Paris, France

Nov 3rd-5th // Paris, France

A place of romance, beautiful views, history, friendly residence, & delicious food

Day One

We set out this morning for a long, productive day. The first step was to get from Roehampton University to the EuroStar. This included a quick bus ride and then a train ride. Once we got to the entrance of the EuroStar, we had to go through Screen Shot 2017-11-10 at 11.42.50 PM.pngsecurity before we could begin boarding. This process was quicker than imagined, which is pretty rare in London. We then ran to our seats and made ourselves comfortable for the two and a half hour train ride. This includes going UNDER the ocean?! Hard concept to grasp? Just look at the map on the right. You hardly notice that you’re traveling underwater, the only indication is the black walls surrounding you for what seemed like thirty minutes. We finally arrived in Paris and attempted to make our way to our beautiful Airbnb. This processes included taking a few trains where we then got off, walked outside of the station, and looked up to see a massive tower.

It’s hard to truly understand what sometime looks like until you stand in front of it. You see the Eiffel Tower in photos and get a gist of what it looks like, but I believe that you don’t truly understand the power and history behind the figure until you are there in its presence. After a couple of minutes of staring, no words having to be said, we made our way to our Airbnb. There’s no way to describe the view of our Airbnb so I’m just going to include photos below for you to see…

Unbelievable? I know. We got so lucky with booking this Airbnb as it happened to be free the ONE weekend we were in Paris and it wasn’t too costly! We spent hours on the window seal just staring at the tower, admiring its beautiful, and taking in the moment. I still sit here in my London room with warmth in my heart and an obsession with the view from this Airbnb. If you’re ever in Paris and want a good place to stay with a view, hit me up!

After Facetiming friends and family to show them our view, we decided a late lunch was necessary. We found a small vegan restaurant nearby that we walked to since it happened to be a gorgeous day despite what the weather app predicted. For more information on this meal and the restaurant, see my blog post “Brasserie Lola” in the Travel –> Study Abroad –> Foreign Eats section of my blog. After, we proceeded to walk around, grab some Starbucks mugs, and pick up a few souvenirs. By the time we got back to the Airbnb, or what we called home for the weekend, the Eiffel Tower was glistening, indicating the city of Paris that it was now night. Fae and I sat and stared, tears filling my eyes at the fact that I was currently sitting in Paris, looking at the Eiffel Tower from my bedroom, beside my best friend, listening to Bob Dylan. It was one of those moments that feels like a dream, that life is too good to be true. I was woken up from my daydream, I mean reality? to a text message from a friend indicating where to meet before dinner. “Meet next to the Eiffel Tower?” the message stated. Unreal. Fae and I quickly changed, finding it hard to take our eyes off the massive structure outside our window and headed out for a night in Paris. It was right before stepping outside the door that we noticed the tower begin to sparkle. Not just sparkle, but take on a dancing pattern of lights going crazy on the tower. I’ve attached a video below so you can experience what we were seeing. (We soon learned that this occurs every hour on the hour and lasts about fifteen minutes until one o’ clock at night)

 

We decided to explore the city a little before going to dinner. We ended up walking

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Arc de Triomphe

to Arc de Triomphe without even knowing it! We sat on a bench as orange leaves fell from the tree next to us. We watched the roundabout in astonishment at the fact that it was chaos, but controlled chaos. Cars raced in all directions without hitting each other and getting to their destination exit. After, we walked back a different route where we ended up at sitting at the edge of a river, people watched, enjoyed the live music, and soaked in the moment. We then met Sarah, Avery, and Yvette for a delicious dinner in the city. We shared laughs, caught up on our trips so far, and enjoyed this moment, five girls grabbing a meal in the beautiful city of Paris.

 

Day Two

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Place de la Concorde

Tourist day as I called it. I was determined to visit all the “must see” spots of Paris. We started at one side of the city and walked all the way back to our home. First on our list was Place de la Concorde where we took two quick trains to get there. After, we got delicious salads and lemonades at a restaurant nearby, see my post “Le Paradis Du Fruit” in the Travel –> Study Abroad –> Foreign Eats section of my blog for more details. Fae and I enjoyed the cold air outside and the fact that we were experiencing a real autumn so no public transportation was needed today, only our feet and a map.

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Notre Dame

Next on the list was Notre Dame Cathedral. On this walk, we experienced live musicians, a man blowing gigantic bubbles, and cheap thrift stores. We got to the cathedral, took an abundance of photos and then set out for our next location, the Louvre.

