Decision to travel
Thankfully the company I work at pays for two nights at a hotel and one activity,so now I can take my wife and not have to sell a kidney for a trip. For the extra activity we choose Hop On – Hop Off Bus Tour Deluxe Ticket with a bonus cruise on the Seine(pronounced SEN).
Since all the workers get the packages I fantasize for a quick second before facing reality that of course I will take my wife (otherwise she would drown me in a glass of water). Since I’m so spontaneous I pay more for Airline tickets because I suck at planning ahead. My brain is such scum that it tells me not to reserve ahead in case something comes up and I won’t make it, canceling reservations sucks.
This time instead of driving to the airport about 110 km I opted for the Bavaria Ticket which allows me and my wife to travel for a relatively cheap price of 34€ on all buses and trains in the State of Bavaria Germany.
This idea will kind of work against us because the time of arrival on my Ticket 22:00 PM makes me cheap out and spend the night at the airport, to wait for 9 AM when I can start using this kind of Ticket. Note to self: in case of shitty arrival time just take my damn car.
I start to feel that my paradigm and mindset causes me to attract trouble every time I travel, but sadly it never kicks in when I imagine winning the lottery.
Emotional roller coaster
So while at the Airport my wife forgets her Phone in the Bathroom which surprises me because who doesn’t stare at his/her phone while on the toilet.
And unfortunately by the time she goes back for the phone, it’s gone and the person who took it does not answer and my wife breaks down in tears. Me trying to be proactive, I try to convince her that since what is done is done she should allow herself 10 min of sadness and anger and after that we should focus on having a nice trip and vacation. Especially since the plane tickets already set us back 300€ for a round flight(searched on kayak.de but you can use alternatives like skyscanner) from Munich to Paris.
Time spent in the lobby was like an emotional roller coaster where my wife went from OK to sad and miserable to being well again.
Her sister’s inquiry about the incident didn’t help either, but she wrote how she laid a curse on the thief (so… muhahaha) . Just in case, I still email the lost and found Office, if by some miracle the person who found it brings it in. But since it was shut down after we tried calling it a few times I kinda get the feeling that we ain’t seeing that phone ever again.
We landed at 22:30,but don’t have a place to stay because I didn’t book a hotel since I did not know if we would check in on the 30th of may or 1st of June. Also an idea of renting a car just to sleep in it did crossed my mind but nothing’s open that late in the night. I use google maps to search for some hotels in the vicinity while comparing prices + travel costs to the location.
After seeing the big snake roads without any boardwalks and no people in the area, we decide it’s better to get in line for a cab. Shame that we couldn’t use the shuttle service that most airport-hotels have (22:30 Arrival time what the f#$& was in my head). Next time I buy a plane ticket, the complications of traveling at night will also have to be calculated in if at the time of arrival almost no other travel methods exist other than some dude giving you a piggyback ride or expensive cabs.
To my surprise the taxi driver acted like he never heard of the hotel that was 4 km away. Luckily I provide him with an Address(he was probably just stalling to get more coins).
We get to the Hotel at around 23 and book a room at Hotel Nomad for around 70€. I have to say, the shower in the middle of the room is a stroke of genius, the french sure know how to spoil their guests. They turn the shower time of your better half into a Moulin Rouge type of experience. (money well spent, if you ask me)
Shame that because of the hurry to see it all we couldn’t enjoy the hipster training room with wooden exercise machines. One contraption looked like it could be used to dry wet clothes. After looking around at all the stuff, we talk to the receptionist and find out they have a shuttle bus to the Airport.
As usual the bus is full to the brim and we get the smelliest french dude who, even urges me to sit in his lap, which I politely refuse, didn’t want to feel like Pinocchio on Geppetto’s lap. After getting to the Terminal we take the elevator down to the Train Station where there is a Piano and the pianist plays Yann Tiersen’s Comptine d’un autre ete – l’apres-midi. We get a coffee and wonder around for 25 minutes, to my disappointment, I find out that Paris is separated into zones and I wanted to go from Zone 5 to Zone 1, but that is going to cost me more than just one simple ticket of 1.9 €.
