PARIS PHOTO DIARY DAY TWOTuesday, July 19, 2016
Day two began with a set plan in mind - a visit to the Eiffel Tower and then venture to the Louvre. The heat was considerably stronger than the day before - the sun was out for the most part - something which was particularly welcome for our trip up the Eiffel Tower. You see images of the Eiffel Tower everywhere, it is definitely the one landmark that signifies Paris, it IS Paris - one simple outline of the tower speaks of the city itself. It really was a pretty sight in the day admits the sunlight yet I just can't help but wish I had witnessed the Eiffel Tower in lit up glory at night, maybe next time. We went early, it was still morning as we were queuing up yet there were still a considerable amount of people, nothing of what would be expected at peak summer holiday time though, I imagine. The lifts to the top (there were two) were still packed and very warm, nonetheless yet the views at both levels were astonishing, I have always loved a Birdseye view of a city from a rooftop - there is something so peaceful about hanging above the bustling below and, even better when such is experienced in Paris.
My second (and last) full day in Paris was certainly spent at a more leisurely speed than the last with less walking, less frantic Metro navigation and thus a more relaxed pace of sightseeing ensued. Although, such strolling just may have down to the calming effect of a Museum - The Louvre, to be precise. A trip to the Louvre was always a definite on the rather nonexistent itinerary for Paris as addmidedly I do not take time to visit museums in the UK and I really wish it was something I did as they are, obviously, quite interesting but, maybe such will change with my move to London.
I really enjoyed walking around the Louvre - and getting lost mind, that place really is a maze, especially when trying to locate the Mona Lisa, a sight which is arguably the most famous on display at the Louvre and a fact especially signified by the hoard of tourists crowding around the startlingly tiny frame, cramming to get a head-free picture, if by nothing else. I managed to get my snap, only by using a calculated method of waiting and shuffling to the sidelines, I would recommend you implement this yourself on approach, ha.
After a good hour of so of wandering and looking around the Louvre, more wandering ensued around shops and more ice cream was consumed - then the rain came and so we took cover yet again in shops, all the while resisting - I may add. If more time was at hand on the second day, a visit to more vintage stores would have been on the cards but back to the hotel in time for dinner it was. Pasta was my chosen dish for dinner and it was quite honestly the nicest pasta I have ever tasted and never will I have it again (sob) or see the fit waiter either - something which is quite clearly the worst shame out of the two, clearly - ha.
After lovely, sight-seeing filled day and an evening spent drunk on rose wine, it was the end of our short but certainly sweet trip to Paris and unfortunately, time to go home or rather, as it turned out, to Luton then London and then finally, home.
Due to there being French air traffic control strikes while we were holiday, my friend and I were anxiously checking our flight details the night before in fear of flight cancelation. At this point however, we discovered that our flight was to be delayed by three hours, ok - manageable, not great but not the worst thing - certainly bearable and we would get home eventually, more time in duty free if anything, ha. The morning of our (soon to be doomed) journey home, before checking out of the hotel the flight status was showing as the same: delayed and so, off we went with the thought of a long wait ahead of us, unknowing of just how long and tedious such wait would soon turn out to be.
Lugging a massive, heavy suitcase on and off multiple trains and around multiple, very weirdly windy Metro really wasn't an ideal route to the airport - I would not advise, I had visions of my poor friend being flattened by the suitcase from pulling it down the stairs. Although, at the time of travel this seemed the most stressful part of our journey back to Liverpool, on arrival to the airport a flight update would deem otherwise - our flight had been cancelled. A mere few hours before it was originally supposed to take off, the flight status had changed yet again and quite frankly, to th worst possibly outcome. Something such as a flight cancelation had never happened to my friend or I before and since she had prior arrangements that she needed to be home for on the Saturday, getting back was vital. All flights to Manchester were booked up for that day and so two options arose: either we would get a hotel for the night and fly back the next day to Manchester or book onto a flight to Luton airport that same day and get a train back from London to Liverpool. I am quite amazed at how calmly this situation was handled by the two of us (okay I did nearly have a stress-induced cry at one point but the key phrase is NEARLY, then I pulled myself back together and laughed it off, ha) but, while we were weighing up both options, all of the flights that we were considering vanished - they had seemingly been booked up, FUCK was the thought at mind and the next onset of panic set in.
Luckily, at this point, a woman pulled us aside to assist with our cancelled flight disaster and managed to book us onto the Luton flight that evening - all was saved and plan two was a go, or so we thought - an hour and a half wait later and panic was again setting in as upon check in for said Luton flight the kind man behind the desk informed us that ONLY I had a confirmed seat on the plane and my friend, unluckily, was on the waitlist and there was only a 70% chance she would get a seat on the flight, HA. It was certainly stomach churning news especially since we had just successfully checked our bag onto the uncertain flight and if only one of us could fly home today then it was a given that neither of us would so bye-bye bag and all of our beloved belongings.
At this point my stress level was high to say the least as a further wait for two or so hours ensued until boarding of the Luton flight and it really was agony, it may sound silly to get so worked up over a flight but honestly I have not felt that nervous since sitting my A Level exams or perhaps results day, it was AWFUL having two full hours of dead time just contemplating our impending doom. Our flight wasn't the only one cancelled that day and so it just so happened that the Luton flight was overbooked by eight people, apparently and how on earth that is allowed I do not know. The wait was made even more tedious though by the fact that we would not know if we were going to fly home that evening until all other 'confirmed' passengers had boarded as only then could the airline allocate spare seats, or something to that effect.
Boarding time (eventually) came around and we queued up as normal due to the fact I had a confirmed seat and due to our obsessive overthinking we concluded that if I did not board there was a possibility that it could appear as if there were another free seat available - we were covering all basis at this point - worrying, worrying and worrying some more but, in a sheer stroke of luck - MY FRIEND GOT A SEAT. We were not sitting together but at that moment, I honestly could not give less of a fuck - we were on the flight, we were getting home and that was all that mattered - until we landed in Luton, that is.
I can honestly say that the Journey home from Paris (one that ended up being the Journey to Luton, to London and then to Liverpool, ha) was probably one of the strangest days I have ever experienced in my life and certainly one that although seemed stressful at the time, is easy to laugh at now - my friend and I seem destined to have the most excruciating and long winded journeys home together - it was like getting home from T in the Park last year all over again except worse and way more expensive.
Again, upon arrival to Luton, we had two options: get a bus from the airport to Luton train station, get a train to St Pancras station in London, from there get the tube to Euston station and then finally, if made in time (the last train back to Liverpool that night was set to depart at the rather early hour of 21:07) buy a very expensive ticket back to Liverpool and then, finally arrive home safe and sound and sleep for approximately two years. Or, if time was against us, get the train to London as previously explained, get the tube to Marble Arch, get a coach to Oxford University and stay with my friend in her uni halls for the night before booking a train home from Oxford to Liverpool the following day (it is funny to note that a night out in Oxford was also mandatory to this plan, I think we had both lost our minds at this point, ha). Luckily, due to intense rushing at Luton airport, we made it on track and a train back to Liverpool it was, we met some certainly strange yet albeit funny characters along the way too. Not for one moment did I think I would end up in London before my move there for University in less than two months but hey, it's a story to tell to say the least.
All in all, the rather long winded journey home did not tarnish the enjoyment of the trip to Paris one bit and if anything, it certainly made the whole experience more memorable.