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Travelogues

Several Travelogues were published in my blog . Please visit this link to read more.

Bonjour Eiffel – Euro Trip 1

Imagine yourself in fashion capital and having nothing to wear! Isn’t it a nightmare? That’s what happened to me when I landed in Paris airport. The luggage I checked in at Amsterdam airport didn’t show up in the belt. Not just mine but for a handful who took the same flight. We were told that it would be delivered to Hotel soon.

Mr R who is related to me in so many ways and also the guide cum host for this trip told me its normal and has happened at least 3 times either to him or people who travelled with him. So I am left with a sweater, a laptop, a “sorry kit” from Air-France and life long lesson to carry clothes in my hand luggage.

We took a 30 minute train ride from airport to reach the “Gare du Nord” the city’s main metro station. I was amazed to find plenty of Indian restaurants and shops just outside the train station. We hogged on idly, dosa and masala vadai before checking in to the hotel. The “sorry kit” had an XL sized t-shirt which generously covered till my knee (I looked like Rangeela Urmila in the mirror), plastic razor, an odd smelling deodorant, brushing kit and a comb. 20 hours of travel/transit, jet lag and Urmila t-shirt has left me irritated for a while. Later I realised I have only couple of days in Paris and I shouldn’t let any petty thing to spoil my day. Thankfully R carried few extra t-shirts in his hand luggage. I was already wearing a Jeans pant which can be reused and reused 😉 So with couple of dispensable brief, I am all set to hit the road.

The hotel we stayed

Overrated is the word I used after the first glimpse of Paris. Its best to know little French as the directions and station names are all written in French (Sortie means Exit). Even the shop keepers and restaurant owners greet you with Bonjour – (Good day) or Merci (Thank you). Its one of the most populated city in the world. So the Metro stations are dirty and crowded.

The Metro trains run on tyres and its quite a bumpy ride. Check and recheck your map several times before boarding a train or choosing a platform, you may get lost easily. I travelled with R who had been there like umpteen times, and we still got lost. We happen to board the right train but it had different route for the day! I noticed people of various races in trains, some of them are dressed in traditional outfits that I couldn’t identify. And be sure whom to ask for directions, it’s not so safe and you can invite unwanted trouble just by making eye contact with wrong persons.

R’s friend has a French husband who works in the Eiffel tower. He was kind enough to give us complimentary VIP passes to the tower. This means we don’t have to stand in the long queue for hours to get into the tower ;). Beware its crowded all through the year and especially so on weekends. Paris invites more than 45 million tourists every year and Eiffel tower is the most popular destination in the world. So allot sufficient time for Eiffel tower when you plan your trip.

Gusteve Eiffel a French structural engineer built this tower during 1889 for World’s Fair marking the centennial celebration of the French Revolution. You would be surprised to learn that Gusteve built Statue of liberty as well and they both share the same metallic structure. This Tower was widely criticized by many as odious column and public called it eye sore! It only had permit for 20 years and the “city of Paris” was hoping to tear it down by then. The tower was also sold for scrap metal twice! Thankfully the tower was helpful for communication to military during first battle of Marne and became victory statue of the battle.

The tower is made of purest form of Iron and requires 60 tonnes of paint to protect it from rusting. Its also painted in three shades of brownish-grey, darker at the bottom and lighter at the top. This is to maintain uniform appearance from ground to light colour sky.

The tower contains 3 floors of which are accessible by lift. The construction of lift itself is marvel owing to the slanting tracks with changing angles of the tower.

The tower hosts two restaurants and amazing panoramic view of the city. One of the most Iconic image of the world, the tower has featured in thousands of movies, TV shows, photos, paintings and duplicated in various sizes around the world.

These decorative grillwork arches are added later to reassure visitors that the structure was safe!

All said and done, I have no clue how and why Paris and Eiffel tower has become one of the icon for love and top destination for lovers. But as I stood there 280 meters from ground, watching the spectacular sunset with thousands of couples, all I wanted was the presence of my love to share a kiss.

The illuminated tower, glittering effect and the beacon light at the top is yet another sight not to miss. So try to go there by the evening, watch the sunset and when you come down you can spend time in the opposite park enjoying the grand night view of the tower. Most likely you would be treated with good music from concerts that happen regularly. To me the tower felt quite magical, there has to be something more than those iron columns, to attract so many people, to stand as a testimony of time facing innumerable challenges. And my internet search led me to interesting information.During 1920s Father Theodor Wulf a German physicist cum priest observed increase of energy radiating at the top of this tower, the findings were not accepted earlier. But later it proved to be powerful radiations, the one that comes from outer space to earth atmosphere. The one we call today as cosmic rays!

Srivats

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