There was great confusions where to buy the tickets because the company for the metro has a different name than the one with the long route Trains. In the end we find a SNCF Billetterie
Ticket Place(was expecting RATP all along) and we get 2 RER B tickets to Paris Chatelet les Halles for around 10,30 €/Pers. And because there is a person who stamped his ticket in the wrong place now I’m sweating bullets that this could also happen to us.
Maybe it’s just me but the way the ticket lady talks sounds like someone who is writing without using the space bar, so of course the part where she told us where to go was not understood. After some quick interrogations we finally manage to find the train station which was like 30 m from us and right under our noses.
The sightseeing begins
Skip ahead in time and we get to the hotel, it’s the Victor Hugo on Rue Copernic, a few minute walk to the Arc de Triomph one way or the Eiffel Tower the other. But obviously if the company I work at wouldn’t have paid for the room I wouldn’t stay so close to the city center.
The receptionist almost managed to convince us to get the skip the line ticket for 52€/person for the Eiffel Tower but considering I have experience waiting in line for 7 hours just to Vote, I make the choice to wait it out with an ocean of people who also choose the cheaper 26€ Ticket to the Summit.
The lines seem to have no end, the only acceptable line is at the meta-humans that decided to climb this iron monster on foot. So after a good one and a half hours of waiting we finally managed to get to the top.
Not gonna lie the creepy sounds that the escalator made during its ascension felt like a retirement home for Optimus prime out of his prime. I also felt sorry for the operator, whose nostrils probably released screams of sweet mercy from all of the armpit fragrances.
That’s why, after we descend from the top to the second story, we decide to go the rest of the way on foot. By the time we reach the ground my legs were as wobbly as a sky dancers, I could even replace one on it’s lunch break. We made good use of the Hop on Hop off tickets that had a free boat ride on the Seine to see all of the 22 Bridges of Paris. I’m really enjoying the fact that I can put my noodle legs to rest and the awesome reactions of people to whom I relentlessly wave that wave back at me and smile.
Day 2 Louvre
If you wanna do the guided tour thingy at a modest price, you will have to reserve a spot few days prior. But if you are as much of a cheap skate as myself, then just go for the normal 17€ ticket.
When we get there I realize that there is no ticket sale on site! You need to buy the ticket online and it is best to order it 2-3 days before you get there. And you will also need to know an approximate hour for your visit, so at 11:00 AM I get the tickets for 3:00 PM.
The skip the line option is also not worth it here, because on June 1 at 2:20 PM we only waited around 25 min in line. Before that, we spent two more hours on the Hop on Hop off bus(red route), then enjoyed a refreshing walk in the Tuileries Garden park and an ice cream at Amorino. I rented one of those mobile app controlled electric scooters, put my wife in front of me and rode it to the Louvre, no joke, I totally felt like a kid again.
In the Louvre we start with the statues and end with a more colorful experience at the paintings. Be sure to bring some water and to take plenty of breaks, because after like 4 hours it feels like art overdose. I really enjoyed the works of the Dutch/French painters and the French revolution paintings, that is some ultimate Renaissance Hustler.
Although the Mona Lisa is beautiful and all, because of the huge number of tourists compressed together like sardines in a can, and being like 5 m away from it and with that protective glass it wasn’t as enjoyable for me like the other works where I was a hair’s breadth away, ready to analyze every inch of the masterpieces in detail.
After being in the Louvre for so many hours I was already yearning for the good old “fresh” city polluted air and scorching UV sunlight.
The challenging climb
After all that, we rewarded ourselves with a nice dose of sitting time on the Tour Bus,this time the blue route that took us close to Sacre Coeur, where the stair climbing battle started.
Just avoid the scammer dudes on the stairs leading to the church that try to put a friendship bracelet made of strings on your hand then ask you for money. I used the T-Rex technique by putting my hands close to my chest while trying to dodge with my whole body and it worked.
Unfortunately by the time we manage to climb up, the small tower attached to the Church is already closed so we can’t climb higher. In 2009 I also visited this place, only back then my mom was so tired from the trip that we decided not to climb the tower. So now ChurchTower 2 – Me 0.
I love the view of Paris from this part of the city, surprisingly more than from the Eiffel Tower. After we did the Indiana Jones style discovery adventure of the Church we went back down to the metro station and back to the relaxing freedom of the Hotel and a nice rewarding hot bath.
