Thursday, January 20, 2005

On Sunday morning we had an early start. Got dressed in sporty clothing, took the metro towards the Eiffel tower and especially the ice rink up there. Getting up early was a good idea, there was practically no queue at all and we got straight to the ticket booth. Then all of us three had a short moment of insanity: we decided to walk up the stairs instead of taking the elevator. What the ??? Fortunately the ice rink is situated on the lowest platform and we weren’t in a hurry, it shouldn’t be beyond our reach. However, please bear in mind that we’d had that mad dash to the train on Friday and spent the whole Saturday walking around Paris, thus no wonder that our leg muscles were sending certain signals. And that wasn’t the worst feeling: I’m telling ya that the persons suffering from vertigo should NOT pursue this activity. Obviously the tower is sturdy enough but it didn’t make the climbing any easier. After all, we made it, although I’m not ashamed to say that for a good part of the climb my eyes were closed and I was just lifting my feet, blindly.
Once up there, we saw a tiny rink covered with ice of a very bad quality, topped only by the state of the borrowed skates we were forced to wear. But hey, we were there for an experience of a lifetime, not to participate in skating championships. We were just giggling that luckily we didn’t bring our own skates, because a) that extra weight would have slowed us down so much that we’d missed our train on Friday, and b) it was actually forbidden to bring skates with you (!). Wonder why. Are they afraid that the tourists would use them for slicing pieces of the tower as souvenirs? I must confess that it was weird to even approach the tower since there were armed guards patrolling around it. –We don’t mean any harm we just want to skate for a while. Even our handbags were checked, but fortunately there wasn’t any groping.

And then we went skating! One of us had decided not to, so she was given the photographic and other general tasks. I think she was taking pictures of half the people who were there, and she got familiar with plenty of different types of cameras. The ice was really bumpy and the skills of the fellow skaters varied a lot, so one had to be on the lookout for eventual crashes. Fortunately there weren’t any major injuries. Each group was allowed to stay for only 30 minutes on the ice, and actually that wasn’t too short a time considering how your feet felt inside of those skates. We were glad to get rid of them – but we reached our goal: it was quite an experience to be up there! (Too bad that I didn’t have a blog when we made a Lucy Jordan theme trip to Paris. That story was something as well.)

This is as empty as it ever got.

And this is how it looked like most of the time - just try and take photos of your friends somewhere in the middle of it.

We had a nice cup of hot chocolate in the cafeteria, felt disgusted by the pigeons walking there as well, took some photos over Paris and started our descent. On foot. By the stairs. Which was even worse than climbing, because you had to look where the stairs would end. Eeek! You just couldn’t fix you eyes to the horizon either.

Eiffel - queue



But we made it down (obviously, since I’m at home writing this). We took a RER train and drove near Notre Dame and despite the crowds, went in there as well. Then crossed the river to see another skating rink next to Hôtel de Ville which was a much more grand venue. The big rink was just closed for maintenance so there aren’t any photos from there. And as you can see, Paris is a strong candidate for the future Olympic games.

Hôtel de Ville

Doesn't look good, does it?

Once again, hungry. And again, crossed the river. We found a nice traditional French restaurant, were standing outside reading the menu when an elderly couple came out and recommended that restaurant. Not bad at all, a three-course-menu for 22 euros, wine included. Should you ever happen to visit this area (and like hearty French meals, no nouvelle cuisine), please try Le Navigator, 63 rue Galande. Holding our stomachs, we walked a bit and visited another beautiful church St Severin where we sat for a while and enjoyed some music. A really beautiful church with character and can you say ”ambience” in this context? Can you imagine that the Vikings have expanded their trips even here and destroyed part of the church?

That was Sunday – and here are some photos around Paris

Granny wagon

Flower handbag

Wonder how much a hair cut would cost there.

On the way back to the hotel we dropped into a tourist shop where this basket caught my eye. It’s easy to fold and open and measures 36x36x58 cm (20x20x2cm when folded). Only 3,50 euros, and the best price/quality ratio seen on this trip. It’s just great for interim storage of yarns, for instance for those I’ve managed to get out of the big mass of tangled yarn I’ve got at home. People have been asking to see some stash photos and I’ve said no, not before they’re all clear. We’re getting there although it seemed impossible at some point. You may even see some photos in the near future.

The basket

But at this stage I must ask whether you’re still awake. Anyone read this far?


Jorun said...

Yes, I survived the multitudes of words AND my raging envy. Your mention of Phildar Onde makes me want to leave early and get back on track with my gorgeous Onde Volcan cardigan. I haven't touched it for several months now. I bought some Phildar yarns this Saturday (Soldes! 50%!), but only enough for a scarf for me and a shawl for a friend.

Anonymous said...

And I envy you right back. There wasn't any Volcano shades left in Onde, just the white/pastel combinations. Have you ever visited the Phildar shop in Werwik, or just ordered by mail? Oh, and in my nearest Phildar shop here in Brussels there are some wooden knitting needles in mid-sizes like 11, 13, 18.