Thursday 27 December 2012

A Day out in Paris part 2

 So once we finished looking around Notre Dame we headed back towards the metro station but not before a few more photos.  There was a lady near Notre Dame selling food for the birds and there was loads of pigeons around. It reminded me a little of St. Mark's Square in Venice but also of the song from Mary Poppins, "Feed the birds"
I took this as we headed back across the bridge to get the metro:
The RER's were pretty cool they were double deckers:
So we arrived back at the Eiffel Tower at around 4.30 ish and it had gone relatively quiet compared to earlier the queue was alot shorter and so my travelling companion went off to find a seat while I hopped onto the end of the queue. Enter rude person number two of the day. I was very obviously standing at the end of the queue and this French speaking guy and woman came and he just stood right in front of me, like really is one person really going to make all that difference on your wait time. She said to him that I was there first and he just ignored her. She went behind me and he refused to move so she eventually gave up and went to join him. I said nothing because I could see she tried to be mannerly about it and he was just ignorant. It was getting colder now as well but the queue moved fast enough and I took pictures to pass the time:
I decided only to go to the second floor as I would see everything from there and didn't want to leave my travelling companion waiting to long as it said the wait for the lift to the top was a further 45 minutes. It was only 8.50 euros to go to the second floor which I was surprised about, I was expecting it to be alot more. To go to the top was only 14 euro which again I was expecting it to be more. On the second floor you can go outside and walk all around the tower to get pictures from every angle, which of course I did. Turns out that the time I went up the tower was perfect as well because I got to see the view in day light but also the sun started to set when I was up there so got to see that and Paris lighting up at night:

I wandered around for another while then went inside. There was a little shop where you could buy souvenirs of the Eiffel Tower for ridiculous prices that you could buy on nearby stalls for anything from 1 to 10 euro. I then made my way over to the lifts because I was worried my travelling companion would be freezing on the ground. Enter rudey number three there was an obvious queue for the lifts and this French speaking dude, his wife and two kids decided they didn't actually need to queue and just walked right up the side of the queue and attempted to by pass the entire line. It worked until people copped onto what they were at and stood out in front of them blocking their way. On the way down in the lift the tower started to twinkle. It was amazing. It was still twinkling when I got to the bottom:

After that we started to make the journey back to Disneyland. Once we got back we went into the Disney Village for some food and browsed some of the shops on the way back to the bus stop:

We got the bus back to our hotel, got our room sorted and then just about fell into bed after a long enjoyable day.

Wednesday 26 December 2012

A Day out in Paris part 1

So I don't normally do the trip reports on the blog but figured it's easier to type it here than on three different websites. So here goes:
The last two years I have developed a huge love of  Disney. I follow other trip reports on various Disney web forums and learn alot about the parks especially Walt Disney World. I love Florida. I love those parks but this year I was doing a masters and all my money went into that so when it came to the end of the masters I had holidays to take in work. I knew I wanted something Disney and couldn't afford Florida so I started pricing Paris and managed to find cheap flights and hotel for November so Paris it was. I had been before with a dance school but that was nine years ago plus I knew Disneyland Paris was celebrating it's 20th anniversary so it would be nice to see the changes over the nine years and what celebrations were going on. We left the 6th of November for Paris. The Flight was at 6.30 am so a nice early start but I was excited to see the airport had put up some Christmas decorations early:
and I found Mickey Mouse in the duty free:

The only other thing vaguely exciting at the airport was the near fight at the boarding gate. When we got to the gate everyone had started queueing so we joined the end not a problem but as we got closer this guy stood up from the chairs and tried to skip in front of the guy standing in front of us instead of joining the end of the queue. Big mistake, the guy in front of us wasn't happy about it and let the queue jumper know. We thought there was going to be a punch up and I jokingly told my travelling companion to expect alot of that behaviour because from what I had read there may be a few rude people in Paris. The flight to Beauvais wasn't to long it was only an hour and fifteen minutes and I slept most of the way. Once we landed we collected the luggage and met the taxi driver I had booked in advance. It took about an hour to get to the hotel and all we really saw along the way was corn fields:
Just as I was beginning to think that the driver was driving me home I spotted the first sign of Disneyland through the trees. It was Space Mountain:

