Happy Friday! It’s the weekend in the big city of London. However, as I type this I am on a train to Paris. We just came out of a tunnel and I think that means we are now in France. Anyways, Annie and I did our usual this morning—coffee. We had it in our room since we found out that whatever you order is more expensive if you have it there instead of doing “take away” as the Brits call it. I’m feeling a little more tired today. I think it’s just the result of the long week, but nothing can dull my excitement for PARIS.
This morning the group met and went to a place called the Frontline Club that is a special coffee shop-type place for journalists. Our speaker told us that it’s an office for freelance journalists to come and set up shop. There was a lot of journalism memorabilia on the walls. There was even a spot on the wall for images of journalists that have been killed on the job. He was telling us all about his time working in interesting and even dangerous places around the world for the sake of journalism. We even met a woman who is a very well known freelance journalist who was just in the club working. She told us about going to Egypt and Iran to tell the story of the people there. She said that people always called her crazy for putting herself in danger, but she said that you have to know what risks you are willing to take. This is why I’m a public relations major and not journalism. I am not necessarily a risk taker when it comes to my life… This presentation lasted two hours, so when it was over I had to make a certain stop before we got back on the Tube. On the way there we are walking down the street past a hospital. Now I am a huge Royal family fan. I got up at like 3 a.m. when I was a sophomore in high school to watch Will and Kate get married. Prince George was born when Katheryn and I were in Dallas for a One Direction concert (I know, am I American?), so when we were driving back we were live streaming off of her phone when Will and Kate brought Prince George out on the steps of the hospital. Being the Royal family fanatic that I am, I knew the steps and the name of the wing, the Lindo Wing, when I stumbled upon it. I was so excited that we just so happened to walk past where the future King of England was born that I had to take a picture when we passed it again. I don’t think anyone else got it, or even cared like I did. I remember seeing Will pull up in his car a few years ago for Princess Charlotte’s birth and all the hundreds of photographers that were barricaded across the street.
We got back to Farringdon, our tube station, and I went to the market for some lunch. Down the street from our flats is this very quaint and cute food market that goes on everyday. These vendors set up and people come eat during their lunch break. I went alone to just walk around and get some food. Sometimes you need some alone time when traveling in big groups. I got the British version of Chipotle. It was the same concept and I got basically the exact same thing I would get at Chipotle and it was very, very yummy. I watched a British talk show called Loose Women on ITV while I ate it and it made me feel very assimilated.
After lunch at the flat, Annie and I packed up and headed to St. Pancras train station to take a short hour and a half hour train ride to Paris. Our seats are facing the wrong direction, so we’re riding it backwards. Very strange, but it adds to the new experience. The Eurostar goes fast, but we get to look at the wonderful countryside along the way. Sometimes we go in a tunnel and it makes your ears pop, which we were not expecting. We both grabbed our ears really fast when it hit. These ear pops come fast and frequent.
Once we got off the train, we thought we would take the Metro, but I didn’t have Wifi to figure it out. A wise man once said, “You have to know when to hold ’em. Know when to fold ’em,” so we folded and got a taxi. But, that was the best call because we got to see so much of Paris from that ride. We checked in and headed for the Metro to go to the Louvre. I had screen shots of directions and we were going in confident, even though we don’t speak French. Well the ticket kiosk at the Metro takes every currency except ours, so we had to walk to find a place to change it. That didn’t work, so we took another taxi. I didn’t realize my phone hadn’t changed with the time zone, so now we only had an hour to get to the Louvre before closing. Tonight the Louvre was open until 9:45 p.m. and was free to those 26 and under, so we thought it was the perfect time to go. We got there at 9:10 and walked right in with nobody in line, at all. Literally not one person. The security lady must have felt bad that we were sweaty and panting, so she didn’t I.D. us. It’s nice to know that I look younger than 26… We ran throughout the Louvre and up SO many stairs looking for the Mona Lisa and we finally found it. I have seen photos with hundreds of people crammed in that room to see her. Tonight? Maybe 20 of us. I mean it was unreal. We took our photos and headed out of the Louvre right with closing.
After that we grabbed another taxi and decided to go to the Eiffel Tower to see it at night. We got there at 9:59 p.m. and our driver said to watch it at 10 p.m. Our luck struck again because at 10 it started to sparkle. Thousands of flashing lights lit up the tower in the dark night. It was really beautiful. To top it off, we even had crepes for dinner. Mine was Nutella and ice cream YUM. By this time it was 10:45 p.m. and time to head back to the hotel.
I think today we accidentally did Paris. Like, we shouldn’t have had the luck we did, but thank you Lord that you were so gracious to us! It was so fun. Sometimes the most spontaneous adventures are the best. This was one of the best.
I find myself starting to miss America. I just really want a caramel iced coffee from Starbucks, which I can get in Europe, but Starbucks are just so hard to find. In England everyone drinks Cafe Nero. It’s sad that I can’t go a week without craving the burnt taste of Starbucks coffee with caramel sauce to mask it. Today we heard people getting on our train and they had an American accent. I literally made up a reason to talk to them. Turns out, one of them is from Tulsa! That was worth it. It satisfied my American soul. I like to play a game called, “Are You American or Not?” before people speak. I think you can tell who is and isn’t based on their appearance. The Europeans look different from Americans in a way I can’t describe. The languages are unbelievable. So many different tongues and lives have came into my path. It really is amazing that the Italian women that cut in front of us in line to get crepes, have normal lives in their little town just like I do.
Anyways, that was my first taste of Paris. So far it has been everything I’ve dreamed of and more. Thank you Mom and Dad!!!!
Paris. Just Paris.
Going through the tunnel on the train