02 April 2013

Travels: Paris + London Day II + III

This is very late! Nearly two weeks late! But I'm here now and that counts for something, right? No? Sorry.

On day two, we woke up bright (actually it wasn't bright, it was still dark out) and early at 5.45 to catch the Eurostar to London (where, let's face it, I was eager to be mistaken as Emma Watson. Let's be real: I wasn't. Shame, as I had my accent ready and everything). I ate the rest of a delicious raisin baguette on the way and took a nap and then we were there in the blustery train station at St. Pancras (not pancreas, as I kept wanting to say), right next to King's Cross station (I didn't go see Platform 9 3/4 because I am forgetful). After successfully ordering a hot chocolate in the language of the country (ha!) we headed to Trafalgar Square. It was huge compared to what I was expecting and had really neat fountains. The National Gallery is on the same square and we saw a few rooms of art, mostly paintings. We weren't supposed to take photos, but I did anyway!

Parisian skies; Trafalgar fountains; the BVM; St. James Park.

From there, we went to Buckingham Palace and St. James garden. How odd it must be to have thousands of people flock to your house and stare and take pictures of it... The gardens were even nicer and I made friends with plenty of ducks (by which I mean I did a lot of, "Hey, duck, what's up? I don't have any food for you, but you're looking cute today!" I am a child.). There were a lot of French grade school students on day trips. We probably dodged/waded through half a dozen groups of twenty or so. As we were reaching one point on the path, we came along a family with a young daughter who was calling to the only squirrel in the park (birds everywhere, squirrels not so much). The father told the daughter, "Let's go. We're about to get surrounded by--oh my goodness!" as the mass of French children descended. It was hilarious and I was nearly on the ground laughing.

Lunch at Pret was next (there are so many of these in the city!), then Parliament, Westminster Abbey and the Eye, the Tower and Tower Bridge and some cosmetic shopping. By this point I was hungry so we left to The Coal Hole, a pub in Strand London where I proudly ordered fish n chips (I really should have gotten beer, given that it was probably pretty darn good, but I know nothing about beer and probably wouldn't think a "good" one was any good anyway...). That was pretty much first on my list for the London visit. Not Parliament, no squares... fish n chips. It was good and I even got a little adventurous with malt vinegar (it pretty much just tastes like vinegar), but stuck to dipping the chips in leftover tartar sauce. Mmm. The pub was awesome and quite crowded and pretty friendly whenever I had to make direct contact with someone, so that's always nice for an exceptionally awkward person like me. Or, you know, any person, because niceness is great.

Unfortunately, our train home would be leaving soon so we headed back to the station (not without grabbing a last minute candy bar on the way down the street) and headed home (if a Parisian hotel can be home if you've only spent one day in it).

The Eye panorama; Buckingham; Westminster; crowded Coal Hole; cosmetic/candy prizes.

Day three went rather well, considering I napped for the majority of it and didn't get out of bed until three in the afternoon. Oops. But our day was not to be wasted! We grabbed a box of macarons from Pierre Herme and did some typical tourist-y walking up the Champs Elysees (where we heard Eminem blasting from a guy with some sort of radio) to the Arc de Triomphe where we payed seven euro or so to climb waaaay too many steps up to the top. The leg work out was worth it, though, once I could see the view. Even at night, Paris was beautiful. Twelve streets sprouted from the Arc like a really crazy spider, their streetlights and car lights shining in the darkness, only to be out-dazzled by the Eiffel Tower which was lit up like Christmas. My boyfriend and I spent about ten minutes trying to time photographs just right in front of it so the beam of light from the top would be aiming right at us.

Finally, we were (or rather, I was) chased away by the cold wind to the ground level again. We walked to the Louvre, talking about the French word "interdite" (which we saw on signs prohibiting entrance) and how it comes from the Latin "interdictus" where we get the English "interdict" and how in Catholic World it's a word for excluding certain people from receiving Sacraments for doing something really awful (not quite as bad as excommunication, but still bad since you have to get it lifted from the Pope...and also since you're not receiving the Sacraments...). These are seriously the conversations I have with my boyfriend (and it's awesome!). The Louvre was pretty at night and I could see just how gigantic it was. I also saw the Eiffel Tower lights dancing as 9 o'clock arrived (it sparkles and dances on the hour at night) from over an olive oil macaron. Eventually we made it home with McDonalds french fries (you do what you gotta do when it's late) and got to sleep to get ready for our next huge day to follow.

Panorama of Paris at night; stairs up the Arc; macaron muching; spangly Tower; Panorama of the Louvre at night.

No comments:

Post a Comment