Saturday, 23 October 2010

Strolling through the streets of Paris

Finally it's here and I have 10 whole weeks of holiday in Europe. The last few days and weeks at work were mad, long and a little bit stressful, and so I think it's going to take me a few days (or maybe longer) to unwind properly; but here I am, on what has been a gorgeous Autumn day, in Paris, so where better to relax?

I was far too tired/wired on the way over to write during the journey, but I did put my kindle to good use. I have decided one of the most useful features is the ability to lay the thing flat so you can keep reading, completely hands free (except for tapping the page button), while eating. You just can't do that with paperbacks, and for the solo traveller it's brilliant. I also watched plenty of movies and got around 6h sleep, so all in all, not too bad. The Melbourne to Bangkok leg was particularly cruisy, since the plane was only about a third full, meaning I could switch to a bulkhead seat and have heaps of leg room. Had I wanted to sleep that leg, I could have lain across three seats...

On arrival in Paris ~7:45 this morning, I took my time and caught three trains to my hotel, which is in eastern Paris. Upon emerging from the metro I was greeted by a quaint little village of shops and houses; it's a lovely environment, if not quite in the vicinity of the 'heavy hitting' tourist sites. After settling in, I set off for a walk and decided to catch the train to the Louvre museum, from which I walked through parkland and along the Seine River to the Eiffel tower. Taking a walk through a city is my favourite way to gain impressions and soak up atmosphere. It's a cheap way of the spending the day too, plus I've mastered the metro system. I didn't go into the Louvre or up the tower, since I've done both before and today was really about revelling in the fact I am in Paris. The sun came out mid-afternoon and I spent a delightful 20mins or so sitting in the sun on a grassy sward, watching other tourists take photos of each other 'holding up' the tower... or else trying to push it over.

That's about all I can manage for day 1 in Paris. Time to get my body clock in synch for Western Europe. It's not even 6pm yet, but oh well. Bon Nuit!

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