2011-2012 New Year's Celebration
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DEPARTURE FROM GENT - The bus started at 7 am with 17 people from Gent. Our next stop was Brussels Noord station. Where the rest 73 people were waiting.. Driving a dubble decker bus in narrow streets of BRUSSELS city was no fun for Lady driver- KELLY.. However, we managed to reach Brussels Noord station with a time delay of 20 minutes compared to wat was informed to the group.
LEAVING FROM BRUSSELS & ARRIVING IN PARIS- The journey begun quite smooth.. It took almost 15 minutes to accommodate all the participants in the bus with their seat nos and their luggage inside the luggage room. After a round of preliminary introduction of Group leaders including Me, we started Breakfast session.. Not to forget for a trip of 2 days and 1 night including hotel stay the individual was charged 100 Euro (including Breakfast in the bus)...
Later during journey we began with Bollywood Comedy Movie name- 123 (*ing - Paresh Rawal, Tushar Kapoor, Sunil Shetty, Sameera Reddy, Esha Deol etc)... Soon the only noise we could hear in the bus was Laughter.. Even few of our friends from other countries (Zimbabwe, Spain, Mexico, Iran & Belgium) enjoyed the bollywood movie..
In the mean time, Group leaders had big task of listing accommodation for all of us in 6 different hotels that were booked for the purpose. I had to take care of 52 people who stayed in Novotel Hotel La Defense. Believe me, that was a real challenge..
Luckily everyone cooperated and didnt result in chaos at the time of room allotment.
TOURING AROUND PARIS (FREE TRANSPORTATION IN PARIS ON 31st Dec (after 5 pm) to 1st Jan (till 12 noon)- After checking into the hotel I had to act as guide and bring everyone to Notre Dame where we planned to gather with rest of the group from different hotels... We took a bus from our hotel to La Defense station.. Bus 144- at stop called Pages (a very narrow street with one way traffic) had to wait till eveyone buys the tickets (you can imagine if 52 people buy the ticket, how long the bus have to wait)...This resulted in a huge Traffic Jam at the back with cars cudnt stop blowing HORNS..... Immediately Bus driver spoke to his boss on wireless and asked permission to let everyone in without tickets ... It was 2 pm in the afternoon so we had to buy tkts.. But finally Driver offered everyone a free ride till La Defense station.. Ho Ho.. everyone was Happy.
around 4 pm everyone was infront of Notre Dame- The site of the Notre dame is the cradle of Paris and has always been the religious center of the city. The Celts had their sacred ground here, the Romans built a temple to worship Jupiter. A Christian basilica was built in the 6th century and the last religious structure before the Notre-Dame construction started was a Romanesque church.
Visiting Cathedral was fast although the que was long enough to change the mind.. but we kept going..
After that we all scattered as many of them wanted to see paris on their own. Many of them Decided to visit Louvre Museum- Originally a royal palace, the Louvre became a public museum at the end of the 18th century. It is located in the 1st arrondissement, Venus of Miloat the heart of Paris.
There are about 35.000 objects on display, spread out over three wings of the former palace. The museum has a diverse collection ranging from the antiquity up to the mid 19th century. A large part of the collection consists of European paintings and sculptures. Other rooms contain Roman, Egyptian, Greek and Oriental art. There is also a section with 'Objects d'Art', where objects such as clocks, furniture, china and tapestries are displayed.
Some of the most famous works of art in the museum are the Venus of Milo, the Nike of Samothrake, the Dying Slave by Michelangelo and of course Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa.
Few people including all the group leaders decided to head towards Eiffel tower. Eiffel tower- Nearest station is Bir Hakiem..
The tower rises 300 meters tall (984 ft); when it was completed at the end of the 19th century it was twice as high as the washington Monument, at the time the tallest structure in the world.
The man behind the Eiffel Tower was Gustave Eiffel, known from his revolutionary bridge building techniques, as employed in the great viaduct at Garabit in 1884. These techniques would form the basis for the construction of the Eiffel Tower. He was also known for the construction of the Statue of Liberty's iron framework.
The structure took more than two years to complete. Each one of the about 12,000 iron pieces were designed separately to give them exactly the shape needed. All pieces were prefabricated and fit together using approx. 7 million nails.
It was 7.30 pm when we reached Eiffel.. All Indians started wishing each other Happy New year as it was 0000 hrs in India..Even the shopkeepers(indians & pakistanis) nearby were talkin to us and wishing the same.. It was fun..
DISAPPOINTMENT AT NEW YEAR's EVE - Suddenly we encountered Tonns & Tonns of Police.. thinking this might be an arrangement to overcome any strange situation.. Just spoke to a policeman about fireworks.. and BIG DISAPPOINTMENT... We were informed there wasn't any.. Reason- 1) Last year some group of people ended up in fight and started throwing each other in Siene River near ..for safety reasons.. this time it was forbidden.. 2) French government was running out of money.. Thats wat Police said- CRISIS.... We can u'stand that..
