Wednesday, July 20, 2011

This past weekend I made a trip to Paris with five of the other UNB
students who are here for the summer as well. Emily Colin and I flew
out on Thursday evening this means I had a short work day on Thursday
too. I went to work at 7 am and left at 1 to catch my train for 2. I
took the train from here to the airport to wait for the others to

We landed in Paris at 7:30 then after determining what metro lines we
needed took the train to our hotel by the Gare Du Nord station. We had
no problems until we got to the station as we couldn?t find a way out!
There was security everywhere as well as the exit that we wanted to go
out was all taped off. No one was saying why and just kept telling
people to go the other way. We did find a way out but we never found
out what happened or was happening at the station. After checking into
our hotel we decided to grab some dinner. There was one problem
everything seemed to be closing even though it was only about 9pm. So
we decided Subway was a safe bet. Not exactly what I was planning for
French food but it worked. After dinner Colin had suggested we go to
the Sacre de Coeur which was close by. When we got closer to this we
saw a huge crowd covering the hill as well as the stairs. This
confirmed our thoughts that Thursday was the holiday and not Monday.
Turns out it was the French Independence day and there was going to be
fireworks. So we found a spot to sit on the stairs and were able to
see three firework shows off in the distance across the city. We
couldn?t see the Eiffel tower because of trees but apparently there
was a huge show there. After we had our fill of fireworks we headed
back to the hotel and called it a night.

The next morning after checking out of the hotel and grabbing some
breakfast we headed to the Gare de l?Est station to meet Jenn Erin and
Jordan. Once we had found them and determined which was the best metro
route to our hotel for the next two nights we headed there. We were
not there long just enough time to drop out things and use the
washroom etc. We wanted to go on a walking tour at 1 so we took the
metro to the meeting spot and checked in before grabbing some snacks
at a French bakery for lunch. The tour that we went on was called New
Paris and was a 3 ½ hour free walking tour of part of the city. It was
a great tour and we had an awesome guide. Sam was originally from the
states but has obviously been in Paris for a while as he knew all the
trick and unknown things about Paris that he added to our tour. We saw
all kinds of things on the tour including the Latin district, Notre
Dame, the Louvre and many others. The one thing that I feel people
forget to tell you about Paris is that it is a dirty city and smells
horrible in a lot of places! After the tour was done we made our way
towards the Arc du Triomphe. Along the way we stopped to have some
crepes and did a stopped into a few stores along one of the shopping
streets (forget the name but Prada and such are along here). We lost
the boys along the way but met up with them at the arc with enough
time to grab some pictures and be on our way. Here we asked one person
to take our picture and he looked so scared and didn?t know what to
do. He stuttered a bit before saying he couldn?t and walked away (was
American by the accent)!

After getting ourselves through the metro again we were to our hotel
to change for the night. We didn?t have much time as we wanted to go
on a pub tour that started at 9 but was across the city. We made it
just before 9 and were some of the first in line. We hadn?t had dinner
yet so after getting to the first pub we asked the guides how long we
had before we left and thankfully it was half an hour so we left to
grab some food. Another great eating spot for us on our Paris weekend
was the Quality Burger which was actually really good. For the rest of
the night we stuck with the tour which was made up of about 60 people
or more. Most people were English which made it more fun. It turned
out that there were some other people from UNB and DAL on our tour as
well as some other Canadians. One we found out about the others from
NB and NS we spent a lot of time talking with them. There were 5 from
DAL who had all just graduated engineering (what are the odds) and 1
from UNB who just graduated from UNB. Overall the night was a great
time but we had to leave in order to get the metro home. This is where
our luck of the day ran out?. as none of us had the map anymore we
found the right line but ended up going on the one in the wrong
direction! So we got off once we realized but it turned out that was
the last one of the night. The lady at the station helped us figure
out how to get home which was by taxi as Sam had told us not to take
the night buses. We arrived back to the hotel a little later then
planned but we made it back and headed to bed.

