In the future, when I think back to my time in Paris I’ll think “I wish I had had my nose amputated in Brussels”. Paris is beautiful but she stinks. Everywhere I go except in the most swanky areas there seems to be the constant smell of body odor and shit. Maybe when you’ve got this many people and this much heat that’s just the way it is, but none the less, it stinks.
I woke up this morning feeling a lot better, but still pretty bad all told. I was out of clean shirts and both of my pairs of jeans had seen a few days of walking around in the heat so it was time to go laundry hunting. The guy at the front desk told me there was one just 300 meters down the street so I put on one of my dress shirts (so I could wash all my t-shirts) and headed out. It may have been 300 meters, or it may have been 900. Meters are meaningless to me. Everyone uses them though. Stores are “just 50 meters from the station!” and hotels are “around the corner and 100 meters”. I just think of it as football fields.
Laundry was as exciting as you might expect it to be. I ended up trying to find other places to be because the laundry place itself smelled like shit and there was a guy in there who just absolutely reeked of body odor. I could smell it out the door. So instead of sitting there basking in it I went hunting for medicine.
I found a pharmacy and went in and asked if they had cold medicine. It’s not like in the US where you go into a Walgreens and there are 200 different cold medicines in different flavors and strengths and colors. She had one. I was hoping for something with Psuedephadrine in it so my damn nose would stop running but no luck. I asked and it turned out she had just regular Sudafed so I got that instead and popped one dry.
Note to meth manufacturers. Come to Paris. EU 1.60 for a box of 15 Sudafed.
I then found a bakery around the corner and snarfed down two pastries. I hadn’t eaten anything in almost 24 hours and I was dying. Then back to the laundry to get my nice, clean clothes and it was time to start the day.
I didn’t really know what I wanted to do today but I did need to start thinking about tomorrow. I did some research on flights and trains and hostels and decided to go to Berlin next. It was my cheapest option aside from going straight to London and it was too early for that. So I waited in line at the station to buy a train ticket to Berlin. It was expensive, but it’s going to be fun. I’ll take the Thalys to Cologne and then the ICE to Berlin. Both high speed, luxury trains. It cost me EU 172. Getting into Paris was easy, and pretty cheap. The options for getting out weren’t very good.
All that out of the way I finally had time to do some sight seeing. I headed for Notre Dame and visited there for a while. I’m running out of superlatives so I’ll just say it was great. That does it no justice at all but how many times can I say beautiful or stunning or gorgeous. It was all of those and more. Every gargoyle and belfry is a work of art, and there are hundreds.
I had kind of wanted to take one of the red bus tours but they stopped taking passengers at 4 and it was already getting close to that so I decided to just make my own tour. I rode the subway out to La Defense which sounded cool but I had no idea what it was. It was indeed cool. A giant, giant arch made of what looked like a hotel and lots of nice shops. It’s on the western most part of Paris, over the outer loop of the Seine. I’m not really sure what it’s all about still. I need to read about it.
Then I was off to Trocadero which was another thing that sounded cool. Aside from the historical significance (of which I know nothing, and need to read) there is a beautiful view of The Eiffel Tower and a plaza area.
It was getting unbearably hot so I decided to head back to my room for a siesta and to do some more research for tomorrow. After a lot of reading and browsing I decided to stay in Berlin for two days and hopefully make one of the days a quick trip to Dresden by train and then I’m flying to London where I’ll finish the week, and the trip. That will have put me in 5 countries and 7 cities. Not bad for my first try. I booked the flight to London and a hostel right in the center of Berlin.
Now it’s about 8pm and I’m just waiting for the sun to set. Tonight I’ll see Paris by night. I’d like to go to the top of the Arch de Triumph and also see some of the night life.
I’m finding that I was completely unprepared for Paris. I don’t know the city’s history or enough about it. I know I missed 99% of it and I feel bad, but I’ve also really enjoyed my visit, so that’s okay. I saw a lot of the big attractions, and while my visit was pure tourist I don’t know what else I could have done without a guide.
I think I’d like to come back to Paris as a specific vacation. I think this city is probably better seen on a real budget, instead of a shoe string one like I am keeping. In Amsterdam it seemed like cheap Amsterdam was young Amsterdam. In Paris it seems like cheap Paris is poor Paris. As with everything else on this trip, and in life, I think it would be more fun with someone.
Make sure you keep reading below. I finished yesterday’s entry that I couldn’t finish from being sick. And check out Flickr for new pictures from today.