A Travellerspoint blog

Vin Rouge

I fell in love, in love with the city of Paris. It wasn't love at first sight, I had been there a number of times and not noticed it's true beauty until I got the opportunity to live there.
This particular night was a high point in my love affair, Tom and I had gone to the Monoprix (supermarket) and bought are bottles of the cheapest wine they sold. Packed in a backpack along with a few of the flimsy plastic cups that the hotel supplied in our rooms and we were ready to go. We grabbed Andy on the way out and off we went to begin our evening, jumping on the ever so efficient metro to head into the city.

I was sitting on the train ever so quietly, just remembering how much fun this city had provided me with and how much I was going to miss it when I leave when we reached our destination and jumped off the train. It was late in the evening, probably around 9-9.30ish but still in the midst of summer so there was enough light. We chose a spot on the champ de mars with enough grass to sit on and a view to die for. Right in front of us was the big and wondrous tour de Eiffel (Eiffel Tower), the evening was spent drinking a lot of red wine.

As it got later the tower began to light up and flash, and bottles began emptying. I felt my youth a lot in that evening, getting tipsy in public areas, laying down talking endlessly for hours, running around and having far too much fun.
We soon realised it was getting quite late and we really didn't need much more wine so we ran to catch one of the last trains back. Remembering we didn't actually have any metro tickets left we thought we would do what everyone else in Paris does and jump over the barriers.
They have a rotating barrier that moves once your ticket is inserted and then some form of plastic swinging doors. As I jumped over the first rotating one the person in front of me held open the swinging doors for me and I got through. However what we didn't realise is that the swinging doors don't open unless the ticket has been through either so when Andy tried to go through she slammed straight into doors which provided me with falling to the ground laughter.

The train back was a blur, I was getting sleepy and knew the night was almost over, as we got back Andy went to bed and Tom and I proceeded to do the same. But as usual we thought it would be the most fabulous idea to go down to the kitchen to grab something to eat, so once again we drunk ate and regretted it the moment afterwards.
Paris my love, you gave me a night I will remember.

Posted by jtontheroad 05:20 Archived in France Tagged paris france metro eiffel wine Comments (0)

Love is in the air - or maybe just on the walls

It started early one morning, I woke up on my day off and met my work friend downstairs ready to to jump on his coach as it was going into town. After dropping off his clients at various landmarks around the city of Paris we jumped off and got on the metro and headed towards Pigalle, one of my favourite parts of the city. As we got off and started walking through the streets, hearing bits of history and interesting facts from my friend, we ended up at a little bagel shop, and ordered a salmon and cream cheese bagel to takeaway. Taking these with us we went to a cafe on the corner, according to him it serves some of the best coffee in Paris.

If you know me well you will understand that I'm very particular about my coffee, thus far I hadn't had a good coffee since being in France but we both ordered skinny flat whites and I was pleasantly surprised that I loved it. This style of cafe and the ambience it provided and the coffee it produced, reminded me of home so much, it really brought me back to some of the best evenings I've had back in Aus. So we placed ourselves outside so we could people watch the Parisians go by and eat our bagels.

Just as we were about to leave we decided on getting another coffee for the road, my shout this time though and off we headed, meandering through the streets. My friend seemed a bit disorientated and said there was something he wanted to see and he thought it was somewhere around where we were. I had nothing to do that day so I was fine to go wherever. As usual I kept on chatting like a mad hatter without paying attention to where I was going or what I was doing. It was around half an hour later when he walked a little ahead of me and next thing I knew, I turned around and we were standing in front of the 'love wall'. I kid you not, tears welled up in my eyes and I was speechless. It was only a day before that I was having a little bit of a whinge to anyone around me that only having such a short time left in Paris was upsetting, because there were still so many things that I had not yet been able to see, one of them being the wall of love.

So for him to take me there without making big deal of it or really even mentioning it was just the most perfect thing for me. The love wall in Paris is a tiled wall with 'I love you' written in every language. It's a very romantic spot and is a popular area for proposals, I was taken there with any romantic intentions but it was still an incredible day for me that I will remember for a long time to come.

Posted by jtontheroad 05:18 Archived in France Tagged paris love coffee romance pigalle bagel Comments (0)

Adventures before the crack of dawn

View Iberian Voyager on jtontheroad's travel map.

It was an early start, very early in fact, it was before sunrise. Jackie and myself were getting ourselves ready and dressed to go out. We had originally planned to leave with a number of us, but as expected it was just the two of us in the room that were any form of alive. Once we made it down the unlit stairs of the hostel and into the foyer I noticed that two boys, Phil and Aaron had joined us. The four of us piled into a taxi and said 'take us to Jesus' or something a little more polite and ethical than that. Driving through Portugal is always an experience, so I discovered on a previous visit, but driving in Lisbon is something more. Driving on the Golden Gate Bridge (25th of April bridge) lookalike we watched as the odometer read over 140kph and my heart started beating a little bit faster but luckily after a few wrong turns we arrived safe and sound out the front of Cristo Rei, or the giant Jesus.

We soon realised that you couldn't actually get up to the top of the fixture or very close to it until a few hours later when it opened. So knowing that the sun would start to rise soon we made our way down a dirt road in the hope that it would lead us somewhere grand, which it did. After a few curves and bends we ended up in the old structures of a building that I'm sure was something nice at one point, but now looked like a run down open roofed haunted house. It was on the side of the ocean with cliff dropping views, graffiti stricken walls with interesting pieces of artworks painted all over them, fallen in floors that if we could have walked across would have led to more adventures.

On the way out of this building was arch ways covered in vines of flowers, this is where we were able to look over the ocean, and watch the sun rise over beautiful Lisbon. The most vivid of colours surrounded us in every direction, the sun with its deep reds and pinks in the clouds, the red from the bridge, the blue in the ocean and the colours all throughout the building, made for a magical morning with the greatest of people.
One always forgets how easy a walk down a hill is until they have to walk back up it, and that us exactly what we had to do.
But perseverance served and we walked back up the hill and past Christ and onwards to a little town nearby. We found a little cafe that would serve us food and give us back our bounce, cheapest breakfast I've had in a long while. A well deserved coffee and croissants were just what I need to find the motivation to walk back up to Cristo rei now that it had opened and we ventured to the top, quite high up in fact and looked down as if we were God. A truly blessing moment adding to the perfection of the day.

Posted by jtontheroad 11:39 Archived in Portugal Tagged sunrise lisbon portugal rei cristo Comments (0)

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