I am sorry for that! The sculptures are incredible, always, but the paintings. They are vibrant and life like yes. The detail is astounding. Again though, they all start to look the same. I had to keep repeating to myself, "I am in Paris at The Louvre and I just saw the Mona Lisa in person. Be excited" >.>


Speaking of the Mona Lisa... well, I don't really have anything to say. It's tiny, like I was told. Behind bullet proof glass, which I was told. You have to stand like 10-15 feet away, which I was told. The room is full of people using flash photography even though they're told not to, which I was told. All in all I almost felt like I had already seen it! It's so famous, and also sadly underwhelming. I feel as though I may be sounding pretty ungrateful right now. I'm not ungrateful, just giving honest recollections of the day. The museum was incredible and I am just not a museum person. On a meta sense it was fantastic though!

The three of us were separated near the end, sort of doing our own things. I ended up waiting near the gift shop for them to return. I almost fell asleep while on the bench. Energy = gone.

Michelle likes to jump :D

We very happily went back to the metro station and to our hostels. Michelle has herself a date tonight :O So Tawanda and I made plans to have dinner near the Moulin Rouge. I guess there are some really nice restaurants around it! I'm excited :D

Things continued to get better when I got up to the room. New roomie! Her name is Elise and she is from.... Seattle! What are the freaking chances!? haha! She is really nice and is here for a few days. We chatted it up and then Michelle showed up. The three of us were chatty and friendly and making plans right away! Elise asked what we were up to tonight and I immediately invited her to come to dinner with Tawanda and me! She seemed relieved and excited and said yes! Ah!

The Louvre.

I asked her what she was planning on doing tomorrow (with the intention of inviting her to come with me while I walked around and found Amelie locations) and she said she was just going to be walking around the area. I asked her, "Have you seen Amelie?" and she stops and goes, "... I'm doing the walking tour tomorrow, it's why I'm in Montemartre!" and I went, "Oh my gosh ME TOO!" and we got all giddy and started gabbering away again. So we'll be walking to the locations together tomorrow! I'm just so happy :D :D :D

So now I'm in the lobby again, blogging away. Dinner tonight and walking with a friend tomorrow. Lots of things have made me happy today. Oh, my phone is dead. I didn't think about the fact that I didn't have an Ireland-Europe plug adapter :\  Let's hope I won't be needing it for anything! Logic tells me that I probably know someone WITH such an adapter, but let's not go down that road.

Resting in The Louvre, observing the outside!

The internet in here is very very slow tonight and I can only get the one picture to upload. I am very sad about this.


8:47 am: hostel: today is already so much better than yesterday. My new bunk mate is from Zimbabwe and she is so friendly! I'm going with her and some other people to see the Eiffel Tower and The Louvre today!

9:30 am: hostel: I love a free breakfast!

10:08 am: outside: meeting up with Michelle's friend, then off to the Eiffel Tower!

10:47 am: metro: that guy looked just like Cillian Murphy oh my gosh. He was with a girl though, darn.

11:28 am: Eiffel Tower: !!!!

12:13 pm: walking: French woman in a striped shirt and a barrett!

12:21 pm: souvenir shop: I <3 Paris condom. Purchased.

12:54 pm: Bir-Haken metro station: to The Louvre! and lunch :D

1:41 pm: Cafe Palais Royal: French words are slightly coming back to me.

2:39 pm: The Louvre: so the outside of The Louvre is pretty neat!

3:31 pm: The Louvre: Hey look, the Mona Lisa.

4:14 pm: The Louvre: I believe I am actually lost, as in cannot find a way to exit.

4:23 pm: The Louvre: Ok I'm good now.

6:02 pm: hostel: new bunk mate is from Seattle! Crazy! And she's coming to dinner with us :D

6:18 pm: hostel: Oh snap!! She's doing an Amelie walking tour tomorrow too! We are going together!


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