|Had to get a shot with the Eiffel Tower|
This is a different sort of entry because it is not about a tournament but not about a vacation. It is about a layover on the way to a tournament, a lucky event to say the least. So I was traveling to Mauritius (a country next to Madagascar off the coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean) for a Tournament and was just so lucky to have an 11 hour layover in Paris, France. As soon as I saw that when booking my eyes lit up, I have never set foot on the European continent before and this was my chance. I would get to see Paris of all places the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, and so many other notable and famous monuments. So the time came and I left Calgary heading to Amsterdam first then towards Paris where I would have my time to see the amazing city. I landed in Paris, France around 12:20pm on Tuesday June 9, 2015 and that’s when the adventure and race against time started.
Before landing I had done my research the days prior to flying out as I knew that there was a lot that could go wrong. I could be delayed, transportation times, as well as when I had to be back at the airport to catch my connecting flight to Mauritius. So I planned everything out and ended up taking the bus into the city which would drop me off right in front of the Arc du Triomphe. It only took about 45-50 minutes as there was a bit of midday traffic and one other stop first but that was fine, well within my budgeted time limit. The first thing I saw was the Arc du Triomphe, this has some significance as I am a huge history buff and enjoyed learning all about world war I and II back in high school. So to see the Arc was amazing, just to be in Paris alone didn’t even sink in at all yet. After bumming around there checking out the area and taking pictures of course I made my way to the next landmark. This one was a lot more famous and world renowned when you think of France.
The Eiffel Tower in the flesh…alright in the metal. It was a truly amazing sight to see this tower not because of its height or anything, it’s actually rather small, but because of the fame of it. The tower did not disappoint at all and captivated my gaze the whole time the entire atmosphere of the area. It was so surreal of an experience to be standing in front of the Eiffel Tower, when 12 hours prior I was in Calgary in North America. I took it in but the gravity of where I was never set in even through the whole time and all the sights I saw. I walked right up to the tower and got a close up look. I was doing great for time. So that was 2 big sights down but still a handful more to go. Now came the trek, I had done some walking already but there was more to head over to Notre Dame but see everything else along the way. I walked along the river, La Seine, towards the famous cathedral.
The river took me past some museums as well as Plaza de la Concorde which connected to the Champs-Elysees and back to the Arc du Triomphe. There was quire the fancy fountain and Egyptian looking structure in the plaza. This was also where the entrance to the Louvre Tuileries started. Walking in it was a huge giant space, an almost garden like area leading up to a palace or in this case museum. I walked across this vast area taking in the statues as well as nature and the sun. Thankfully it was a sunny and warm day as all my plans could have easily been foiled if there was rain. After quite the walk I came up to the Louvre and its famous glass pyramid. The scale of the building caught me off guard and I was enveloped within its walls. I stood and took it in before walking on the outside and back alongside the river. I continued to knock sights off the list and was winding down to the last one. I was doing great for time and not worried as from Notre Dame I could take the train straight to terminal 2 at Charles de la gull airport where I needed to catch my flight.
|The scale of this place blew my mind|
|Still blowing my mind|
Notre Dame Cathedral popped up as I walked to the back of the little island it resides on, I have to say I was a little disappointed from the outside appearance. I don’t really know what I was expecting but I felt a bit of a lackluster experience. Maybe because I had already seen the Eiffel Tower and pretty much everything else is downhill from there. That marked the end of the sightseeing, I had been walking around for a few hours but only walked about 10km in total. I spent time in places to fully take in the atmosphere and gravity of where I was. Not to mention the hour I spent at the Eiffel Tower sitting and watching it as well as having a snack. That meant that all I had left to do was take the train back to the airport and catch my flight to Mauritius for the tournament.
|Didn't see Quasimodo though =(|
Overall the time spent in Paris was amazing, it was surreal and through the whole time I was there it didn’t hit me where I was. I unfortunately didn’t get to go into any of the monuments, museums, or sights that I went to. The lines were simply too long and would have eaten up all my time. I also just had my cell phone to take pictures with as I opted out of carrying my DSLR with me this trip. One day I know I will return to Paris and France for a lot longer time not just an 11 hour layover. That is when I will do Paris properly and take proper pictures, go into the museums and see them as well as up the Eiffel tower, onto the Arc du Triomphe, and into Notre Dame not to mention visit countless other sites. As I arrived back at the airport and sat at the gate I had a sense of accomplishment, seeing so much in such a short amount of time. I also got to cross Europe off the list of continents that I have been to. That would just leave Africa and Antarctica, one of which I would be visiting after a quick 12 hour flight, but that’s another entry.
|I love flying on big planes, especially business/executive class|