Tuesday, 12 June 2012

June 6-9 PARIS


It's finally time to blog about Paris, since I just need another excuse to procrastinate some more today.

Last tuesday Melissa, Will, and I planned a trip to go to Paris the next morning. Probably not the best idea we've ever had to plan the night before. But we got a hotel and train tickets so we thought we were set. I left Will in charge of knowing where our hotel was and how to get there. So we wake up and make it to the train station for our 10 o'clock train to Paddington Station in London. Once there we can't quite figure out how to get to our international train. We looked like such tourist, like to get on the platforms you have to have tickets but ours wouldn't work. It was a hassle. But we took the underground over to St. Pancreas and Kings Cross. Platform 9 and 3/4! Not really but I wish, then we kinda had to run to make our international train because we had to get through security and customs. Although its way more lax than in an airport. So finally we arrive at Gare du Nord. None of us know French of course. So we buy our 3 day metro passes, and kinda just "hop on" a metro that Will thinks is going towards where we were staying. Now don't be fooled, the metro is quite simple and easy even in French but we had no idea actually where we were going. We had the address but that doesn't really help. So we like basically see that were leaving the city on the metro, so we are panicking and we find this sweet French family who doesn't speak any English. They completely saved us. The man talked to our conseirge and then drew out directions for us. He had to painstakingly make sure we knew where we were going with like the two words of English he knew. He kind of drew a map, and we kept it with us the rest of the time. So we get off with them and have to backtrack in the complete opposite direction. Finally after another 2 metro lines and a 20 minute bus ride we make it to our hotel about 10 at night. We check in and then want to explore the city a little bit cause our time is limited. So we take the bus back to the metro and then the metro to Charles de Gaulle and Champs-Elysees. On our bus ride back the Paris boys were all over me and Melissa. They wanted us to come to a party in the Latin Quarter with them. They were what you would expect from a French guy, very flattering, and blowing us kisses all that. I wanted to take a picture with them, but Melissa said no. We walked around and had dinner at a cute little cafe outside on the street. Our waiter there said my hair was beautiful and he wanted me to come to the bar after he got off work, at 4 in the morning! We laughed alot, but he drew us out a map on the back of the receipt, which I still have; and we told him we would meet him there after his shift. So we left, but Will wanted us to walk the way towards the bar so we wouldnt hurt this guys feelings. I think his name was Silvestri? Then we go back to the metro and realize "oh, of course that it stopped running at 12". Its about 1 by this time. We wander around, and feisty Casey comes out cause I rather don't like being lost in a foreign country and strange city. So I hail us a cab, but no one is willing to take us to our hotel which  is way outside the city limits. One man takes us to Saint Germain, which is 10 euros in the other direction. So I get the consierge on the phone again and I'm pretty mad by this point, because were on a dark street corner at 1 in the morning in Paris. We all thought we were going to be taken, and my second thought was of sleeping in the metro station with the homeless people and having to tour Paris disgusting the next day. But this sweet cab driver, who spoke decent English finally finds us a way back home. It was about 40 euros, so of course we planned to be at the hotel by like 10 pm the next night. We finally got home, and I don't remember the last time I slept so good.

Arc de Triomphe

Winged Victory at Samothrace, My favorite

Tuileries from the window of the Louvre

Notre Dame
Looking off the bridge of the Seine

We woke up thursday and made it back on all the public transportation to the Louvre. It was amazing, so crowded though. We spent 3 hours there, and saw everything I think. We did a really good job at seeing every room I think. We saw Mona Lisa, which everyone says they're disappointed when they see it. It wasn't because it was small, but because you can't actually enjoy it. There are millions of people like pushing and jostling you to get closer to the front. I wish I couldve sat there and actually looked at it. But really, every painting in there is amazing, so how can they pick that one to be the best? Even the ceilings and walls in the Louvre are complete works of art. So finally after 3 hours we left and it was pouring rain. We got pretty soaked, and my shoes were wet the rest of the day. But it finally stopped raining and we walked through the Tuileries gardens. They were gorgeous, and we actually got seats around the fountain because everyone was just coming back out after the rain. Then we walked all the way along the Seine, a long walk down to Notre Dame. We walked through this really cool flower market. When we finally got there it was packed. We finally got in, and its funny in France it's totally fine to take pictures in the Cathedral, everything is just a little different. Thats not acceptable in the churches in England because its a place of worship. It was very, very pretty though. The stained glass was my favorite out of the ones that we have seen here. After that I took advantage of the Paris food and got my nutella crepe. YUM.  We were pretty tired already by this point but we made it on the metro over to the Eiffel tower. The line was far too long to go up it, but we took some good pictures outside it. Then we went over to a little cafe on the street and had dinner with the Eiffel tower in the background. It was so nice, and the food was really good. Then we dragged ourselves back to Champs-Elysees, and saw all the nightlife there. All the rich Arabian people were shopping in the crazy expensive stores. We just went in H &M and probably tortured poor Will. Me and Melissa enjoyed it though. Then we were so tired and didn't want to miss the metro so we took it back to the hotel.

The next day we got a late start because we were so tired. But after a long metro ride we finally made it to Versailles. Will likes to say Ver-Say-lees, and he was sure that De Gaulle was pronounces De GWALE. I had to bang my head against the wall a little bit. I have the terrible habit also of walking way too fast just like dad. So every picture Melissa has I'm usually about 10 steps into the picture just walking in front of them. But back on track, Versailles was my favorite palace by far. Except the only problem is that it is overcrowded. People were like pushing and shoving, so by the time I was through I wanted to tackle people, and that made it not enjoyable. I'm glad I saw it though.  Then we had to rush back to Nord to catch our train. We were almost late, and we had to run down the platform like in a movie. It was kind of fun though. Then on the way back we all passed out. But I was sure I was finally getting to go to Hogwarts. When we were in the tunnel, someone's phone started ringing the Harry Potter theme song. I was like thinking the time has finally come! Its a magic train to Hogwarts. But alas, it wasnt and I'm back in Oxford as a seasoned world traveler. More like really good at getting lost but recovering. I have to say thanks to the Elliott genes for a wonderful sense of direction. Melissa and Will wouldnt have made it home without me, if Im allowed to brag.

Thats all for Paris, the weekend was just very chill and writing papers. Last night we had formal dinner at New College. It was also very Harry Potter. The teachers come in and sit on the dias, and all the lights are low and its by lamplight. It's a 3 course meal with wine for about 3 lbs. We all had a great time at dinner, then went over to the Trinity college bar with the WISC staff and met some other people. Very Oxfordian.

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