Better late than never.
Day 17: Arriving in Paris!
We headed out of Budapest and touched down in Paris Beauvais Airport. The Airport is about an hour from the city center, so we hopped on a shuttle and made our way to the city. By the time we got to our hostel it was late evening and we were hungry. We checked in and headed out to find some dinner…and what’s more authentic than having Chinese for your first meal in Paris? Not much beats that! Our hostel was located near Moulin Rouge. The area was full of sleaze (sex shops)-not in a “this seems like a dangerous place” sort of way, more in like a “why in the world do you need so many” way…and on top of that, it was like China Town in terms of restaurants! Quite an interesting combination. But the Chinese food was actually authentic (it was like a deli/buffet) and really delicious. Being our first night (after a long day traveling), we walked around a bit, but headed back early to sleep!
Day 18: Paris
On our first full day in Paris, one of our travel mates had to miss out on a little bit due to her apparent strep throat situation. Not sure how I managed NOT to get it, seeing as it’s an annual event, but apparently since I already had it in January, I was safe! I actually set my expectations low, expecting to get it and in turn, end my studying abroad time the same way I started it. I’m actually really proud of my accomplishment in not getting it. Way to go immune system. Anyway, after some minor complications, Olivia was able to get to the doctor and get some medicine and was feeling better nearly immediately!
In the meantime, Street, Tay and I went on a walking tour of Paris and it was the best walking tour we have been on thus far! The guy leading it was originally from New York, but had been living in France for quite some time finishing his schooling and being a tour guide. The tour lasted nearly 3 hours from 11:00-2:00, but it actually flew by and it was a perfect day. Crazy hot. I resorted to buying a €1 bottle of water from a random street seller who was selling them out of a box. Less sketchy than it sounds. It was quite refreshing. After the tour, we walked back through the Tuileries Garden, through the courtyard of the Louvre, and to Notre Dame.
After walking through Notre Dame, we headed back to the hostel to see how our little sick friend was doing and she was feeling well enough to head on out, so we did. Made our way to the Eiffel Tower. Once there, we walked around a little market that was set up near the tower and then made our way to the grassy area surrounding the tower. Sat there through the evening, sunset, and were able to see the tower lit up and sparkling. Surprise! We didn’t know it sparkled. That was fun. After our time at the tower, we headed back toward our hostel (via metro), and obviously got some crepes. I had banana and a pool of boiling nutella. But really it was delicious. The nutella just gets so hot because they paste it on there immediately and it therefore liquifies and pools in the bottom of the destructing paper cone. Needless to say, it was a disaster. Olivia had it all over her scarf (her own crepe, not mine). Just a mess. But I mean, completely worth it.
We headed to bed. Streeter needed some sleep especially because she was breaking off from our group in the morning and heading to Spain!
Day 19: Paris
I forgot to mention the wonderful breakfast at our hostel. Literally the best cereal I’ve ever had…sounds weird, but seriously. I was actually upset when I knew I was eating it for the last time, because there’s no way I’ll ever find it again…primarily because I don’t know the name of it (it was in a dispenser) and also because it’s French. We also were given fresh croissants, homemade multi-grain rolls, and non-watered-down orange juice. Just fantastic for a hostel.
This was the only rainy-ish, cold day of our trip, but luckily we were already planning on it being a museum day, so we were in luck. First we headed to the #1 Attraction on Trip Advisor, Musée d’Orsay. It was a nice museum. Museums tend to overwhelm me because they’re just so packed and you can never possibly see everything or even like 23% of what’s in a museum, but this was a very well organized, non-cluttered one, plus it was free for “long-term” residents of the European Union. Somehow we were considered long-term. We got in. The three of us split up so we could roam wherever without feeling like we were making the others wait. I stumbled upon a huge clock that looked out onto the city, some Claude Monet, and Van Gogh.
After the museum, we headed to the eternal flame, which is at the Monument to the Unknown Solider, located in the center of a 9-lane roundabout. Picture that. Luckily there is an underground pedestrian walkway. The walk there from the museum was a bit of a hike, but we did get to walk down a road lined with ridiculously expensive stores. Each store had guards walking around in it. Seems like an utterly boring job. The clothes were ugly. The prices were posted below the mannequins…just €540 for like one shoe. Such a waste.
After checking out the eternal flame, we headed out to find food. We ended up at this little cafe/bar that had advertised sandwiches for around €6. Doable. But after we were inside, the waiter was very accommodating, doing his best to translate the menu, and get us what we needed. He ended up offering us steak and chips for €14 instead of the posted €18, because I’m assuming he needed to use them up. It was a pretty fancy place, so I wasn’t worried that it was old meat or anything, so yeah…Taylor and I had a nice steak lunch and it was delicious.
After lunch, we headed to the Louvre. On Friday nights, from 6:00-9:30 pm, it is free entry for those under the age of 26, so we were golden again. Two free entries! We went and checked out the Mona Lisa. I was overwhelmed by the size of the museum…surprise suprise. We split up again, but Taylor and I ended up staying together, while Olivia went and checked out another area. Tay thought she knew one of the paintings, but definitely not. It ended up being some Egyptian lady. So we wandered around together…doing our best to appreciate whatever we stumbled upon.
After the Louvre, we headed back to the hostel. I actually was able to type a blog on a real keyboard, so that was fun! And then we had crepes and Chinese again. It was a great second day in Paris!
Day 20: Paris to Brussels!
On Saturday morning, we left Paris and made our way to Brussels via a bus. We woke up around 7:00 and got to have breakfast again at the hostel! The cereal by the way was like a chocolate chip granola bar, but ten times better. We made our way to the bus station. Hopped on. I slept for a solid 3 hours. And arrived in Brussels!
Paris was wonderful!