Thursday, February 2, 2012


Wow, I really don't even know where to start with this trip to Paris.  All I know is that this is definitely going to be an extremely long entry. I'll start with the long and complicated journey to Paris on Saturday...

Saturday, January 28: Getting to Paris
I woke up at 5:30 AM so that I could meet up with Amy, Ashley, and Killian in front of Corte Ingles at 6:15. Our original plan was to take the Granada public bus to the Estacion de Tren (where our bus from Granada to Madrid left from).  However, we found out that the buses don't start running until 7AM.  Since our bus left at 7AM, the public bus wasn't an option.  Instead, we took a taxi to the Estacion de Tren.  We got on the ALSA bus and traveled five hours to the Madrid Airport.  We had a ton of time to kill in the airport until our plane left at 5:15PM.

I had bought a cheap rolling suitcase to bring on the trip.  I was stupid though and just assumed that it would be an acceptable size to use as a carry on.  The airline that we took is super strict about their very limited baggage allowance though.  When my suitcase didn't fit in sizer, I FREAKED out. I tried shoving it in, I tired rambling to the lady in crazily incorrect Spanish to find a way to bring it on the plane, and ended up having to pay 50 euro to check it in instead of the 16 euro that I would have payed to check it in earlier.  I was pissed to say the very least.  On a more positive note, I found 20 euro at the Eiffel tower a few days later, so we'll just say I payed 30 euro haha.  

After that very sad incident, I tried to relax and forget about it on the flight to Paris.  We landed around 8PM.  Then we two different metra lines and ended up right by out hostel, Absolute Hotel/Hostel.  We really lucked out on our hostel!  We had a four person room, with a bathroom and shower in it.  There was a common room area with three computers to use with internet access and a free breakfast every morning.  

Sunday, January 29
Day 1 in Paris: free walking tour, Petit Palais Museum, the Arc de Triomphe, and the Eiffel Tower at night.  

Let me just say, we definitely took advantage of the free breakfast at Absolute Hostel.  Each person got a basket with a croissant AND a huge piece of baguette in it.  Along with that, there was cereal, milk, coffee, tea, and juice.  We would save the croissant or baguette for later, buy some lunch meat and cheese from the supermarket, and make sandwiches for lunch.  After breakfast that day, we headed out to meet up with a group for a free walking tour of the city.  When they say walking tour, they definitely mean walking.  Considering we walked around a lot after the three hour tour too, visiting a museum and the Eiffel Tower, we were pretty much on our feet from 10AM until 8:00PM.  

Our tour guide was a cute, funny, and energetic guy named Alex.  He is from New Zealand but has lived in Paris for three years.  We started the tour at St. Micheal's Church.  From there we went to several famous places and buildings such as the Haussmann's Renovations, Academie Francaise, Assemble National, and the Place de la Concorde.  We also went to this bridge that is said to be the most romantic spot in Paris.  The bridge was covered in locks  or every size, type, shape, and color.  Lover's are supposed to put a lock on the bridge to "secure their love."  We also saw the beautiful Tuileries Gardens. 

After a quick stop outside of the Louvre, we took a short break near a McDonald's and Starbucks.  It's really crazy not only how many huge McDonald's and Starbucks there are in Paris, but how crowded they are all the time.  Next we headed down the Champs-Elysees, towards the Arc de Triomphe.  The Champs-Elysees is a street in Paris that has a ton of high-end shopping stores and restaurants.  The Abercrombie and Fitch on the street had a roped-off line out front and a large golden gate entrance!  We ended the tour at the Grand Palais and Petit Palais.  The Petit Palais is a museum with free entry, so we went in there for a while.  

