Discovery

Hitting Two Birds With One Stone

Hitting two birds with one stone: The story of how I crossed out two items off my (almost impossible) Bucket List: (1) to travel alone outside of the country, (2) Paris, France

 

My most memorable weekend happened last June 14-15, 2014, the day I set foot in Paris, France. I was sent to Sweden by my company and lucky enough, I had a spare weekend where I can go anywhere I want; Of course, my first choice: Paris, France. (P.S. This was my first ever trip too, my first time to go outside of the country (PH) and my first time to ride a plane. Cool, diba?) 

You must be thinking how grand it was, but believe me, this trip is more than that.

Let me take you to the Top of Eiffel Tower as I tell you my story.

{Around 6:30AM} the plane landed in Charles de Gaulle (CDG) Airport. I was so excited but despite researching about the place, I decided to consult the information desk for some questions such as where’s the RER (train), how to get the tickets and to get a map. Their answers were such a game changer. Apparently, for that weekend only (of all the weekends of the year!), RER would not be operating due to a rally (I was too confused at that tim e to remember the reason). I was so terrified – all the things I researched went down the drain and my supposed “best weekend ever” was about to turn into a nightmare.

When I was able to absorb everything and accept my fate, I told myself that I wouldn’t let anything ruin the trip- I was already in France! So, I decided to get all the help that I could from the information desk to make new plans.

{Around 11:00 AM} I couldn’t believe it; I made it to the City Center via bus and there it was, the famous Eiffel Tower. I couldn’t hide the smile on my face when I saw it! A lot of people were taking pictures, buying souvenirs, and were in line to get to the top, which was the first on my to-do list: to get to the top of that tower. The line took me almost 2 hours to get to the 1st floor, about 30m to 2/3 and 1h 30m to get to the topmost/summit/sommet (back story: I think the usual line is supposedly much shorter but someone left a suspicious bag on the top most so they held the line until someone claimed that the bag was theirs – swerte ko talaga eh no!). To be honest, I got a bit disappointed with the Eiffel Tower experience (that waiting game was such a pain!) but that was overlooked immediately when I was able to go to the top and see how beautiful the overlooking view was. It was surreal! I wanted to put all my feelings in a bottle and take it home for remembrance.

{Around 5:00 PM} I decided to check out some other cliché places such as the Louvre Museum, Champs Elysses, Charles Garnier, and the usual activities such as trying out macarons and chocolates from Laduree, local waffles and ice cream (both were readily available in the streets), having wine and cheese in the grass while the Eiffel Tower stood in front of me, taking selfies and artsy photos per location– I was enjoying too much!

{Around 10:00 PM} This was when I realized I forgot to do something, TO CHECK-IN MY HOTEL. I was hopeless that I actually considered not sleeping anymore. Even if I was exhausted, just to try my luck, I headed to the Grand Hotel de Paris and asked if I could still check in. And because the receptionist said that I looked too young to stay outside all night (I was 21 then, but still considered as a minor there)–  she let me in! Although, she was just probably too nice to say to my face that I needed to change and I look tired. Thank Goodness!

{Woke up around 6AM, tired but still super excited} Had my breakfast at the hotel, all my gadgets were fully charged and I was ready to go again!

{By 8AM or so} I was actually looking for the best place to get souvenirs when I accidentally crossed the lock bridge (!!). They were right about it, it was a crowd-favorite that the locks sold cost a fortune! (10-20 Euros per lock = P530-1060 Php!) Good thing I had a spare lock in my bag, so I wrote my name on it and wished/promised that I would go back to Paris as I threw the key.

{12:00 PM} I wondered where I could find the “hidden gems” of Paris. I asked some locals how to get the cheapest bags, the best food, as well as cool artistic places where I could get more of Paris. I was sent walking to streets (I can’t even remember the names, my eyes lit with such amazement) checking out the different high-end stores. Trivia: they don’t place tags on their merchandise! When I asked a local why I never saw a single price tag in any of the stores, she said: “If you have to ask the price, it is most likely that you can’t afford it”  But she was right; I asked how much a painting cost and I almost died.

{Around 3:00 PM} I decided to make Notre Dame my last stop. I had so much to be thankful for and I was also interested in the structure of the place. This is where I also overheard some Filipinos saying, “Hala! Nasaan na tayo?” [Oh no! Where are we?] Of course, I immediately offered help. 😉

I probably must’ve missed a few more places I visited and other things I did in Paris but I had two important takeaways from the trip:

(1) you will learn a lot of things about yourself when you travel alone– I highly encourage this even for local trip but please, please! Always research and have a lot of back-up plans haha! and (2) getting lost is not always a bad idea. 😉

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