Paris trip Final day

The final day of the trip was very long and certainly had its quirks. We started the day by doing all the remaining packing, then unpacking to get cases rearranged and packed again, then unpacking again to get certain things in certain places and repacking everything again before leaving the room to go and wait in reception with Errin and Katie.

After the excitement of the Eiffel Tower, The Louvre, Notre Dame, Shakespeare and Company, the Arc De Triumph and the Seine Cruise I certainly just wanted the day to be just as ‘Normal’ as possible as we returned home to reality so we tried to relax before starting the long journey home to good old Hull.

We found a Chinese takeaway serving large portions for a small price for lunch and then left shortly after lunchtime to get to the station to check in, when we got to Paris Nord we found we were a bit early so we had to wait about half an hour before we could check in, at which time we were joined by the rest of the group who had travelled to Paris with us.

Once we were safely through passport control we found a few duty free shops although nowhere near as many as you find in an airport.

The toilets are of quite a high standard in the waiting area it has to be said.

Once we were called to board the Eurostar you could feel the excitement mount among all of us, my friend Kati and her partner were excitedly showing off the engagement ring that he had planted on her finger while we were in Paris and I must say I’m genuinely happy for them both.

On the train we all got comfortably seated and it almost felt like there would be a big cheer as we started moving but there wasn’t one as we all just settled in for the long journey back to England.

The Eurostar is about an hour and a half travelling from Paris to the Channel Tunnel and just before we entered it a voice came over the intercom saying we were about to enter the tunnel and saying we would be in it for about 20 minutes before emerging into England.

True to form we were 20 minutes under the English Channel before reaching English soil which suddenly reset all mobile phones to original settings and suddenly gave me a good signal on my phone so I got many notifications that I hadn’t been able to get before.

The train stopped and dropped off some passengers at Ebbsfleet International station before carrying on to London St. Pancras where we all disembarked. On arriving there it was noted that there was a man sat at a piano there playing Sonata Number 14, otherwise known as Moonlight Sonata, by Ludwig Van Beethoven.

We waited a short while but were ultimately told by the lovely Di Allerston that we could dash to get the next possible train if we wanted rather than waiting for the whole travelling group to come together, so Errin, Katie, Martin and Myself went in search of the next possible train.

We dashed to King’s Cross and I noticed there was a train leaving in a few minutes from Platform 2 that would drop us off at Doncaster so we could get a connecting train to Hull.

We dashed through the crowds to get to the train and just made it, we walked through several carriages but eventually gave up looking for seats as it seemed the train was absolutely crammed full.

Eventually a lady came and checked our tickets and told us we would get to Doncaster at 7:47pm and there would be a 7:55 train from there to Hull.

We stayed where we were stood at the end of the carriage until a few minutes later when the lady who had checked our tickets announced over the intercom to us that there were several seats on carriage D so that was it we were off in a flash making our way to carriage D to sit down.

Upon reaching Doncaster we got off the train which was carrying on to Leeds and Errin and Katie were off like the clappers to get to Platform 1 where the train to Hull was waiting. After a few stops myself, Katie and Martin decided to stand the rest of the way to keep the blood flowing in our legs after being sat down as much as we had been.

We finally got home to Hull at 8:58 and all went our separate ways.

The trip to Paris has been ultimately very rewarding and I can only hope that whoever reads these entries in my blog finds them enjoyable and informative.

Paris trip Day 3

The penultimate day in Paris. Martin and I decided to start with a trip to Notre Dame, it’s a massively imposing building and leaves you with a crick in your neck from looking up all the time.

We took about an hour to walk round the cathedral and take several photos. It is a truly stunning place and, once again, it is a place that I am very pleased to have visited and I will gladly go back there at some point in the future. It certainly puts Holy Trinity, which I live near, into perspective just because of the sheer size and detail of it.

We left the cathedral and went back across to Shakespeare and Company because I had only looked round downstairs last night so today I wanted to look at the upstairs. Looking upstairs is quite a thrill because you see where writer’s who are invited to stay there actually sleep.

There is also a personal library full of books which you can read but are not for sale at any price.

We walked the long distance back to the hotel, which took longer than we expected because we thought we were only about 2 miles away from the hotel.

After we’d had lunch I took my medication and fell asleep for a few hours, after this we decided to go and do the last bit of sightseeing by going for tea and then going to The Louvre art gallery.

The Louvre is massive and in the hour and a half we had there we only scratched the surface but having seen the Monna Lisa that was the part that I really wanted to see and we saw lot’s more Italian art and also Spanish art and Thomas Gainsborough also has a display there.

We took many photos again as we went round and it is certainly a place that I will have to go back to because it is a place that I could easily spend a whole day in.

After this we headed back to the hotel so I could have a shower and do this post in my blog, tomorrow is the long day as we make the journey home

Paris trip Day 2

This entry might take quite a bit of writing. Myself and my new friend Martin started with breakfast and we both had the same clear plan in mind (it didn’t take too long for it to become a bit fuzzy).

We set out in bright sunshine, although it is freezing cold here, and headed to the underground station to catch a train to the go see the Arc De Triumph. It is a beautiful piece of architecture, we took several photos of it whilst also watching the traffic battle with each other.

After this we headed back to the Underground Station that we had emerged from and caught the train to the Eiffel Tower.