We were staying at the Kyriad hotel and we went to check in but our room wasn't ready and wouldn't be ready until three o'clock so we freshened up, stored our luggage in their lockers and headed out on our first adventure. Up until four days before the trip I was going solo so I wouldn't have done this alone but once someone decided they were coming with me I spent half an hour the night before we left researching how to get around Paris and what sites I'd like to see so off to the train station we go. We got a 5 zone return ticket which cost 15.20 before grabbing a roll in a nearby shop and heading to the RER A to go to Charles de Gaulle Etoile. Once we got there we got off to see the Arc de Triomphe and explore a little. The station seemed to have alot of exits but there were signs with pictures of the Arc so it was easy enough to figure out what way to go. We came to steps and literally when we got to the top of the steps this is what we saw:
I guess we went the right way then. The detail on that thing is amazing and I thanked my camera zoom for being really good again that I was able to zoom in this close:

In my limited research we now thought we were on the Champ Elysees when I got home I found out we weren't on the Champ Elysees at all that that is on the other side of the Arc but whatever we enjoyed our walk. This reminded me of the French Pavilion in Epcot:

After our short stroll we headed back to the the station to get the metro line 6 to our next destination Trocadero. In the station we spotted this:
and were far to amused by it. My travelling companion asked had someone made a mistake at the top of the sign is that why it said "au Foch." I think the lack of sleep was making us giddy. I had only had three hours sleep the night before and I'm pretty sure she went to bed after me meaning she had less sleep. Anyway after a short stinking metro ride (it smelled like someone had been sick) we arrived at our next destination. Followed the signs, walked down the road a bit and "window shopped" at the stalls along the way:
Soon enough we saw our destination. The Eiffel Tower:

I wanted to go up to the first level for pictures but my travelling companion didn't although she was happy enough to sit at the bottom and wait for me. At that time it was about 2 o'clock and the queue was very long so I decided we would just take pictures for now, go see Notre Dame which we also wanted to see and come back later to the Tower and if the queue was shorter try then to go up.

I had crossed the street to try get a better view of the tower and could see where the Seine River boat cruises load from:
So after taking a few pictures I headed back towards the stations because I had seen the next station we needed on our walk down from Trocadero. This time we went to the Champ de Mars station and got the RERC to station Saint Michel Notre Dame. Again once when we came out of the station we could pretty much see Notre Dame from where we were standing. It was a very short walk across a bridge to the cathedral.
Again the detail on the outside was amazing:
We got in a short, fast moving queue to see the inside and did a full circle of the place. It was fabulous especially those Rose windows:


Monday 26 November 2012

Epcot at Christmas part 2

Probably the best thing about Epcot last Christmas was each country on World Showcase had their own Christmas story-teller telling stories of the Christmas traditions of that country. It took us a few days but we did eventually manage to see all the story-tellers. In case you haven't noticed by now I like pictures so here are the pictures of all the story-tellers:
Papa Noel -Canada:
Father Christmas - England:
Pere Noel - France:
The Taarji - Morocco:
The Daruma Vendor - Japan:
Hanukkah -America:
Kwanzaa - America:
La Befana - Italy:
Helga - Germany:
The Monkey King - China:
Julenissan and Sigrid - Norway (these guys were hilarious!):
Los Tres Reyes Magos - Mexico:

 I made two videos with short clips of each of the story-tellers as well:

Another one of Epcot's Christmas events we went to was the Candlelight Processional, which is basically the story of the birth of Christ through song. It was good apart from the fact the night we went it rained the entire time:

Then the normal fireworks Illuminations have an added Holiday Illuminations added on to the end for the Christmas season and it was amazing: