I am using this blog to tell everyone what I'm thinking and doing beforehand, during and after my exchange year in Finland for 2011.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Eurotour - Day 7

Today was our free day and night in Paris to do whatever we wanted! I teamed up with Ana and a few other exchangers but somehow there was a bit of a miscommunication and they left without us so we went with a big group that was going to go to the Notre Dame. We caught the metro and when we got on, a guy with a saxophone and another with a clarinet got on too and just started jamming right in front of us! We got off at the Notre Dame station and then started walking. On our way we stopped at a touristy stand and I popped into the post office to buy some stamps for my postcards. Once the lady had finished being terribly rude to me I posted my postcards and discovered that I was alone. I was in such a big group that no-one could notice that they were short a person. I headed towards the Notre Dame because that's was where we were going but turns out they had already turned back to find me and so I never found them. 

A little annoyed but never to be discouraged, I decided that there was no use wasting my day looking for people in a city as big as Paris so I slowly walked back up the long street and ate a delicious crepe on the way and tried not to spend hundreds of dollars on touristy things. I jumped on a train and got off at the Louvre. I'm not a big art fan but I really wanted to be able to say I had been to the Louvre and that I'd seen the Mona Lisa. It was free because I had proof I was under 18 so I didn't feel bad only spending about 40 minutes there. It was surprisingly easy to see the Mona Lisa, I thought I would have to wait a while but I got in pretty fast. Paris made me feel very small, not because of its size but because it was so strange to be looking at a painting that millions and millions of people have looked at before me. I took photos of things that had been photographed so many times before and I knew that they would be photographed another billion times in the future. It was quite a strange feeling especially compared to the feeling I get when I go camping and I see desert outback that maybe only a hundred thousand or so people have ever experienced. I realise this is a bit of an underestimate but it feels that way sometimes. 

Anyway I wandered around the Louvre for a little while longer and then came out a different door, very confused because it felt like I had barely walked 100m and I could barely make out the entrance I had walked that far! I caught another train to the Arc De Triomphe and tried to take a picture of myself with it with little success. I then spent 20 minutes trying to figure out how to actually get to it, I knew there was a tunnel but where was it! Eventually I found it and I just took pictures of it for a while and decided it was too much of a hassle to pay to go the top. I'd already seen the city from up high anyway. I watched two guys take pictures of each other in front of it for a good 15 minutes and then one came over and asked if I wanted a picture. This was why I was a little apprehensive about letting strangers take photos of me. Sure you can do a bit of profiling but you can never know can you.

I then walked down a street that seemed to be mostly car and motorbike shops. There was a Lamborghini on the side walk and I just couldn't deny myself a picture with it! I spent a while shopping then and I found a nice dress and embarrassed myself in front of the lady selling it to me, what's new! I was having a great time and I found a cute little market selling fresh fruit and veggies and then realised I was a bit lost, I found a map and realised I had walked a long way! I headed in the direction of a Metro but seems I choose the wrong street and ended up on the very outskirts of the tourist end of the city. We were given touristy maps and they had  big red circle around the city that was sort of, you don't need to pass the red circle because its all business centres and nothing touristy. I had passed the red line. Luckily I found a hotel and asked for directions and managed to get back to a metro and catch it back to the hotel.

There was a meet up at the Eiffel tower so I was going to change and go back there but I ran into some people so I tagged along with them, it was nice to be back with people! We went to Rue de Rivoli and shopped a bit and found some food. Then I caught the Metro to the Eiffel tower and all day I had caught metro after metro with no problem but I had decided to take this line that was a letter and not a number because it would be faster but its not the same thing and I had to walk forever to get to it only to realise my ticket didn't work because its not the metro! So it took me about 40 minutes instead of 5, whoops! I found Ana and Sophie at the Eiffel tower and although I'd had a good day, I was just glad to be back with them! We hung around waiting for the light show and we all had crepes, I think it was about number 50 for me?! The light show was so cool even though it was still pretty light when it happened. We gathered as a group then to try and find a club that we could go to. Someone knew of a gay club near the Notre Dame and so as the exchangers students we are we thought it might be funny to go there. On the metro there, one of the girls in our group got fined 50 euros for giving here ticket to her friend to use again. Tip for travellers - just buy a day ticket! They are only about 3 Euros and I used mine about 20 times.

We never found the club, we just spent 50 minutes walking around trying to find somewhere that looked fun. The trains in Paris stop at 2am and start again at 5am. It was about 1.30 and the group I was with wanted to stay out all night but I was exhausted and done with trying to find things when we had no clue what we were actually looking for so I caught a train back to the hotel, in the dark, on my own. Not a decision I am particularly proud of but all was well in the end. That was the end of my rather eventful day in Paris! My highlights would have to have been the Mona Lisa, the Lamborghini (parents; I will have my license soon?) and the Eiffel tower with all the sparkly lights! My favourite thing about Paris was the Metro, it was so easy to get from place to place and it was so cheap! I also really loved the food! I know this is a very detailed post but it was probably my most eventful day and I had lots of thoughts on Paris and I wanted to write them all out. 

On the metro, excited for our day! 

Notre Dame

Mona Lisa! 

The Lourve

Arc de Triomphe

Success? NO.

One of my highlights  

A little bit of Oz in Paris. 

Crepes at the Eiffel tower, definitely needs a picture!

Happy to be re-united! 


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