As a person that has never had a 2:15 am wakeup call before, maybe I would get used to it, but on this morning, it is brutal. Paul and I crawl out of bed and hit the shower....separately, before heading downstairs to grab a cab. The beautiful young ladies at the front desk not only called us a cab, but packed us breakfast as well. I assume they only did this because they like us. The cab ride to the Izmir airport is about an hour, but apparently our cab driver has only budgeted about 40 minutes, because he is going about 95 miles an hour on mountain roads. Paul falls asleep in the back, but I have a problem sleeping since I feel like these might be my last moments on earth. My favorite move was when he passed a guy who was going about 50 over a huge hill with about 2 meters of sight distance. Luckily, we survive, and get to the airport about 3:45. I promptly buy a 9 lira water to calm down the feeling of dodging death. Paul promptly falls asleep at the terminal. We board, and I fall asleep almost immediately. However, the plane ride is simply not long enough to enjoy the nap. We navigate our way to the the terminal for our flight to Paris, and again, Paul falls asleep. Paul has now slept in 5 different places in the last 3 hours: our hotel room, the cab, terminal in Izmir, the plane, and the terminal in Istanbul. He will no doubt make it 6 on the plane to Paris.
We land in Paris and head for the Metro. Once we find the RER B, a train pulls up right in front of me.....the doors do not open. A french woman laughs and pushes the button that opens the door. Paris 1, Drew 0. We transfer at Notre Dame onto RER C. When the RER C pulls up, I promptly push the button to open the door and I think I hear somebody in the background say "wow, that French-Irish guy is sweet".....whatever, that is fine with me. We then hop out at the closest station to our hotel. Unfortunately, we don't know exactly where our hotel is. Luckily, we grab a cab driver who is so nice and drives up right up to Hotel Muguet. It is super nice, and the lady at the counter is very receptive to my attempt to speak french. After throwing our stuff in our room, we head out to paint the town.
Our first objective is to grab lunch. We walk into a cute little cafe that is close to our hotel and I start up my massive french skills. Our waiter doesn't speak any English, which is perfect for me to attempt to speak poor French. It is actually pretty fun, and the locals seem to appreciate the effort. Paul orders some pasta, and I order a caesar salad. Both are excellent, and both aren't cheap. 58 Euros later, we head out down the road. Paris is awesome, but kind of expensive.
We wander down the road and see 3 different soccer games going on as we walk towards the Seine. I start to take pictures of just about everything. Unfortunately, it is overcast and pretty chilly, but it is beautiful nonetheless. As we wander down the streets of Paris, we run into this huge structure with a ton of people around it. We decide to check it out. Next thing we know, we are on the lift to the top floor of what people call the Eiffel Tower. The view of the city from up here is simply amazing. After snapping a bunch of pictures, I head inside to read about the history of the lift. The physics behinds the different lifts they have used is really fascinating (clavin).
We then head towards the Arc de Triomphe. After admiring the Arc, we walk down the Champs-Elysees (I don't know how to make the accent mark letters). It is so cool to just stroll down the avenue. Paul exchanges dollars for euros as an exchange place along the avenue, and I can't believe how badly they take him. He turns $80 into 46 Euros, ouch. We decide to sit at a cafe and people watch. After about an hour of absolutely fascinating people watching, we head back to the hotel.
It is getting to dinner time, so we decide to try and find something that we can bring back to our hotel and sit in the amazing patio area they have. We walk down the street and the weather is getting to be pretty amazing. The sunset over the city is pretty amazing. A kabob place catches my eye, and we dip in for some dinner. I get a huge plate of meat kabob with chips (fries) on the side. The guys love my French to the point where they are laughing because they love it so much.....not because I kinda suck at it. We stop in a local grocer on the way back and grab a nice bottle of wine to share on the patio....it is a date.
We get back to the hotel, and I ask them if they have a corkscrew. Immediately, one is in hand. I then ask about wine glasses, three different kinds are offered. Hotel Muguet is on top of their game. Paul and I sit on the patio and debrief about our day and the whole trip in general. It is nice to have a relaxing evening to take everything in. Full and exhausted, we head to bed. I stare out the window for about 20 minutes taking everything in for one last time before I retire to get ready for what will be a super long travel day tomorrow. Wow, what an amazing close to an amazing trip.
Still to come - Pics of Paris and then - Long travel day followed by closing thoughts
Drew In Paris