One fine day, we all decided to plan a trip to Paris... and this is the story of what happened there after and how we even ended up spending one night in the streets of some remote area in the outskirts of Paris!
Sitting outside the Centrale station, eating the 50¢ Ice-creams from Mc.Donald's was fun; discussing over and over about the trip that we just planned... by the way, Manoj, do you remember eating the ice-cream which fell on the pavement?
That Friday evening, we were all set for the big trip.
and with that awesome night journey in a soopar fasht train, we were on our way to paris!
And next day morning, we were in Paris!
As I had mentioned before, we had been planning our trips extra cheap. And after a lot of Googling, we had booked tickets for a hotel in a galaxy far far away... I know, my bad...
back to train charts...
We had to travel through too many tubes to finally reach our destination.
A little more walk through the outer sectors of Paris... we reached our Hotel. Looks ultra cheap eh?
Whenever we arrive at a station, the first thing to do was to collect as many maps and brochures about that place possible!. From our past experience, we had realized that this was going to be our survivor's kit in a European country where they doesn't really speak English.
Of course, the first thing to do, while waiting for our room keys was to dissect each and every fiber of those maps!
But when we got the room keys, we realized that truth!..
"itna paisa mein itnaich milenga!" ...
our rooms were dirty and stinking... and had some free gifts from the previous occupants! what the!!!...
Anyway, in no time, we were all set for the dream destination...
First stop, Arc de Triomphe; the triumphal arch honouring those who fought for France, particularly during the Napoleonic Wars (wiki says).
We still have no idea what the hell was going on there that day with so many soldiers all around and military vehicles on the road. Whatever it may be, it was fun time for us!
I need not mention that specifically; but those soldiers were totally harmless :)
Some more photo sessions and we were now hungry to be there at the heart of the city to see the one and only...
It was almost evening when we actually reached the place and it was a breathtaking sight! That thing just stood there with attitude. And when the evening became darker, they switched on the lights on the tower.
For us, to have such an unexpected, extra awesome Europe-tour was like watching a movie. And to be specific, the movie: Euro Trip!!. And to make that experience complete, we even found "Bratislava" on the floor mat in front of the Eiffel tower!!
I'm sure, these pics can never ever convey the grandeur of this place and structure. But still, I'll post some here.
When we reach a place like this, the most common urge will be to get on top of the structure to see how it feels like. But we somehow managed to suppress this feeling and went ahead to a tall building nearby to see how Paris City looks like...
and it looked like this!
689 ft above ground level, on the terrace of the Montparnasse building, the view was just breathtaking!
People just stood there astonished, looking at the search light on top of the Eiffel tower, sweeping the City of Paris!
And on our way back, we even got to see some rare photographs at the cafeteria, which showed the Eiffel tower being constructed.
This day was dedicated for the Louvre museum and its premises.
And this day was interesting because our team got split, although we all started together from the hotel room! Obviously, that wasn't intentional but it just happened. When some of us went to check out an automobile exhibition while the other were busy eating!
Anyway, the Louvre!!
Those who have seen/read The Da Vinci Code, must remember this place!
Well, that's just how it looks from outside... but inside.. it's a treasure!!!!!! seriously!!!
I'll insist any one if they could afford it, must have at least one visit to the Louvre museum!
Forget the fact that they have plenty of masterpieces by the greatest artists ever lived on earth; just looking at the grand scale of those exhibits will make you dumbstruck!.
For example, look at this painting's scale!..
And its details!!!... you could even see their eyes detaild. Photography was prohibited inside, and this is the only zoom level I could manage ;)
We were talking about masterpieces a few minutes ago... and they were all over this place..
But since those innumerable signboards kept talking about these two things, I'll post them here for you.
1. Mona Lisa by the one and only... Da Vinci!..
But I must admit, it didn't really make a punch since it was too small for a master piece!!! yup.. seriously! :)
.....Hmm... Gabbar singh!!!!!!!!....
and of course... sometimes, it was fun to have fun with the sculptures every now and then :)
Of course Louvre was awesome!.. but you know.. it was too much of awesomeness that at one point, we were saturated. But believe me, even after deciding to stop and return, we had to spend a lot of time inside the museum tying to find an exit.
Every door which looked like an exit opened up into another exhibition hall which was even more interesting!
Anyway, after some more attempts to get out and subsequently visiting some more interesting galleries, we were out of the museum.
and as anyone can guess...we were hungry!
One interesting way of cost-cutting that we had devised was to depend upon department stores instead of restaurants! Just walk into a nearby dep.store, pick up one pack of bread, Mayo and Nutella! whoa!.. that's our meal.. anytime.. anywhere!! :)
Paris City was really intersting at night with all of its ancient churches and other pieces of architecture.
Church of Notradam with its flying buttresses...!.. it was an experience in itself to watch this in real-life, instead of those black and white images from the Xeroxed text books in my architecture days.
A few more walks through the city, looking at the gorgeous buildings we came back to the Louvre courtyard.
And it was time for us to click some photographs of ourselves in front of that extremely famous Glass Pyramid of Louvre!
but the interesting part is that just few minutes before the other group was doing the same circus that we did later :)
And later, both teams got back to our stinking hotel room...
It all started with that really cold breakfast we had there... We had great plans for the day!
