With the non stop traveling and no time left for the whole hygiene thing, I feel more like a Frenchie by the day. To start the day, I toured the cathedral of Notre Dame as well as its towers. The church was well worth the visit and fully immersed me in its long history (it’s been around for over 800 years!). I wish I could put the sight into more expressive words but none would do it justice. Although I didn’t get to ring the bell Quasimodo-style or for that matter even see the bell, the sights from above were incredible, especially of the nearby gargoyles. These statues did not hold back on being graphic as one of the gargoyles was chomping on the neck of a chicken and attempting to eat it whole. I can’t explain that one, I just blog it. I stopped for my first true Parisian meal near the cathedral just across the Seine River. Not wasting time, I butchered the French language as soon as I entered the restaurant like it was my job. I got my fair share of blank looks, puzzled faces, and muttered laughter to cover me the whole trip. The meal of tagliatelle with smoked salmon, cream sauce, and parsley was magnificent. Two high-classed British women tried to correct measly attempts at the language. [side note: just switched back to the iPad after struggling with the spotty wi-fi at the hostel. I had to use the hostel computers which were a royal pain in the ass. I assumed the entire western world had the same keyboard setup; I was sadly mistaken. A fourth of the letters are jumbled which made keeping my brilliant words flowing directly to you a chore, but worth the bouts of frustration]. I had gelato at Berthillon gelateria around the corner, which brought me back to a fond magical place that you may know as Rome. This strawberry and apricot gelato on a cone took my taste buds on a hypnotic, refreshing, and intoxicating journey that I will have to experience again before I leave Paris. I continued my march through another fantastic park, the Jardin Luxembourg. I could spend my entire time in Paris in these gardens and be perfectly content (and a cone of that gelato in hand wouldn’t hurt either). Paris has surprises around every corner that should keep my ADD exploration fully satisfied. Get lost and you will find treasures unbeknownst to most tourists with churches and gardens that won’t be found in most guidebooks and will leave you breathless and begging for more. I made my way to tourist mecca for the marathon stroll down Champs-Elysées. New York City has Time Square while Paris has this stretch of road that would leave most broke before they blink twice with all the restaurants, theaters, and fancy boutiques. The destination for most tourists strolling famous avenue is the Arc de Triumphe, which was built as Napoleon’s stamp of his world dominance. Around the whirling traffic mayhem that encircles the monument, I got to watch nut jobs attempt to dodge traffic through this ten wide lane loop. After doing a full 360+ around the Arc de Triumphe, I finally found a tunnel that led to the monument guarded nonstop by the furious traffic flow. Afterwards, using my unlimited 5-day metro pass, I zipped to the Eiffel Tower so that I could begin the climb of a lifetime. Surmounting 660-plus steps to the second floor, I watched fellow tourists pass me with ease as they casually stood aboard the lift that took them all the way to the top; my glassy eyed stare from the outpouring effort appeared to produce no pity. The view reinvigorated me as I took in the perfect view of the city with Notre Dame, Arc de Triomphe, Louvre, etc. all in the distance. The word ‘surreal’ has turned into one of those cliche adjectives used to describe an all-too-unreal moment but the view atop one of the world’s most well-recognized structures was just that, a feeling of almost pure fantasy. Here I am standing, towering over and looking upon a city most people only dream of laying their eyes upon. I took numerous laps around the Tower, trying to absorb as much of this panoramic city that seems to spread out infinitely while pausing during those moments when my eyes can’t shake what they are seeing. Eventually, I had to to take the stairs back down even though I wish I could have spent an entire evening with her, just Paris and I. Back amongst the throng of tourists lined up for their opportunity to see the Parisian skyline, I strolled through Champs de Mars, which sits at the base of the Eiffel Tower, all the way to the Wall of Peace Memorial. In 20 plus languages, the word ‘peace’ is inscribed on its pillars in remembrance of the massacre in Champ de Mars. With the day growing long and my legs growing weak, I am spent. Enough of this blogging for the day, I am beat! Tomorrow I shall tackle some of the great museums of this wonderful city!
Day 6: I Have Yet to Take A Shower!?!?