Day 2: 29th May, 2013.
I woke up in a daze. I don’t quite remember what my dream was but I don’t want to give myself a headache thinking about. It took me a second to realize that I was in Paris. I couldn’t remember my dream from last night but I felt like I was living in one. I am a little surprised when I see what the time is. It’s 8.30 a.m. I never wake up early, unless of course I want to. I am the kind of person who can sleep whenever I want and for as long as I want. Then I realize that I am used to the time zone in India; so technically, I woke up at 12 p.m. (3 ½ hours difference).
By the time I brushed my teeth and took a shower, it was 9.15 a.m. I went to the hotel restaurant for breakfast. Usually, the breakfast service in any good hotel is a buffet. But apparently there was a fixed menu which turned out to be pretty good: assorted French bread, sausages, beef bacon, cheese, eggs, orange juice and tea.
I did notice a downside. The restaurants in Paris offered no vegetarian option. The only thing they served in abundance was ham, bacon, beef, eggs and chicken. I thanked my lucky stars that I wasn’t vegetarian or vegan for that matter. Later the same day, I saw an Indian family in a supermarket with very worried expressions on their face as if they had committed a crime or lost something valuable. I realized that they were looking vegetarian food and the only things they managed to find were canned peas and beans. I really felt bad but there was nothing to be done about it.
Another thing I observe is that European tea is god-awful and outrageously priced. For a single cup of tea, I had to pay €3.20 (which is approximately ₹234). I made a mental note to buy branded teabags like Lipton from the store and make my own tea in the hotel room.
Well after I had breakfast, I took a boat service from the canal right next to the Musee du Louvre (I think I forgot to mention but the Louvre Museum is 2 minutes away from my hotel). The ride was amazing and the winds just made it that much better. I visited the Eiffel tower again and took quick photos (as I mentioned earlier, I didn’t get my camera. So I had to make do with my 5 megapixel Blackberry mobile. Not as good as the camera but something is better than nothing). By the time the boat ride was over, it was 2.30 p.m. Next stop: Munich, Germany.
The cabs in Paris had a fixed price to the airport from the area I was staying in which was €70. Although taking a train would have been cheaper, I really wasn’t up for facing the crowded Gare du Nord station. Nevertheless, the road trip to the Charles de Gaulle Airport was fascinating. The roads didn’t have any of the potholes or open sewers like that in India. It was clean and smooth. The drivers followed the lane rules. No one cut the line or drove rashly. There was a separate lane for the buses and another lane for the cycles. The bikes in Paris are pretty decent. I saw a lot of Ducati Monsters, Harley Davidsons and Suzuki Bandits and almost all of them had a windshield in front of them and all (and I mean ALL) the riders wore the proper gear for riding and also wore helmets.
The airport thankfully was warm and I didn’t have to suffer from the cold. I hate the cold. I can’t stand it! I am more of a desert person (an Arab if you will). So I felt relieved when I entered the airport and left the chilly winds behind me. The airport was great. I didn’t see a crowd of people. It was peaceful and calm. There were kiosks where I could check in myself and choose my own seat without any help from the attendant. Since the trip began, I carried one handbag (where I kept my books, headphones and my monkey cap) and a trolley bag (where I kept my clothes, shoes and deodorants). Even though I was travelling to another country I didn’t have to go through immigration again as I had the Schengen visa (the visa which lets me travel to most of the countries in Europe). I travelled by Lufthansa Airlines. It was a mere one hour flight yet they served me drinks and a delicious little cheese sandwich.
When I landed in the Munich Airport, it was already dark and of course, cold! But it was a pleasant night. After collecting my bag I went to McDonald’s and bought myself a cheeseburger, a delicacy which you don’t get in India. After that I took a train to Hauptbahnof, Munich where my hotel “The Winters Hotel” was located. Needless to say, the room was beautiful with pillows stuffed with feathers and an L.C.D. TV with a DVD player. Yet for some reason, I watched “How I Met Your Mother” in German. Of course, I didn’t understand a thing they were saying but Barney’s cocky attitude and Lily’s expressions could entertain me for hours on end.
Hmmm, it’s 12.30 a.m. now and I feel pretty knocked out. I had a long day and I realized that there was another long day ahead of me. So I wished the person talking inside my head goodnight and I started to dream.