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Paris, april 2010

Sleipnir

Friday
Considering the fact that I wasn't going to work, I got up wicked early, leaving home only a half hour later than I would have done if going to work. This was all in the interest of having plenty of time so we didn't have to stress about connections or anything. I met up with lexitus at the train station in Vejle. He had taken an earlier train down so we could go on the train to Copenhagen together (and have seats reserved together, more importantly). We had a cup of DSB's best coffee (LOL!) at the station and then got on the train to Copenhagen.

The train ride was relatively uneventful. I did see two deer and a hare, though. (And a ship) Also invented a hilarious game after the second deer. Just going, "OH LOOK! A field!" and then laughing at lexitus 's instinctive OMGWHERE? reaction.

You may think that was somewhat mean of me, but it came after him having seen through my filter-him-out-post on thursday. I should have made a decoy post, because my apparent silence was highly suspicious.

We got to the airport okay, and check-in went, I assume, fine. I couldn't help being somewhat nervous about the woman checking us in because she was new at it and had to start over a time or two it seemed. I knew it didn't mean anything, but it didn't really help my stress levels. I think I was pretty good at looking like I wasn't bothered though, because the worst thing about that sort of thing would be that if her insecurity makes me nervous then in most cases my nervousness would reflect right back and make her even more insecure about it. It wasn't that bad though, but I do NOT like airports. I just don't.

Security went less well. I didn't have anything liquid in my bag and I wasn't wearing any other metal than my assorted jewelry.

And a hairclip.

Which I'd forgotten.

Which then set off the metal detector.

At least it was a woman feeling me up. But again, NOT HELPING!

She asked me if I was wearing any silver bracelets or something, and it sounded to me like silver in specific was a problem with the metal detector which struck us as kind of odd, since you'd think gold would be a problem too. It might not have meant anything but it just sounded odd at the time.

Then we came to a place where they checked our passports and boarding cards. lexitus was let straight through one of the entrances. I'd gone into the other one at the same time and the guy in mine looked at my passport and boarding card for what felt like an absolute eternity. I don't know, maybe he was new too, but again, NOT HELPING!

Finally having been let inside, we went and found some lunch before boarding. The guy at the gate was talking to one of his colleagues while checking people's stuff and just as he looked at my passport he said, "Oh no no no no," to his colleague. For the hundredth time there I thought something was wrong with my passport. Again, NOT HELPING!

I did get onto the plane though and I had a seat and everything. A window seat even, which was win. Next to the wing which was fail because it was in the way and I couldn't really see anything anyway. And even if I could the stupid clouds would have been in the way for a lot of the time.

The looked like some kind of snowy landscape, though. Later on there weren't as many clouds and I could see down as we were flying over some water. I spent a long time wondering why the water seemed to have two colours because the dark patches didn't really look like land so I didn't think they were islands. It took me quite an impressive amount of time to figure out that clouds have shadows! I mean, of course they do, but I just hadn't considered it before.

Landing at Charles de Gaulle went well and we were herded into a bus that took us to the terminal. I was standing in a kinda stupid spot, holding on to a bar over my head, and by the time we got to the terminal my arm felt like it was about to fall off.

Luckily our luggage was some of the first to appear, so we got out of there pretty quickly and went to find a ticket machine for the train that would take us to Gare du Nord. First we got in the slow moving queue. Isn't that always the case? Then when it was finally our turn at the ticket machine you had to push the touch screen REAL HARD! And I mean seriously hard, like with twice your body weight behind it to make it do anything, but once it finally got going you could just touch the buttons normally. Odd. It was as if it needed a rest period before it could be used again. But we got our tickets and we got to Gare du Nord, where we changed to a Metro line the rest of the way to Montmartre.

Once there we met up with M&C and went back to their flat which was up a fairly large amount of ancient stairs. We had something to drink and got rid of our luggage before heading out again for a walk up a shit load of stairs (!!!) to the Sacré-Cœur Basilica, where there was a nice view of the city.

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Montmartre, near Sacré-Cœur Basilic. C on the railing, me pointing at something and lexitus looking like he's saying something

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Oh look, it's us. I look like an idiot, but what else is new?

We took a different way down again (thank Ceiling Cat!) and came past this little bar/restaurant where we had something to drink and later on dinner. Of course the menu was only in french, and I was the only person who didn't speak any french (I knew a small handful of words) so M helped me with the menu. I had my first ever creme brulee there and it was so yummy! Wine was plentiful as we had first ordered a bottle and then the barman on the other side of this parting wall thing had a clumsy moment, breaking a glass so a couple of shards landed on C, resulting in us getting another bottle of wine on the house.

Finally back to the flat and to bed.

