Thursday, March 4, 2010

Day 2 - Love is not in the Paris air

Wake up at 6.30am. Had a little trouble sleeping as keep waking up due to my hands are freezing! Once freshened up, we brought our bags to the lounge cum kitchen and make our own breakfast – hot cocoa + nestum.
Walk to the King Cross Station at 7.50am.

Our train depart at 8.24am. Laili said “Don’t stop for photos ok!”. But, once I reached the station, the girls are no where to be seen! So, I trace back to them and saw them TAKING PHOTOS! Paranoid me call out from the end of the street “We need to check in at least 30minutes before!” Immediately, the girls came running and we asked for direction to Eurostar counter from a man who was walking to work.
Something wrong with the picture, but i only hv 1 of St Pancras :(

We saw a long queue and immediately joined in. But, we noticed that the people in the queue just insert their tickets in the machine slot while our tickets look bigger than that. So, we asked another guy at the end and he said we need to queue at a different line. Aiyaya.. so, we moved to that line and I can hear a guy behind us talking to his friend “Oh say that we need to check in at least 30minutes before”. But we maintain our calm as the display said the counter is still open. Thankfully, we reached to the front line and showed the guy at the counter our passport. He stamped our passports and upon returning it to us, said “Terima Kasih”. We were really impressed, but time is running out so we did not manage to ask him where he learned that. A few minutes after we passed the check in counter, they announced that the check in is closed, phew. Next is the Customs. They were nice too. One of the guy asked me to open my jackets, but he also ask “Are you OK if I ask you to open?” I said Yes as I have another shirt inside. I was thinking to myself, what if he ask me to open my tudung, which he never did. ;) Finally, we took the train and arrive at Paris @ Gare Du Nord ~2hrs later. But the clock at the station displays the time as ~10am, did we arrive early?? Oh…silly me, Paris is 1 hour earlier than London!

The seatsThe menu/price on board

Then it was time to look for the hostel. The direction says,

“At Gare du Nord you already are on Dunkerque street, with the train station in backof you, turn right and walk straight up to number 73, be careful at the big cross walk to catch Dunkerque street on the other side

Unfortunately, we are not careful at the big cross walk, which looks like below.
We walk to the left street, which is the wrong street.
The correct street, is the one on the right.

We are confuse where does the Dunkerque street connect at the other end and went into the wrong street! We walked right to the end of the street, with our 8kg bag each and could not find the hostel. I went in into a shop to ask, but the owner just says “No. I am not from here. I don’t know” without even looking at the address! We later found out the Street is just behind his shop.
So, we reread the direction and conclude that, it is probably the other way round. We walk back to the station. By the time we reach there, we were quite tired, so we decided to stop and put our bags down. Judy, Laili and Aida stood by the bags while I go to the station to ask for direction. The guy at the station told me to walk to the other end of the street. So, I did. It was Dunkerque street but I did not find number 73!
Frustrated already, I walk back to the girls. I stopped again at a shop to try my luck. This time, the owner told me the way in broken English. “This, my shop, number 5. number 73, there” I said thank you and he said “Assalamualakum”. ;) Yea! I pass by the girls but only Aida was there. Aida said Laili and Judy wanted to find the hostel as well so they went off. Poor Aida was freezing there. She is also being approached by a few people who will ask you “Do you know English?” once you say “Yes” they will ask for donations! So, once learning the trick, Aida said “No”.
I then walk again to the other end of the street, ask again for direction, and this time the man told me which road at the other end is Dunkerque. Finally, found the road!! So, I walked back to Aida and waited for Judy and Laili. The girls came back later saying, they too found the road. Total time spent looking for hostel is about 1hour. We were tired and hungry by then, so, we stop at the 1st Halal shop that we find. Here it is our Valentine Lunch in Paris.

After lunch, we walk to the Hostel. Check in was 4pm, but we asked to let us in earlier, so, we waited ~20minutes for them to prepare the room for us.

Leave our bag and rush back to Gare Du Nord to catch the metro to Lourve Museum.
The French word that we live by is Sortie which mean Exit

Believe it or not, we took the train with opposite direction! So, we need to exit out and once we are out from the metro, we get lost again finding the entrance! A girl said go the other way, and another guy said go the opposite way. Both are very nice people. The guy was right.

M for Metro

We finally got on the right track and exit at the magnificent Lourve Station to meet dear Azariah who has been patiently waiting for us.

Only took photos but did not go inside. Time constraint.

Azariah has spent a few days in Paris for training (coincidently at the same time of our trip), so she knows the way. :P she become our official Paris tour guide. Thank you so much!

So, here is the places that we go:-

From Lourve, we walk to Champs d'Elysees and pass by a frozen lake

a long freezing road

saw Eiffel from afar
Pass by Luxor Obelisk
(photo credit to Azariah's FB)

Reach Arc de Triomphe.
Quote from Wikipedia
"The triumphal arch honours those who fought for France, particularly during the Napoleonic Wars. On the inside and the top of the arc there are all of the names of generals and wars fought"

Then, Laili found out that her shoe has worned out. She purposely wear an old shoe so that she can get a new shoe in Europe. Hehe. So, we walked back along the Avenue des Champs Elysées which host the shops of many popular brands. Judy, Laili and I went to Nike shop while Azariah and Aida walk into LV.

After a few SMS exchange whether we should split up and meet up at Eiffel, (but i don't want to get lost again) so we asked the group with the tour guide to wait for us. It does not take long for Laili to find he shoe, and off we go to the magnificent Eiffel.

Spent quite some time for photo sessions there. If you want to buy souveniers, here is the right place as there will be a few guys selling them in bulk at an affordable price. It was getting so cold, so we stop for a hot choclate at a cafe.

Then, Azariah went off at her Metro Station while we head back to Gare Du Nord. At the end of the day, i thought to myself, though it was Valentine Day, but i did not see as many people celebrating it in Paris. The cafes was not decorated as well or as romantic as some of the cafes in London. Which is odd to me, considering Paris is suppose to be the city of love, right? Hmmmmm We reach our hostel and had Brahims with Bread for dinner. I shiver so much that night as all the walking were done in the cold. So, i took some Panadol for fear that i will get down with fever on the next day. Tips: Bring Panadol!

That's it.
Bye Bye Paris. Au Revoir!

Hostel Review: Very comfortable with good breakfast buffet.
Metro Tickets: EUR1.20 1 way. Total $$ spent on metro is EUR4.80.
Food: ~EUR5. A dish is ~EUR10, but we shared. ;)

Next: Zurich

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