Monday, 9 July 2012

Adrenalin Rush up Eiffel Tower

The glowing landmark of Paris
After visiting the Louvre and Musee d'Orsay I didn't expect to have much energy left, but I must have had a major infusion of adrenalin to go to the Eiffel Tower.

When I arrived there was a notice saying due to technical problems, only one lift was working and there was a massive line for those who did not reserve a ticket.

However on the other side at the bottom of the tower was a relatively shorter line and for 5 euros you could climb up the stairs up to the second stage.

Why not?

Around 9pm it was still daylight with a good view of the city
And as long as you kept a steady pace it wasn't too difficult, but you did work up a bit of a sweat. In the end it was worth the climb. From the first stage, it was great to be able to see Paris from above and the guide of faded photographs at different points indicated what you were seeing.

And then I climbed up further to the second stage, and the distance wasn't as long as the first. The view was marginally better – the Arc de Triomphe stuck out more whereas it was just visible above the other buildings earlier.

Just as I was taking a picture a guy tapped me on the shoulder and asked, "Are you wearing Lululemon?"

I turned around to see a Persian guy with long wavy hair and long nose. When I affirmed that I was wearing the Vancouver brand of yoga gear, he further asked where I was from and was thrilled to meet someone he could speak English with.

Ominous clouds threaten to cover Paris as night falls
He seemed overexcited which was disconcerting, but I quickly warmed up to his eagerness to connect. Turns out Bijan was starting a job in a law firm in September and was now traveling the world.

I looked down at his feet and he was wearing brown Vibrams that looked soaked.

"Aren't your feet wet?" I asked.

"Yeah but I don't care. I'm in Paris!" he exclaimed.

I helped him take some pictures and he took some for me too.

While he said his plan was to travel western and eastern Europe and Israel, he was keen to hit Hong Kong too.

Hong Kong without going to China, I asked?

The 33 year old then said it was a possibility if he had enough money, but stated Hong Kong was one city he wanted to check out.

I gave him my business card just in case he did fly over, as he made his flight plans two days in advance.

The sun finally sets just before 10pm
We parted ways but not before he told me the flashing lights on the Eiffel Tower would light up at 11pm and that gave me the idea of waiting around until dark. By now it was just past 9pm but still very bright outside.

I hung around, waiting inside and ate a horrible croque monsieur that was bland and goopy than cheesy and tasty with the thinnest slice of ham. To kill more time I bought a souvenir mug.

Then around 10pm people outside hollered, signaling that the tower was now lit up. So I took a few more shots and now very tired, walked down the stairs to the bottom. It wasn't too difficult though I knew I'd be hurting the next day.

Then from below looking up at the tower, it did look magnifique – a glowing golden colour.

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