Even though we had been on the move all day long, we weren't done yet.  We went to the Eiffel Tower to see it when it was lit up at night.  It also sparkled on the hour!  It was so surreal being there.  The Tower is pretty much all the way across the city from our hostel, so we walked close to an hour to get back.  Another thing to note about Paris is that its soooo cold!  I was definitely not prepared to face the cold after being in the amazing weather of Granada for almost a month.   I had brought a snow globe for my newly forming snow globe collection, and then managed to drop it two minutes later.  Yeah, I had a lot of bad luck during this trip.  However, I was able to  find another one a day or two later, so no pasa nada.  

Since the shower head in my Granada home doesn't connect and you have to hold it when you shower, I actually took the best shower that I have taken for a while in the hostel.  I also had an amazing night's sleep, because I was so exhausted from the action packed day. 

Monday, January 30
Day 2: The Louvre, Montemarte, Sacre Coeur Basilica, a nice dinner, and out to a bar

I forgot to mention that when we were checking into the hostel the first night, we met a guy from Germany named Fabian.  He is a student in Germany, but is traveling around by himself before he goes back to take his final exams.  He actually ended spending a lot of our second day here with us.  In the morning, Ashley, Amy, Killian, Fabian, and I went to the Louvre.  The great thing about having an extended stay Visa for the UK is that we got into all of the Museums that we went to for free!  The Louvre was beautiful, large, and very very confusing.  Ashley and I wandered around for a long time looking for the 19th century section and asking a lot of people for help, but they didn't help much.  

After the Louvre, we found a market and brought two packets of ham lunch meat and a wedge for Brie cheese for sandwiches.  When we split the price four ways, it was only around 1 euro each. What a deal!  Then we just each brought whatever drinks, chips, or fruit that we wanted separately.  We needed somewhere to sit, eat, and warm up, so we went into a McDonald's.  It was a good thing that Killian had to buy a croissant for her sandwich there too, because a worker who was cleaning the tables came up to us and was like "no, no no, no!" It was hilarious when Ashley grabbed Killian's receipt and wiped it in his face, without saying a word.  I honestly felt like the people in France didn't like us very much or that we were always making them mad.  

After lunch Amy, Ashley, Fabian, and I walked around near the Opera House a bit while Killian went in, because it wasn't free. She really wanted to go, so we just told her to take a lot of pictures for us. After walking around for a bit, we parted ways from Fabian and took the Metra to what was probably my favorite place that we went to on the trip; Montmartre and the Sacre Coeur Basilica.  Butte Montmartre is an adorable little town area where many painters and musicians live.  It's really unique and there are a lot of little shopping areas and restaurants there.  We walked up the massive hill to the Basilique du Sacre-Coeur, which is a Roman-Byzantine style   church.  From the top of the hill, there is an amazing, unobstructed view of Paris.  

We ate dinner in a cute little restaurant in Montmartre.  Then we took the Metra right back to the hostel, which was amazing after so much walking the day before.  When we went back to the hostel, we played a fun game called "fish bowl" in the hostel basement/kitchen area.  The game has three rounds and is sort of like a cross between charades and catch phrase.  That night, the four of us and Fabian went to a bar.  Killian and Amy ordered a drink that Fabian told them was very "French."  Unfortunately, the drink tasted a lot like black licorice, was gross, and neither one of them liked it.

Tuesday, January 31
Day 3: Museum at the Hotel-de-Ville, Norte Dame, back to the Eiffel Tower, and a dessert.  

Our first stop of the day was a small art display of a featured artist named Sempe at the Hotel-de-Ville.  Then we went to Notre Dame.  Inside the church was so gorgeous.  There was a mass going on too, which was interesting to see.  After Notre Dame, we set out to find a supermarket.  It was a lot harder then we thought to find one.  We asked several different people and got several different answers before finally finding this place called Monoprix, which is both a department store and a supermarket.  The best thing was that they even had an area with tables and chairs for eating, so we didn't have to go and invade a McDonald's.  

