Bonjour Paris: Traveling & language barriers

The next morning, we packed up and loaded the bus for our 6am departure. Unfortunately, my throat had been bothering me so I drank four cups of tea with our quick breakfast in an attempt to make it feel better. I am not getting sick on this trip! It was very sad to say bye to London. Even though we had seen a lot there was more we could do. I definitely would want to come back sometime, but I’m sure that’s not the only time I will say that over the next few weeks. It was also difficult knowing that we were also saying goodbye not only to fabulous accents, but to an English speaking country. Should be interesting to see how the rest of the trip works out for us.

From there, we drove from London to Dover. I spent most of the bus ride writing for my blog and fighting sleep to look at the English countryside (sleep won for the most part). As we checked into the port to take the ferry, we got our first taste of the new language barrier as the man checking passports said “Bonjour” to Marie, to which she replied “yup!” Apparently bonjour sounds a lot like “is this yours?”

Driving through the British countryside.

Driving through the British countryside.

As our ship departed, we got a great view of the white cliffs of Dover. I didn’t get many pictures because my camera was on the verge of breaking and I did not wanting to go the rest of the trip with a broken camera so I was trying to fix it. Luckily I did!

The white cliffs of Dover!

The white cliffs of Dover!

We took the ferry to the port of Calais in France. The ferry was a lot like a little cruise ship with casinos, arcades and bars. I got a nice back massage on the way for a couple Euros, but also a little sea sick.

Once we reached France, we got on the bus for a little less than a 3 hour drive. Most of the drive, everyone was passed out. A couple hours into the ride we stopped at the equivalent of a rest stop and had some lunch. And that’s when the language barrier problems really began. I took French in high school but I could barely speak it then and definitely not now. Luckily I remember a few words and phrases and when I see them I have been able to recognize them for the most part. But my ability to speak French has not improved in the least, so this should be interesting. At least a couple of girls on the trip are fairly fluent and have been able to help most of us out.

We had lunch at a fast food sandwich place. It was pretty good but Meredith R pointed out “it’s like going to America and eating at McDonalds and saying ‘I can’t wait for a burger because this place is pretty good.” Either way I’m excited for the food.

We finally got to Paris and got to our hotel in the Bastille part of town. After a quick shower and change, we got ready for dinner at a French bistro called Chez Clèment. SO GOOD. We had red wine, a small salad and a leek tarts (like a quiche), very tender beef and potatoes followed by the best creme brûlée. Really the best and almost too good.

Hotel room in Paris. Barely big enough for the two of us!

Hotel room in Paris. Barely big enough for the two of us!

Our first dinner in Paris.

Our first dinner in Paris. We clean up nicely!

 

Our dinner in Paris. Bon appétit!

Our dinner in Paris. Bon appétit!

After dinner, it started raining a bit as we walked back to the hotel but luckily it stopped before our Seine river cruise. The cruise was really pretty and we got a great view of the Eiffel Tower as it sparkled and the Louvre. It was too dark to get any good pictures, but it was still a fun way to end the night and get a first glimpse of Paris.

The Eiffel Tower before the Seine River cruise.

The Eiffel Tower before the Seine River cruise.

After the cruise there was a bit of a fiasco as part of the group got lost on the way to the metro. Distracted by some guys selling lazers (they looked sketchy to me), they didn’t notice when our tour guide left and she was on a mission. If you weren’t paying attention, you got left behind. Luckily, the group that was lost met us at the metro just as we were about to leave. Some were scared out of their mind and others thought it was hilarious. I would definitely have fallen into the first category! Ah, Paris seems to be a confusing place so far.

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