220 steps and 6 hours later, I have conquered the Eiffel Tower
02.11.2009 11 °C
I get myself up and am really hanging for something other than water to drink. I get my shower, using my newly acquired douching products. (That’s such a funny word). Head to the supermarket which I knew was about 100 meters from the apartment as we’d gone past it in the taxi. Buy some tea bags, some sugar. The brand of sugar I buy is Sugar Daddy. I find this very amusing, some Jambon (ham), some tomatoes, some brie and some fantastic French bread.
I also buy some washing detergent as there is a washing machine in the apartment I intend to use. I also purchase my new favourite drink in the world Orangina! Fizzy Orange juice which is absolutely delicious.
I head back to the apartment and have some breakfast and decide what I’m going to do for the day. I think I am going to go to the Louvre. I head off into town on my now new train line. Station Bastille. Line 5 or 8 will get me to Bastille.
I get off at Musee de Louvre and see the size of the crowds there and think nope I’m not doing the Louvre today,, it can wait till tomorrow. I get back on the bass and do the tour of the part of Paris I haven’t yet done The tour through St Germain. I really love this part of Paris. It is different, there is a peacefulness about it. It isn’t so rushed and it just has a lovely feel to it. I get off the bus and just happily wander through the streets. I stop to look in all the different shops, not sure where I wanted to stop, what I wanted to do. I plan on going to the Eiffel Tower this afternoon and am conscious of the time. I buy some sushi planning to eat that for a late lunch. As soon as I buy the sushi I see a place where I can have 3 courses for 9.90 euro. I suddenly feel like something hot and think that the sushi can wait. I go in and am treated to a lovely salad with bacon for entree, a piece of fish and some vegetable for the main meal and chocolate mousse for dessert. It was a lovely meal in a lovely little restaurant in St Germaine.
I then get back on the bus and continue the tour around until it meets up with the other bus so I can change buses and head for the Eiffel tower. I get to the Eiffel tower just before 5. Everyone told me that I should do the tour so i can appreciate the lights and that it would be quite pretty.
There are 4 entrances to the Eiffel Tower, North,, South, East and West. I notice that East is closed and decide to join one of the other queues. I assumed all the queue were the same, so I joined the south queue. I was in the queue for just on an hour and a half and after waiting all that time as I got closer the the front of the queue I noticed that this was a stairs queue. Sigh,, trust me to get in the wrong queue. I had the choice of leaving this queue at this point in time or staying in the queue and tolerating 220 stairs. I didn’t really want to wait another 1 and a half hours in one of the other queues just to catch the lift up.
As I'm standing in the queues I look up and get a different perspective of the tower.
I wonder how many nuts and bolts hold this thing together.
Bought my ticket, and up the stairs i went. It was hard work. I’m not fit and 220 steps is hard work, no matter how you look at it. I got up and the view was amazing. 220 steps is only to Level 1. I establish that I can go up some more steps, I imagine another couple of hundred or I can buy a supplementary ticket and catch the elevator up. I decide on this option. I join another queue to purchase this supplementary ticket. When it gets to my turn at the machine, it tells me that my card doesn’t work in this machine. So I find the cash machine and realise it only takes coins, not notes, I don’t have the 4.50 euro required in coins to buy the supplementary ticket. I go into the shop and ask for change the man tells me I have to buy something. I purchase my first tin of Eiffel Tower mints for 2.50 euro. I go an purchase my supplementary ticket and take the elevator after waiting in another queue for about half an hour. I’m getting used to this queue mentality. It’s amusing watching people and how they behave when placed in uncomfortable situations like queueing. I get up to the second level and the view is amazing, simply breathtaking.
I am shocked by just how far from home I actually am.
But there is a third level that you can go to! I am excited by this, but you guess it, another supplementary ticket is required for me to get to the 3rd level. I now know the situation and know that my card won’t work and I need coin. But I also know that I have another 10 euro note. Into the souvenir shop I go on the second level knowing exactly what I need to purchase to change the 10 euro. I purchase my second tin of Eiffel tower mints. I think the mints company and the lift ticket company are one and the same!
It just wouldn't be right, getting this far up without having a goofy photo of myself.
I join yet another queue and get in the lift to the 3rd floor. Wow, what a view. It’s now extremely dark and the lights are amazing. It is now 8.30. All in all I have been queuing climbing, queuing, elevating, mint purchasing for over 3 hours.
I spend about an hour at the top. The wind is amazing, it’s quite cold and then I decide that I better head back as I have to catch the train back. We wait in the queue to get the elevator down for 45 minutes.
The view of the tower at night is breathtaking. This photo doesn't do it justice, but it's all I have for the moment.
I get to the bottom and have no idea which way the Metro station is from here. I remember seeing a Police sign when i was in the South queue, so head back to there to find out. There was one policeman and his English was as poor as my French, so therefore pretty much non existent. He establishes I want the metro and he nods emphatically and points and gestures with his land left, left, down.
I say merci and head off in the direction of left, left and down and as I am following throngs of people I assume I’m headed in the right direction for something. Might not necessarily be the metro, but we’re all heading to this place of unknown together.
I arrive at the Metro work out which train I need to be on to get to Line 5 or 8 and head for home. Paris is amazing, i don’t think it ever sleeps. I get home and it is now almost 11pm. So all in all my Eiffel Tower experience took around 6 hours.
I shower and climb into bed. My plans for writing this blog were that I would do it at the end of every day. Exhaustion proved those foolish dreams. I have had to catch up on the blog at later stages.