Sexy, sophisticated, sultry
03.28.2010 - 03.31.2010
Our 9 hour night train ride from Berlin to Paris reconfirmed our hatred for night trains. After our terrible night train from Venice, we swore to avoid them at all cost but, when we couldn't find accommodations in Amsterdam that fit our timetable &/or budget, we decided to utilize the flexibility of our Eurail pass to split up our time in Paris. In order to do this we had to cave and give the night train another try. We boarded this train prepared with fully charged Ipods, books, German beer and our most comfortable clothes. Once we settled in and noticed that we were alone, we did a little happy dance hoping that it would stay that way. Unfortunately a Chinese exchange student and his mother joined us in our car at the next stop. I couldn't help but think "Okay, I can deal with this. At least we have heat unlike Venice" as we continued toward our destination. After having our tickets checked, drawing the curtains, popping in the "I will sleep on this ride" play list, we stopped again picking up the 5th passenger for our carriage. At this point, the Chinese mother & son had sprawled out making themselves very comfortable. The carriage was stuffy and stifling. Cat, #5 and I spent the next hour fidgeting trying to find a cozy way to somehow enjoy a 9 hour train ride. I finally was so exhausted that I found a way to uncomfortably narco without repeating the headbanging motion all night. Cat & #5 weren't as lucky as I was so they went to the dining car for a refreshment. After a successful nightcap, Cat & #5 returned to start the battle of the window. #5 would open our tiny window to let some fresh air in, only to have the Chinese son close it again. It was pretty fun to witness but after the 10th time it got a little bit annoying. We woke in the morning to an announcement in German. Luckily #5 was able to translate the message that we would be arriving in Paris 4 hours late because of some mechanical issues. ARGH!!!!!
When we finally got to Paris, we found the metro & navigated ourselves to the Aloha Hostel. After living in Aloha land for three years, there was a very large part of me that was hoping that a huge Polynesian man or woman would be running a hostel schmeared in hibiscus flowers and faux palm trees playing IZ's "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"... nope. This hostel was anything but Aloha. On the plus side, we could see the Eiffel Tower from the front door so... We checked in, surveyed our safe yet dirty and unfriendly surroundings then went to the grocery store. We, thanks to a budget & hostel guest kitchens, are making some fantastic, healthy, soooo unbackpacker-like meals. If you are lucky enough to get stuck on a semi deserted island with one of us... you are pretty damn lucky. Cat says "If Betty Crocker & Macgyver had a baby, it would be us". I would have to agree. We filled our bellies then decided to go see the symbol of Paris, The Eiffel Tower.
We strolled past many charming cafes of Paris that first night. I am by no means a cigarette smoker but somehow sitting in a sidewalk cafe, enjoying an espresso & a long Cruella DeVil style cig seemed sexy and alluring. Then I smelled the cigarettes and quickly changed my mind. The Eiffel Tower shot out at us from behind a tall building when we rounded the next corner. It felt as though it was lit to be showcased for only me that night. I couldn't take my eyes off of it. We took tons of pictures and managed to avoid the Africans selling glowing souvenirs just long enough to find a crepe stand. We shared the most amazing chocolate, banana & creme filled crepe. Well... I did. Most of the bites that Cat took ended up on her purse or shoes but still. So yummy. We strolled back to our hostel fat, happy and extremely extremely tired.
The next morning we woke up, had breakfast and got ready for a day of exploring the city and some of its most famous landmarks with NewEurope. Our guide was a 20 something guy from New Zealand named Alex. We were shown everything from the Latin Quarter to Notre Dame and the Louvre to The Champs-Elysèes. When we finished the tour we found some amazing semi reclined chairs by a fountain in the Tuilieries Garden to relax in. We returned that evening to enjoy another *home* cooked meal before we went on the Paris Pub Crawl!
After the Prague Bar Crawl fiasco (if youve been following our blog check out the comment from the Bar Crawl owner about our blog we were hesitant to participate in another pub crawl but, we found out that NewEurope actually ran this one (not just endorsed it) so we decided to go. Our tour guide Alex was running it and had promised to leave no man/or woman behind. We met the group by the actual Moulin Rouge Cabaret Lounge. There were couples from Wisconsin and Austrailia, 2 male students from India, about 5 girls studying abroad in England and one crazy lone traveler from England. We had a great time chatting in bars then walking through the very safe very controversial Parisian red light district. The final stop of the night was the very posh Cosmopolitan Place. It was here that we parted ways with the rest of the pub crawlers to make our hostel's 2:00am curfew. Overall the night was a huge success. We had a fantastic time and made some great friends.
The next morning we woke up and took off to remember some influential people that chose Paris as their final resting place. We went to the world's most visited graveyard to pay our respects to Chopin, Sarah Bernhardt, Oscar Wild and Jim Morrison. There are over 800,000 people burried in this cemetary. The carefully organized, tightly situated family plots make this place of remembrence very intriguing and, if it can be said about a cemetary... beautiful. This same day we made our way through the pouring rain to the Pantheon. The crypt of this beautiful building houses the tombs of Voltaire, Rousseau, Victor Hugo, Marie Curie and others deemed influential enough to be recognized here. The day was a welcomed change of pace from museums and palaces.
The first couple of days in Paris seemed to be a huge success. We took in the city of lights and enjoyed its allure... This is not the end of our adventures in Paris. We'll be back after a fun filled weekend in AMSTERDAM!!!
Till then peace out homies!