We continued walking the same road that we stared on until we came across three giant glass pyramids. A pretty good indication

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The Louvre

that we had reached our destination. We took photos in front then proceed to join the line of people into the museum. A fun-fact for those of you that are students, if you show them your student ID and some proof of identification, you get into the museum for FREE! I have heard rumors that you have to pay more to see the Mona Lisa, and let me tell you that this rumor is FALSE! Follow the signs inside, or the group of people running, and you will find the Mona Lisa in the back of the museum. There is a rope in front of here and a few guard that ensure her safety. You may have to wait a couple of minutes and use some force to get to the front and snap a quick photo.

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Do I really have to caption this one for you?

There is a bullet proof glass in front of her so your photos may have a glare, but you must have some evidence that you were there correct? This was another one of those experiences where I had to step back and remind myself that this was real and that I wasn’t in a dream. Yes, I did run back and forth and yes, her eyes did follow me. Just tourist things right?

The rest of museum is huge and very easy to get lost in, just a warning, this did happen. Actually, it’s the largest museum in the world! Being said, you could spend hours, days, even months in this museum! Fun-fact time!! “If you ever had 100 days spare, you could probably squeeze in every piece of art, but you could only spend 30 seconds on each piece – and that’s if you were there all day, every day.”1 There are 380,00 pieces in total! Another fun fact is that the Louvre wasn’t originally a museum but rather a fortress and then a royal palace. Also, Napoleon was the first to ever hang the Mona Lisa in his private bedroom. Fun-fact number three is the fact that the Mona Lisa was stolen in 1911 and then returned two years later. For the final fun fact, there is said to be a Louvre Ghost that dates back to 1190 and thought to be haunted by a mummy called Belphegor.

  1. http://thelistlove.com/10-interesting-facts-about-the-louvre/#

In need of some coffee, we set out by foot to find a cute little coffee shop. While walking, we discovered a beautiful area that we found out was called Place de la Concorde pictured below. Although we never ended up finding a cafe, we enjoyed our sunset walk while following the Eiffel Tower back home.

Exhausted and just wanting to pick up a cheap dinner, we spotted a Subway and you get we got a foot long, apple juice, and a bag of chips?! Throwback to childhood. We sat in our bed, glancing at the Eiffel Tower a few times while watching Modern Family and eating our vegan dinners. The perfect ending to the perfect day.

 

Day Three

Saying goodbye is always the hardest part. Thank you Paris for inviting us into your city and showing us so much hospitality. You were more than I ever imagined you to be. You have so much history and beauty within your city that it’s hard to comprehend the fact that people live in you year round. I look forward to the day where I get to visit you again, which will hopefully be soon.

 

xoxo,

katie davis

Germany VS America

 

 

I have been in Germany for a total of 11 days now and have noticed a lot of differences between here and America. There are large differences and very small differences. Some you really have to look for while others are so blatant. If you’ve ever lived in both Germany and America you might be able to recognize some of these differences, but if you haven’t lived in both of these locations, I thought I’d fill you in.

The Language

  • It is rude to just start speaking English to people
  • Even if you try speaking Germany, people will be able to tell your from America
  • If people notice you’re from America, they will just start speaking English to you
  • A lot of people speak English
  • Always ask for an English menu to make your life easier

 

The Currency / Moneycurrency

  • One and two Euro’s are in the form of coins rather
    than dollars
  • The Euro is stronger than the dollar
  • One Euro is about 1.20 in America
  • Most people refuse to take an “American Express” card so make sure you always have cash

 

 

 

 

The Streets

    • Everyone parks up on the curbs since the streets are so narrow
    • Always watch for bikers
    • There is a specific bike line and specific walking lane. This is an unspoken rule. Bikers will yell and ring their bell at you if you are in the bike lane so watch out!
    • You never cross the road unless there is a cross walk. Also, nobody breaks the rules and crosses on red

 

Paying for the Bill

  • Make sure to have cash. It’s an unspoken rule that they prefer cash over card in Germany
  • The waiter gives you your change at the table
  • How to tip: Just include the tip when you’re paying for your meal. If you leave money on the table, they won’t assume it’s a tip. They will just think you just forgot it

 

 

 

