Friday, April 24, 2009

Semana Santa -- Paris

Since I have returned from my Spring Break travels I have had no time to sit down and write a blog but finally with a weekend of no travels I can tell the tale of my travels around Europe.

The first stop on my trip was to Paris to see the city of lights. I met up with my friend Liz from OU who is studying in the south of France. She had already been there for a few days with one of her friends from the States so when I arrived, it was time time for the the "touristy" places. The first day I was there, we went to the Arc de Triomphe and walked down the Champs Elysees then we walked up the Eiffel Tower (668 steps!!) to the second level but didn't go to the top because there was a very long line for the elevator.

The next day, we visited the Catacombs (an underground ossuary filled with millions and millons of bones of deceased Parisiens) in the morning and then the Notre Dame cathedral and some other monuments around the city. At night, we went to the Lourve because we thought there was student discounts on Wednesday nights but we found out it was only for EU students...urgh.

On Thursday, we went to the grand palace of Versailles but we had a little trouble getting there. The train system of Paris is extremely complex if you don't know what you are doing so instead of getting on the train to Versailles, we got on a train that branched to a north suburb of the city. We eventually got there but then had to wait in like for about an hour and a half just to get tickets -- the wait was well worth it though. The interior of the palace was breathtaking and the "backyard" was even better. The royalty of France had acres and acres of land at their disposal in which they could take a stroll around the man made lake or hunt for animals. It was quite impressive. When we got back to Paris, we went to the Montmarte (artsy part of town) area and saw the infamous Moulin Rouge, then walked up the giant hill to see the famous church of Sacre Coeur.

The next morning was our flight to Rome but we had a few problems getting to the airport and even getting on to the plane. First of all, the train system that runs to the Charles De Gualle airport was shut down for some reason or another so we had to go catch a cab, unfortunately so was everyone else who wanted to get to the airport. Luckily, there was a couple who had "illegaly" hailed a cab (meaning the cab driver had stopped for them even though he wasn't at the front of the line) and asked us if we wanted to go because the cabbie would only go if he had a full cab. So we reluctantly follow him to the cab but once we get in we realize everything is okay, because the guy's girlfriend is an American and she was even from Texas! We finally get to the airport, check in and get our boarding passes, and head to the gate but if you've ever been through security at CDG you know how much of a pain it is. The security gates are squeezed right in next to the gates and only one machine is operating -- by the time Liz and I got to security we had about 45 minutes until the gate closed, so we thought we would have plenty of time. Only 10 minutes before our plane left did the security people open up another gate for the about 30 people waiting in line to get on the same plane as us. Luckily we made it just in time but it was closer than I would've liked.

The plane ride was uneventful and we landed in Rome in the afternoon...that will be my next blog.

Time to study for my last final and write my last Spain paper!!


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