Mon 2 Jun 2003
Well, after the initial blister inspiring day in Paris, we decided to start our second day bright and early with a long walk all the way to the Eiffel Tower. Of course jet lag helped us wake early, because this would not normally be in our character or even a consideration. Not many people are around at 7:30 in Paris - just the street cleaners sweeping the previous day's mess.. and there was plenty of that too! We wandered past the Opera building, then on to the Place de la Concorde and down the boulevard, crossing at the famous bridge that I don´t recall the name of We had skipped breakfast, so were looking for a local boulangerie to get some food from, but in that part of town the shops were scarce.
We finally made it to the Eiffel Tower at just before 9 and considering we still hadn´t had any breakfast were feeling rather peckish. Even though the lifts don´t start till 9:30, he queues were already forming, so we figured we needed to get into one to save a long wait.. As the queues kept growing we thought we were clever to be so early, until at 9:30 our particular lift was declared out-of-service and we were forced to pick another one. As it turned out we made the wrong choice, because at 9:30 the queue we HADN´t picked started moving, but ours didn´t The french customer service officer kindly informed us that there was a technical problem and it would be fixed in about twenty minutes. (side note: always multiply these estimates by at least two). At about 10:20 the queue finally started moving. By then we were about ready to pass out, but of course had to persist now! The trip up the tower was worth it though (I guess I have to say that now don´t I) and the views were spectacular, so all´s well that ends well. The only downside is that we were necessitated into buying a severely overpriced chocolate crepe and some coffees from the cafe on the second level
After that rather long start to the day, we were pretty much wrecked already, so took it easy the rest of the day. We did visit the Arc de Triomph and the Moderne Art Museum of Paris, which were both fantastic of course. To finish the day off, a nice dinner at a restaurant as the heavens spilled open and blew everything down around us. Some french guy on the table next to me cracked a joke about the price sign falling over that I didn´t understand, so I smiled politely.. (he said ´prix chute´ if anyone knows what that´s supposed to mean? - I presumed.. ´the price has plummeted').
Our last full day in Paris was a real test on our feet.. museums and art galleries will do that for you The louvre was everything it was made out to be - way too much to see of course, so I´ll spare you the details now. The Pompidou was even better in our opinion, just because the art was modern. Problem was that we were totally wrecked by then, so were limping our way through the gallery We were very fortunate in our timing though. Turns out the first sunday of every month means free entry to most major galleries including the Pompidou and the Louvre, which probably saved us a good 30 euros! Our timing only got better when we found out that the train staff would be going on strike a few hours after our train left for Barcelona .. phewwww.
The train trip turned out to be rather stressful though. An unfortunate breakdown happened on the way from Paris to Montpellier, meaning we missed the connection to Barcelona. Of course all the instructions on how to deal with this were broadcast in french, so we didn´t understand what was going on and knowing that the strike would start that evening, we were starting to think we would be stuck in the south of France for a few days! There were enough other people headed for Barcelona though and after a train trip to Perpignan and a bus from there we ended up in BCN only an hour and a half later than expected.
That´s all for now.. I´ll tell you more about Barcelona later.