This is the tenth in a series of posts of our vacation in the EU. The next afternoon we caught the TGV from Stuttgart to Paris. The 600+ kilometers is covered in less than 4 hours with three stops. The ride was ultra-smooth and you get a great taste of the countryside. Needless to say, the train was precise to the minute in its schedule. We reached Paris around 4:40 PM with a great deal of the afternoon still left. We took a cab to the hotel and after refreshments our first stop was the Eiffel Tower. Buying the tickets took 15 minutes with the lines and every tourist needing a lot of clarification. For me it was more about communicating with the ticket master than what I wanted. All French and no English makes Jean a dull boy, in my opinion. Maybe romantic to some, but a tourists looks for help from the locals and we should cater to that if you want to improve the image of a city. While using the trains are a breeze, walking in and out of the stations need a lot of walking. Anyway, we emerged out the Trocadéro station and we merged ourselves with the swarm of humanity all headed in the same direction. As I took the left turn from the street to the front of the Maritime artifacts museum, the tower came to our sight. It was still bright outside and the tower itself looked a dull image of its photos that I had seen. We joined the many people eager to snap photos and selfies. With so many in the way, you cannot get a clean shot, but managed somehow to minimize the intrusions on our photos. Maybe it is best to come here early in the morning – not only will the natural lighting be great, but the crowds would be less too.
It is quite a bit of walk from the train station to the tower itself. As we passed the gardens, we could see DJ lights and blaring music already on the rise. The line at the tower was long and it took us about 40 minutes to get our tickets. The topmost floor had been closed out and we could only get to the second level platform. After being on top the tallest buildings, I wasn’t disappointed that I wasn’t going to the top. Moreover, it was really chilly. On the second level, as you would imagine the place was crowded – much more than any other high-level platform I have been to – be it the Sears tower or the CN tower. Well it was a Saturday I later realized.
There is an aura of romance and mystery of the tower that keeps the tourists somewhat more excited than that of any other tower in the world.
The Eiffel tower is unlike any other tall structure in the world. A CN tower or a Sears tower might be taller, but the Eiffel has a lot more history to it. It has seen two world wars and a lot of coverage in movies and novels. Of course it is also associated with one of the most famous cities in the world. Though there was no rain earlier, Mother Nature presented us with a beautiful rainbow and then a second one next to it. Photos from atop a tower won’t be that great anyway or nothing different from what has already been publicized. Thus I wasn’t too excited to snap pictures of what was down below. Instead we made sure we caught ourselves in the snaps. What came in handy in the panoramic mode on my Galaxy S4 which snapped some very beautiful photos.
After about 30 minutes, we took the elevator down and walked around the tower. There were many street vendors trying to impress any tourist in buying their wares and it was no different from that of a country fair. There are a lot of warnings about not buying from unauthorized vendors as well as pick pockets. It was about 9:00 PM when we started hunting for dinner. When your food choices are limited, you need to be ready to explore a lot more and it took us about 40 minute or so of walking and losing our way before we found this Indian restaurant open. It was closing time and the host wasn’t very welcoming. We convinced him that we knew what we wanted and within 20 minutes our dinner was over. We were pretty done for the day but had to walk back ½ hour to the train station and then some more from where we got off to the hotel. On the way back to the train station, the tower was lit up in this golden-yellow and I managed to get some good photos. The music had gotten only louder and as we approached the stage on the way to the train station, I could feel my chest shuddering with every thump. Couldn’t believe what the performers have to bear through day in and day out as far as the blows to their ears. Maybe the energy in them dulls the sound out.