Today was quite the day. My new Canadian friend, Ksenia, and I decided to take the metro into the center of Paris and walk around. We debarked at a stop down the street from the Eiffel Tower to have a nice walk there. As soon as I stepped off the train, I was overwhelmed. I'll sound like a silly little American girl when I say this, but I was stunned by the city and all the sights. Everything is just so beautiful!
Seeing the Eiffel Tower was unreal. How I felt reminded me a lot of when I went to Israel and saw the Western Wall. It's one of those things you see pictures of and hear about all the time, but you never think you'll ever really get to see. Yet, there is was, all big and beautiful right in front of me. It's a Saturday so it was fairly crowded. Ksenia and I plan on going back eventually to head to the top, but it was insanely crowded today with people lining up forever at all four sides.
After the Eiffel Tower, we decided to just walk around a bit. We came upon this adorable carousel and I just had to take a photo. Too cute. We walked around a lot and went pretty far, and we were suddenly facing the Arc de Triomphe. Such a lovely surprise! At this point I was getting a little bit tired. It was a lot of walking so we decided to look for a cafe or something to sit down at. We went into a little bakery and bought some goodies then sat down on a bench. Ksenia, being the little explorer she is, saw, on our map, a giant green area right outside Paris near where we were and wanted to go check it out. It wound up being an adorable (but large) park. So we were walking through and popped out the other side near a map. We looked at it and figured out if we went down the right street we would hit a metro station to take us home. This was about 4 hours into our day of nonstop walking so I was pretty ready to go home. Unfortunately, we did not go down the right street. We wound up walking farther into the park and farther away from the metro station. We checked out a map and couldn't quite figure out how to get to the metro station. So we asked an interesting lady (well Ksenia asked in French) who sent us down the street we were on. We think she may have been a gypsy! Not sure how we came to that conclusion but that's what we decided based on the facts in front of us. We continued down the street and decided to ask another man because were kinda lost again. It seemed as though he was about to send us BACK down the same street we had just walked up. Mind you, this was a long street and a far walk, so we were too happy about that. The man could clearly see we were confused, so he told us he would walk us to the metro station. It was, again, kind of a far walk and I couldn't believe how nice he was being to completely stop what he was doing to walk us to the train station. My friend translated for me later the conversation they had had in French. Turns out he moved here from Algeria without his family to find work. He was so kind and we were so thankful to him.
After an exhausting day of walking, I met up with some other exchange students in someone's dorm room and chatted with them for about an hour and half. It was really fun and nice to be hanging out with a bunch of people all together. Finally feeling all settled in. Heading to go grocery shopping tomorrow, hoping to something more to eat than apples, yogurt, and cookies. Oh and cereal. But I have no bowl. Or milk. Or spoons. Goodnight!