Paris, Day 2: To the Eiffel

Monday, April 21, 2014

You could read about my Eiffel Tower obsession in the previous Paris post. Milan told us that the Tower is one of the few things Parisians hate about their city - because it doesn't fit in it. But for me, and I'm sure for many other people outside of Paris and France, it's the most important sight, the symbol of the city - for me the Tower equals Paris. And that's why I wanted to see it so desperately, and that's why I wanted to get on top of it, and I was ready to wait as long and pay as much as it takes.


Our Eiffel Tour was per aspera ad astra - well, that's at least what my feet would tell you if they could speak. Our first stop that morning was Starbucks - we needed coffee as big as possible to get us through the day, plus we were all very curious about the spelling of our Serbian names we would get in France. If you follow me on Instagram, you know that it's been pretty troublesome for me in Germany. My name is pronounced Tihana (you can actually hear the H) with the stress on the first syllable, but in an English speaking environment I move the stress onto the second one. However, whatever I do in Starbuckses in Germany, they're just not hearing it - first they confuse D and T, and then they omit the H. So far I've been Diana, Thiana, Dijana... I should just come up with an easy German name, I know, but my stubbornness - that has got nothing to do with my linguist part, which knows they're just unable to grasp the right spelling because they don't even hear my name as it is - insists on staying Tihana. So, I wanted to see how the French would cope with my name! And there we were. Ivana got Ivana. Bojana got Boyana - close enough. I said my name, then after the bartender asked me to repeat it, repeated it slowly, emphasizing every syllable. But he just shook his head and handed me the plastic cup and the black marker so I could write my name myself.


After that I didn't know whether I should be grateful to him, or to the Germans who at least try.

In love with the sunshine and filled with coffee, Ivana, Bojana and me began our journey towards the Tower. We grabbed some pastries on the way to the Notre Dame. French pastries - no mistake!


The Notre Dame Cathedral is astonishingly beautiful, as expected. There is a huge line to get in, but it moves really quickly, I think we got in in five minutes. There is no admission fee for the cathedral, but you will have to pay if you want to get to the top of it. We wanted to, but we were meeting Anja who was afterwards supposed to go to the library and work on a project, so eventually we didn't.

The gargoyles

You can tell from the look on my face that I'm not a map person

Anja then took us to my probably most favorite place in Paris:


And after a coffee in the Finnish Institute - where I greeted the girl working at the entrance with "moi", ordered the coffee in Serbian because a girl at the counter was Serbian, and met another friend from Serbia, who lives in Vienna but was on a conference in Paris - we continued to walk. And walk, and walk. I found an amazing vintage hat in a kilo shop on Boulevard St Martin, but didn't buy it. I'm so regretting that now! It was probably the only hat ever that looked good on me, and as my friend said, "I looked like a madmoiselle".


Getting close!

The distance between Notre Dame and the Tower is too big to be walked. But we did it. By the time we got to the Tower, our feet hurt so much that we wanted to take the elevator, not the stairs. However, the estimated waiting time for the elevator was an hour and a half, and the line for the stairs was much shorter. To be or not to be? It was already late afternoon, and we wanted to get to the top before the sun sets. So we grasped our last atoms of strength and stood in the line for the stairs.

(By the way, taking the stairs is a bit cheaper, and even though we were really tired, it wasn't a big deal. If you take the stairs, they can only lead you to the second floor (4 € for people younger than 24 - paid that much even though I'm 25, they didn't ask for any IDs and actually I can pass as a 20-year-old...; 5 € if you are/look :) older than 24. If you want to get to the top using the elevator, it's 13.50 € for younger than 24 and 15 € for the older. Once you get to the second floor, you can pay 6 € more to go to the top using the elevator. So that option is not that bad at all - if we and our sore feet could do it, so can anybody! You can find all the other infos on the Eiffel Tower website.)


While we were on top, a guy proposed to his girlfriend. (Such a cliché if you ask me.) She said yes, they got an applause from all of us and then I heard her mother saying to her in Russian: "You've been waiting for this your whole life!" Haha.


