EuroTrip 2008 Day 7 (London/ Paris Day 1)

Paris Travel Blog

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Wow, I can’t believe it’s already been a full week since I left Los Angeles. Wow, how time flies when you’re experiencing the world. It’s funny because when I left on the trip, I mainly thought I was leaving friends and family behind for two months. Now, however, I’m coming to realize I bid adieu to a part of me that I will never again possess. The ignorance/ lack of experience of what European culture truly is. Although I know I can never fully experience a culture in 5 or 6 days (let alone 5 or 6 months), I do feel a change within me for sure. This trip has opened my eyes and mind in more ways than I ever could’ve hoped for. (ok, ok sappy mode off hehe)

I woke up early this morning knowing that I would soon leave London. Ah, good ol’ London. I had felt so comfortable there the last few days. I was used to its basic customs, it’s pace, it’s vibe. After waking up at about 8:30, I showered, got ready, etc. I then headed down to the YHA London Central Hostel’s lobby for breakfast. There I saw Stephen (the quirky Canadian). After grubbing on a croissant and some milk, I surfed the net for a little while. I prepared everything for Paris (looked at maps, changed my arrival time at the hostel, etc). I then went out and wandered around London for one last time soaking in as much as possible.

After a few hours, I stopped at a pub called “The Green Man”. By the way, here’s a little tidbit a local told me about pubs in London. If you’ve been to London, you’ll notice most, pubs (at least the old school ones have a picture outside on the sign with their name on it. This is because in the old days, most Londoners were illiterate, so they distinguished their favorite pubs by the pictures they had.

Anyways, back to the blog. I stopped by for a quick lunch. The whole time I was in London, I thought the cuisine was a bit subpar and WAYYYYY overpriced. I believe I read it’s the most expensive city to eat in the world. If that’s the case, it definitely doesn’t merit that title based on the quality of food there. Yeah, I know there must be some great spots, but I was yet to find one. Not that it was bad or anything (although I don’t think I’ll try a Danish Cornish again anytime soon), just didn’t measure up. Obviously, I had the fish and chips this time, which was actually a little better than the first time I had it. I also tried a cider called Strongbow. I don’t recall ever having a cider of it’s type, so I figured what the hell.

Upon finishing the meal, I went back to the hostel to pick up my things and get to the St. Pancras Station to board the Eurostar train to Paris. While getting my bag checked, I struck up conversation with one of the station’s employees. We talked American politics for about 15 minutes. Since he was of African descent, he was wondering if I thought America was ready to elect a black man as president. After going into a long discourse, which included quite a bit of Bush bashing hehe, he said that it’s the first time an American has stated his opinion in such a ‘rational and logical” manner. He was probably just flattering me, but then again, I’ve spoken to some Americans on this trip that were not exactly going to win a Nobel Prize anytime soon, if you know what I mean.

Anyways, while on the train, I just watched rolling country side flash by me. For a while there was a fade to black on the scenery since we were under the English Channel. Approximately 2 1/2 hours later, I arrived in Paris. A wave of excitement and nervousness came over me. Would I be able to communicate with my limited French? Sure I took 3 years of French in high school, but would it suffice?

I descended the train and headed in the main part of the station, somewhat clueless where to go. I asked a police man “Bonjour monsieur, je voudrais une carte orange. Ou est-ce qu’ils sont?” To my surprise, he actually understood what I said haha. I figured I would butcher the pronunciation so horribly and not use grammar so ridiculously horrible that it would be impossible to decipher. He pointed me in the right direction. I got some passport style photos for the carte orange and I took the number 5 metro Line and exited at the Laumiere station. Here it is, my first TRUE view of Paris.

I ascended and saw the Paris I had dreamt about visiting so many times. I don’t know if it’s because I studied French, but the city had the EXACT same vibe I envisioned. I can’t put it into words, but it was kind of calming to see what I had pictured in my mind so many times before. The trek to the hostel was a bit of a challenge, but I managed to do it just fine. I had heard that French (especially Parisians) were somewhat cold and somewhat rude. Granted I’ve only been here about 30 minutes, it could not be farther from the truth. Everyone I approached asking for directions was quite nice and helpful. An old man even drew me a map directing me to the street the hostel was on. (by the way, Parisian drivers are CRAZY. They don’t really abide by the “pedestrian has the right of way” belief. I saw a car almost run over a guy and his dog while the cross walk sign was green!)

Anyways I checked into the hostel, which is right on a channel. It’s pretty nice. The rooms are simple yet chic. You’ll see in the pics. I just love how the bar down stairs is RIGHT on the water. Unfortunately, when I checked in they informed me the elevator was out of service. Not fun when I’m on the 6th floor and have a 40lb bag to lug around haha. Anyways, I met some people just now while watching the Spain vs. Russia futbol game, so I’ll have to get off the comp. I plan on exploring a little bit of the city after the game and after a couple beers. Talk to you guys later.

UPDATE: So yesterday, after I left you guys, I went to meet up with my new friends. After going to the store really quick, I saw someone either fell or jumped off a bridge and the ambulance picked them up. I didn't see what happened, but hopefully that person is ok. After that, I met up Deonna (girl from Colorado), Pat (from Montreal), and a few other people and hung out at the hostel drinking wine. We then went up to their room and partied some more. Then, Deonna and I went exploring for a little while. Well, it felt We walked around the local area for a while, then stopped in one bar. Then, while on the way back to the hostel, we found a bar that was playing really good music. Anyways, got saucy and went back to hte hostel, hung out for a while, and KNOCKED OUT.

emmllerg says:
Enjoy your next vacation to Paris
Posted on: Jun 02, 2013
emmllerg says:
Enjoy your next vacation to Paris
Posted on: Jun 02, 2013
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photo by: Sweetski