The next morning we woke up to some cloudy weather but headed into the
city for the day. We got off the metro near the Eiffel tower to grab
some breakfast. This is when the rain began?I was glad I had brought
my umbrella! It let up for a bit as we were leaving so we headed to
the tower. The rain stopped long enough for us to spend a bit of time
here. The lines were crazy to go up in the tower so we didn?t get to
do that. Our plan was to head towards the Louvre walking through the
city. We did just this stopping here and there at different stores and
sights. We found a huge department store and spent quite a bit of time
in the shoe section to the boy?s disapproval. I had found a place that
sold macaroons so we stopped here to treat ourselves to some and they
were delicious and I?m sure Gossip Girl approved. We continued on our
way towards the Louvre and made it there shortly after 4. Sam had told
us about a ?secret? entrance to the museum so we didn?t have to wait
in line. Really it?s the student entrance for those studying in Paris
but no one really knows about it. Sam also told us how to get into the
museum free but all we had to do was speak French to the lady and show
her our international id?s saying we were studying abroad and we were
in. We didn?t know that the museum closed at 5:30 that night so we
only were there for a short while but the Mona Lisa and going
underneath the invisible pyramids were visited.

In the Louvre we ran into three of the American guys we had met the
night before on our pub tour and decided to meet up with them after
the museum for dinner. Kyle Paul and Hewey are from Atlanta where they
study, you?ll never guess, engineering and neuro science. Seems the
pub tour the night before was filled with engineers. We met with them
outside by the center pyramided just as it started to rain again. We
decided to find a place to eat near by and found a great little
restaurant that had just enough space left for the 9 of us. We had a
great meal and made plans to meet up with the boys again later to see
the light show at the Eiffel tower. Since most of us didn?t have
umbrella?s we ran to the nearest, what we thought, metro entrance.
Turns out it was an entrance but there was no place to buy tickets at
this one. As it was pouring we all just managed to get through the
exit? well Jenn got stuck for a minute but we made it. At the hotel we
dried, relaxed far a few and prepared ourselves for the rain again.

We were a bit later then planned arriving and missed the light show at
11. When we got to the tower and to the meeting spot we had made with
the boys they were not there. We figured they must have just left once
they realized we weren?t there. Our original plan had been to have a
picnic and watch the show but the rain made the grass an unwelcoming
spot to sit. So we decided to have our picnic on the bridge behind the
tower while we waited for the show at midnight. We did just this and
decided to head to the other side of the tower for the show when it
was almost time. As we did this we found the American boys who had
been late and thought they had missed us. So in the end we saw the
show and had our picnic at the tower after all (the light show is
actually nothing impressive). After this we headed to the metro to
make sure we made the trains on time and the right direction this
time. Here we left the boys as they were headed in a different
direction. We made it back and packed our things as we were all
leaving in the morning Emily Colin and I with and early taxi to the
airport and Jenn Erin and Jordan back to an early train. So with that
it was sadly the end of our Paris adventures.

We arrived to Stuttgart late but in enough time for Colin and Emily to
catch there trains and buses home. I stayed in the city for the day to
watch the Harry Potter movie that night. We went to the Porsche museum
and the living room of Stuttgart before meeting up with Danielle for
dinner. We had dinner and ice cream then caught the ubahn to the
theater. I am glad I reserved tickets as the show was sold out! Being
one of the only English theaters around it was filled! The movie was
great but sadly they are all over with. After the movie we headed home
and called it a night.

As you can see this was a long one and that is why I didn?t retype it
last night. I hope I didn?t forget anything! This week is a bit slower
as the forecast is calling for rain all week, but the coming weekend
will be good. As were calling it ?Canada does Heidelberg? there are
about 10 or so Canadians maybe some of the American?s from Paris and
an odd German or two meeting up this weekend. So stay tuned for more
adventures of the crazy Canadian?s as we?re called. Chow :)

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