Backpacking Across Europe

Wow what a long day. Technically started at 1am as I had a conference call back in Sydney I really needed to be a part of. Finally got to bed at 2.30am and was in the office before 9. It was my choice for coffee this morning and I was dead keen to have a coffee from the cafe in the gherkin, even if it wasn’t fantastic. It was ok, part of the “Nero” chain, a little weak but otherwise acceptable. There must be a starbucks close to the office, cause Sharon iStalked me and I came up as in there. Too funny.
I left work early so that I’d have plenty of time to get to the station and get the train to Paris. As I’m only travelling with the one small backpack, I’m in Europe and crossing an international border, you could say I’m *technically* backpacking through Europe!! Anyone who knows me well knows how ridiculous the concept of me roughing it and backpacking is. At least I’m staying in a decent hotel, way to old and grumpy for that hostel shit!

I’m staying directly opposite the Gar Du Nord station. The hotel was originally about €160 for the night, but I checked at the last minute and rooms were down to €100 so I rebooked and cancelled. The hotel is being renovated so was a little hard to find, but the room is pretty comfortable and super convenient.

Whilst waiting for the Eurostar I of course had time to grab an additional coffee at St Pancras station, similar to this mornings coffee, a little weak but not bad.

After not too long I was seated on the train (spare seat next to me) as we rocketed through the southeast of England at around 200kph, then 22 minutes and 19 seconds under the English Channel (yes I timed it. Nerd alert….) we were in France and the train picked up more speed (300 kph) on its way to Paris we we arrived I headed straight to the newsagent on the platform so I could get a copy of Charlie.

A magic evening in Paris, sunset at the 10pm, clear skies and cool breeze. After checking into the hotel first item on the agenda was the Arc De Triomphe. Didn’t go up it last year, so made sure I did this year. View over Paris is spectacular. Glad I went up when I did as the queue later was massive (wanting to see it after sunset I guess). The roundabout / traffic circle is weird as traffic on the circle has to give way to traffic entering the circle. Opposite of roundabouts at home. It’s French so I’d expect nothing less ! There is a pedestrian subway onto to the Arc, and it illegal for pedestrian to cross, but witnessed heaps of people doing it, some with very small kids. 

It’s all stairs for the climb up the Arc, and spiral ones. Well worth the effort though. Entry is €12

I’d planned to go back to our favourite cafe from last year, the one where the chef’s cat tried to adopt Emma, but it had changed hands and become a trendy little bar rather than a family owned cafe. So I picked another one we went to last year. Food was still great. Had a coffee here and they gave me a liqueur to chase it down with on the house. Delicious.

Tomorrow is another massive day of things planned to do. You will need to wait till tomorrow for that one.