When I last wrote about my European adventure, I was heading back to New York after attending my nephew’s wedding in France. This next part began a long-promised trip with my 16-year-old granddaughter, Brenna. At 16, both she and her mother did not want her traveling alone, especially since she had never done this before. It can be complicated navigating through airports, so I agreed.
I had been trying for a while as I was planning this trip to go to Spain instead of France. I kept saying, “Don’t you want to go to Spain? I speak Spanish.” No matter how many times I asked, the answer was always the same. “No, I want to see Paris, the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre.”
And so it was Paris, but for a short time. I speak Spanish, not French, so I only booked the hotel for two full days and two half days.
And so, with a tearful (on her mother’s part) good-bye at the airport, we were off to Paris.
I had been told that she was also nervous about flying. I was concerned about her, but she handled it very well. Inside, I was also nervous, as usual, but tried not to show it, in spite of having been a student pilot in my 20’s, with 80 hours in the air and 40 of those hours solo. I knew all about the physics of flying, but still emotionally it was hard to have confidence that such an immensely large craft piloted by someone other than myself could actually climb through the air and fly….
I closed my eyes, tried meditating, and once we were moving along for a while, turned on the screen to monitor our flight. I always enjoy watching that screen, when I am not distracting myself by watching a movie or trying to sleep.
This flight had two legs and our first stop was in Reykjavik, Iceland. I have heard that Iceland is a great place to visit, but this trip was already planned and we were going to visit 7 countries in 4 weeks, so a longer visit would have to wait.
Looking out the window, I could see flat land and purple vegetation. I never did find out what that vegetation was, but it was very pretty. Brenna was hoping to have her passport stamped in every country in which we landed, and so she received her first stamp when we disembarked in Iceland and waited for our connecting flight.
And once again, we were back on Icelandair and heading towards Paris.
I managed to get adequate sleep, but I am not sure how much sleep Brenna got. In addition to that, I had just returned from Paris, so my body clock would not need as much adjustment as hers, so I knew I would have to take that into account when we arrived.
So – we arrived in Paris, and since I had already researched ground transportation, we found the booth for the Le Bus Direct shuttle bus and headed towards our hotel. Poor Brenna – when we landed in Paris, there was no passport stamp to be received. We were still in the European Union, and so no stamp was necessary since we had received one in Iceland.
When we arrived at the hotel and went up to our room, there was a pleasant surprise waiting for her. For part of the trip I saved money wherever I could but for Paris and the Eiffel Tower, I had booked a hotel just two blocks from the Eiffel Tower, and we could see the tower from the balcony of our room.
Unbeknownst to me when I was planning this trip, there was also a triathlon about to begin when I arrived. Across the street from our hotel were numerous tents set up, selling anything and everything the athletes might need. There was also a very long tent with a very nice selection of dried fruits – more delicious than any I had tasted before – so, of course, we had to purchase some.
Naturally, the first attraction we visited was the Eiffel Tower – the Tour Eiffel.
If you’ve only seen it in photographs, you really have no idea how immense this structure it is. Quite a feat of engineering. From what I’ve read, the French hated it, calling it the metal asparagus – but it turned out to be a good spot to place antennas and it is certainly great now for tourism.
And so we went to visit the tower – easy to find, as you can see from the photos taken from our balcony. Since I had not pre-ordered our tickets, I inquired as to when the ticket office opened, and we got there ahead of time. Still a long line, but not nearly as long as it would have been later in the day. We passed the time chatting with a Canadian couple behind us who were there on their honeymoon.
When we finally got to the ticket window, there were no ticket to go to the top of the tower, so we consoled ourselves with tickets to the second level, which turned out to be quite high.
One of the lines to buy tickets. Note the size of the base of one foot of the tower compared to the size of the people
Ascending inside the elevator
While looking down the tower at the elevator’s machinery, I also saw this. Took me a moment to realize it wasn’t a real person:
Maybe this is how the elevator was controlled originally????
So there was quite the amazing view from this level. There are also restaurants here, but you need to reserve your tickets an insane amount of time beforehand, and that is just as well, as dinner for two at the Jules Verne would run around $1000 USD.
The Eiffel Tower is lit up at night, and starting around 10 or 11 pm, depending on when it gets dark, the tower sparkles for about 5 minutes every hour until about 1 or 2am. I apologize for the sideways sparkling video, I turned my camera sideways to fit it all in, and now cannot figure out how to rotate the video. If anyone knows how to do this, please enlighten me in the comments section. Thanks.
It was hot and we were tired after our Eiffel Tower excursion, so we went back to the hotel for a nap before continuing our sightseeing. And since this post has already taken up quite a bit of space, I will end here with more photos of the Tower and continue with the Louvre and Seine River cruise next time.
views from the platform
elevator machinery and stairway