London and heading for Paris

Trip Start Jul 02, 2012
Trip End Oct 04, 2012

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Flag of France  , Île-de-France,
Tuesday, August 21, 2012

We had a quiet day before heading off to Paris.  I caught the bus in to the Natural History Museum which was a nice change from taking the tube and is a good chance to see some more of the city.
After our whirlwind tour of the incredible New York museum, I had been really looking forward to seeing the London one at a more leisurely pace but, as is often the case when expectations are high, I was a little disappointed, probably because I couldn't help but compare it with New York.  
Although there were some amazing exhibits and the place is huge, I found the crowds and the layout frustrating.  Often you were forced to walk along a predetermined route which, in the most popular areas like the dinosaurs, had you shuffling along 4 or 5 people deep, seeing very little, with no way of getting out.
Nevertheless I did enjoy some of the exhibits, the collection of minerals was amazing and the blue whale is always jaw droppingly big.  
I did shake my head at one exhibit I came to though which was in the natural earth section and was all about earthquakes.  They had a room set up to look like a corner of a supermarket and people walked in and then it started shaking and rumbling and it was supposed to be a reenactment of the Kobe earthquake in 1995.  Not surprisingly I didn't partake but did feel very tempted to tell the people who came out excitedly afterwards that it wasn't even close to the real thing.  It was a strange experience.
After the museum I walked down to Hyde Park and had a short wander around and then jumped on another bus down to Knightsbridge where, quite by accident, I got off right by Harrods.  What is a girl to do in that situation but go in, so I had a great time wandering amongst the rich and the lavishly expensive goods throughout the store.  There were a huge number of immaculately presented staff and my favourite part was the Christmas Shop which was exquisite.
Later that afternoon, we made our way to Kings Cross station and went upstairs to St Pancras to catch the Eurostar train to Paris.  The station is impressive with lots of exclusive shops and people, people everywhere.  

Quote of the day goes to the 80 year old man who, after Richard had told his wife the table was not available because his family would be coming back, came marching over and said "you don't look like a family man". Rich, ever the quick witted one replied with a straight face that "sometimes it would be nice to not be" which made the wife laugh out loud and the man storm off....hilarious!
Passing through border control was the simplest experience on our trip and at 7pm we boarded the train and sped off.  The Eurostar is very comfortable, quiet and smooth and within an hour we were through the Chunnel and emerged in France.
 An hour later we alighted at Gare du Nord and were met by the owners of the apartment we are renting who took us there, pointing out some famous landmarks and of course taking us past the glorious sight of the Eiffel Tower at night.  Ooh la la!
The apartment is brilliant - thanks  Trip Advisor!  It is on 2 levels, is fully equipped including dishwasher, washing machine, computer, WIFI, full sauna and steam rooms(?!!) and free phone calls around the world. Crazy!

We are tired but all buzzing and looking forward to exploring Paris tomorrow.
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