Le Fabuleux Destin de [Ryan]

7/23/10   –   20:53

Bienvenue a Paris! So like I said, I arrived at the hostel ragged and smelling like subway from my night at the station. But this didn’t stop me from having a packed first day in the city. I gotta keep the energy up!

I’m following a modified version of travel-demi-god Rick Steves’ suggestions for a three day stay in the city. I split it as follows:

1) Historic city

2) Museums

3) Versailles

My fourth day will be spent lounging about, which is as worthy an activity as any museum or sight, and taking in the city day and night. Oh, and watching the Tour de France cyclists as they finish the race down the Champs-Elysees [!] I’m getting ahead of myself, though.

The Ile de la Cité is a veritable pincushion of sights set in the middle of the Seine, the river that cuts Paris into North and South sides. My first stop was Notre Dame [of Hunchback fame] and that was alright. They sure do love flying buttresses and stained glass. Oh. Hey gothic style. What’s that? France is your turf? Oh gotcha.

There was this carving on one of the jambs by the side doors and it told the story of Adam and Eve’s expulsion in three panels. If you can read the faces, the left one says “Hey Eve, I know you just barely came out of Adam’s chest and all, but yeah. Enjoy. No apples, though.” The middle panel continues, “Well hey there, sexy snake. Of course I will take your apples.” The last one isn’t pictured, but the angels face mos def says “Sorry guys.” Haha.

I walked around the Quartier Latin, which houses the age-old Sorbonne University and all the cheap student-friendly eateries that come with being in the vicinity of such an establishment. Fun fact: the Latin Quarter is so called because Latin was the common language of communication between the students who attended the university because they came from all over Europe.

I got hungry for breakfast so I stopped at a creperie [which sounds like “creepery” but really isn’t] I wasn’t feeling the sweet crepes, so I got one with egg and cheese. They’re simple, cheap, and they taste good. Those little raised platform heater things that they cook them on are pretty cool.

A note on the Paris Metro. It ma not be the cleanest, or the fastest, but it goes everywhere. The metro map with all the stops looks like chicken pox.

The hostel I’m staying at in Paris doesn’t have internet either [-_-]. I went out earlier in the afternoon on a quest for some wifi. I saw a McDonalds across the street and I vaguely recall the one in Gainesville having free wifi so I tried there. No luck. Starbucks? That one had free wifi in Cologne, yeah? Well. The ones in Paris are 2 euro for 30 minutes. Lame. It was hot and I was getting a little exasperated, so I stopped by the bubble tea shop that I found right down the street from the hostel. “Do you have wifi in here?” “Yes.” And that’s where I’m writing all these entries from. The owner and her two children are nice Mandarin people. Their taro bubble tea is not quite Lollicup standard [and it’s not purple, either] but it was still good. They didn’t even mind that I stayed there for like two hours while I wrote blogs and checked mail and stuff. They even gave me little free things to eat. I helped them decipher the English on this cheesecake thing they were trying to make but most of the time, they left me alone.

I had to leave around 6:30 so I could head over to the Eiffel tower. I told the people I’d be back for dinner the next day. So yeah. I metro’d over to the square facing the Eiffel Tower, called the Trocadèro and that view was pretty amazing. Walking towards the tower, it looks so close because it’s so big. But it’s actually a ten minute walk from the plaza to the actual tower. On the other side of the tower is the Champ de Mars, where people picnic all over the place even though its illegal on the main thoroughfare. I decided to join the party and bought dinner at a grocery store: a loaf of bread, a ball of mozzarella, Citron Frappe fanta, and taboule because it looked interesting and was cheap. Conclusion? I don’t like taboule too much. The bread was dry [because it was cheap] and Citron Frappe fanta is indistinguishable from Fanta Limón. ;_; Ah well. The view looking up at the tower from the Champs de Mars was nice though.

And then it was time to head up. I’ve seen so many ridiculously small versions of this on TV and around the city that it accentuated the immensity of the structure actually standing under it. I took the stairs up [because it was cheaper and I needed the exercise after that dinner] and hung out at the second level of the tower while the sun set over Paris. It was one of those awesome God-through-the-clouds type of sunsets and that’s what’s pictured in the featured photo for this entry. After the streetlights popped on and Night-time Paris woke up, everybody gasped as the tower exploded in blinking lights. From the tower itself, it looked like just a whole bunch of flashing strobelights, but I made it back down to the Trocadero for the next show [it happens hourly] and it was entrancing. Speaking of making it back down, I almost had a panic attack going down because my fear of heights suddenly made a showing. I can not imagine being a worker on this tower. Being suspended a hundred meters above nothing. ::shiver::

On the way home, I realized a had bread left over from dinner and I figured I’d give it to one of these beggars that inhabit the subways all day while the sun is out. Just my luck. The one time I am actually looking for a beggar and they are nowhere to be found. -_-

In any case. I intend on visiting the tower again sometime. Srsly. It’s such a great thing to just watch. Oh damn. The shop is closing. I have to write the next day’s entry elsewhere. Alright. More soon!

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