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European Trip April 2015

London, United Kingdom

all seasons in one day 52 °F
View London, United Kingdom, Europe on martza's travel map.

I arrived at San Diego airport about 5 a.m. Sunday March 29, 2015, for my departure flight to London at 6:45 a.m.

I had about 2 hrs of sleep that morning. I was feeling ok until about 1 hr 30 min. into the flight. I started feeling really sick and had to rush off my seat to the back of the plane. I had encountered an off duty flight attendant and told her in a panicky voice. "I'm not feeling good!" I thought I was going to pass out in front of her. Not knowing what was up with me, she told me to get into the lavatory. I got in and nothing happened. (if you know what I mean) After about 15 min. in the lavatory I came out ok. The flight attendant gave me some orange juice. I was feeling a little better. My sugar was probably low since I only got a few hours of sleep. I'm just glad the plane didn't have to make an unschedule stop in Arizona.

I finally arrived in Houston for my connecting flight to London. I was feeling much better and the excitement was starting to build up again. I finally arrived in London Monday March 30th about 6:15 a.m. I was feeling really good throughout the whole flight from Houston to London. I got through the immigration checkpoint at Heathrow airport with no problems. It took a while though. Heathrow Airport is huge! It's a long walk from the minute you walk off the plane to the exit doors of the immigration checkpoint. I then proceeded to the Underground Metro to take the train to my friends neighborhood where I'm staying for 3 days. He lives in the Wimbledon area and his flat is about a 15 min. walk from the Wimbledon Station. I finally got to my friends flat around noon time. I was so tired (jet lag) that I just relaxed and took a 5 hr. nap. I finally woke up and had dinner. I decided to take a walk around his neighborhood after dinner.

My first night in London the weather had turn bad. It was so windy! They said London hadn't seen that much wind in a long time. It was a very cold wind. I only had a fleece jacket with me.

My second day in London I saw some parts of the city and visited some sites. There's so much to see. I finally got the hang of the metro. It took me about 10-15 min. to figure everything out. That was fun! :-) We don't have underground metros here in San Diego. :-)

My third day in London, my cell phone fell out of my hands as I was taking a picture of Big Ben. My camera was working, but I couldn't get the camera icon to reverse to take a picture. I had to take a selfie of everything. I was so disappointed! I should've brought my old cell phone and digital camera with me. Now I know! A lot of people were ducking as I was taking a picture of a landmark. I had to wait for a few minutes until it was clear so that I can snap away. It was fustrating for a while, but I finally got the hang of it. I got some good shots and I had to delete a lot of the bad ones.

It was still very cold and windy with some rain at times on my last day in London. I finally returned to my friends flat around 9 p.m. that evening to prepare for my departure to Paris, France the next morning. I went to bed around mid-night, but I couldn't sleep. I guess I had to much coffee that day and the excitement for my next journey was on high. I probably slept no more than 2 hrs. I was up at 4:15 a.m so I can leave within 30 mins. for the 15 min. walk to Wimbledon station.

I was able to get the 5:20 a.m train to St. Pancras station for my connecting train to Paris. I got there 1 1/2 hrs. before my train departure at 8:30 a.m. I'm glad I left when I did! It was a very busy place as everyone was there to take the EuroStar to every destination in Europe. The gates for the 8:30 a.m. departure didn't open until 8 a.m. I had to go through two checkpoints. One for French Border Control and the other for luggage security checkpoint. The lack of sleep hadn't bothered me yet. I was still alert to what was going on around me. I didn't want to miss the train to Paris!

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Posted by martza 00:01 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged buildings london Comments (0)

European Trip April 2015

Paris, France

rain 50 °F
View London, United Kingdom, Europe on martza's travel map.

I finally left London April 2nd at 8:30 a.m. for Paris via Eurostar train. It was a 2 hr and 15 min. trip.(comfortable) I had some sleep on the train. I must have fallen asleep while the train was transiting the Chunnel.

