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2004-05-04 - 6:41 p.m.
It's that time again...
I'm currently in a net cafe in Paris just across the road from my hostel,
trying to get my head and fingers around the European keyboard. On the plus
side it's proof that I don't usually look when I'm typing.
I last wrote in London, the day before we left for Amsterdam. Well that was
a day to try to forget! Tara, Tristan and I got up at 5am and headed to
Stansted airport, feeling we'd left ample time for the flight (which was at
7.45am). The drive there was completely traffic free until we got about 2
miles from the airport. There was heavy fog and an accident up ahead,
causing us to be stuck in a traffic jam for about an hour. We waited as the
time we had to check in by came and went, but thankfully (at the time) the
fog had delayed our plane as well so we just scraped into check-in in time.
We met up with my other expatriate friend Cathy and Adam in the departure
lounge just in time to hear that the plane had been cancelled. It had to
land at Gatwick airport instead and they wouldn't bus us over there and take
off from there. Instead we had to reclaim our bags and try o get one of the
46 seats remaining on the 8.40pm flight that night. The bad news was that
they were being offered to people in the order they checked in and we were
dead last. Cath and Ad got on, while we booked ourselves in to the next
morning's flight and decided we'd come back for the night flight regardless
and keep our fingers crossed for no shows. It was lucky we did because we
ended up all on the same flight that night and finally got to where we were
staying in Amsterdam at 12.30am.
Amsterdam itself was a bit of a blur but amongst other things we saw Anne
Frank's house and did lots of walking. Tara and Tristan went to check out a
renowned garden near Lieden which it was the perfect season for (just not
the best weather) while Cathy, Adam and I did a canal cruise of the city.
On Tuesday I caught the high speed train to Paris and arrived early
afternoon. The place I'm staying is a pub/bar/common area downstairs and
about six levels of hostel accommodation upstairs. Thankfully I only have
to walk up a couple of flights (getting up the stairs to our apartment in
Amsterdam nearly killed us).
Once again I've managed to find myself surrounded by Aussies and the odd
Kiwi, and I've generally either found people to go out with at night (or
drink at the hostel bar) and sightsee by myself during the day.
I'm not as motivated to see a hundred things a day as I was a few weeks ago
so I'm glad I decided on 5 nights in Paris and didn't try to cram another
city in. Today I finally caved in and went to the Louvre- saw the Mona Lisa
and the Venus De Milo and a lot of 10 foot high paintings. I must admit it
was impressive, although when I decided I'd had enough it took me half an
hour to find my way out.
The rest of my Paris list looks something like this: Champes Elysees/Arc De
Troimphe (which I climbed to the top of during the day), Eiffel Tower (which
I went up as the Sun was going down and stayed until the city and the tower
were lit up), Napolean's tomb at the Hotel Invalides, the graves of Oscar
Wilde and Jim Morrison among others at the impressive Pere Lachais cemetery,
the Catacombes which were very cool, Notre Dame, the Sacre Couer (another
Cathedral type thing) and surrounding area at Momartre, the Salvador Dali
museum which was probably my favourite museum/ gallery of the trip, the
Centre Pomideau and, well, probably other things I've missed.
Tomorrow I'm off to Tokyo, and then it's back home next Friday morning. I'd
like to say I'm looking forward to going back to work but I'd be lying.
You'll just have to think up a much more sucky reason I'm looking forward
to getting home, I won't embarrass her by writing it. It's too late? Oops :)
See you all soon...