As my unexpected, three-month adventure to England was ending, my presumptuous, teenage mind was overwhelmed with the thought of the trip’s grand finale: five days in Paris. While making preparations, I reminisced wonders I had seen and people who I had met. From the elusive past of Stonehenge, to the fashionable and modern products of Harrods, I had wandered, studied, and appreciated all that I could of Great Britain which had become apart of who I was. I was staying there with my uncle and aunt who were there on an Intel Corporation business trip. I went to tag along and help watch their four children. Our last few days together would be in *sigh* Paris.
However much we had planned and prepared, it didn’t seem to make much of a difference in those two days. Rather than arriving at the Pancras Station, loading into the Chunnel and heading right into Paris, the Chunnel had unexpectedly been closed down from the freezing December weather, and wasn’t expected to run anytime soon. Along with thousands of other individuals, we waited in the station with hopes for a train. Our wait was dragged out into two cold, long days spent camped out in a café to keep warm. We ordered food along the way to not wear out our welcome. The staff was very understanding. My solaces in this plight were the walks I took and the people I met during these walks. I spoke with a Parisian about her opinion of the British dialect cockney, a Brit about his views of psychology, and a family from Scotland about their homeland. I relished every unpredictable word said by these interesting individuals. Finally, we were able to board a train to Dover, ride a ferry to France, and then a bus to Paris. Although the grandeur of Paris was breathtaking, 1:00 am wasn’t the time to sight see. So, we dragged ourselves to our previously booked hotel and crashed into our beds with relief emanating from our achy limbs.
Unfortunately, our two day detour in the Pancras Station had left us with only one full day in the romantic capital of the world. The morning was spent wandering the cobblestone streets that were lined with tall windowed apartments and buildings. On every corner was an intricate fountain and on every street was a historic building or structure I had been taught about. The four most admirable were the Cathedral of Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triumph, and the Louvre Museum. We were only able to see all this because of our tour through the Big Yellow Bus Company that took us by bus and boat. They conveniently carried people throughout the city, enlightening us on the structures and their history, and I recommend them to anyone wishing to get a taste of the city before diving into it.
The day went by too quickly for my liking, but when it did, we had definitely made the most of it. With such drastic changes to our plans, what increased the quality of this trip were our flexibility, and our willingness to pause, and appreciate the things we could see. Trying to cram everything into our schedule would have made it chaotic, and when we could focus on a few beautiful aspects of the city, it enriched the quality of our stay. This experience opened my horizons and thoughts to countless ideas and views to study, and it showed me that although we come from different places of the world, we share desires for a fulfilled life, and the hopes for a better world.
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