Visiting the Eiffel Tower

I love Paris!

Oh, the view from the Eiffel Tower... lovely.

Oh, the view from the Eiffel Tower… lovely.

As many times as I have gone, I can’t seem to get enough of it.  I have a couple of tips for making your visit a little less stressful.

Everyone wants a lovely picture in front of the Eiffel Tower.  Do you see that lawn in the picture above?  You can take pictures on the side that is above the road that cuts through the lawn.  The best time to take pictures is early morning.  The tourists haven’t invaded and the lawn is virtually empty (this last time we went, it was empty – the sprinklers may have been the reason for that).  We like to go around 8 in the morning.  Downside, you can end up with the sun in your eyes…

Oh, empty lawn, but sun in eyes

Oh, empty lawn, but sun in eyes

As you see, we had the sun in our eyes for this shot.

When you are planning your trip to Paris, you can purchase your tickets to go up the Eiffel Tower well in advance.  I *highly* recommend you do this.  You can purchase your tickets by visiting:  http://www.toureiffel.paris/en/preparing-your-visit/buying-your-tickets.html. Book your tickets early, they sell out online months in advance. If you wait until you get there, you will end up waiting in a very long line – even if you get there well before it opens.  The line can last hours if you wait to purchase the ticket.  There are a couple of lines you will wait in.  The first is the ticket line (the longest line of all).  It snakes around the bottom of the Eiffel Tower, packed full of people.  You will then be harassed by people selling illegal merchandise and others (Roma Gypsies) begging for money.  The Roma have cards that state they are trying to get back to their country (they will hear you talking and hand it to you in whatever language you are speaking), it is usually a woman. They just want your money – they are definitely not trying to get back to Romania.  You will also find men with some sort of a “disability” wanting money, as well.  I tell them “no” and don’t let them approach me.  You will also need to be concerned with pickpockets while waiting in line (another reason not to take money out in front of the people begging for money).

When purchasing your ticket, you will need to decide how high up you would like to go. 1st & 2nd (elevator goes up to the 2nd floor and you can walk down or take another elevator down to the 1st), or 3rd. The higher up, the more it costs.

You’ve dodged the pick pockets and people begging for money, you’ve purchased your tickets or had them already purchased online prior to your visit (you will have reserved a time to show up with a copy of your print out), it is now time for you to get on the elevator (I’m assuming you want to take the elevator up.  You can walk up the 5 million stairs, if you would like.)  The elevator will take you to the 2nd floor.  If you would like to go to the 1st floor, you will need to take the stairs or another elevator down.  You can explore around the 2nd floor, take pictures, visit a shop, etc.  If you had purchased a ticket to take you to the 3rd floor (the top), then you will need your ticket and get into another line.  There is a place where you can purchase a ticket to take you to the 3rd floor, if you had originally purchased a 1st/2nd floor ticket and then had changed your mind.  You will get in the line and wait for another elevator to take you to the top.  The view from there is *AMAZING*.  You can see forever.

After you’ve explored all you want on the 3rd floor, you take the elevator back down to the 2nd floor.  You can walk down steps to take you to the 1st floor, and then hop on the elevator to take you back to the ground.  I like the steps (on the way down), it makes you feel like you are really in the Eiffel Tower.

Up close and personal with the Eiffel Tower

Up close and personal with the Eiffel Tower

You are surrounded by the metal workings and get to see the “guts” of the Eiffel Tower.

If you are around the area at night, you can see the Eiffel Tower sparkle.  On the hour, all kinds of little lights flash on the tower and make it look like it is twinkling.  It is really pretty.

It is a fantastic experience, if you happen to be headed to Paris, I highly recommend you visit the Eiffel Tower.

 

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On the move….

Oh, life never stands still.  I can’t even stand still.

Look! I stood still long enough to take a picture of my feet.  Don't get used to it... I'm always on the move and can't sit still for too long.

Look! I stood still long enough to take a picture of my feet. Don’t get used to it… I’m always on the move and can’t sit still for too long.

After 20 years of being a military family, we can’t stay in one place for too long.  We are always looking to move up and explore somewhere else.  Barefoot Runner and I both got new jobs – back in the States.  I love living abroad.  I love the opportunities it brings. I love the travel.  I love saying, “oh, I’ve been there”. I also need to have a career.  Sometimes, careers lead us somewhere else.  This time, it is leading me to Virginia.  Oh, I love D.C.  I always have stated that I have a short list of places that I’m willing to move to when it was time for me to go back to the States: D.C. and Austin.  I told you it was a short list. 🙂 Austin is great! The music, the vibe, the fantastic atmosphere.  D.C. well… the history. There is a different vibe there.  In Austin, it is laid back.. D.C. is very much LESS laid back, but the history, the sites, the craziness (and I’m not just talking crazy politicians).  Although I won’t be living or working in D.C., I will be very close.

Now, the fun begins with trying to ship my car from Germany (this has been an extremely long process and I’m still not even close to getting it shipped), find a place to live (I think I’ve found one), and purge the house (basically, get rid of all of the CRAP) so I will have a smooth pack out and move. Oh, yeah… and lets not forget that Barefoot Runner has been trying to get his PCS orders for weeks now and the people stateside are slow.  We are now down to 45 days until he starts (oh, and 5 weeks until I start my new job) and NOTHING can be done to arrange the move until he receives his orders. :::sigh:::

Okay… what should be coming up: the whole shipping a car from Germany to Baltimore experience (requesting/receiving quotes, decisions-decisions, paperwork, shipping, and finally picking the car up), purging the house from unwanted “stuff”, moving into a new house and starting my new job.