The Channel Tunnel is a 50.5-kilometre (31.4 mi) rail tunnel linking Folkestone, Kent, in the United Kingdom, with Coquelles, Pas-de-Calais, near Calais in northern France, beneath the English Channel at the Strait of Dover. I finally woke up somewhere in France. We have about 40 min. before we arrive in Paris. We finally arrived at the Paris Gare Du Nord train station at around 11:45 a.m. (Paris time) It took me about 15 min. to get out of the train station as I was checking the station out. The train station was huge and very busy.

It was raining and very cold in Paris. I still wasn't prepared for the weather.

My hostel "Smart Place Paris" (www.smartplaceparis.com) was a 10 min. walk from Gare Du Nord train station. I checked in and relaxed for about 1 1/2 hrs. in my room.

First thing on my to do list was to find a camera store. I was told that there are a few of them a block away from the hostel. After walking around for 15 min. I finally found one. It was easy to pick out a store since they're all the same. I finally settled on a Fuji digital camera. It was about 79 euros ($85.00). Now I'm ready to take some good pictures with out the hassle of a broken cell phone camera. It's raining! Time to go and buy an umbrella. Got one! There was a store down the street from the camera store.

I just hanged around the area where my hostel was located. I wanted to feel the Parisian atmosphere and wanted to familiarize myself with the neighborhood

There are so many immigrants in Paris. So many people from India, Middle East and Africa now call Paris home. I met a few of them and they were really nice.

I started the day out near my hostel on my first day in Paris to visit the landmarks. I then proceeded into the city centre over next few days. It was also nice just to hang out and people watch. It was totally different from everyday life in the USA.

The Basilica of the Sacré Cœur - Located in the district of Montmartre was a beautiful landmark. It was about a 10 min. walk from hostel. There was a lot of people there since it was Good Friday afternoon. I was able to visit inside the church before they closed it for the services. There was a few military police patrolling the area. Following the attacks on Charlie Hebdo, France raised Vigipirate to its highest level: terror alert and deployed soldiers in Paris to the public transport system, media offices, places of worship and the Eiffel Tower.

I visited this place on Good Friday. (www.chapellenotredamedelamedaillemiraculeuse.com/langues/english/) It was a beautiful chapel and it was a blessing to visit it. Standing room only during mass. After the mass I was just hanging out in the area. There was a chocolate store about a block from the chapel. (www.chocoparis.com/foucher) The window display was too much for me to handle. :-) I had go inside and buy some chocolate. I came out with a small bag of chocolate candy. I spent about 11 euros ($15.00) for some chocolate candy. The chocolate candy was gone in 3 days.

I was trying to get to the Eiffel tower and Arc-de-triomphe before night fell on Paris on my last day there. I did a lot of walking that day checking everything out along the way. Didn't make it! :-( But I got close enough to take pictures though.

I also went to Easter Sunday mass (saturday night) at St. Gervais Church. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St-Gervais-et-St-Protais) It was a beautiful mass the way they did it. It was dark and everyone had candles. The candles were lit at the beginning of mass and stayed on till the end. One of the parishioners told me that "dark" represents when Jesus died and "light" for his resurrection. That does make sense! I told him that here in the USA and Mexico they don't practice this ritual. In my whole life I never heard of this ritual during the mass. All the nuns and other notable people of the church where sitting (on the floor) in the altar area. It was a full house of worshipers. The french music was so beautiful.
The mass was over 2 hrs long or more. I had to leave early to catch the metro back to my hostel. I'm glad I was able to experience the Easter Sunday mass in Paris.

I got to the hostel late at night and prepared for my next journey to Germany the next day. I just hanged out with my hostel-mates before I went to bed for a few hours.

It was very cold and raining (not much) the whole 3 days I was in Paris. The sun came out a few times. The weather didn't dampen my spirits. I had a great time there.

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Posted by martza 21:22 Archived in France Tagged churches trains paris Comments (0)

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