By this time we were extremely tired and hungry - remember, the only meal we had that day was pastry in the morning, at this was 9 o'clock. We met Milan again, who was the nicest person ever because he guessed we might be hungry and brought us some homemade proja - it was the most delicious one ever! 

By the way, Milan's only condition under which I could publish photos of him was to tell the world what I did that night when we went to Sacre Couer Basilique. Long story short: he told us in half an hour or 45 minutes' time we'd meet Anja and have a dinner with her on Montmartre. I could deal with less than an hour. But it turned out he had overestimated himself, and us - especially me - or forgot that he wanted to take us to places, such as Arc de Triumphe... Moulin Rouge... and Sacre Couer... and blah... and my desperation was even bigger when I realized we had to take stairs to the Basilique. Endless stairs. So I was a bit grumpy. Ok, more than a bit. I was angry. And tired. And hungry. And impatient. But YOU TOLD US HALF AN HOUR! There. 

Sacre Couer - in the daylight, though


Once again I had the most amazing weekend thanks to my wonderful friends. I hope we get many more together!
But if you asked me about my impression of Paris... well, that's a tough one.
I told you last time that I imagined it would be the most romantic city. The most beautiful. 
Well, it did have everything I based this opinion on: romantic cafes, cute narrow streets, macarons, the Eiffel Tower, the Seine, flowers, baguettes... but somehow it didn't impress me. I don't know how I dare to admit this, but unfortunately it didn't. Besides from these cute things, it's just a city. Full of tourists, dirt, garbage, tall buildings. The image of Paris I had in my head was purely romantic, and the real Paris is... I don't know. Different. 
Maybe my expectations were too big. But the feeling I coudn't get away from was that Paris is just a brand. 
I will definitely go back - there are a lot of things I didn't see or do on this weekend trip. But this is not one of my top 3 cities, and had I been asked before, I would have been sure that Paris would make it to the top. At the end of the day, it might depend on a person too - Paris goes so wonderfully with Milan, for example - it's as if the city was built for him personally. 
What about you? Have you ever been to Paris? Did it fulfill your expectations? I'd be more than happy if you shared your opinions in the Comments section.

So, this is it about my recent travels. I must admit I was very exhausted. Earlier I thought that this lifestyle must be extremely exciting. And it is - I had hectic four weeks with seven flights, never staying in one place for more than 5 days. But it includes packing and unpacking all the time, waiting for the boarding all the time, spending too much time on buses and trains to and from the airport - that's the tiring part! After a while you just wish to calm down a bit. So that's what I'm gonna do now. I still check Skyscanner from time to time - but I am tired and broke, so other destinations will have to wait. Oh, and another very important reason why I'll never travel this often anymore: in Paris I realised that my impressions from Brussels are still so vivid that I might have troubles separating memories from Brussels and Paris. And I didn't like that at all! Travelling is great and it's the greatest joy one can have - or at least me - but only if you insert decent amount of rest in between. So the next period is going to be all about discovering Berlin - I think the city has got sooo much to offer and I cannot wait to wander around it. After all, that's what Wandering Polka Dots do.

Hope you had a nice weekend and I wish you a lovely week. Lots of love!!!

Tihana

Photo Credits. Once again the person responsible for most of the photos - and also for the lack of herself in the same photos - is Ivana. Thank you so much :*



3 comments:

  1. Hoćemo još tvojih slika. Toliko si lepa!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pred spavanje proverim mejl, ko još piše nedeljom uveče, niko, kad ono komentari na blogu - uvek malo poskočim u sebi od radosti - i to kakvi! Baš si me postidela sad, BAŠ! Hvala :*

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    2. Ranije sam često imala odvojne nedelje, da li prepodne ili uveče - samo za čitanje blogova koje pratim. Pa sednem, skuvam čaj ili kafu (u zavisnosti koje je doba dana), i krenem da čitam. Sinić je sasvim spontano bilo jedno takvo veče i mnogo mi je prijalo. :*

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