Remember when we were in Paris and we wrote this blog entry for our family & friends...
Bonjour, comment allez-vous...everyone...
So yesterday we left England (and I can't say I was sad to kiss the snobs at our hostel goodbye), and to do so, splurged on a metro ticket (remember our looong hike the day before?). We went through Victoria train station in the center of London, on a two hour train ride to Dover--famous for its white cliffs and being the traditional port for crossing to France. After finding an amazing deal on the ferry, thanks to our Eurail passes, we boarded the ferry...think small cruise boat complete with casino games, a restaurant, duty free shopping, etc. We ate apples from breakfast and fell fast asleep instead of indulging. After the ferry ride, we found ourselves in Calais France, a port town on the north shore, and proceeded to the train station--not by bus, as would have been the smart choice--but by...you guessed it...FOOT! We walked for about thirty minutes and finally found Gare du Calais (we thought it was a movie theater the first time we passed it) and boarded the train that left three minutes later, to Lille. We are in Paris as of last night and have spent an amazing 36 hrs experiencing what it is to be French, or at least in France. We've had French Fries, spoken French, and French kissed...it has been tres bon!
From Lille train station we made our way to Paris, and now the real action of the day started. By this point, it was about 8:00 and we were both exhausted, starving, and thirsty. Due to the walking fiasco in Calais, we decided to spend the 3 euro to ride the subway to our hostel--st. christopher's. On the subway, I'm sorry to admit, I got a bit touchy and slightly nudged...Ok pushed..a frenchman (gold chain on neck and baguette in hand). He bellowed a few choice words (excuse HIS french) and then proceeded to hock a loogy at me, right there in the station! Of course I was all politeness and Christian demeanor because I've been raised right...really the nerve! Finally, we made it to the hostel, had an expensive cheeseburger each and retired to our room full of one very stinky asian, one very snory asian, one asian who screams in her sleep (no kidding) and a very nice aussie who has cool tatoos.
After a night of screaming, snoring, and stench (as I mentioned), we were happy to leave the room a bit early and load up on free carbs thanks to St. Christophers bar breakfast. While we ate, we discovered this package that looked like peach jelly on the outside but was really Chocolate heaven spread on the inside...a baguette never tasted so perfect. Of course, we stuffed several of these packages into our bag (along with several baguettes for lunch) and left on another free tour (as in previous locales). The tour was great! We were led around by Fraser from Scotland, a smoking swearing skinny man, who knew suprisingly a lot about Paris. We were able to see the Seine River, Notre Dame cathedral (I think I saw our favorite hunchback on the roof), the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, and even the Louvre (which we are planning on walking through on wednesday). After our tour, Molly and I fell asleep in the shade of a statue of Winston Churchill and stayed that way until around 3:30 when we decided to see some of those wonderful monuments up close. Our first stop was the eiffel tower and we got several amazing pictures (one actually French Kissing) in front of the icon of Paris. From there, we walked to the Arc de Triomphe--a monument that Napoleon built for himself after conquering somewhere (short man syndrome if you ask Fraser)--and took several more pictures..some of which are very triumphant.
Finally, we made our way to this computer by walking...that's right we walked...I know you're suprised. It was the longest walk I have ever experienced, so long that it took a good 3 hours and brought us from one end of France's biggest city to the other. We were famished about half way and happened to find this questionable thai restaurant selling pork raviollis cooked in a microwave from the 80s with orange rice...for only 4 euros! So we split it, and although I'm sure I ate some paper and dragon skin somewhere in there, we are full and the hot sauce made it taste good...or at least spicy. We finished our walk and are now a bit slap-happy as I'm sure you can tell. Our night is about to be concluded on the banks of the Seine wearing barets and drinking champagne! au revoir mes amies.
Have you ever been to France?... I have travelled through several of its provinces. In some of which half the population are lunatics, whereas in others they are too cunning by half; in some parts they are quite good-natured and rather simple-minded, while in others they cultivate their wits. But wherever you go, the principal occupation is love, the second is spreading scandal, and the third is talking nonsense. --Voltaire