Saturday, October 15, 2011

Euro-Tour- 86 Exchange Students, 19 Days, 9 Countries (Days 6 to 7)

Day 6

The 6th Day of Euro-tour began in Paris, with a visit to Versailles. I was excited to be visiting the home of Marie-Antoinette. The palace is beautiful, but I was surprised that the rooms were not the same as I had seen on TV, or maybe I didn’t see all the rooms, Versailles is massive, easily twice the size of the Hermitage (or at least I remember it feeling bigger) the ceilings are higher, and the building is huge from the outside too. There is even more gold then in Russia too! 

We had audio guides that told us a bit about the history of the place, but it was hard to concentrate on anything because there was so many people everywhere. I have never seen so many people in one place at one time in my life. It was packed. There also seemed to be many cute French children who shouted all their English knowledge at passing tourists. They were probably the highlight of the visit because the crowds made it almost impossible to take in any of the beauty of the palace.

The gardens were fantastic and I wish I had spent my time outside instead of inside. It was easily the best backyard in the world, and it looked like it went on forever. I was just perfect.

After lunch (which unfortunately resembled Finnish school food in taste and appearance) we had a bus tour of the city.  I think I like Paris and I can see why everyone goes on about it so much.  Its like the real thing, and I can see where imitation French style comes from now. It is pretty everywhere and I little bit dusty so it has an interesting atmosphere. I didn’t take many photos of the tour because it was raining the whole time and I couldn’t see much, so my memories of how Paris looks, comes from the next day when we were left to explore the city on our own.

We ended the tour but climbing to the top of the Eiffel Tower, (in the lift). A word of warning for future travellers do not bring flags with you to Paris, because when you try to go up the Eiffel Tower they will be taken from you forcefully and put in the bin. The bin bag will then be changed while you are at the top, and the explanation given will be-this is the Law of the Eiffel Tower.

Before we had to be back at the hotel we had some free time, I visited a Tribal Art Museum with 3 of my friends. I don’t think I would recommend going in as the collection wasn’t very interesting but the outside of the building was really nice. It was covered in different kinds of plants and where it wasn’t there was glass. I think I would like to live in a house like that maybe.

We then were taken to a kebab shop by one of the exchange students who were from Paris. The food was great, and in France they put French fries in their kebabs, which tastes lovely.

Day  7

Day 7 was our first completely free day, we were told to be back in the hotel for breakfast the next morning at 8am.  The lesson I learnt from this day was to plan ahead. 1 day might seem like a short time but it is not, you can do a lot, but you need a plan. We did not have one, and I wish we would have. It was still a pleasant day.

·      We explored the city,
·       ate amazing chocolate cake,
·      looked at shops,
·      got lost
·      and lost again, (one good thing about Paris is that even if you can’t get lost after a while walking in one direction you know exactly where you are-this is suprising because the city seems like a bit of a maze.)
·      Got on the wrong train and ending up in what we affectionately called the armpit of Paris.
·      ate many crepes
·      met a lovely lost dog, who we thought was lost but was actually part of a street show where a cat was attached to the same lead as the dog and they sat together with the intention of looking cute. It was a bit sick really.
·      tricked a caricature artist into thinking it was my birthday-I now have a drawing from him saying ‘Happy Birthday in Paris’ which I got for a discount price. A passing Eiffel Tower Key-ring seller passed and overheard and I got a free key-ring as well for my ‘Birthday’
·      We ate candy floss under the Eiffel Tower
·      Met and exchange small talk with other travellers
·      And headed back to the hotel on the last train tired with sore feet from walking all day.

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