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The view from the flat. I've blurred the road sign there, because it pretty much gave away their address.

Saturday

Over breakfast it turned out that all four of us had had some really strange dreams during the night. I can't even remember what mine was about now. Just that it seemed to be more like a stream of different odd dreams, than just one dream. I did at one point dream about cutting up lasagne in very tiny pieces, but I think that wasn't until the next night.

After breakfast we went out and about. I got to visit a Kusmi shop where I bought two tins of tea that I had planned to get from home because they weren't variants that are available in Denmark. Well, the smoky Samovar blend certainly isn't, I'm less sure about the Caramel. C bought a smoky Earl Grey blend which I considered also getting but decided to stick to my two tins. I've kind of regretted that a little bit now, but that's not a big problem. Kusmi has a webshop, so it's not like it's completely unavailable. Just like the Mariage Freres stuff I'd thought I'd look for, but completely forgot about. (Doesn't matter. I can't pronounce it anyway)

Anyway, they also had this blend with seaweed and spearmint and possibly a few other things. An absolutely vile smelling concoction that I almost considered getting just so I could send samples of it to people I don't like. That's how foul it smelled.

We also went and saw a number of funny little nerd-shops. Some of them were so tiny and frankly a bit odd that I'm thinking they must have a core group of customers who loyally come back. Otherwise it was kind of amazing that they were in business at all. Especially since they seemed a bit hidden away where they were. I didn't really think many of them were on streets where there were a lot of other shops, but it could be I just wasn't paying properly attention to it.

After that we went to see Notre Dame and went inside. Lots of tourists inside, and although there were little side-thingies that tourists were supposed to walk past where the locals could go and pray, a lot of people didn't seem to respect that. I saw a woman sitting in one of those. She was praying and a couple of steps behind her a large group of tourists were standing looking at the little alter and/or at her as if she was sitting there as some sort of attraction. I thought that must have been annoying for her, considering that she was in the middle of something fairly private. At least they kept some distance. But I suppose that's the sort of thing you just have to deal with when choosing that particular church. I guess if it really bothered her, she would have gone to a less touristy one.

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Notre Dame from the side.

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The Seine.

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And from the front. Yes, we are queueing. That may look like a long line there, but it was fast moving because entrance was free.

After that we walked for a bit and found a place where we had lunch (and I had menu help again) and we had some yummy smoothies with our food. I think it was a place that M&C had been to before.

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Us at lunch.

When we had eaten M & C took us through the Luxembourg Garden where we had ice cream (strawberry and apricot for me, because these things matter)

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M, lexitus and me. Note the Kusmi bag. :)

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some various park pictures

Back again at the flat we decided to stay in that evening. The men volunteered (sorta) for grocery shopping and then M and I (but mostly M) made dinner while they played some sort of video game. We had lasagne for dinner (I think this is where my dream from before originates) and watched Zombieland while having dessert. It was rather on the gory side, but quite fun.

Sunday
After breakfast we took a long train journey to see La Grande Arche which is way huge. We went all the way up to the top but in the internal elevators, I assume because it was windy. At the top we could see down Champs-Élysées all the way to... A triumphal arch, because I've just discovered that there are two actually, and I'm not sure which one of them it was.

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In front of La Grande Arche, C being the only one paying attention.

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From the roof! It looks much further and smaller on the picture than it did in RL. I can't even really find all the stuff we could see.

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But the Eiffel Tower is accounted for.

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"Hmmm... do I have a coin for the telescope?"

Inside the top floor there was also a small museum of old computers, including a thing that looked like some sort of old-fashioned round bench-thing but was actually a computer. Odd stuff.

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I would never in a million years have guessed that this was a computer...

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There. Proof. I was in France. This is not photoshopped.

We took the metro to Champs-Élysées again and took a walk down the street finding a place where we had pizza for lunch. We came up shortly after the Paris Marathon had finished and evidently everybody got a medal for having completed because there were people with medals all over the place. And, bizarrely, some kind of rain coat even though it was bright sunshine. (Someone explain the purpose of these please).

We didn't go to the Eiffel Tower, but we saw it from a distance and continued through the Tuileries Gardens and out on the other side of the Louvre, which is one of the biggest buildings I have ever seen in my life. I've never been inside and we didn't go inside either, but that's just as well. It would need a whole day to do that.

For dinner that day we went to a Vietnamese restaurant near where M&C lives, where we had sticky rice. None of us really knew what that was but it turned to be rice cooked and served inside a big bamboo stick. It was really nice, but I've never seen that before. It was also a bit odd to see an asian restaurant be a real restaurant. In Denmark you'll have to look really hard to find one that doesn't also do a lot of take away.

Monday

M&C had to go to work, but it was okay since we were going home anyway. lexitus was awake so he had breakfast with them. I didn't manage to get up until I was woken up to come out and say goodbye.

We had a quiet morning in. There had been some talk about maybe going to do something before heading to the airport but lexitus decided it might be a better idea to just take it slow and not have to rush anything. Suited me fine. C had shown him how to lock the door, which was apparently a complicated matter, and where to leave the key.

M had said we could borrow her computer so we did that after spending a little while trying to work out how to turn the damn thing on. We had located a button but it didn't do anything. Finally we discovered that we had to turn the light on first. Odd, but there you are.

Eventually we got finished gathering our belongings and set off towards the airport where it turned out that it had probably been a good idea to not go out on our own in the morning, as we got eeeeever so slightly a little bit tiny amount of lost while looking for the Metro station. They're not really particularly clearly marked. And then when we finally did find an entrance to one, there weren't any ticket machines. Not just any that were working. There weren't any. Apparently it wasn't so much an entrance as it was in exit. So up and out again and find another entrance where they had a ticket machine where we could get the right sort of ticket that would take us all the way to the airport. It was lucky that lexitus had a map, because my geographical understanding went about as far as "I am in Paris, France." And you don't get very far on that alone. So it was a good thing that we stayed in for the morning.

At the airport it took quite a while to figure out where the check-in was. There was this little door with a man in it that you had to go through first but the man wasn't really doing anything, we just walked through. Not sure what his job really was. Maybe to point confused travellers in the right direction?

This time at security I decided that I wasn't taking any chances, so I had taken off all my jewelry, even my earrings and everything. I had also discovered that if I folded up my jacket it fit inside my bag. I thought I was so smart. I had to take my boots off too, which they didn't ask me in Copenhagen so that was a bit of a strange feeling, wandering around in a public place in only my socks. Nothing happened with the metal detector, but since I had put my jacket inside my bag, they couldn't really see what was in it with their scanner, so there was a woman who had to look through my stuff. Again with the NOT HELPING!

But I got through, they didn't try to confiscate my pens or any such things and we emerged on the other side of security to find... absoplockinglutely nothing. Apparently all the tax-free shops were on the other side of security and there hadn't even been more than a couple out there. All we found on the other side was a sandwich shop which was kinda lucky because I was famished. Odd that, I thought. I mean it's a really big place!

Anyway, we got on the plane and I got a middle seat. Right next to a woman with a baby. And behind her husband with another baby. Oh my ceiling cat, I thought... It could have been worse though. The baby next to me took it all in stride, but the one in front wasn't really sounding like he was all that impressed with the experience. But he didn't scream louder than it could be dealt with.

Still, it was a pretty long trip. Not so much because of loud children, but more because I just wanted to go home already. It took two attempts to land so were were a bit delayed in landing, and on top of that our luggage was some of the last to appear this time. That really had me worried there. NOT HELPING! There was this red suitcase that went past me three times or something, but although I knew it definitely wasn't mine, it just nagged at me more and more each time it passed. Huge relief when ours came up!

We had of course missed the train home, but it wasn't really a problem because we had the ticket, so we just bought new seat reservations for a different train. We got something to eat from Burger King, where they even had a sooper sekrit burger that the herbivore could eat! Who know?! O.o

The train we had got in was one which didn't go through Århus, so it would require a train change for lexitus . It didn't matter for me, because I was getting off at the station where the train was parted anyway. The ticket man had no way of knowing at the time that lexitus wanted to go all the way to Århus, but he still told us to switch to the other train set at the station before Vejle. I thought that was odd, because the ticket only said Vejle and I knew for absolute sure and certain that it was supposed to go to Vejle. But you never really know if it's something special for that train or something, so we decided to just do as we were told, which also gave lexitus a chance to punch the ticket for the stretch between Vejle and Århus, so it wasn't a big problem.

There was a bit of drama concerning the train trip home though. We stopped at the station in Korsør, just before the tunnel under the Great Belt and were told on the radio that we had to stay there because there was a slow moving train currently in the tunnel ahead of us and that had to get out before we could go in. So we waited and we waited and we waited and suddenly two policemen came down and went into the train further down! Turned out a few stations later when the truth was revealed that someone must have forgotten a bag or a suitcase which seemed sufficiently suspicious that they had chosen to get the police to check it out before continuing. Apart from that, and another round of, "OH LOOK! A field!" OMGWHERE??? (Funny the first time. Hilarious the second time) there weren't really anything special about the train ride.

And then I came home and went inside and went, "OMCC!!!! FLAT!!! I MISSED U!!!" for a while, checking out my internet haunts and eventually going to bed.

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