ANOTHER ONE FOR THE BUCKET LIST // Paris, France

The joys of budget airline traveling saw Chris and I not departing Paris until quite late yesterday evening. However, this did mean we had a bit more time to explore the city! We went and wandered around a flea market in the morning and had a picnic lunch in the (cold) sun at Bastille.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

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Despite the freezing cold the sun was out, making the city look truly spectacular. We spent a lot of time walking around before making our way to meet Aidan at Musee d-Orsay, for a bit more fancy art gallery perusing. Chris and I were thrilled to discover that our European and Czech student cards again granted us free entry.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

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There is not much to say about the rest of the day! We spent an hour on a bus to the airport (budget airline = tiniest airport), far too much time waiting in line, and an hour and 40 minutes on the plane. Then it was a fun filled night sleeping at Madrid airport! As our flight was scheduled to arrive after 11pm, and then we would have to collect baggage, travel into the city, find our hostel, check in, make our beds, find our pajamas, etc, we decided it would be less of a hassle to stay at the airport. Sure, it was a lot easier, but it is by no means comfortable! We managed a few hours sleep on benches in a 24 hour cafe, along with several other people. Sleeping at a European airport in true backpacker style can now be ticked off my bucket list!

– Reanna.

TOURIST OBLIGATIONS // Paris, France

My apologies for the photo heavy post! I took well over 100 photos yesterday, culled over half of them, and still ended up with so many that I couldn’t discard from this post. Tourist problems!

In the morning Chris and I walked around the Montmarte district of Paris, near where we are staying. We hiked up a hill to Sacré-Cœur Basilica, a spectacular old church overlooking the city.

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The day was looking bleak again, but as the morning progressed the sun began to pop out. We walked down from the hill and through the red light district so we could walk past the Moulin Rouge, which was somewhat smaller than I anticipated.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

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We walked for a few more kilometres, taking our time and enjoying the city. Eventually we made it to the Arc de Triomphe, and spent a good ten minutes trying to navigate how to actually get to the centre of the roundabout. SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

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Next it was on to the Eiffel Tower. We were unsure whether we would climb the tour due to the weather, but the blue skies were keeping up and the wind wasn’t an issue, so up we went. We opted to take the stairs (plus there was a massive line for the elevator) and spent ages climbing up. My legs were burning, but it was totally worth it.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

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We could have spent hours looking at the views.

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We are too cool for selfie sticks, so we keep it traditional and take photos of each other.

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We were both starving by the time we came down, so we hunted down a creperie and ordered a traditional buckwheat pancake with ratatouille and olives. After a bit of a rest, it was on to more sight seeing!

Below is the building of the National Assembly. Chris and I both studied the French Revolution in year 12 History, so it was fascinating to see some buildings that we understood some of the history about.

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We began looking for the love lock bridge, and found the fake one first. Not wanting to bother with a lock, Chris scribed our names on the wood. I know, how cute are we?SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

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A bit later on we encountered the actual bridge, which was falling apart under the weight of all the locks. Chris had read somewhere that they are going to remove all the locks soon, and at the moment most of the bridge is covered by wood.

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After all this walking we needed another rest, so we sat down for a beer and enjoyed watching the world go by.

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Then it was on to the Notre Dame (above) and the Louvre (below). Chris had warned me how big the Louvre was (he had already been in Paris two nights before I arrived). It was massive. No photos can do it justice.

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Our respective Danish and Czech student visas managed to get us into the Louvre for free, so we had a quick wander around. You could easily spend days in this place, and probably still not see everything.

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Fulfilling tourist obligations.

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By the time we came out the sun had gone down and the city had lit up. It is a whole other experience seeing the city at night.

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The Eiffel tower sparkles at night, which is quite spectacular to see. We wandered through the Louvre gardens watching it, before heading back to Montmarte to meet Aidan for some French cuisine. Snails and foe grais! Oh, and red wine.

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After dinner we went back down to see the Moulin Rouge at night.

Paris is quite a spectacular city, with so much to offer and see! We are leaving today, but still have some time for sight seeing this morning. Our flight to Madrid is not until late, which unfortunately means we are going to probably sleep at the airport. Wish us luck…

– Reanna.

HERE WE GO AGAIN // Paris, France

And it is back to mornings spent eating hostel breakfasts and writing blog posts! It seems like such a distant memory since I last did this, before I settled down in Prague. But it is really happening!

I arrived in Paris on Wednesday night, and spent a solid 1+ hour navigating my way from Orly airport to the hostel where Chris and I are saying. I then subsequently had the worst night sleep and felt like death all day yesterday. Not the greatest start to my travels, but all will be okay!

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On Thursday morning we headed into the city and met up with Aidan, Mum and Olivia. I had organised tickets for us to checkout the famous Versailles palace. I had heard that the palace was huge, but one really has to see it to truly understand that statement!

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You could spend hours wandering through these decadent rooms. The walls were made of marble, the roof tops were intricately painted, and gold leaf was everywhere.

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We had audio guides, but the information provided wasn’t overly interesting. We had hoped to have a picnic lunch in the vast expanse of the gardens, before wandering to the other buildings within the grounds, but we could only look at them from the windows. The weather was awful so the gardens didn’t open, which was incredibly disappointing. Tickets weren’t cheap, so we felt a bit ripped off that we only got half the experience!

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The Hall of Mirrors.

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Yeah, I pretty much just wanted to crawl onto this bed and sleep.

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In the end we returned back to Mum’s hotel and had our picnic lunch there. It was delicious: fresh baguettes, ham, cheese, pears, and strawberries. We finished it off with a pastry Mum had bought at a local shop. Subsequent research on my behalf led to the discovery that this a traditional cake – called king cake – that is sold in January. Olivia found a small porcelain treasure in her slice, and my research tells me this means she was ‘king’ for the day!

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The weather was still awful in the afternoon, but we went for a walk anyway and climbed up through a very impressive shopping centre Chris had discovered the other day. There were terraces at the top from which one has an amazing view of the city.

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Trying to take a nice photo in the wind!

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We walked around a bit more before settling into a cafe for some champagne. Mum and Olivia leave today to another part of France, so we needed to fulfill from French obligations!

I am hoping the weather picks up today so I can explore the city a bit more. It seems like a fabulous place!

– Reanna.