The next morning, while having breakfast I get the best news in an Email, my wife’s Phone was found and when I showed it to her tears start running down her cheek, I swear I’ve never seen her this happy, not even when I proposed to her :)).
Day 3 Palace of Versailles
At first, the plan was to spend the last 2 days in Disneyland but we were completely unprepared with no homework done, no hotel reservation (sold out already) so we make a decision to come back some other time and spend like 3-4 days at a Disney or some other hotel close by with even the option of going back midday to take a snooze and resume the journey.
After the 2 nights covered by the company were over, I booked a room on Airbnb 4 km away from the palace, the guy was cool enough to let us do an early check in.
So we left our luggage in the room, hopped on the bus that was like 4 stations away from the palace and got there in no time. Be sure to plan a whole day here and if you take the Audio guide thingy be sure to bring your own headset, if you don’t want to hold that thing to your ears like some Walkie Talkie.
This time I come prepared with an online ticket, no more winging it like a newbie. There is such an abundance of luxury, the rooms in the palace are really pretty and huge especially the hall of mirrors. From time to time we take a peak at open windows that give a nice preview of the gardens and fresh breeze.
Sitting down was not always an option with the limited number of benches, there were people even sitting on the hardwood floor to give their legs a little breather. The moment I got close to the exit but not over the place where you give the audio guide back, that thing starts beeping like crazy as if I ran out with it to steal it. After giving the ear destroyer back, we’re off through the gates that lead into the gardens.
Luckily I get a ticket for both and we dive right in. After walking so much though Paris and running here and there, trying to see as much as possible, sitting on the benches in the shade or listening and watching the Musical Fountains is just so peaceful and heartwarming.
In all these 4 days I’ve never felt so refreshed and at peace, fully aware of the current moment with all senses active and open.
It’s really impressive how huge the garden is, you can walk for hours and almost get lost in it.
The night at the Airbnb Versailles wasn’t without a hitch thanks to the other people in the house. I was already thinking wtf is the guy so loud this early and then surprise surprise, look at the clock and see freaking 2:00 AM, then he came up the stairs like an elephant stopping the shit out of his enemy.
Then he goes in the kitchen to warm some crap in the microwave and doesn’t take it out after the first beep signal and waits for the machine to signal him 4 times BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP! Then if that wasn’t enough comes a shower and talking on the phone.
These moments I regret being such a small wimp and not a huge dude that inspires fear with just his presence alone, coming out like Jason Momoa and make this jerk pay for his sins. But exerting self control and life preservation techniques I calm myself down to live another day.
The return day also triggers some jitters and a small delay is announced because of the storm which we pass through. Like in the movie scenes we are running like two hungry children who just saw a Big mac. In my mind Vangelis – Chariots Of Fire is playing. My wife tries to call and let the lost and found know to wait for us, but nobody answered the phone and time was running out TICK TOCK !!
And as destiny would have it, the lost and found place turns up on the horizon. And I think we can make it, victory!! But my spirit takes a hit as the woman signals with her finger NO and my lost puppy eyes give no results. So at 10:59, it’s 1 minute before closing time, we accept defeat.
To make things worse I see them leave in a hurry, but return soon after and I think to myself they missed the bus (instant karma) because they come and sit down 30m from us.
Survival mode engage
We checked the nearest hotels, but they were oddly enough more expensive then the ones in Paris, so now we decide to stay put and it feels like it’s survival mode time. There weren’t enough seats without handles between them so we sit down at a closed cafe, in shifts obviously, one stays awake while the other sleeps.
I took a short nap, but switch not long after and end up watching like 3 motivational interviews from Tom Bilyeu’s Impact Theory and also write like 2 pages of this blog while the memory and the wounds are fresh.
Around half past 4 AM I’m beat and my wife takes over and wakes me up at almost 6, then we go down to the lost and found office.
A nice man helps us out and finally and my wife gets her previously stray phone back. Then we get another Bayern ticket and we go to more remote section of the Terminal to watch “What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim” series until our train arrives.
It was a nice adventure and I took it as an opportunity to grow. If you feel more informed and liked this thing please be sure to check out some of my other stuff.