Posts Tagged ‘train’

Weekend Trip to Paris, or France on France

Eiffel TowerSaturday morning, Evan and I took the Eurostar train to Paris. The trip got off to a bit of a rocky start because we didn’t know that we needed to get to the train station 45 minutes ahead of the departure time and due to problems retrieving our tickets and a lot of running back and forth between electronic kiosks and the ticket office and really long print time for our tickets — actually, the agent hand wrote one, which seemed to take forever — we missed our train. Apparently this happens a lot, though, and we were able to switch our tickets for the next train, which was leaving an hour later, at no charge.

The train ride was quite quick, and in both directions, I missed our English Channel chunneling time — I guess it was unremarkable. Or I was sleeping. I don’t know. My ears popped a few times, but it never seemed like we were underground for all that long.

Once we got to Gare du Nord in Paris, we hopped on the RER train to St. Michel/Notre Dame and started our sightseeing on the way to our hotel. I’ll post photos and more detailed explanations in other posts, but I have to say that Paris is the most beautiful city I have ever seen.

I’ve wanted to go for a long time, but I really didn’t expect to be so blown away by all the sights. I felt like every direction I looked had some sort of sculpture, elegant building, manicured garden or spectacular vista. And the city was incredibly walkable — on our walk to the hotel, we saw Notre Dame and all of Ile de la Cite, the Louvre, the Tuileries, the Musee D’Orsay, the Grand Palais, the Arc de Triomphe (off in the distance), the obelisk, the Champs Elysee, the Eiffel Tower, grandiose former palaces and bridges of all styles, from simple and traditional to ornate to modern. And we couldn’t help ourselves from salivating at all the delicious-smelling patisseries and boulangeries.

When we finally got close to our hotel, we were surprised by a wonderful view of the Eiffel Tower. We were just a few blocks down the street in the photo and a couple buildings in to the left. We stayed at the Hotel de Londres Eiffel, where we had a very small, but clean and comfortable “poet’s room.”

Update: Take a look at all our photos on Evan’s site.

Vienna: Saint Stephen’s Church

Vienna: Saint Stephen’s Church

We arrived in Vienna after a three-hour train ride from Budapest and headed straight for the middle of the city–our hotel was in the Innere Stadt. Stop number one after dropping off our bags was Saint Stephen’s Church, a massive gothic church that’s even more striking and spooky looking because of its mostly charred exterior (there was a big fire there in 1945, I believe).

We went inside, and took a look around the dimly lit interior with its tall columns and vaulted ceilings. Apparently in the crypt, which we didn’t visit, are the organs of all the Hapsburgs (they liked to be dismembered when they died).

There was a huge line of people trying to get in and it was crowded inside, so we didn’t stay long. And since it was so dark, none of our indoor pics turned out great, but you can see all the pictures on Evan’s site in the Vienna gallery.

And one other note on taking the train over–I’ve never really traveled anywhere by train. I went from NYC to DC in the spring and slept most of the way, and I was just in a standard car that felt more like a bus than anything else. Anyway, on our trip, we got a whole little six-person compartment to ourselves. It felt like we were going to Hogwarts! Boy, am I a nerd or what? The first thing I thought of while sitting in a train compartment was Harry Potter…