The night tour of Paris acquainted us with few of the other monuments of Paris like the Golden Dome Cathedral, the Shanzelize, the Ark De triumph etc. My second encounter with Cleopatra’s needle happened during this tour. I had seen one of those in the Central Park of New York earlier. Western world seems to have good amount of fascination for these ancient obelisks from Egypt and there is no doubt how modern we become, the architectures, the Gods, the mythical and mysterious nature of ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman empires will keep fascinating us. Those were the peaks of human creativity, organization as well as power.
The “École Militaire” where Napoleon himself got trained is still a huge cluster of buildings huddled against each other in a row spanning almost few kilometres. The bullet holes by Nazi military attack on the walls of this building were evident at night, due to flashes. The “Paris De Opera” was a magnificent structure build during Napoleon era and looked quite fascinating at night.The Madeleine church looked more like a roman temple while the Place de la Concorde palace looked quite deserted.
The replica of statue of liberty gifted by New York, sits right in the middle of Siene River. Although we had few glimpses, we could not spend lot of time at the piazza where Louvre is situated. The glass pyramid twinkled at night, safeguarding the treasury of years and years of hard work put together by well-known as well as unknown artists. It included few of the masterpieces like Leonardo’s Monalisa. But then this place was not there in our itinerary and I had to park this for later to visit. My next destination, Italy, was reserved for these artistic experiences and explorations. We humans sometimes go overboard and create so much that it’s simply difficult to comprehend the volume of this effort and depth of creativity.
Few of the arks out here are too narrow and the bus driver had to use all his skills to pass though the same. They were definitely not meant for passing buses through, but rather the horse mounted guards and military during 17th Century.
The tour and holiday are two different concepts. The tour is almost always packed with journeys and strict schedules. It means a wake up alarm and you see your hotel just to sleep, to get bath and breakfast. It is always seeing more and at times enjoying less as everyone does not have the same pace or same liking.
Holiday is more of a self-paced and leisurely fun filled off times where you relax, you savour the beauty, you mix with the culture and you live a different life for few days. You do go and see sights, you do go for few of the touristy things, but then it’s as per your mood and liking. Our Paris visit can be called as tour, while we had planned our Switzerland and Italy visits to be more of holidays.
The last day wasn’t that great as the Sun was hiding behind the thick black clouds and as we boarded the river cruise on Siene, it started raining quite heavily. Nevertheless the cruise liner was full, and the rain did not stop people from posing against the passing Eiffel or the age old beautiful bridges on Siene.
Jatin was giving his small doses of knowledge as we passed different landmarks. Princess Diana and her lover met a road accident in one of the tunnels at this river and we could see a memorial build to commemorate the same. After an hour’s ride along Siene river we were back to bus. The earlier plan to spend some time at Shanzelize was foiled by the heavy rains.
One can’t think about New York without Hudson and London without thames. Siene has the same place in every Parisian’s mind. Just like Thames, Siene also seems to have lot of historical significance in the lives of Parisians. Few claim that, the ashes of Joan of Arc were thrown into Siene River in 1431.It has 35 bridges within Paris and has been inspiration for many of the artists and artworks.
As I said earlier, apart from the 2nd day, the major portion of the 1st and last day were spent on road travel from Paris to London. And as Calais is again a busy port we had to start early to make sure we make it on time. Secondly the immigration check was much stricter while entering UK as compared to the other way round. Jatin entertained us with the hilarious hindi movie “Three Idiots“ as we passed through the wide and open French landscapes again.
We had real good wine deals in the duty free shop aboard “P&O” ferry and Sheetal got nice perfume for her as well. The return journey looked much longer and people were already discussing their next destinations. Now we were tired and wanted to get back to bed soon. I could not even imagine about my next day flight to Geneva and all we wanted was a full night sleep. We had a nice dinner at “Chutney”’s at Deptford before retiring to bed at our Deptford bridge guesthouse.