06 June 2006

Weekend in Paris!

Hey, I wasn't going to even post anything about Paris and was this close to ignoring my blog for good but after some persuasion from some people, especially Laing! I decided to not disappoint my audience, So I'm gonna post a pictorial blog about Paris and try to keep my words to a minimum if that is even possible.

We got in Paris on thursday may 4, late night. We walked from the Gare du Nord (North Station) to the hotel, about 30 minutes walk and slept. Then on the next morning, the first thing we saw was the Bastille but unforunately there was nothing spectacular to see there if you didnt know the history about the storming of the bastille.

Then we went to the Notre Dame Catherdal...its an ancient church that was built in 1160 or something and can hold thousands of people, it has 6,800 organ pipes or something like that, i dont remember the exact facts since its been a month since i went to paris :) Here is Elisabet and I in front of the church's rear.

After the Notre Dame visit (we also went in the catherdal), we decided to go and find the Sign Language Cafe that Paris is known for, it was a huge disappointment... all of the staff there looked as if they were hearing and didnt know how to use ISL but we had lunch there... however before we found the cafe, Elisabet found a Starbucks!! she just had to have a Chai, (Sweden doesnt have starbucks) :)

After our lunch, we went to Catacombes de Paris, its a huge catacomb filled with 5-6 million bodies tha were exhumed from cemeteries of paris in late 18th century because Napoleon wanted to revamp the city design and deal with the increasing population and there wasn't any more room to build homes so the cemetery had to go and created a catacomb directly under the city of paris, Elisabet and I went down like 125 steps down on a narrow circular stairway and walked almost a kilometer before we finally saw the bones, then from there, it was almost another kilometer of nothing but bones bones bones, skulls, skeletons.-... it was an amazing sight, one of the must-sees if you're ever in paris.

More bones, neatly arranged, we could even touch them although it wasn't allowed to do so. There was someone at the end of the tunnel that will inspect your bags or pockets to see if you have stolen anything. The end of the tunnel had almost another 100 steps upwards :)

Me going upstairs, exiting the catacomb, i dunno what i was trying to say.... oh well..
Elisabet and I also went to the Louvre Museum... the world's largest art museum and i took this picture only because xff did it too :) if you don't know what i'm talking about... check this out
Elisabet and I saw so much there, Mona Lisa painting of course, and greek sculptures, renaissance paintings, picasso, da vinci, monet etc... and more other things, we had to skip most of the museum cuz it was too big and we had more things to see in paris other than ancient art :)
Here is Elisabet and I in front of the Louvre Museum from the outside after exploring the museum, we went into the museum directly from the subway station so we didnt know what it looked like on the outside until we got outside.

Elisabet and I eating ice cream on Avenue Des Champ Élysées... Europe's most expensive shopping street... I saw that somewhere on internet before going to Paris but i cant cite the source since I dont remember which site I saw it from :) Avenue Des Champ Élysées is a street that goes straight from the Louvre Museum to the Arc Dé Triumph along with lots of restaurants and clothing stores, automobile stores (like ferrari, renault, bmw... none of those cheap fords-- sorry bez :) )

Me in front of Arc Dé Triumph, its the world's largest meeting point of streets, 12 major street meet directly in the middle of Arc Dé Triumph, there is a large circle around the Arc Dé Triumph, the only sane way to get into the middle is to use the underground tunnel.

Elisabet looking down on the Avenue Des Champ Élysées, somewhere down there is the Louvre Museum, you can see how far we walked :)

Then we were hungry, so we went to an "Italian" restaurant on Avenue Des Champ Élysées, I thought I would order something new, and I saw a pizza with pepperoni, eggs, and some interesting spices... so I decided to go for it... big mistake :)... see the egg on the pizza?
and see my reaction? :)... I couldnt even finish it, the pepperoni, egg were undercooked but I'm assuming its a french delicacy... I also ordered a hamburger with eggs on the nightbefore and I ended up with just half cooked groundbeef with a slab of sunny up egg on the top of the ground beef... "that is a hamburger?" I thought.. oh well...

On the next day, we went to the Eiffel Tower.

That's the view of Paris from the top of Eiffel Tower... the city looks charming but its not really... and note the resemblation between this picture and Washington DC's Capitol Building to the Washington Monument? I guess now we know who the americans copied the design from :)

There is 4 entrances to the Eiffel tower, two of them had looooooong line, so Elisabet and I went for the shortest line and then we found out that it was a short line cuz the only way to get up were to use the staircase... we still went for it, and climbed 668 steps to halfway top of the Eiffel Tower before using the elevator to go all the way top (there wasnt any open staircases to the very top if you guys were wondering)

My favorite picture of the whole trip!! :)

Found Canada Dry Ginger Ale!! :) had not drank that since leaving for Sweden... delicious!! :)

Overall, Paris was a very interesting experience... their public transportation system were very AMAZING and DISGUSTING at the same time... they had 15 subway lines, 4 train lines, and countless bus lines and it seems like we never needed to wait for more than 3 minutes to hitch a ride to somewhere in the city... but 90% of the stations looks like they havent been taken care of since they were built (first subway station was built in 1900s or 1910s)... or maybe I'm just biased, but Stockholm has very CLEAN subways and stations....paris's subway stations is not even accesible to wheelchairs, theres stairs EVERYWHERE and no elevators at all... but oh well...

Paris defintely has lots of history there, I would have liked to stay a bit longer to explore more of the city but the weekend was supposed to be a romantic getaway for me and Elisabet and it was just exactly that, we had tons of fun together which was a nice change of pace from our hectic schedule in stockholm.

I've got more stories and pictures but I dont want to stay on blogger.com too long :) if you want to know something more just ask me.



xFf said...

LOL!!! Good one Brandon :) I wonder who will do that next, and start a new traditoinal!

SHOOT. Wish I saw the catacomb, didn't check it out when I was in paris... looks intresting!

I miss backpacking/travelling around the world. I would never forget being consipated in Paris :) Too much bread!

oneninefive said...

Did you see Buzzair and my signature in the holy guest book at Notre Dame? :)

My parents kept on talking about the catacombs, but when I was in Paris could not find any information about it, even in the tourist guide book we had. Next time I'll make sure we contact you to make sure we find it.

The Italian pizza and hamburger looked good, different, but something new (and to fack up your tummy).

Good post, hope you improve over time. :) Your next blog assignment - post some details and pictures of you playing baseball in Sweden! :) I am guessing they play with plastic baseball bats and wear protection like they do with their version of "hockey". :)

Brandon said...

the catacombs wasnt in most of the tourist books, but we found out about it through elisabet's friend and then later found out more via the lonely planet website...

no I didn't see any visitor books in notre dame catherdal that we could sign, thus we didn't see your signatures :)

And, laing, your comments about swedish baseball are 75% right, wanna guess how you got 75%? :)



xFf said...

They wear Protection?

Brandon said...

Yeah I said Laing was 75% right because he got the protection part right and half right about plastic baseball bats heh... actually they use Baum Bats, its approved by MLB, www.baumbat.com , its not exactly a wooden bat but more of a composite of different materials designed to give the bat longer life span rather than a regular baseball bat.

So you understand where I got the 75% (they really do use hockey jocks in baseball games, im not kidding -- I, on the other side, use my old baseball jock that I had mailed to me :) )