Saturday, July 28, 2012

Overnight Train

To get to Barcelona from Paris, I took an overnight train. 

When I got on the train, three Canadian guys were my roommates for the night.  When they walked around and checked tickets, they had the guys move to a different room because it was a female room.  I got my own room.  Awesome. 

Sleeping was horrible.  It was loud and bumpy.  Not a good nights rest.  But I got my own room, so it was okay. 

Next time, I will fly.  The flight from Paris to Barcelona cost the same as my train reservation.  I value convenience a lot and this time I didn't think it through. 

Paris Day 7

When I woke up on Tuesday, I will still annoyed with the whole train situation.  I slept through the free breakfast at the hostel and checked out at 11, which is the latest I was allowed.

People staying at hostels trust their things with anybody.  The hostel would store luggage for you... by putting it in the unlocked courtyard.  

Next to the hostel was a random church, so I checked it out. 

One of the things that Alykhan wanted to see, but we didn't have time for was the Thinker.  I went to Musee Rodin, which is a museum that houses a whole bunch of Rodin's sculptures. 

From there, I went to Musee d'Orsay.  I really liked the museum, but I wasn't allowed to take pictures.  I couldn't even play dumb and sneak pictures because nobody else was doing it. 

On the top floor, they have a giant clock that overlooks the city.  I took pictures of it because other people were :)  

I headed back to the hostel to get my bag (from the unlocked courtyard), and I walked by a restaurant named Indiana. I'm not sure they even served food you would have in Indiana.  Next to this restaurant was a KFC and Starbucks. The block just screamed America. 

Both museums I went to on Tuesday were great.  One of the best things about them is they have a discount for anybody aged 18-24.  If you were 18-24 and lived within the EU, your admission was free. I noticed this trend a lot in Paris.  In most of the other cities I've gone to, there is only a discount for 18-24 year old EU citizens. I always asked if there was a discount even if I already knew they didn't have one :) 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Paris Day 6

Alykhan left on Monday morning, so I had one day left to explore Paris on my own.  I slept in pretty late and stayed at the hotel until it was time to check out.  My train was leaving at 8:20 pm.

I checked out of the hotel and went to get lunch.  I looked at the train ticket that we wasted 2 hours getting the day before, and I noticed that the date was wrong. 

The ticket was for Wednesday.  I don't even know how the guy working got those two days screwed up. 

I started to freak out.  I finished my food and went to the train station... which was about 45 minutes from the hotel.  

I waited in line forever. 

They didn't have any tickets for that night, so I booked one for Tuesday. 

I was definitely freaking out then.  

I took a train near the Louvre because I remember there being a Starbucks there.  I used the WiFi at the Apple Store, booked a hostel and everything was all better.

I didn't really do anything all day.  By the time I got everything figured out and checked into the hostel it was already 6pm.  

It was an exhausting day, but I got all caught up with my blogging :) 

Paris Day 5

Sunday was Alykhan's last whole day in Paris. We started our day off by going to the area around Notre Dame, which is an island.

At the end of the island, there is Pont Neuf, which is the oldest bridge in Paris. 

The park that the bridge overlooks in the middle is gorgeous. 

We finally found our way to Notre Dame. It definitely met expectations. 

We left Notre Dame and went to the train station so I could reserve my train ticket for Monday.  I'm going to take my first overnight train.  It should be very interesting. I couldn't reserve the ticket at a kiosk, so we had to wait in line.  The train station isn't close to anything.  It took a long time.  

While walking around on Saturday, we saw several places to eat dinner around the Arc de Triomphe.  We decided that we would could try to eat around there.  When we walked out of the metro stop, this is what we saw... 

I had no idea that the Tour de France ended in Paris.  Or maybe I knew, and I didn't make the connection.  Alykhan and I even had a conversation a few hours before about how it was the last day of the Tour de France.  There were too many people standing around to see the end, but we definitely heard the end of the Tour de France :) 

Needless to say, it was really hard to find somewhere to eat.  We finally agreed on a place, and it was an interesting experience.  I think that our waitress actually quit mid-shift. Horrible service is something that I am getting used to, but this was much worse.  The bottle of wine made everything better though :) 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Paris Day 4

Saturday was a really busy day for Alykhan and I. The hotel we were staying at had an all you can eat breakfast buffet. It was the best breakfast I had since I got to Europe. And there was so much food.

After breakfast, we headed to the Louvre. I read online about a place where you can skip the line, but we couldn't find it.  Once we were in the long line it didn't take much time to actually get in.  We probably spent more time looking for the other entrance than we did in line.

Alykhan doesn't know how to take jumping pictures.  Fail. 

The room with the Mona Lisa was packed.  I got to the front without trying very hard though. The Louvre was crowded, but nothing will ever compare to the crowds at the Vatican Museum.  

After spending a few hours at the Louvre, we walked to the Arc de Triomphe.  The traffic around this was insane.  Something like 12 roads meet at this point.  Somebody told me that there is an accident every 10 minutes.  I am glad that I never have to drive in anything like that. To see the arc close up you don't have to cross the road... there is a tunnel :P 

The only thing that Alykhan wanted to do in Paris was go to the Eiffel Tower... I decided that was probably a good idea. :) 

It was one of the best days since I have been to Europe.  I definitely miss everybody back home.

Paris Day 3

Friday Alykhan and I slept in.  When we woke up, there was breakfast waiting for us.  His uncle's gf made it.  It was wonderful and much appreciated.

After that, we headed to the train station.  Because I went to the UK, I got 3 more passport stamps.  I am the only person to get excited about that.

Here we are on the train:

When we got to Paris, I had the brilliant idea to take a cab.  Not so brilliant.  It was rush hour and the traffic was insane.  Within the first 1/2 mile, our fare was up to 15 Euros.  From there it was a smooth ride, and we only ended up paying 25 Euros.    

Once we got to the hotel, we walked around for a while looking for a cheap place to eat close by.  We didn't find anywhere, so we ate at the hotel.  It was still pretty delicious. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

London Day 2

The first thing that Alykhan and I did on Thursday was go to the London Eye.  When we stepped off of the tube, we saw was Big Ben right away.  Pretty awesome.

Then we bought the VIP tickets to the London Eye because we don't waste our time waiting in lines. And we didn't have to wait at all.  

After walking around for a while, we headed back to Alykhan's uncles flat, and we met up with his aunt and cousin for lunch.  

Then we got dessert. Look at all of that ice cream Alykhan ate..

Here is all of us.  Aren't we adorable :) 

That evening, we went to get dinner at an Italian place.  Here is Alykhan, his uncle, his uncles gf, and I. 

This last picture is only posted because I think Fatima will love it... 

After dinner, Alykhan and I watched a movie.  It was so relaxing... I haven't watched TV in a month. Crazy. The best part was that the TV was in English! The second best part was that Alykhan was there. :)