Europe Tour Day 1:

28th May, 2013.
I have packed all the things I need; clothes, books and of course, shoes. But the one thing which I desperately needed and which I forgot to pack was my camera. I have been hammering and mentally cursing myself for not getting it. I mean, how could a person plan on going to Europe and not pack his camera? So far, my trip wasn’t

This glass and steel pyramid is shown in the movie

off to a good start.
All my bags are now packed in the car. I am heading towards the Bahrain International Airport to catch my flight to Paris. Whenever I see the airport, I always have mixed emotions; sadness for leaving the country which I have found to love in a very short span of time and pure joy for getting back to my friends and life in India. Although I wanted to stay in Bahrain for a few more days, I couldn’t have been more excited. I have been waiting for this trip for 3 months and I was finally on my way.
The flight to Paris was a little more than 6 hours, the longest flight I have ever taken till date. Fortunately, Gulf Air provides its passenger with a mini-TV and I enjoyed watching “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” {starring Martin Freeman (Bilbo Baggins) and Ian McKellan (Gandalf the Grey)} which lasted for 3 hours. Nevertheless, the flight was exhausting and I am pretty sure the jetlag would make me drop dead the moment I found myself a bed.
The first thing that hit me when I reached Paris was the weather. It was cloudy, dull and cold, very cold. The second thing that annoyed me was the signs. Most of them were in French, a language I had little knowledge of. Fortunately, the pictures associated with each sign were very descriptive and easy to understand. After passing through immigration and collecting my bags, I headed to the train station. The means of transport in Paris were amazing. Never before had I seen such an elaborate and convenient system. All I had to do was to look at the pretty little pictures and use common sense. The trains were fast, comfortable and ran on electricity.
I got off the train at the Gare du Nord station and took a cab to my hotel “The Golden Tulip: Washington Opera” near the Palais Royal. When I first saw my room, I thought it was too blue. But after facing the bitter cold outside, the room was nothing but a warm haven. I would have loved to sleep off right away. But it was only 10:30 a.m. and to spend my first day in Paris sleeping would be absurd, not to mention downright outrageous!
After taking a shower and a cup of tea, I went out for sightseeing. The first thing I notice about the people was that they walked, walked some more and if you were lucky, you’d still see them walking. They walked hurriedly with an official air about them. Another thing that I notice straight away, were the Parisian girls. Not only were they exceptionally pretty, beautiful and elegant but also they were fiercely independent. Nobody bothered about what they were wearing or what they were doing. This was the first time I visited a country where men and women were equals. I never saw an indecent man ogling at the girls. The environment was so different from what I am used to. I don’t see anyone spitting, fighting or anything of the sort. People followed the rules. They walked across the roads only along when the pedestrian signal was green.
The first place I visited was the Musee du Louvre, the museum where the Mona Lisa is kept and preserved safely. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see the interiors of the museum as it was under maintenance and renovation. But I saw all the places which were shown in the movie “Angels and Demons” starring Tom Hanks, a movie inspired by the book “Angels and Demons- by Dan Brown”. There was a reason (actually, more than one) why the museum was famous. It was architecturally mind-blowing. But as I looked at the beauty of the museum, the clouds became dark and it rained. I expected and was prepared for any other kind of weather: cold, heat and even snow. But not rain, definitely not rain! I took a “Hop on, hop off” bus which gave me a tour of the whole city. But I wasn’t really paying attention to what the guide was saying. I was just marveling the beauty and design of the city. But I did get off at the Eiffel Tower which looked huge up front. It looked more majestic than all the pictures I had seen of it. I spent some time there and took the bus back to the Musee du Louvre.
I returned to my hotel room by 7 p.m. One would think that it would be dark by 7 p.m. It was just the opposite. It was so bright that you’d think it was morning. The clouds had cleared and my room was bright! Another thing I liked about my room was the Wi-Fi facility. It was not only free but also remarkably fast, something which I don’t experience often inIndia. I kept on downloading music. And I found a really good album by “the Killers” called “Battleground”. The sun set around 10:45 p.m. and I realized how awfully tired I am. I decided to call it a night and hit the sack. It was only when I woke up the next day that I realized that I had been too tired to dream.

Musee du Louvre, the museum where the Mona Lisa is kept and preserved safely.


Saleh Mowla
An article by:
Saleh Mowla
A Monotheist with an insatiable thirst for practical knowledge, experience, literature and creativity. Loves optimism and living life to the fullest. He can be contacted at: maestrosaleh1796@yahoo.com.

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