Well AGAIN, its been another long stint since I’ve updated this thing, but here’s another random posting. Probably a month ago now I went back to Belgium for work again (the second time this summer!) and did some traveling. I just wrote up a summary to my friend Marine who had given me some tips of good places to visit and figured I’d post that here too. So here it is:
Friday morning I came down with one of my co-workers and friends, Nate. We tried to catch the first train from Belguim to Paris but the ticket counter only opened 5 minutes before our train left so we missed it and had to wait for the next one. We got student tickets which were cheaper than the ones our company was going to buy us and so we got to go first class which was really nice. Once we got to the city we headed to our hostel which was off of Malakoff Plateau de Vanves on the 13. Kind of on the outside of the city but not bad at all.
We weren’t feeling so well, probably due to the lack of sleep we got our last few nights in Belgium because there was a huge festival in Gent that week, so we top a quick nap before going out. We went over to Notre Damn which I had tried to climb just about every day my last time in Paris, but the line was always pretty long, but never got to. The line was still long this time, but it moved fairly quickly so we stuck it out. It was pretty cool. The insides of the bell towers (the belfries) were all made out of wood because the stone would crack due to the vibrations of the bells. I thought that was pretty neat.
After that we headed over to the Louvre which was free because we were students which was pretty nice. I had been here once before but there is so much to see! We stuck mostly to the Greek and Roman statues and sculptures, but wondered through other sections too for a bit.
When the museum was about to close we headed outside where we saw some kids on roller skates. This reminded me of something I had read about how hundreds of skaters come from all over the city to skate around in one massive group. So we asked these kids where that was and it turned out we had just enough time to get there so we hurried off. We got there just a few minutes before they all started going which was pretty cool. The streets were PACKED! I’d never seen so many people rollerskating, it was pretty cool. We tried to find somewhere to rent skates really quickly so we could join in, but most everything was closed so we’ll have to remember to bring our own next time.
Its seems like this was a lot already, but we still hadn’t even eaten dinner yet so we walked around for a while till we found a place that looked interested and got a bit to eat. After that we headed over to the Eiffel tower to watch the lights and rest before taking the last train back home. All and all, it was a pretty good first day in Paris.
Saturday we slept in a bit and then headed over to Nepolion’s tomb. I was kind of on a budget and wanted a little bit more sleep so we split up, Nate went in to take a look around while I took a nap in the park outside.
After this we went to this street that Marina had told us about where we there were lots of people and little shops with places we could eat outside. I had actually been on this street late one night on my way back home with friends looking for Gyros and Nutella Creepes the last time I was in Paris, so it was pretty cool to see it again during the day. I found the same shop I had gotten a Gyro at before so we stopped for a quick snack. We wondered around for a long while and did some people watching and walked outside of les Halls. It was a beautiful day out so we just kind of took it easy and enjoyed it.
After a while we started to wonder away from there and over towards the Seine. Nate had wanted to get his girlfriend a picture or something so we looked at those little shops along the sidewalk there. When we were there we found out that right below us was the start of a huge festival so we checked it out!
The whole river was like a party. There were bands playing (we saw Champion and Dumas), people all over, roller blading and sun bathing on the man made beach, a pirate playing old French classic songs on a piano, it was a blast. We got ice cream, and dinner, talked about life, enjoyed the music and just had a good time before walking home (or at least part of the way till we jumped on a metro).
Sunday was another late wake up for us. We packed up our stuff and check out of the hostel. We really didn’t have too much time before we headed to the airport and le Parc des Buttes Chaumont, which Marine also told us about, so we decided to go there. On our way there we got off at Place des Fetes where we found a nice Sunday market to get breakfast at which we ate at the park and before exploring around. You were so RIGHT! This park was great. The waterfalls and the view from the tower of Sacre-Coeur and the hills! We actually probably spent a few hours here which was just about the perfect amount of time before catching our plane back home. All and all it was a pretty nice relaxing spot to wrap up our visit.