Bonjour from Paris! We FINALLY made it….and it only took us 10.5 hours to get here from Venice! Let me first begin by saying that I am so proud of us for navigating so many, many forms of public transportation with all our luggage in two foreign countries all while keeping our sanity and not losing our tempers. Bravo to my compadres, Jordan and Alex, they are awesome.
Our pilgrimage began at 4:00 AM with our alarm to wake up — we had to make the water bus at 5:11 AM, so we wanted to be sure we were up and at em, despite having packed nearly everything the night before (and going to bed around 10:00 PM). We groggily toted our bags to the bus boat stop at St. Mark’s Square, which provided a beautiful sight of the piazza at sunrise. Getting up at the crack of dawn may not be very much fun, but it does provide some unique opportunities to appreciate God’s handiwork in a different light.
Traveling on the water bus, we were able to see even more of Venice waking up with the sun: a lovely way to start off what would become quite the series of debacles in travel. After exiting the water bus, we transferred to a land bus, which transported us to the Trevisio Airport. We opted to fly to Paris via Ryanair, an Irish economy airline similar to JetBlue in America. Here is my opinion of the experience, in case you were considering a similar means of air travel. Pro: it was incredibly cheap at around $90 for the ticket plus a checked bag. Con: you have to really know what you’re doing to benefit from the price. We consider ourselves pretty on top of things in terms of having everything ready to go, but it was my dad who actually read the fine print and saw that there were still several hoops we needed to jump through in order to make it on the flight smoothly (read this article: http://thepointsguy.com/2014/03/top-10-ways-to-survive-a-ryanair-flight/). Luckily, we were at our hostel in Florence when we discovered all this, so we were able to print out our boarding passes in advance and prepare accordingly. Another really big bummer about flying economy is that you are flown in and out of small airports about an hour and a half out of the major cities. For our 8:55 AM flight from Trevisio, we had to leave our hotel at 4:35 AM and take a water bus that cost 2 euros and a bus that cost 10 euros. Once aboard our flight, the seats were very small and it was somewhat annoying having advertisements played over the intercom, but all-in-all the flight was fine, considering it only took about two hours (and I slept most of the way). After we landed, though, we had to catch a bus from our airport (Beauvois) to Paris: after lining up at 10:45 AM, we didn’t get on a bus until 11:30 AM, costing us 17 euros. Once in Paris, we were let off at a stop farther than anticipated due to a street closure, so we had to haul our luggage to the Metro station further than orginially intended. After battling the Paris Metro (which by the way didn’t have any form of escalators or elevators), we finally got off on our stop and hiked to our flat….which is on the 4th floor. At this point, it was 2:30 PM before we even set our suitcases down, 10.5 hours of travel via every form of public transportation imaginable.
I am not trying to sound whiney because I am so grateful to even get the opportunity to hail a water taxi or ride on the Paris Metro. And there were many bright spots to the situation that included our Airbnb hostess being incredibly helpful and cooperative, and our flat is very nice. Plus, Alex and Jordan are troopers, so being with them makes everything better. This is just my recap, bumps in the road and all. Because now that we’re finally in Paris, I feel like I appreciate being here even more!
After getting settled in our flat, Alex and I headed off to pick up our museum passess while Jordan stayed behind to get some much-needed rest. Relating today to my first day in Rome, I was eager to get out and explore because I knew that staying indoors would do more damage than good. Alex and I hiked from our neighborhood just passed the Eiffel Tower to the Louvre, which took us nearly an hour and a half one way. It was a tiring trek, but I loved walking along the Seine and beholding so many beautiful landmarks I’ve only ever seen in books and movies. Plus, I loved the company that Alex provided as we talked about the future and all the things associated with it, as one does often after graduating from college.
With our bodies wearing thin, we opted to take the Metro back to the flat, and this time around, it was a much more manageable experience. I’m still not sold on their subways system, as compared to London’s or Washington DC’s, but it’s growing on me. As far as my thoughts on Paris go, I really, really, really like this city. As mentioned in my earlier posts, each city has its own personality, and Paris’s is so rich. The city itself is fragrant with smells of perfume and delicious food, and nearly everything your eyes take in are beautiful to look at. The people have been nothing but remarkably friendly and helpful in giving directions and offering assistance, and there is so much national pride everywhere that it reminds me of home.
Exploring our neighborhood a bit more, we stopped into a local restaurant and were treated to a delicious dinner that did not have any pasta or pizza on the menu! (I never thought I could get sick of those two things, but it was uncanny how excited I was to eat a vegetable and meat tonight.) Tomorrow, we see all the highlights of Paris, and I cannot wait to discover more about this gorgeous city!