Friday, April 9, 2010

Day 4 London to Paris

March 30, 2010 Tuesday Wake up call at 7 a.m. We quickly got ready and enjoyed our last Bloomsbury Park Hotel breakfast of toast, Robertson clear honey and hot tea. 9 a.m. I  London and I will miss this great city, the London lingo (jumper=sweater, loo=bathroom, football=soccer, lifts=elevators … ), our hotel lift that fits 2 people, the pubs (even the dives), the Tube, all of it! Took the Tube to Kings Cross/St. Pancras (8 pounds for two tickets). Arrived by 10 a.m. Eurostar is a very clean, modern train. We boarded the clean space and enjoyed the quiet, smooth ride to Paris. 
Arrival at Paris was like being in Lost In Translation. Nobody will speak English and there are no English-translated signs. After wandering, we found the information center and decided to buy two 3-day passes (40 € Euros) to use for the Metro and buses. Took the Metro (Paris’s version of the Tube) to Pont de St. Cloud. Everything was fine until we tried to find the hotel.
The map at Pont was confusing and we walked the opposite direction in circles. It was cold and the monsoon rain started to pour. Even with umbrellas, our baggage was soaked and we looked like wet, stray dogs. We stopped for directions at a pharmacy and grocery, only to piece the information we received in French. It took close to 2 hours to find our hotel, which was only a couple of blocks from Pont de St. Cloud!
Ren: What’s our hotel called?
Beau: Sh*t in a box… 
The hotel is narrow and rooms are small. The elevator says it will fit 4 people, but it barely fits 2. The concierge is nice, they all are — one redeeming factor since our arrival. We are told to return the room key every time we leave the building. The key also turns on and off the lights/electricity in our room — very conservative. Wet and frustrated, we dry up and remember that we are in PARIS!
By 6:30 p.m., we head out to the Eiffel Tower. The sun came out but it is COLD. I saw a light at the end of the tunnel when we spotted 4-5 Remember Me posters in the Metro. Good karma, baby.
Eiffel Tower. We followed the crowd and looked for signs. It’s a huge tower … it would be hard to miss, right? 
There were many street vendors selling cheap replicas of the Eiffel Tower. We stood in line for an hour for tickets to the top, 24.60 € Euros. I have been dreaming of romantic Paris in the spring time since I was a teen. When we finally reached the top, it was dé ja vu of the Empire State Building in NYC. All I could think was, “It… is… F*cking… COLD.” Pardon my French. We tried to soak in the moment but it was freezing. I was afraid a gust of wind would blow us off the tower.
The only thing warming us was the thought of a hot dinner. The sun was going down and we found a nice cafe around the corner. Our waiter was very pleasant and spoke English. Merci! 
Castel Cafe. We both ordered the 3-course meal specials. I started with Oeuf Mayonnaise (hard-boiled egg with mayo), Steak Frites, and dessert — Créme Caramel (flan). All delicious and comforting. 
Dinner warmed up our first chilly day in Paris. And I have to say, the Eiffel Tower lit up at night is quite spectacular. We walked a bit to find the Metro and was back at the hotel by 10:30 p.m. 
Photos: Beau and Ren Reiske © All Rights Reserved.

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