Day Eighteen/ Paris

Trip Start Dec 17, 2011
Trip End Jan 14, 2012

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Flag of France  , Île-de-France,
Thursday, January 5, 2012

Today we slept in, and ended up almost sleeping for 15 hours.  We were still drowsy when we woke up, but we quickly dressed and went out.
We had decided to visit the Eiffel Tower.  This sounds easier than it was in reality.  We didn't realise that the metro station we were closest to was not on a main line, and so it was not listed on the map we had.  That meant that it was very difficult to orientate yourself, and so we ended up just picking a train and going on it. We got off the train and walked around.  Paris is a beautiful city, and very unique.  The central part is not filled with high rises, trams and wall-to-wall concrete.  You imagine Paris looks the same as it did 200 years ago.  Paris has managed to preserve its beauty and character in the face of modernity and conformity.  It is really nice to see.  It's a beautiful city to wander around, as you feel like a true, cultured Parisian.  It was lucky that it was so nice to walk around in, as we did a lot of walking around today, trying to locate the Eiffel Tower. We walked past the Louvre, which is the largest museum in the world.  That statement is not too difficult to believe, as it just seems to curve around forever. We walked past pretty building after building. We boarded many buses, not knowing where they went, but finally, we found the Tower. It stands tall amongst all the four and five-story buildings around it, and is very impressive.
The line to get the tickets to go up the tower took over an hour. In that time, mum went and got us food to keep us energised for the strenuous job of waiting in line.  We finally made it to the front, and bought the tickets.
We had to go through security, show the contents of our bags and walk through a metal detector, something I don't remember having to do the last time I came.  We took the elevator up to the second level, where we then lined up to go right to the top. The elevator to the top is the most sickening elevator you will ever take.  I have been in many tall buildings before, which has never worried me, but in the ride up to the summit, you can see all the metal pillars of the tower, as they appear smaller and smaller.  It makes you feel very uneasy, as it does not look like it is made to hold people.
The view at the top is worth it, as you get a full panoramic view of the city.  It gives you the opportunity to see how the city is set out.  Unlike Melbourne, which is organised in a square formation, Paris has no obvious set formation.  There seems to be streets formed in triangles everywhere, but this is no rule.
We went back down, with Mum, Nanna and Hayley taking the elevator, and Dad, Elyse and me trying out the stairs.  You can only take the stairs from the second level down, and it was surprisingly easy.  Perhaps that is because we were going down, not climbing up them. It was fun to walk down the stairs because you could see very closely the intricacies of the tower and the way it was built.  On every second corner, there were also fun facts about the tower, and how it compares to other monuments in the world.  On the first level, we saw that there was an ice rink, and it had a restaurant.  It also had details about the construction of the tower, for instance, that the space for the pillars were dug out by pickaxes, and the rubble taken away by horse and carts.
We finally made it down to the bottom, with Mum, Nanna and Hayley easily beating us walkers. We decided to go home via taxi with Nanna, while Mum and Dad took the train again.
While the kids are away, the parents did play.  They took photos of each other in front of the tower, went shopping, bought food, went to a street vendor to have crepes before arriving home.
It was raining by the time we got home, and we stayed inside until the rain passed before we ventured out again.  Dad and I went walking around our block, and I got talking to a Chinese shop assistant.  It was a little surreal to be speaking Mandarin while in France.
We went out for Chinese for dinner, this time going out later for dinner. We were still the only customers in at that time, though!
A monumental occurrence also happened today; Dad bought toothpaste for the first time in over 20 years. All this time we have been surviving on samples, but Dad had to bite the bullet and actually buy some.
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ronlyn on

We' decided to have a fund raiser and raise some money for the toothpaste. Total $1.50 which should buy 1/2 a tube. Where was the toothpaste that dad bought, made. Some Colgate here has been made in Thailand & Bulgaria.

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