Drinking Age is 16

  • Fermented drinks like beer or wine are permitted above 16
  • You must be 18 or older to order distilled alcohol
  • Common to drink at any time of the day
  • Germany is known for their beer
  • Fun fact: Oktoberfest doesn’t really occur in October. It starts September 16th and runs until October 3rd

 

Less Toilet Water

  • This is because Germany likes to save water
  • You either press the small button, for pee, or the big button, for poop, when flushing
  • Public bathrooms: they make sure there are no cracks between the doors and the wall. Germanys are private people so they even make their bathroom stalls very closed off and private

 

More Public Transportationpublic transportation

  • You can get anywhere with the use of trains or buses
  • You need to purchase a card depending on how much you’ll be traveling. You will then stamp this card before getting on a train or bus
  • “Blackriders” are those who don’t pay for public transportation
  • There are freelance spies whose job it is to catch those not paying
  • Those 20 years and younger only need to stamp their card once while everyone 21 and older needs to stamp their card twice per ride
  • People driving will hardly honk. They take honking very serious

 

Quiet Culture

  • Most people keep to themselves
  • Germans are quiet and don’t speak very loudly
  • It is seen as impolite to speak loud in public settings

 

 

 

 

Castles and Palaces

  • Very famous castles
  • Palaces are common
  • Many people visit these castles and palaces everyday as you can pay to go inside
  • They contain so much history
  • It’s as if you’re in a fairytale

 

 

 

 

Biking

  • Bike tours are a must
  • Everyone rides bikes without helmets
  • Biking is called Cycling
  • Sometimes its fasters to ride a bike than take public transportation

 

The Rules

  • Germans stick to the rules! Most people never even think about crossing the street until the little green man tells them it’s okay to do so
  • Germans go on vacation, go crazy since they are free to break rules, then come back to Germany because they miss the law and order

 

 

 

Churches

  • Gorgeous
  • Usually free to go inside
  • They have a distinct color roof with a point so you can find them anywhere in the city
  • Be sure to check out their beautiful interior
  • All churches are so unique and gorgeous in their own way

 

Time Difference

  • Germany is nine hours ahead of California
  • They use military time
  • Jet lag is a thing. I can attest.
  • Facetiming family can get hard. You either have to call really late at night or not at all

 

Doors

  • Most doors don’t have handles. You unlock the door and then push it to open rather than turning a knob
  • The doors don’t close evenly with the wall

 

 

 

Temperature

  • You never really know if it’s going to be sunny or rainy. The weather changes every second
  • Germany uses Celsius instead of Fahrenheit
  • Always carry an umbrella

 

Sunday’s Are For Rest

  • Everything is closed on Sundays, and when I say everything, I mean everything. Make sure you do your grocery shopping on Saturday!
  • Germans enjoy their time off so Sunday’s are strictly for resting

 

Cable Adapters

  • AdapterMake sure to get an adapter before traveling! The one’s in Germany are very very different
  • You can purchase these an Amazon, Target, TJ Maxx, etc.

 

 

 

Dogs

  • There are a lot of them
  • Most people don’t keep their dogs on leashes
  • You never hear dogs barking
  • They are all adorable

 

 

 

Diet

  • Lots of bread. Bread for breakfast, bread for lunch, and bread for dinner
  • Ice cream shops everywhere. Even when it’s raining, people want their ice cream
  • There are less fruits and vegetables
  • Germans don’t snack as much. Rather, they eat three big meals a day
  • You need to try the beer. Mind. Blowing
  • Wine or beer with every meal is a must
  • Water at restaurants is NOT free

 

Starbucks

  • starbucksYour Starbucks card won’t work in Germany, just a heads up
  • They might not speak a lot of English so if your name is Katie, they will call you Cathy. Accept it now.

 

Sirens

  • These sounds very different. It’s a higher pitch and seems to echo as they drive away
  • Not heard very often
  • Police cars and ambulances look different, of course

 

License Plateslicense plate

  • This is harder to describe so here’s a picture
  • Also, people have very nice cards since most people take public transportation
  • Licese plates are similar in different countries, however, you will see little changes in color, arrangement of numbers and letters, and different symbols

 

Futball

  • Any bar you walk into you’ll see some futball
  • Germanys are very proud of their national futball team
  • Futball. Not football.

 

These are just a few of the differences I noticed while being in Germany! Thank you for reading and if you have any comments, questions or concerns, be sure to email me at exploringtheworld.me@gmail.com 🙂