DISAPPOINTMENT CONTINUES - we then looked for a place to sit and relax in mild cold & windy weather.. Had Cotton Lollypops.coffee & Wines.and took lot of pictures.. around 9 we moved towards Arch de Triomphe to sit in a Bar and have some more drinks/food.. On our surprise none of the place was vacant.. People were standing in ques for their turn .. Bouncers & security people were standing outside for not letting the people in unless they had prior reservation... and ya we were around 12 people so group was big enough to scare people for the space.. After goin through more than 100 bars.. we got an opportunity/space at one place in Champs-Élysées Bar next to QUICK burger chain.. by the time it was already 10.45 pm...We all started ordering drinks and food of our choice and getting surprised with the special prices listed in Menu.. Jack Daniel (on d rocks- My fav) was 20 Euros (I wud have probably got complete Bottle for that price from a supermarket).. We spend next 1 hour in that Bar..
WELCOME 2012 - 11.45 - Getting out from the bar. Street Champs-Élysées was completely full by the crowd- from Different parts of the world screaming and singing in several groups.... Vehicles started blowing horns.. Lighting all around.. We thought we might see fireworks in the sky above Arch de Triaomphe. at 11.59 & 50 seconds Crowd started the countdown..and at 0000 hrs.. It was HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYWHERE (BUT NO FIREWORKS)... WE WEREN'T happy. but looking around cheerful faces,lovely and calm crowd..showering Champagne everywhere made our evening a Memorable one.. (Ofcourse infront of huge Millitary of Police)...we wished for success, good health and prosperity to Several others apart from our group... HAPPY NEW YEAR 2012...
01/12/2012- Check out from Hotel & reaching GARE DU NOORD station for SOUTH INDIAN FOOD... Indians have small issue with food.. Wherever they go.. they insist on having indian food atleast once.. This was already known by us and therefore we mentioned Lunch at South indian Restaurant (SARVANA BHAWAN)..in our itiernarary .. street behind Gare du Noord station... PARIS.. Soon the restaurant full of our group... Guy from Zimbabwe (Name- DUBE) was surprised looking at the quantity served in his plate for just 12 Euros.. He said- this he can eat for 3 days.... I told better finish them now and dont eat for next 2 days...
After several MASALA DOSAS, IDLI/WADA SAMBHAR, ONION UTTAPAM... we decided to move towards Sacré-Coeur, in same area Montmartre, an area on a hill in the 18th arrondissement, north of downtown Paris, is known for its many artists who have been omnipresent since 1880. The name Montmartre is said to be derived from either Mount of Martyrs or from Mount of Mars. Until 1873, when the Sacré-Coeur was built on top of the hill, Montmartre was a small village, inhabited by a mostly farming community.
At last but not least- We moved towards MOULIN ROUGE...a famous ADULT STREET
In October 1889, Paris was all abuzz concerning the opening of a new music hall. The owners of this new establishment, Joseph Oller and Charles Zidler, who had chosen the name Moulin Rouge (Red Mill) for their theatre, gave it the nickname "Le Premier Palais des Femmes" (The First Palace of Women) and claimed that Moulin Rouge would soon become "a temple of music and dance".
Moulin Rouge quickly gained a reputation for being the place where men could view young Parisian girls whose unique and amazing dance moves were as flexible as their morals. And though the famous Can-Can dance had been present in working class ballrooms since the 1830s, the early days of the Moulin Rouge cemented its popularity, though during the first few decades that the establishment was open, it was little more than a bawdy dance performed by courtesans to entertain their male clientele. At times Moulin Rouge Poster
from 1891 by
Toulouse-Lautrecit was downright vulgar and what went on inside the Moulin Rouge caused much public outrage. During this time period, one of the music hall's most notable patrons was artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, who painted a number of famous Moulin Rouge scenes.
In later years, the establishment cleaned up its act (so to speak), eventually lost its reputation as a brothel, and became a fashionable music hall known for its extravagant cabaret shows, attracting a high-class clientele.
The Can-Can itself was toned down as well, though even modern patrons will tell you that this signature dance is still a bit naughty. Still, it's the main reason patrons come to Moulin Rouge and they always go away entertained by the dancers' high-kicking moves, cartwheels, splits, and other Contemporary posteramazing acrobatic tricks.
At 5 pm we all gathered at BERCY STATION and from there BUS & BUS DRIVER KELLY brought us back to Belgium.. Reached Brussels at 11.30 pm.. and Gent by 12.30 am..
Quite different experience though.. Little disappointment with the fireworks.. but as a whole PARIS is place where everytime you go.. you find something new.... Would love to visit 7th time.....
CHEERS & MAY GOD BLESS ALL OF US LOVE, HAPPINESS, GOOD HEALTH & PROSPERITY...