Enjoying the view while I work

It’s been a while since I wrote a post, life is a bit crazy. I’m supposed to be working on a project right now, but I needed a 5 minute break. I am spending my 5 minutes with you… Oh, aren’t you lucky! I want to share the view of the Bavarian Alps that I am enjoying while pounding away on my keyboard. I’m such a lucky girl!

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Bon Appetit, Little Red

The chaos of getting here was so worth it. Little Red enjoyed her time at Le Cordon Bleu. The day started with her unsure if she really wanting to attend the class. She had concerns of being the only American or English speaker. I had let her know that the class has an English translator, so they must get enough English speakers to warrant a translator. She was then a bit unsure because she wasn’t going to know anyone. What do you know? A girl from her school walked in the door.

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The chef was amusing and worked really well with the children. He taught them how to make this delicious looking tart. I haven’t tried it yet, I’m waiting for us to get it home tomorrow & share with the family. Some parents stayed and watched the whole class, I decided to let her explore and learn, without being a helicopter parent. I did take some pics at the beginning and end; she took the ones of the food below.

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After her class, I asked if she had fun. I was expecting the teen response of a shoulder shrug and an “I guess”. I actually received a “Yes” from her. yippee, I don’t totally suck

Thank you LCB for offering Les Petits Cordons Bleus!
Now… If I could just get her to go explore Paris with me.

I need to learn not to over task myself

So, you think I would learn not to try to cram too much into my morning before a trip. This morning I was finishing up last minute things and simply exceeded my time allowance. I left late to catch my train to Paris. I still had time, but wait! I have to get gas in the car in order to make the drive. After that, I figured I might have enough time to still get there on time. Dang it! Left the GPS & amusement park tickets that Barefoot Runner needs to take Big Red out while I’m in Paris with Little Red. Dropped tickets off at work & now I really need to drive fast. On our way, I was thankful that Germany has some unrestricted stretches of Autobahn. I was able to open up the car and hit the max it would go, about 120 mph. The drive was not as quick when we got to Kaiserslautern. Traffic & missing my exit got us to the bahnhof about 10 minutes too late. Ugh. We walked to the travel office and tried to buy a ticket for a later train, 1 seat available. I looked at Little Red & said, “looks like we’re driving to Paris.” We hopped in the car, went to Ramstein Air Force Base, got lunch/dinner, bought a GPS, filled up the car, and took off down the A6. Thank goodness for the GPS, it was so helpful in navigating Paris. I knew our hotel had garage parking, woot! Of course, the rain didn’t help, but we finally made it.
Tomorrow, our adventure continues… Little Red has her cooking class at Le Cordon Bleu.

Library of Congress and the Senate buildings

Ah, the Library of Congress… Big Red’s dream come true.  She is such a bookworm & I LOVE it!  The building is next to the Supreme Court.

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Library of Congress, housing great & not so great works.

The fountain out front is lovely; I believe it is Neptune Fountain.  I would think that it would be easy to get lost in there, with all of the collections of books, film, recordings, and other media.  Big Red & I might go in there, never to be seen again.

Down the street, past the Supreme Court, there were some of the Senate buildings. I think that it is important to remember what is said on the writing on the building, “The Senate is the living symbol of our Union of States”. I also want to remind our Senators that they are a representative of us, the people that form that Union.

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“The Senate is the living symbol of our union of states”

Across the street from that building is another complex, this one had gates that led to a courtyard.  I thought it was amusing that the gate had a “S” on it.  I guess it is to let everyone know that this gate is reserved for the Senate.

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Senate Gate

Next to the Senate buildings, there stood a church.  I wonder of the Senators visit that church, trying to find salvation for their wrongs.  Perhaps there are a few that pray for guidance.  Who knows?  Either way, the church parking lot could have been a little more full that morning.

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Strolling through D.C.

I love D.C.!  There is so much history there.  So much to see.  So much to do.  I thoroughly enjoyed the sites of D.C. & enjoyed them even more during the early morning, before all of the tourists came out in full force.

First stop was the Capitol Building…

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and another pic of the Capitol building

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The building is quite impressive.  It is extremely humongous! I think most people tend to see just one side of it.  You walk down from the National Mall & there it is; who needs to visit the other side?  I do!! My first couple of trips to D.C. kept me on the Western Front of the building, but this last trip I ventured to the other side.

While viewing the other side, I strolled on over to the Supreme Court. It looks like it needs fixing.

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Just days after I had visited, they were hearing the courtroom arguments on Same-Sex marriage and the Defense of  Marriage Act (DOMA). All we can do at this point is await the ruling. I tend to be pretty quiet when it comes to politics, but I must say, I am in full support of Same-Sex marriage & the granting of rights to partners in a same-sex marriage.  Why should anyone be denied the commitment and support of a committed relationship?  I was allowed to marry the man I love, why can’t other people be afforded the same respect for a relationship?  Don’t forget, it wasn’t that long ago that inter-racial marriages weren’t allowed, either.  Okay, stepping off my soapbox.