After one of the worst nights ever, we pulled into Paris this morning and practically ran off the train. Many of us barely slept, either from that horrible blue light or having to keep ourselves from falling to our deaths every time the train stopped. We were all extremely glad to be done with overnight trains, and I for one will never ever choose to sleep on one ever again. While the teachers grabbed our metro tickets, we grabbed some breakfast in the station. I had a banana caramel muffin that was delicious! We headed out to find our hotel, and after a bit of unnecessary walking we found it. We almost cried with joy when they told us our rooms were ready and that we would be able to shower! After showering, brushing our teeth, and putting on clean clothes we felt a million times better and were ready to start the day.

We were on our own for lunch, so we explored the area around our hotel. We finally choose a little cafe right across the street that had delicious and somewhat cheap food (pasta, water, and a dessert for only 8 euro!) and some very friendly staff who could speak enough English to help us out. We rendezvoused back in the hotel lobby before setting out for the Eiffel Tower. We had to ride the metro for quite a while to get there, but we got to ride on a double-decker train which was very cool. After exiting the metro, it was a short walk to get to the base of the tower, but we could see it long before that.

It was so cool to see the Eiffel Tower in person! It was much more intricate than I had thought it would be, with lots of designs within the metal. We took pictures from a distance and then made our way to one of the four bases to ride up to the top. We thankfully took the elevator up to the second floor, but were unable to go all the way to the top because it is closed for construction. While we would have liked to be at the top, the views were still stunning from the second floor. It was pretty chilly all the way up there though, so after a while of admiring we made our way back down. My super patient friends weren’t willing to wait for the elevator so we ended up taking the stairs all the way down. It took forever to get back down, but the exercise helped to warm us up.

After everyone had returned to our meeting spot, we headed back for the hotel. Many people wanted to come back and relax or do laundry, but Cailtin, Aaron, and I wanted to do some more exploring. We did some metro riding until we got back to the main train station we had arrived at this morning. There were quite a few shops there, and we walked around for a while checking them out. We didn’t have much luck finding anything and we soon got hungry, so we decided to head back to the hotel. We stopped at a bakery on the way back and I had my first macaroon! It was fantastic! For supper we ended up at the same place we ate lunch, and I ate almost the exact same thing. We are now relaxing in the hotel, making up for last night’s experience.

I already feel much more comfortable in Paris than I ever did in Italy. There aren’t rude, angry people everywhere, nor are there a million obnoxious vendors trying to sell us things. The only big difference is the lack of English. Everywhere else we have been, almost everyone spoke at least a little English and many restaurants and stores had menus and signs in English. That is not the case in France! We will have to adjust to that quickly, or hope we can get by with pointing and annunciating obnoxiously.

We only have a week left in Europe! It’s crazy how quickly the time has flown, and how many amazing sights we’ve seen already. Talk to you soon!