After lunch we took the train to the Eiffel Tower.  Ashely and I actually waited outside while Amy and Killian paid about 4 Euro to go up to the first level.  I know that I keep sounding like a cheapskate, but everything in Paris is so expensive so I had to spend wisely.   Ashley and I just figured that we weren't going to get any better view then the one that we had gotten from the top of Montmartre.  It was freezing cold as we waited though so we decided to run a lap of two in the area whenever we feared that we might die of hypothermia.  We must have looked really, really, ridiculous but it helped and it's not like we knew anyone there.

When we arrived back at the hostel around 8PM, we were shocked to see another girl from our Granada program in the lobby of hostel.  Her and her group of friends had just arrived after spending a few days in London.  What are the chances of seeing someone that we knew in Paris, let alone in the same hostel as us?!  We went out for dessert that night and April, the girl from our program, came with.  

Wednesday, February 1
The loooong journey back to Granada 

Amy, Ashley, and Killian were all headed to London after Paris.  For convenience, to save money, and to have time to unwind and relax before my classes start on Monday, I just brought a round-trip ticket from Madrid to Paris.  The problem was, their flight left at 10:40AM while mine didn't leave until almost 9:00PM.  It was a flight at that flight, or one at 6:40AM, and since we had to take two different train lines to the airport, I figured I wouldn't want to make the journey there alone.  I bought some coffee, wandered around the airport shops for a bit, and then finally settled down to write in my journal and read my book.  All of the sudden Killian comes running up to me.  She had accidently brought a ticket for the next day instead!  I felt so bad for her.  She called her dad and he had to buy her another plane ticket 6PM.  Although it was an awful situation, it allowed me to have company in the airport for a while, and to take a nap while Killian watched out stuff.  I arrived at the Madrid airport at 11PM.  At 1:30AM, I took a bus overnight back to Granada.  Luckily I pretty much just slept the whole way back.  From the Estacion de Autobuses in Granada, I had to take the Granada Public bus back to my Granada home.  I got back around 7:30AM, unpacked, and then slept from 8AM until almost noon.  

I am so glad that I went on the trip to Paris.  Although the planning was complicated and stressful at times, it was definitely worth it in the end.  Ashley, Amy, Killian, and I saw so many things in the short time that we were there.  Although traveling there was the experience of a lifetime, I was really happy to return to the cute, personal, and familiar city of Granada.  I  personally feel like Paris is somewhat overrun with tourists and that the people there don't care much for Americans. When I saw cobblestone side streets, cheep prices displayed in the windows, and was finally able to communicate with and understand people again, I was so happy.  It's funny that I got more excited to hear Spanish in France then to hear English.  Well, that's about it for my epic journey to Paris, France.  


  1. Loved reading about your adventures in Paris and viewing such grand photos! However, you must move the locks down as they are blocking some of your words.

  2. Hey!

    You found 20 Euros at the Eiffel Tower? Haha... that's great, in Europe the money lies on the streets;)! Well, to be honest, it surely doesn't but I guess it's good to console you for the "carry on incident", which sounds, btw. quite funny, even though it was certainly not a nice surprise...

    You don't know 'love locks' in the States? They also have these on many bridges in Germany, though certainly not that many and on that impressive spots like in Paris. And it sounds like a real adventure going from the airport in Madrid to Granda -or vice versa;)!

    Hope your having a great weekend in Spain and I hope that it’s not as cold as it is here in Germany –at least it’s sunny;)! But if you meet warmth or spring in Spain, please tell them to come to Germany asap, it’s really freezing around here. Enjoy your time in Spain, was really nice to meet you, best wishes, Fabian.

  3. Mom: Okay I fixed it!

    Fabian: I know I was sooo excited when I found 20 Euro, especially since I wasn't having the best luck in Paris. Oh yes, my traveling adventures were definitely long and crazy.

    Unfortunately, it's actually pretty cold here in Spain at the moment, but still better weather then Paris. Good luck on your finals! I'm so glad that we met you and got to spend some time with you. I hope that you don't find it creepy that I wrote about you in my blog hahaha. Thanks for putting up with our obsessive picture taking, making sandwiches in McDonald's, and all of the other ridiculous touristy things we did =]