We got off the train at the appropriate station and headed for the massively imposing tower that dominates the Paris skyline and the area surrounding it. It was noted that, after recent events in Paris, the military are wandering around at likely targets for terrorists and this includes the Eiffel Tower.

They are a reassuring sight but also a very formidable and almost forboding one as well.

We soon decided that we wanted to go all the way to the top of the tower and take as many photos as we could. The trip up the tower is absolutely awe inspiring, if rather scary, and it only hits you when you’re in the lift going up.

First we stopped at the area where they have many souvenir shops which is also where you have to change lifts to carry on to the top. While we were in the area where the first lift stops we had a look round and took many photos.

After about half an hour we decided to get the lift to the top, looking out of this lift is massively scary as you see Paris getting smaller and smaller below you, but also a great thrill at the same time.

At the top you first come to an enclosed area and looking out of the windows you feel somewhat removed from what is very far below you. Then you climb a flight of steps and suddenly you’re as high as they allow you to get and your breath is taken away by the stunning views.

There are also pictures of the tower in different guises over the years at the top and the one thing that I learnt today about it is that Eiffel, the engineer who built the tower, used to have an apartment in there where he used to live, I can only guess what it must have been like for the postman to deliver his mail.

Going back down you are dropped off by the lift at an area which has a partially glass floor so you can look down through it to the people below. This area also has a restaurant which myself and Martin went to for our lunch.

The food in there is absolutely first class and, surprisingly, nowhere near as expensive as you would expect it to be, yes it costs a little bit more than normal but one would maybe go so far as to say that it is worth the bit extra that you pay, just for the quality of it and the surroundings.

After we returned to firm ground we took a walk up to a building opposite to see what it was but we never did find out, and we saw a couple having their wedding photos taken.

Leaving the area behind I went and bought a small present for everybody on my degree at Hull School of Art and Design, but just in case anybody from there reads this before I see them next I won’t say what said present is.

After this Martin and I went for a wander around and went on a cruise down the River Seine, this was another fantastic experience. The cruise lasts about an hour and takes in several bridges and sights along both sides of the river. Notre Dame cathedral was among the tourist attractions that we saw.

Having got back to dry land we decided to head back to the hotel for a while before heading out for something to eat, we found a charming little restaurant which was very nice but obviously couldn’t live up to where we had lunch, nor would we have wanted it to, the service was very good and the food was quite nice.

From there Martin suggested we go to the world famous Shakespeare and Company bookshop. As a writer myself this shop is my equivalent of Wembley Stadium for a football player. The shop itself looks rather old and run down from the outside but we all know the saying about books and covers.

Inside the shop is very quaint and olde worlde and steeped in history and tradition. I bought a book and got them to stamp it with their famous stamp.

After we left we decided to head back to the hotel because it has been a thoroughly exhausting day. Unfortunately while I’ve been writing this entry some rather noisy guests have broken the peace of the hotel so I had to stop writing at one point to go down to reception and complain, thankfully now the guilty people have been dealt with and we have peace and quiet again.

Paris trip day 1

I was pleased to see some of our travelling party when I arrived at the railway station at 7:15 this morning. As the group gathered we decided to make our way to the platform to get on the train to Doncaster.

After a quick journey we changed trains and headed off to London King’s Cross. When we got there some people wanted to go and find Platform 9 and 3/4 of Harry Potter fame but they didn’t get to see it which caused a certain amount of disappointment.

Before too long we were heading over to St. Pancras international station to catch the Eurostar to Paris. It is very conveniently marked on the floor where your carriage is so you can’t go wrong

Travelling Eurostar was certainly an experience, not so much because it was my first time but, because I was surrounded by a bunch of young ladies, one of which thought I wasn’t a student, who proceeded to compare notes on boyfriends, amounts of clothes in their cases, and the colour of them, and what they are going to do when they graduate.

On leaving the station the train went into a big tunnel so one such young lady thought that the channel tunnel lasted all the way from London to Paris. When we came out of the first tunnel a few minutes later and she realised we were still very much in England she said she was happy that the tunnel didn’t run all the way to Paris.

Before too long we were in the Channel Tunnel and heading under the sea towards France. When we emerged from the tunnel in Northern France the ladies sat near me were all wondering if we were still in England and, on discovering that cars were driving on the wrong side of the road, the one who earlier had said she was happy that the tunnel didn’t run all the way from London to Paris, announced she was unhappy about her first experience of going through the channel tunnel.

When we arrived at Paris Nord we were soon out of the station and into the fresh air (or as fresh as it can be in a major city). We followed Di and the other lecturers as we picked our way through the French capital to our hotel, unfortunately nobody seemed to be sure in which direction we should be heading so some time was wasted trying to find it.

After a few scares thanks to the French drivers, and Broadie declaring that he doesn’t get Paris because of the people trying to cross the road without a green man at the crossroads (which there definitely is) we made it to the hotel, called Hotel Paris Louis Blanc.

Having got settled in we all met back down in reception to go to the Paris Catacombes. Looking round them was extremely interesting and also very sad but is certainly very much worth visiting if you have chance.

After visiting the catacombes myself and one of my room mates Martin went to Buffalo Grill for tea, we each had a full 3 course meal before heading back to the hotel.