Bye Bye Study Abroad, Hello Backpacking Through Europe
Paris Travel Blog› entry 32 of 58 › view all entries
June 27th, 2009 – by: reger1520
But the day began with a 45 minute bus ride to Versailles. We had a choice to visit either the Louvre or Versailles. I chose Versailles mainly because of its distance from downtown Paris and I would get free transportation to and fro.
In order to be considered a “group” at Versailles, you must have more than 15 people. We had exactly 15 people with us. Therefore, we all had to individually get our tickets. This comprised of waiting in two massive lines, each about an hour long (see the picture). My friend Barry and I got sick of standing around, and ventured off to find a French pastry to keep us satisfied. We found some delicious cheese pastries and returned just as the group was about to enter. Perfect timing, and we didn't even have to wait in line!
The chateau was built by King Louis XIV back in the 1600’s.
Then we entered the hall of mirrors. This large area is home to fancy chandeliers and mirrors. Even though the place was packed to the gills, I was still able to enjoy it and imagine what it was like to have been there just some 300 years prior. After strolling through the rest of the hall and chateau, we went out back for a quick look at the gardens and then back out to the bus.
After a short stop at McDonalds to grab some nasty but oh so tasty burgers, we made our way on to the bus for a short nap before the rest of the group arrived.
Back at the hostel, most people decided to take a nap or go explore the area around the hostel. I had to pack. At first, I thought our program was finished that day and I had booked a hotel with Clark and Sarah on the other side of town. Little did I know, I still had another night with the program so I had two places to stay that night in Paris. I just grabbed a few items and hopped on the metro to the hotel. Check-in was easy and I was hoping I would catch Clark and Sarah (from now on I’m going to refer to them as CS because I’m already sick of typing both of their names out). I received a key and off I went to room 43.
Then I walked into room 43. There was only one king bed and a bunch of Asian stuff all over the place.
I arrived around 4:45pm and stood right in front of the beautiful church among hordes of tourists. I was worried that I wasn’t going to find them, but just after the five o’clock bells rang, CS spotted me. I hadn’t seen them since our trip to China last summer so we did a big bit of catching up as we strolled back towards my hostel (I also found out that we were staying in room 53 as opposed to 43).
We grabbed a drink at a café right down the street from my hostel and I told them I still had a night with the group. We parted ways and I told them I would meet them back at the hotel around midnight. I went back to my hostel to go grab dinner and get ready for the trip to Montmartre.
Montmartre is the art district of Paris, well known for its small boutiques and famous steps heading up to the Sacre Coeur church. Our group took the metro and walked up the crowded stairs through rude street salesmen and dirty streets. However, once at the top, the view was awesome and the place was teeming with young people. I spent the final night with my newly made best friends (you don’t have much of a choice when you spend a whole month together non-stop, but luckily they were all amazing people) passing a bottle of wine on the steps of Montmartre.
After saying the final, bittersweet goodbyes, I headed back to grab my stuff at the hostel. I took the metro back to the hotel and met up again with CS. It was a somewhat emotional night, but one I will always remember. Now it’s back on the road. Three college kids backpacking through Europe for the rest of the trip.
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