Day 8: Tues 26th
Love at First Sight
We slept until a reasonable hour and for my final day in London we had coffee then strolled around Kens secret garden. I can imagine how much his girls love this place-so many hidey holes! It’s magical! Squirrels are scurrying about absorbed in their own little world, birds are flying about chirping, leaves are gently rustling…… it is so busy, yet so tranquil here!
Reluctantly it is time to make a move and farewell Blackheath. I am over the moon when we stop for a cuppa and come across a Bobby on our way to the station!! He is very friendly and happily allows me to take a selfie with him….even holds our pose while I wait for the double decker bus to be behind us. 🙂
At the station Ken and I say our goodbyes and I go to wait for the Eurostar……time for the next chapter of my journey. Thanks London and thank you Ken for your hospitality!! I had a blast and ticked off more boxes than I had listed!! You’re a gem!
Once I board the Eurostar I realise my view will be of where I’ve been, rather that what lies ahead, but that’s ok…..it’s all new to me!
I am only mm away from licking the window I am that close, I am taking in everything. It comes as a bit of a shock when the lady in front of me pulls our blind down!!! What the…??? Clearly she has done this trip before! I sneak it up just a little so I can peak beneath it.
I presumed once everything went black and stayed that way, we were going through the Chunnel-The Channel Tunnel. Daylight, I figured, therefore meant we were in France!!! Bonjour!! I believe the French are partial to a drop? So, when in Rome…… I head to Coach#9-aka The Bar!! There is, understandably, a queue. I line up….a couple back from …..is that a yeti??!!! Nope it’s not, but now I’m feeling underdressed!! Maybe it’s cold in Paris?
I order a wine and a toasted sanga. The bar attendant, Bety, speaks 4 languages!!! Pretty darn impressive!!! I stay in this coach until almost the end of the line. At least the blinds aren’t down here! I chat to an English bloke who is sipping away at the cup of tea he came to get his wife! I, on the other hand…. Aussie through and through, am having another bevvy!
When the call comes to announce we have arrived in Paris, I grab my backpack and wait alongside others to disembark. I have written directions from someone’s blog on how to get to the bus stop to catch number 42 bus. These directions somehow take me further away so, in broken French, I ask for help and find I do not have far to go. For anyone travelling to Paris for the first time, I will give these directions clearly in another post, at a later date. The bus ride to the hotel is interesting and I find the few French words I know are enough to help. I am a bit of a romantic at heart and have always believed in love at first sight. I am watching people come and go from the bus when we pull up at one stop in particular and cupid’s arrow pierces my heart! I feel goosebumps and quite literally breathless! Tall and foreboding there stands the image of perfection! I am in love!!! My view is slightly obscured, but clear enough to impact me! I am desperate now, to get closer! The other points of interest I have been besotted by, now pale in comparison.
Once I reach my stop I hurry to find my hotel, check-in and hand wash a few essentials before heading out. Another great bit of advice I received before leaving home-dental floss makes a great clothesline! Worked a treat.
Chores done, I race down the stairs….I am a woman possessed! Like lovers in a movie scene when they race into each other’s arms, I feel the magnetic pull and walk briskly until, through the trees, I see, I feel, the Eiffel Tower.
I am mesmerised! I did not expect to feel this way about a building. As I get closer I wonder how tonnes of steel piled so high can look so intricate and delicate. I instantly compare this massive structure to a fine piece of filigree jewellery….it is exquisite.
I figured I would have plenty of time to admire the Eiffel Tower later and again in the morning, so I begin my trek, as planned, up to see the Arc De Triomphe. I have only gone about 300m before I do a U-turn and opt, instead, to do the river cruise now while there is still light. Shortly after stepping aboard I notice the sun is almost kissing the horizon and I am pleased I changed my mind. The views from the river are spectacular and the history rich and interesting, yet my devotion to my newfound love cannot be denied and my head turns constantly like that of a carnival clown……my mouth, I’m sure, just as wide! While the other passengers ooh and aah over each new attraction, I, like a faithful lover, have eyes only for My Tower! Having said that, there is no denying the beauty and magnificence of this pretty city.
My memory card was, once again, filling fast! As the sun set behind ‘her’, our ferry docked and we were graced with the awesome light show that my daughter had told me about. At this point I feel a need to explain ….. naturally, since I have declared my love for The Eiffel Tower, I should feel inclined to refer to it as ‘him’; I have not jumped the fence ….I just feel she is too beautiful and delicate to be referred to as he…..so ‘she’ it is!
I walk over to where she stands and make my way to the information stand. The lady there, Fanny, is knowledgeable and so so friendly. If feel a little embarrassed that I am consuming all of her time with my broken French (all 6 words) and my endless barrage of questions. Luckily, Fanny’s English is great and she assures me I can take all the time I need, she is there to help-what a sweetheart! It is a delight speaking with her but reluctantly I head off, having decided to leave my Eiffel climb for tomorrow. It is too late now to do the walking part of it and I want to walk up to the second level. I say my good nights to her and promise to wake early to admire her beauty as the first rays of light envelope her at sunrise.
I begin my walk back to the hotel and realise I still haven’t eaten. I head toward Saint Germain where I intended to eat but come to a halt at a pizzeria just past my hotel. It is now after 10pm and, rather than fight the weariness starting to sneak up on me, I enter and order a pizza and a red wine. I chat with the people seated beside me who recognised my accent. The man was very chuffed with himself for getting it right and his wife proceeds to explain he can pick pretty much any accent. Their son, also with them, was born in New Zealand so it was pretty much like stumbling across a long lost neighbour……well close anyway.
I have one more glass….just because….and then head back to my room. I am whacked!
Sweet dreams everyone…..
Luv you 40-leven