A shift in Priorities
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Stephanie's first visit to the Eiffel Tower in her life.

Picking up where we left off in Europe after arriving the night before in Paris!

July 18, 2018

What happened…

Stephanie writes: We didn’t have to wake up super early for anything which was honestly so nice because of how stressful it was yesterday! Andrew cooked us breakfast inside the hotel room which I thought was pretty risky but oh well nothing happened. Once we were ready to go, Amanda and I set off to the underground to get to the Eiffel Tower and it was a pretty rough start, not gonna lie. We were standing at an intersection walking ten steps in every direction going the wrong way every time but once we figured it out, it was pretty smooth sailing from there on out. We got to the underground and I wanted to try and buy the tickets as fast as I could because I watched the guy in front of us do it but I accidentally clicked french which ended up being fine but we had a good laugh about it! When we came out of the underground we weren’t sure where to go but we decided it’d be pretty safe if we were to just follow all of the super touristy looking people and just as we suspected, we were fine and found it with ease.

While trying to find the entrance to the Eiffel Tower, we saw a food vendor and realized we might want a snack so we went in and each bought an extremely expensive quiche. Waiting to go in was so hot it was insane but once we were in it was nicer in the shade. We went to the help desk to find out where you go to purchase tickets to go up and she told us where and also said if we wait about an hour that when we bought he tickets that we’d be able to go right up, and so we did. As we were waiting, we decided to have our super expensive quiche and it was disgusting, neither of us ate our entire thing it was so bad, we just threw them away. After eating the quiche, I had to go to the bathroom so when I went to find it, of course there was no line for guys but the line up for women was super long! There was weirdly high security especially considering it was a bathroom but the ladies checking bags were nice so it was fine. When I went back and found Amanda we went and sat off to the side and had some cherry tomatoes and got in trouble for sitting on a little wall that seemed totally out of the way so we moved… and then got in trouble for sitting on the stairs but after that we found a spot to sit.

As we were eating the cherry tomatoes, these two guys in full military outfits, huge guns hanging off their bodies and everything come walking by carrying a mini-fridge and we were so confused because there was zero explanation as to why they had it but they did and it made us cry in laughter because of how random it was. When we got in line it was about a half hour wait and there was a British family behind us with two young boys and one of them was absolutely terrified of going up and at the last moment, the dad had to stay behind with him because of how scared he was, I felt bad but their accents were the cutest thing ever!!! We decided not to buy the super expensive tickets which meant we walked up to the first two floors and only took the elevator to the very top which was fine because the architecture was super cool to look at as we were walking up. The first floor was obviously the biggest so it was kind of two floors like one directly on top of the other but when you think of the Eiffel Tower, it only has three stories so this was the first and it had bathrooms(no other floor had them), restaurants, souvenir shops, bars, all kinds of little fast food or drink places and the floor in some places was see through so you could look directly down. Amanda didn’t like the idea of it and I don’t blame her but I loved it!

When we went up to the second level there wasn’t all that much there, just smaller and more places to look out as opposed to restaurants. From there we got to take the elevator to the very top which I’m glad about because it was a long way up and it was so freaking hot it was ridiculous. One thing we noticed that was strange to us was that the elevators were bright yellow and red so not super appealing colours and they really stood out. They really optimize their space in there because it was so packed it was like the most uncomfortable situation and I felt bad for the lady driving or controlling the elevator because nobody listened to her and they were so rude, same thing on the way down too. At the top, there were little flags of countries and the names of cities with distances under them all the way around the top floor and it was so smart!! They also had different structures from places with their heights next to them. When we went outside which again was one small flight of stairs up, there was a fence all the way around so basically there was no jumping which I understand completely. There was this little room which we weren’t allowed to go into which had wax figures in it and it gave me the weirdest déjà vu ever like I swore I’d seen it before but anyway, it was so crowded and everyone was just trying to get to the edge to take pictures. Once we got to the edge we were trying to take a picture together and some nice lady offered to take it for us. She didn’t manage to take even one before her smile disappeared and she just looked at us in confusion, Amanda had a message from her group chat labeled sexy cyclists and it blocked her from taking the picture, Amanda just hit okay and the lady took our photo, Amanda just okayed the notification and she took the photo, we offered to take hers and she said it’s okay and walked away. As soon as she was out of sight we lost it in laughter it was so freaking funny!!

