Monday, April 8, 2013

Paris - Day 4 - Home Again, Home Again

There should laws against early mornings. Blah. The sun wasn't even up when Christa, Tina, and I checked out of our hostel and made our way to Gare du Nord. The plan was to grab breakfast along the way but absolutely everything was still closed - even the McDonald's. We opted (by which I mean we arrived at no other option than) to snag something on board the train.

Setting out went fine - we left Paris on time and all went well. Got the window seat this time around so I was a happy camper. I'm an odd duck, okay? When I travel, I prefer to sit by the window even if all I'm going to see is clouds or the dark of a tunnel. I also prefer to sit facing the entrance, or at least with my back to the wall, when eating in a restaurant, prefer escalators for up-and-down travel and my favourite mode of public transport is the bus, even though it takes longer. I have issues. I am aware of them. Let's move on.

As planned, we grabbed something to eat on board, nothing fancy just some snacks, and settled in for what was supposed to be a two hour ride. Ha.

After about forty-five minutes, the train started randomly stopping for ten or twenty minute stretches at a time. After the third time, the conductor came on the speakers to announce they were pulling in at a station and changing trains. Apparently, the train we were on wasn't fit for the impending tunnel trek under the Channel so they needed to snag a train coming out and switch the passengers around. Cue eye-roll here. We ended up being about two and a half hours behind schedule - not good news for Christa and Tina who had a train to Scotland to catch next from Kings Cross an hour after our originally scheduled arrival. Panic, naturally, ensued.

The solution ended up being ridiculously simple: the customer service rep on our train issued a slip of paper to Christa and Tina each stating that missing their train was Eurostar's fault and waving any charges for stuffing them onto a later train.

We arrived at St Pancras near eleven, local time. Christa and Tina went on to sort out their trek to Scotland and I headed back to the house where I immediately reasserted my online presence and confirmed my continued existence.

Overall, Paris proved one hell of a fun time. Sure, yes, the city was dirty, their restaurants were few and far between, and their service workers were on the rude side. But, ladies and gents, it was freaking PARIS! I saw the Eiffel Tower and stood on its observation deck to look out over Paris from above. I walked the halls of the Louvre and saw the Mona Lisa, the Winged Nike of Samothrace, and the Venus de Milo. I took a boat ride down the Siene, toured the Musee d'Orsay, checked out the Statue of Liberty's little sister. I wandered through Notre Dame, visited the graves of the Pantheon, climbed up to Sacré-Cœur Basilica, and walked down D'Elysee from the Louvre to the Arc de Triomphe, seeing all there is to see in between.

So, yeah, pretty damn epic.

Hot damn.

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