EuroTrip2006 – Day 4: The Real Adventure Begins

Highlight: Mad rush for the Eurostar. We made it on the train with less than a minute to spare.
Lowlight: Lack of vegetarian food in Paris. I’m going to get really sick of bread and cheese.
Fun Fact: There are 700 steps from the ground to the 2nd observation deck of the Eiffel Tower.
Money spent: €34.50 and £1.50
Ben Frustration Index(BFI): 0
Pairs of clean underwear left: 9
Book Page: 148

What a rush! The journey from London to Paris was debuggin’. Up until now everything seemed so ordinary. London is an exciting city, but I’ve been there and seen it all before.

I’ve been looking forward to Paris for a while now – hoping it would bring new and exciting adventures. And I’m pleased to announce that this morning was the start of my European Adventure, and it was started in true Porter style.

We left Tower Bridge early (around 7:50) and tried to find a place to get some food and a cash point so I could get money for bus fare. Anyway, it took us some time and our bus had to struggle through rush hour traffic, so it was 9:00 by the time we made it to Waterloo Station. Ben noticed the departure board was reading “Last Call/Closing” for our train to Paris, so we quickly went to board. I thought the train ride to Paris would be like all other trains in Europe – you show up and jump on the train. I guess because it goes through the Chunnel they have extra precautions. When we showed someone our train ticket we were quickly rushed through the metal detectors and passport checks and made it into the departure area. Then we were stopped at the bottom of an escalator while a man radioed ahead to make sure our train hadn’t left already. When he didn’t get a reply he let us go check for ourselves. The train was there and we quickly boarded – then I proceeded to laugh hysterically and kiss the floor. This was the excitement I needed to officially start my European Adventure. Less then a minute later the train started moving.

The ride through the Chunnel is kind of anti-climatic. It’s like passing through a 20 minute train tunnel. No indication your actually under the English Channel. It was nice to be on a train though. A chance to relax, update the journal, play some cards, and plan the next leg of our trip.

Our first stop in Paris was our hotel, located way down in the 14th district. Then off to tourist stop #1 – the Eiffel Tower. Ben and I climbed the 700 steps to the 2nd observation deck. It was a frightful climb. Ben kept reminding me I was afraid of heights, and the wind was pretty strong. But the view from the observation decks was outstanding. I can’t imagine what it would be like from the very top.

After the tower, we hiked down to Les Invalides and then miraculously met up with Arzu for dinner. Ben had a tough time coordinating with her and only knew that we were supposed to meet her at the Opera metro station (which had 7 exits). But she found us and we were able to eat dinner together at a place specializing in foie gras. The French are not exactly vegetarian friendly, but the chef at the place we went to fixed me up a great goat cheese salad. I tried a bit of the foie gras (duck liver patte) but was not a fan. We had creme brulée for dessert which was good, but not amazing.

In the evening we walked down Champs Champs-Elysées from Place du Concorde to the Arc de Triomphe.

I noticed that Ben is very enthusiastic about asking for help because it allows him to show off his mad French skills. His French is amazing, but sometimes people switch to English which upsets him and gets him all huffy. My French consists of 6 phrases: “oui”, “non”, “pardon”, “c’est vrai”, “moi ausi”, and today I learned “sans viande”.

In Paris  Ben and The Eiffel Tower  Stumpy and the Eiffel Tower  Eiffel Tower  Hanging On For Dear Life  Don't Jump - You Can't Fly  Golden Ben  Snooty Parisians  Get Off the Road!  

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