AKA the day that everything goes wrong. We started off by going to the Pantheon, then realized we had to pay to get in and didn’t think the museum pass covered it. Ya…I messed that one up because apparently we did but, we never made it back. From there, we went to Luxemburg Park which was pretty, but there wasn’t much to do there aside from watching sail boats. After that, we decided to go to the catacombs, but got there and realized there was a HUGE line and decided it wasn’t worth our time. We grabbed food, met a couple from Florida, then headed to the Arc to get a music box for Theresa’s mom. After a 30 minute metro ride, we walked out from the station and people with yellow vest were everywhere. Yes, that’s right we walked into a protest. There were cops completely surrounding the arc, along with them blocking the streets off. Cautiously, we still wanted to try to see if we could get to the arc, so we walked around until we found the doors and saw the underground tunnel was blocked off. Trying to find the metro to get the heck out of there, we turned left and saw a march of people coming down the street toward the Arc and decided to just walk to the next metro stop to get out of there as fast as possible. At this point, I think the universe was trying to tell me to just stay in the hotel and study for my biochem exam, but I didn’t listen and we ended up meeting some of the group at a mall, then found the I love you wall, and went to the Place du Tetre and getting some last minute paintings. That actually ended up turning around the day, and ended by grabbing dinner and crapes with John and Alicia. After we headed back to the hotel and got ready for our flight the next morning.
How many museums can you fit in one day?? Well Friday was the day we tested to see. We started off by going to the Eiffel Tower. I gave a presentation on some cool facts I found online, so hit me up if you have any questions. As we were waiting in line, we got the most heartbreaking news of the entire trip. Yes, that’s right, it was too windy too go all the way up to the top of the tower. I was heartbroken, but still felt like I was able to see everything and get pretty much the same experience from the second floor (even though it was only 378 feet high versus 906 feet). I was even able to see the 2ndstatue of liberty that was by a bridge (didn’t get to see up close). After, we headed across the street to the Musse de L’Homme where we were able to get some nice pics with the Eiffel Tower in the back. The museum was cool because it was more modern science related. I really like the display with the heads up the wall, and they also had other exhibits like prosthetics and glasses. I also got tricked into wasting my money on tiny Eiffel Tower key chains because the guy wouldn’t leave us alone. Anywho, we grabbed lunch then met up and headed to the Pasteur Museum. This museum was probably the worst because I started getting sick and my nose would not stop running! She also spoke crap English and I was just ready for my afternoon nap. This museum wasn’t pointless though because it was cool being able to see the different glassware he had to make for the experiments he did and seeing the crypt in the basement with his and his wife’s casket. I definitely think it helped that we actually knew who he was before going there. Afterwards, we headed to ANOTHER museum (yes this is 3… 4 is you count the Eiffel Tower). This museum was the Musée des Arts et Metiers. Walking in, we saw the 3rdstatue of liberty, and the 4thwas there too but it was in the chapel and we ran out of time to see it. This museum had so much stuff and I wish I would have been able to look around more, but at least the tour guide for this place was funny and understood how dead we were. After getting kicked out of this museum, we headed back to the hotel, grabbed dinner at a restaurant nearby, then crashed for the night.
Well, I was still dead from the day before, but up for another day of adventures. We went to the garden of plants with the class. I started off in the Paleontology building which I found super interesting seeing all of the bones set up on display. One thing that caught my eye was the whale with very thin looking teeth. I’d never seen teeth like that before and thought it was super interesting (pre-dental major showing)! While we were there, I also saw the minerology building and the zoo. The minerology building was cool but small, and the zoo was decent, but the animals seemed to be hiding from me or hard to see through the tall grass around the exhibits. I really enjoyed this place however, all the captions on the exhibits were in French so it was hard to know what certain things were. After this, we had the rest of the day on our own and I ended up going to the Louvre and the Musse de Orssay, but was in a group of 7 people so it was kind of crazy. I was able to see the Mona Lisa, which was cool to say I saw, but really didn’t understand why this chick was famous until Alicia explained that her eyes follow you no matter where you’re at in the room! Also, at the Musse de Orssay we saw 1 of the 4 statues of liberty in Paris. To end the night, we had a group dinner that was really good! I got to try snail for the first time! That was a little nerve wracking but actually ended up being very good.