After that there wasn’t much to see, we saw the view from each side and took the elevator all the way to the bottom, we weren’t sure if we were supposed to walk down the last two stories but oh well, we took the overcrowded brightly coloured elevator. We took a few last pictures before leaving the underpart aka super secure part o the Eiffel Tower. When I say there were vendors everywhere, I mean they were like five metres apart from each other, all the way down the paths and on the streets and bridges, they were everywhere and all had the exact same things for the exact same prices, keychains, small maybe 15cm Eiffel towers and then a bunch of other France, kinda touristy stuff. We decided we’d walk a little ways before actually buying any keychains for everyone at home because maybe someone would have a better selection. Just as we decided it didn’t matter and started walking towards a less intimidating aggressive guy, we hear a loud whistle and clap. All the guys have their little layouts set up on what we’re basically blankets with handles on them, every single one of them in less than a split second, looked up and at one another then immediately grabbed the handles, lifted up their displays in them and RAN!! Like hardcore bolted away and we had no idea where any of them went, they literally just disappeared. A few seconds later, we saw a kind of police golf cart thing drive by and realized that since they clearly didn’t have vendors licences that they were just hiding and it was cool the type of unity they had together to not completely rat each other out. After walking some more and finding some vendors that were resetting up, we went to one that looked like it had lots of colours and picked out 10 differently coloured Eiffel Tower keychains for only 2€ of course he tried to sell us more but we just kept going.

We took the same underground to get back to the hotel and this time didn’t take us as long with the walking part because we recognized some landmarks. When we got back to the hotel we looked at some different routes and one of the warm showers hosts that we’d requested to stay with in Paris had responded and asked us to have dinner with them. I was pretty excited because apparently they were very popular warm showers hosts with many good stories. We took the underground to get to their place and as we were walking over to their apartment we saw a lady on a bike with two baguettes, something we’d come to the realization of, everyone always has two baguettes, not 1 and not more, only ever two. We finally found their place with only a little bit of trouble and we arrived and Scott opened the door for us and let us in, Sarah was in the kitchen and when she heard us come in, she cane to introduce herself and as she came around the corner we realized, she was the lady on the bike with the two baguettes. After meeting Scott and Sarah, they introduced us to the guests that were with them and that we’d be having dinner with, the dad, Alex, was German, the mom, Mariana, was Argentinian and their son was the cutest little 8 year old ever, Pax. We set up our little picnic with blankets and it was just so French and awesome, Scott had realized that he’d forgotten something at the apartment so he went back and got it and then rode back to where we’d set up. When he got back he was on a red, super simple bike and I really liked it, he told us how it was a one gear fixed speed bike which basically means there’s only one gear and you have to be pedalling for the bike to move, it’s like a tricycle in the sense that if you pedal forwards, you go forwards, if you pedal backwards, you go backwards and if you stop pedalling, you’ll either stop or hurt yourself. He told us about how easy it is for the chain to just take off your finger and how bad it is when you get your pants caught in the chain because it just keeps moving and will cut you very badly. He was telling us how riding in the city, you have to be super aggressive with the cars because you can’t just glide and stop pedalling if they get too close, you have to just keep going or you’ll get hurt and I thought it was pretty cool.

Amanda writes: After a leisurely morning Stephanie and I set out for the Eiffel tower. Andrew chose not to come having seen it before and instead settled in front of his computer with the camera SD card and some photo editing. The reality was he was likely going to play some video games too which if that what makes him happy in an air conditioned room, then awesome. So Stephanie and I set out.

She’s done such a great job at recapping everything it just helps me relive it; I love it! I didn’t know she felt the way she did with the wax guys at the top of the tower. And I’m not surprised that my poor navigation skills freaked her out a bit. I clearly rely on Andrew way too much. In my defense he has little patience for the speed in which I use navigation tools, but it highlighted the fact that I really should practice it more. And I was totally impressed by how she could see I wasn’t as saavy at navigating as Andrew and took over and led the way with no problem. Then she bought the train tickets and really took charge. Nice job Ang & Glenn!

The evening river side picnic was just awesome. It was like a locals Paris thing to do with people that live there and I was so glad Stephanie got to see that part of the culture. Our first trip to Paris was just the two of us and super romantic and while this had the opportunity to be the same, it was different with Stephanie. Not in a bad way, just different. It was so great to see everything through her eyes and made me realize it really changes our perspective too.

Flickr Photographs

A shift in Priorities
More Paris Sights