"The Ascent of Man"

Trip Start Sep 22, 2012
Trip End Oct 19, 2012

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Flag of France  , Île-de-France,
Sunday, October 14, 2012

We wake eventually to another wet, grey day. If it were home, I'd find plenty of things to do to fill the day indoors. But this is Paris and time is limited.

So we pull on our gear that has dried overnight and head out to the Eiffel Tower. It has to be done. Normally, it would be simple to reach it too.

This morning however, we come face to face with the 20km Paris Marathon. Over 27,000 exhausted, sweaty faces in fact. Plus their supporters, organisers and big wire fences.

And one very annoying, non-stop announcer on the PA cheering them all on.

It's a long way round to get to the base of the Tower and then another hour in the drizzle until Ian and G-ma's tour bus makes it through the chaos to rendez-vous. The only plus side here is that the queues to go UP are almost non-existant. Not surprising, since visibility at the summit is reduced...

After Liz and I queued for three hours last time, it is almost unbelievable that we virtually walk straight in and wait for only one lift load ahead of ours. We save our euros and opt for just the second level... The view will be better and the details easier to pick out at that height in the fog.

It seems just as busy up there though. We circumnavigate in the rain and eat a baguette in the inside warmth, descend and split, they back on another loop of their bus and me towards the main shops.

I wander north of Notre Dame intending to cruise slowly home, but the drizzle gets the better of me. Umbrellas left, right and in my face, dawdling tourists on the wrong side of the footpath, wet feet and even worse, MOST OF THE SHOPS CLOSED!

I head home defeated, only to find that the others have just beaten me in in the same mood! With the room looking like a laundry, we resort to an afternoon nap. This is NOT how a weekend in Paris is meant to be! We watch a clearing sky towards evening and plan on a better day tomorrow before our afternoon Eurostar.

And we watch the last stages of the ascent of Austrian daredevil Felix Baumgartner on BBC TV and his subsequent 39,000 freefall to earth before some fine pizza and risotto.
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