It was our last day in Paris, and we checked out from the hotel.
As I had mentioned before, we had great plans for the day. And the most important of it was the visit to Catacombes de Paris, which is a huge underground tunnel and stuff, filled with human skeletons. These are images that I collected from the net, just to show you what you could actually see there.
We were so excited on this day's trip that you can actually see on our faces!..
Watch the video..
After so much of enthu, we had to come back just looking at the entrance gate! :(It was a monday and "Catacombes de Paris" was closed on Mondays!
Well, that doesn't mean that the day was ruined... we had another great day ahead.... which was much more beautiful than we ever expected...
A walk through some of the French Gardens (I know, technically this was not a french garden.. but you see, if it's a garden in france, we can call it a french garden.) when it was drizzling slightly... nice!
Our next location was The pantheon. In fact, when I first saw the name Pantheon on the map, I thought it was the one with that opening on the dome. But that was in Rome and I'll talk about later when I write about our Rome trip.
By the way, let me share something interesting that we saw. Looks like there's a lot of Motorbike/Cycle theft in Europe. Everyone chains their vehicles to something. Be it a 500cc motorbike or an orinary bicycle. But still, some people fail to understand which part of their vehicles values the most :)
Well, I was talking about pantheon a few lines before.. here it is.
As usual, once the architectural beauty was all digested we had nothing much to do other than going crazy and clicking crazier photographs.
Being in Paris, one thing that we never wanted to miss was a visit to the notorious Moulin-Rouge. It was raining slightly... but still we managed to get there... and that placed looked just awesome!
There was this subway vent on the ground, like the one which blew Marylin Monroe's skirt up. And it was there we clicked this pic of ours about which Tanu once said "...our pic outside Moulin Rouge.. nothing can beat that!" Yup.. seems true!
As I told you before, it was raining slightly and to just stand there at the street corner, looking at the beautiful lights reflected on the wet streets was pure pleasure..
Art-Nouveau! Something that I had studies in my architecture text books. And on of the most talked about example was the Paris "Metropolitan". I always wanted to see one when I was in Paris.... and finally I could, just when I was walking 'back' to the Subway entrance...
That was the end of it... or at least, we THOUGHT that it was the end of it... but it wasn't.. a series of unfortunate events were just about to begin.
The last bus to the airport had gone already! and the air port was in some remote area in the outskirts of Paris... around 100kms from the city! (Again! just because we book cheap flights!.. and this international flight to Italy was for 1200 rupees!!!!)
The last bus had gone and we had to figure out a way to reach the air port. Asking help from someone from a Non-English-Speaking country is hell!! No one understood what we were asking... and even if they could manage, they spoke back in French!!!..
Bouxeaus de vaus pagria pleurx!!! what the hell do we understand from sounds like that???
But somehow, we managed to get in touch with one Sreelankan Train officer who helped us find the right train for us... but remember... only for HALF the way.. !!!
"That's fine, we'll hire a taxi or something from there"... -we thought... and waited for the train.
But things didn't happen the way we thought it would... the station where this train dropped us was somewhere in the middle of nowhere...!!..
We reached there around 11:50PM and there there were no damn taxis.... none!!!... and the next train that could take us to the nearest station to the airport was at 6:30AM!!!
All that we could do was to sit quietly in the station... where it was slightly warmer than the cold weather outside. Even the 5 layer clothing couldn't resist that bone chilling weather.
But that didn't last long!!..
When it was midnight, the station master told us that the station will be closed at night, and we can come back in the morning for the 6:30 train.
Where the hell do we go... to come back??
We are in the middle of nowhere... no hotel, no taxi... where do we go? It's F'ing cold!!
But we had no other choice but to spend the night on the street!..
And that area was totally deserted!.. there were no one on the streets...
and at first, we thought we can manage the chill, inside this telephone booth... but infact, it was of no use...
I told you it was cold... but only when we checked it later on the weather chart next day we came to know the temperature there that night...
it was 1°C!! .. can you imagine?.. one more degree down, water is ice... that's 3rd grade science!!
And finally, some one found this Halogen lamp on the ground... which was installed there to light up the building.. Whoa!!!.. that was heaven!!.. well.. That's against the usual concept of heaven and hell, where hell is supposed to be hotter... But no way.. this time, this extra hot halogen lamp was heaven for us...
Like shepherds around a fire, we spent the night there sitting around the halogen lamp, defrosting our hands and feet, which had become "lakdi ka pair" (manish.. your story again)...
That was it... and when the station re-opened, we all ran back in, had some hot coffee from the vending machine (did we?)... and it was time for the train..
There wasn't much time left.. and we had no idea how far the next station will be from the airport. But we had no other choice... and finally when the train came, we said bye to Persan Beaumont!!...
Mr.Murpy had gone for a leak it seems...because from then on, we were lucky... When we reached the station, there was just ONE taxi waiting outside which could accommodate 6 people!! :)
A little more drive and we were at airport.
It felt a bit sad to throw away all the Mayo/Nutella bottles that we always carried before the security checks.. we were not allowed to have check-in baggages... we're back-pack travellers!!!
...and it was time to fly back...
And when we reached back in Milano, after this Incredible... and later Adventurous Paris trip, it was pure happiness... time well spent!!!