Paris and the Western Front
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Hey all, this is my first attempt at blogging... please be gentle
Our recent trip to Paris was all emotions rolled into one. The Joy of traveling to a foreign country, especially one that you have dreamed of being in for so long was amazing. I dont think i slept at all the previous night. Boarding the plane in Dublin i was surprised to see 2 young irish ladies sneak on infront of us (despite our priority boarding... grrr). Anyhows, the flight was shorter then it takes to fly from Adelaide (South Australia .. just for those of you who arent to sure) to the Gold Coast (thats Queensland). Its hard to believe that this short flight and we were in a different country, culture and most difficult of all.... language).
Our greeting in France by the security people was pleasant and quick. Outside the reality set in. Where was our lift??? We had pre booked a transit company to take us into Paris and they didnt arrive. A few phone calls and swearing, both in English by me and French by the other person on the other end of the phone made us realise the enormity of the task of not speaking French...d'oh. A short bus ride into Paris when we found out how to get to the bus and all things were grand.
Paris itself was amazing, except for the public transport system which was on Strike..... NOOOOOO. Alot of walking later (with blisters on my feet.. mental note.. take good comfy shoes) and we found the Eifell tower.. not that its hard to miss (look for the big metal thing pointing into the sky. The Eifell tower at night time was stunning. It is lit like nothing i have ever seen. It flashed on the hour... stunning. Climbing up to the top was another challenge (remember the blisters and the stairs) but well worth it. The wind was freezing (and i mean bloody freezing) but didnt damper the sight.
Breakfast was found in a small cafe near our hotel. A fantastic meal of eggs, bacon, snags and coffee. It never really hit me that we were eating breakfast in a small cafe until i looked over and caught our host making our coffees, complete with cigarette in elegant hand. The Lourve was an interesting place. Not being an art buff or critic myself (i can barely draw stick figures correctly) i was still amazed by the sight of the painting, scultpures etc. I got a chance to meet and have photo taken with the most famous lady in the world (Mona i shall call her... hehehe).
How do you describe the Arc de Trioumphe... the driving there... sheer maddness, the viw from the top... fantastic. The walk up the stairs is well worth the hassle for the view you are greeted with.
Our next challenge for the trip was driving in France. Now... being Australian i am used to driving on the left hand side of the road. It was a challenging and daunting thought to be driving on the opposite. Here i was, driving a left hand drive vehicle, on the right hand side of the road, doing 140kmh on the highway, overtaking on the left hand side of the road and trying to change gears with my right hand. Scary, scary experience but i would do it again (does that count as an extreme sport???)
Our path lead us from Paris, up the highway with the robotic voice of our SAT NAV system (worth the extra cost of the rental vehicle) leading us to Villiers Bretonneux. An amazing small little town which the Australians help to reclaim from the Germans during the First World War. The Australian War Memorial and the War Museum above the schoolare a must for anyone with any interest in Australian history, especially war history. The locals seemed to be able to pick our accent, making the locals most interested in conversing with you. A travel up the road a bit future towards Fromelles (where i had a great grand father fight) made for an interesting drive.. and my only whoops of my driving. I managed to hit the gutter while stopping for lunch. Fromelles was both amazing, and a little sombering. Walking up to the Australian memorial there, it is hard to imagine that this place was covered with trenches and flattened during the first world war.
All in all.. our trip to Paris and the Western front was both amazing, disappointing and memoriable.
Tip from this travel
RELIABLE, COMFORTABLE SHOES ARE A MUST