Sadly, the London portion was over, and we traveled to Paris on the Eurostar. Carrying heavy luggage up and down multiple staircases was definitely a workout! We got to Paris, got checking into our hotel, then headed to Notre Dame. After walking around Notre Dame, John, Quent, Theresa and I headed to sacre’ couer then Place du Tetre. Place du Tetre was an art district and was very fun to walk around seeing shops selling different types of acrylic paintings and other little things. We grabbed dinner at a restaurant, then headed to the Arc de Triomphe. Side note: Paris food is already better than London’s. After climbing 285 steps, we were finally at the top of the Arc and just in time to see the Eiffel Tower sparkle on the hour. It was beautiful to see at night, and we decided to take the metro and see it up close. After seeing the Eiffel Tower, we ventured to the Princess Diana “memorial” which was a statue of liberty flame. This was kind of disappointing because it looked like it was at one point a memorial, but the plaque was taken down and is not an unofficial memorial (need to look into that still). Finally, we made our way back to the hotel, the long way of course since John was leading. According to my phone, we walked 10.3 miles and climbed 72 flights so I was dead!
Tuesday was a group day and our last day in London. It started off by getting a tour of Westminster Abbey, where Darwin was buried and lots of other famous people that I can’t remember. Afterwards, we rode the London Eye, grabbed lunch on our own, then met back up for a short tour of the royal society. On the way back, we stopped and saw Buckingham Palace, then changed real quick and went to group dinner. I ate at an Indian restaurant and got buttered chicken. It wasn’t terrible but I probably would not eat it again. From there, I left early and saw a play with Alicia called “The Play that Goes Wrong”. This play was a remake of another play turned into a comedy where people didn’t know their script, got injured and needed replaces, or props broke.
Monday was our free day. The first stop of the day was St.Paul’s Cathedral. This building was absolutely beautiful, and we even had blue skies to make it even better! After taking a thousand pics (including a cliché phone booth pic), we next headed to Borough Market. Borough Market was just ok. It had a bunch of food vendors, but like I said earlier, I wasn’t a big fan of London’s food. Next, we saw the London Bridge, which ended up being pretty plain, then went to the Tower Bridge. The Tower Bridge was very cool, and we stumbled upon a gift shop at the bottom. Once in the gift shop, we realized you could take a tour of the Bridge and the engine room that lifts the bridge for boats. During the tour we were able to walk across the top walkway above the bridge, which had an amazing view! After Tower Bridge we walked past the Tower of London. In the process of finding food, we fell upon a church bunker/cellar/tunnel thing that had different artifacts on display under a (functioning) church. We finally got food, then took the metro to King’s Cross Station and found the Harry Potter Platform we tried to find the day before! After a long and exhausting day, we headed back to the hotel then eventually got dinner in China town. We ran into a couple that gave us tips on places to go in Paris, then finished the day by grabbing a drink at the John Snow pub.
Sunday we started off going to the British Museum and was able to see many cool things, including the Rosetta Stone. After the British Museum, we traveled on the metro to Camden Street market and explored little shops set up along the street. I loved Camden market and got some cool souvenirs while I was there too. After, Theresa, Quent, Khadejah, and I went to Kensington park where we saw a “Dalmatian”, got to feed some awesome green birds, and saw Kensington Palace. On the way back we attempted to find the Harry Potter Platform but failed and just grabbed dinner at the Jack Horner pub. I had fish and chips, which was probably my best meal in London!
After a 6 hour plane ride, we arrived in Heathrow, London around 10am and took a coach bus to the Down house. I was dead tired from not sleeping much on the plane, but thankfully was able to catch a quick nap on the bus. Towards the end, the bus ride was definitely interesting trying to fit a tiny bus down small backroads, another driver tried to fight our bus driver! Once we got to the town, we stopped at the George and Dragon pub, checked out Emma’s grave (Darwin’s wife), then walked to the Down house. After the Down house we headed back to the hotel, then explored around the hotel to find dinner. We ate at rising sun, where I got a nasty philly cheesesteak “sandwich” …but also had the best cider ever! Side note: The food in London was not my favorite.