As the evening grew darker, our EF group walked through the streets of Paris, heading to one of the most spectacular tourist sites in the world…the Eiffel Tower. It was the fifth day of our trip around Europe, and our group included schools from Michigan, Wyoming, and Idaho. The group I belonged to consisted of sixteen people from the small town of Marsing, Idaho. The transition from that farm town to Paris, the city consisting of over two million people, was jaw-dropping.
We were full of chatter as we stepped off The Metro that day; everyone was excited to go inside the Eiffel Tower. As we stood under it, my breath caught at its massiveness. I couldn’t believe how big the structure was and how complicated it looked to build. Bars and rods were intertwined, each perfectly attached to give the formation its grand look. Its flawlessness was unbelievable.
On the second floor of the Eiffel Tower, I looked down at the hundreds of buildings below me, each looking like a child’s building block. After snapping a few pictures, I headed to the top. For organization purposes, there were specific lines to wait in to get back on the elevator. I got into the correct line and headed up. The top of the Eiffel Tower was magnificent! There was a sunset on the west side of the Tower peaking over the buildings, but hiding underneath the clouds. Unfortunately my time was short at the top, so I headed down. As before, there was a specific way to get back on the elevator, and after some searching and wrong turns, I found the correct one and made my descent.
The elevator attendant spoke French as we headed down, and the doors opened. I walked off quickly, thinking the crowd behind me would follow. After a few steps I didn’t hear anyone behind me, so I turned around. There was no one there; I was the only one who got off the elevator. I didn’t even have time to shout before the doors of the elevator closed! I watched the elevator continue down, and I knew that I got off too early. It was about 9:50pm, and there was no one around me. I was alone on the third floor of the Eiffel Tower.
I had to get down soon, so I started looking for the elevator that would take me to the bottom. Just like the other floors, there was a specific way to the elevator, and I couldn’t find it. I walked all around the floor, but there wasn’t even a sign that said “Down.” I even knew that “down” in French was “descante”, and I couldn’t find that either. I decided to ask for help, so I approached a family, saying “Bonjour. Descante?” The older gentleman looked at me and said they didn’t speak French. What a relief! I happily asked how to get down, and he told me to head to the left. It was the way I had just come from, but I thanked them anyway and double-checked.
I still couldn’t find it. At that point I was starting to freak out. I was lost on the Eiffel Tower, and my group was probably waiting for me at the bottom. I went looking for help again, and found two ladies taking pictures. They spoke English, and said they were going down also. We found the correct elevator! Now I know that when I go to the Eiffel Tower again, I’ll make sure not to get off the elevator unless everybody gets off first!
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