June 15th, 2010
We went to the Eiffel Tower today. We meant to get up at 7am but were just too tired and slept in for another half hour. After a few days of going full tilt and were pretty worn out. We stumbled out of bed and went back to the Cafe we went to for breakfast yesterday. We had cafe and chocolate croissants standing up at the bar again. I love the strong dark coffee.
I have not seen that many other young women standing in the cafe in the morning. It is mostly men heading off to work or lazing about. Women tend to sit down. The bar tender doesn’t seem particularly surprised that we want our breakfast at the bar and is as nice to us as everyone else. Were not really in the part of Paris where there are a lot of young people our age. We’re a ways off from the university. I miss the feel of being by a university and the hustle and bustle of other students.
We walked to the Eiffel Tower, which was a bit of a way. We got there at 10am, a half hour after it opened and didn’t have to wait in line very long. We accidentally got into the elevator line when we meant to buy tickets to walk up from the lower floors but we didn’t realize it until we were being shuffled into an elevator.
The elevator took us up to the first level were we went strait to the next elevator to take us up to the top level. From the ground the tower doesn’t look all that tall but from the top the view is stunning.
You can see all of Paris laid out before you. The Seine bisects the city. Paris’s few larger parks are huge clumps of green among the large tissue box like buildings with their central courtyards.
It was cold and windy up top. While we were there the weather wasn’t particularly good but that at least kept the number of tourists down. The stairs down were surprisingly hard to find but we located them and began to walk down. The wind and the view were spectacular. We left just in time because our journey down was frequently halted by large groups of upwardly mobile school children.
We got down and had a chilly lunch at the base of the tower after dodging the many young men selling cheap models of the Eiffel tower. We walked to the Arc de Triomphe. We thought about going up but we had just come from seeing the view from the tower.
As a UK citizen under 25 Anna could have probably gotten in free but I would have had to pay so we just looked at the outside. We saw the never-ending flame for the unknown soldiers from WWI. It was just like the US monument to the Unknown Soldier. It wasn’t as moving because of the flow of tourists around it were less revenant and line to go up into the arch was right next to it. I suspect at night it’s effect is much greater.
We crossed back over the street via a tunnel and walked down the Champs Elysées. I was less impressed by it then I expected, maybe it was the surfeit of McDonalds. I expected more high-class retail stores with window displays and found a boulevard choked by tourists.
We found a post office for Anna to send her postcards home and then crossed back over the river long before the Louvre. We had a long walk back and I quickly tired. We paused in a toy store where I considered buying a plastic Barbar figure or maybe a Little Prince figure but decided against both.
By the time we got back I was in a state of utter exhaustion and sore feat. We had essentially crossed the greater part of inner Paris. It might have been a good time to sort out the Paris Metro but we did not think of it at the time.
After a nap we went out of dinner. We found a nice little restaurant in a nearby plaza where a great deal of confusion occurred. Anna did not understand that steak tartar meant raw beef and the waiter became greatly worried when she tried to order it and he did not think she understood what she was doing. Then we tried to figure out what the restaurants Happy Hour entailed. This resulted in the waiter assuming we wanted to huge beers. I ended up with a strawberry beer and Anna a white one. They were each over 50ml.
What we had intended was to find out if the happy hour beer was cheaper then wine and get wine if it was not. I’m not sure how that reached the point of the waiter suggesting strawberry beer and us nodding in confusion and assent. I’m not even sure why he assumed I could possibly want my beer to taste like strawberries maybe he just thought that that was the thing to suggest to an American girl. Anyway, while odd, huge, and mildly expensive the drinks weren’t bad.
The food was the incredible thing. I had guinea fowl with potatoes and Anna had cooked beef with the same. The sauce was incredible. After dinner we crossed to a cheaper cafe to have our evening coffee at the bar. We walked home in the cool evening air and rested contently after a good meal.