Logical Progress Advancing a Little Bit Every Day

27Nov/110

Paris 2011: November 27 – Day 0

Nov27 River Seine

I arrived this afternoon on the fast train from London, a journey of about two hours and change. I’ve heard a lot of things about the Eurostar, and I was quite impressed with the fast door-to-door service. If only we had trains like this in the US it might be more convenient and comfortable than air travel. But, alas, we have so many wide open spaces that it may not be feasible until new infrastructure can be built. Where are all the deep pocket financiers when we need them?

Checked into the hotel, got settled, and went out for a walk. I was running short on metro passes so I decided to skip that and just walk, with no particular direction in mind. I start south through Luxembourg gardens, but they were closed by the time I got there. I settled for walking the entire perimeter of the gardens and back north toward the river so I could maintain a constant bearing. I had been to Paris over eight years ago and had vague recollections of directions, but to be sure I wanted to retrace my old steps next to a familiar landmark: the seine.

As I said, I had no particular missing here, I just needed to get out and move my legs. Even though the train ride was short, it was a bit cramped and I was worn out from dragging my luggage around. I had a choice: sit around in the hotel, or get some fresh air and grab some food. Besides, I had nothing better to do since my classmates won’t arrive until Monday. As I walked alone in the chilly dusk I took in all the city lights with a smile painted on my face. Everything was so alive, vibrant and filled with excitement. Surely my opinion was skewed by my status as a tourist, but what an amazing city.

As I walked west along the north bank I could see the Eiffel Tower twinkling in the distance. It was calling to me, a beacon for adventure. It may be the most cliche thing to do in Paris, especially on the first night, but I knew that’s where I was headed. Its sheer size created the illusion of proximity, and with a quick glance at google maps I decided it wasn’t that far away. As I continued to walk, minute after minute, I began to realize that things here look a lot closer on a map than they are in real life. No problem though, onward with the journey!

I approached the tower and began to gawk like a proper tourist, taking photos from all possible angles without actually going to the top. The crowd was surprisingly light, probably a combination of the cold weather and the fact that it’s Sunday. It made my casual stroll just a bit more casual.

After getting my fill of photography and cold air, I decided to turn back. This time I wasn’t going to rely on a landmark to guide me home and decided to look at shorter distances on my map, which took me through a variety of ritzy neighborhoods. It was incredibly quiet, as residents and students were settling in for the evening and getting ready for the hustle and bustle of their normal lives on Monday. On my way back I stopped by a few sandwich bars and instead settled on two slices of pizza. I had ignored my growling stomach for hours at this point, and was happy to see that these establishments were open late and in close proximity to the hotel.

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