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Posts Tagged ‘Eiffel Tower’

When visiting a city like Paris for the first time, there are certain boxes to be checked. Sights to see, eats to eat, experiences to experience. Some of these, like peering with googly eyes around the Louvre, would likely be on every traveller’s list. Others, like savouring the fragile beauty of a Pierre Hermé creation or meeting a new friend who immediately feels like an old friend, are goals unique to, say, food devotees or lucky people.

I’m sure you can guess what I’m referring to when I say that there is one big To-Do in Paris that everyone expects you To Have Done.

The Eiffel Tower. Climbing it. (And no, sitting in its shadow eating ice-cream doesn’t count.)

Ice cream at the Eiffel Tower

Okay, you have kinda seen this shot before, but that was a different photo. This is more... artsy. Yep.

Now, Vaala, before you say anything, this isn’t me making you wait even longer. This story follows on from the day of tofu and tears. Some of you might recall, at the end of that post, I made mention of a fellow whom I met and chatted with for hours at the hostel, and who rendered me speechless through his admission that he owned a plane?

That, readers, was P.ValuablePilot. The Pilot bit I’m sure you can figure out, but the Valuable?

That has to do with my following piece of advice:

If you attempt to ascend the Eiffel Tower at any time that isn’t the middle of summer, make sure you have someone with whom you can penguin-huddle. I don’t care if, like me, this someone is a person you’ve known for less than 24 hours. Just make sure that he or she is willing to snuggle. (This makes the person valuable to have around, see?) Otherwise, you may catch hypothermia and end up in a Parisian hospital, and as someone who’s been-there-done-that? I don’t recommend it.

The beginning of the Eiffel Tower Debacle began on the night I met P.ValuablePilot when, at about 9:30pm, I mentioned that I hadn’t yet braved the crowds to ascend the Tower. Being a rather adventurous lad, PVP suggested we dash off that minute and try to get a ticket before the 11pm cut-off. A part of me wanted to shout “Forward Ho!” and scamper for the stairs, but the bandaged part of me knew I couldn’t risk damaging the toe through such madcap-through-the-rain scampering.

However, when an hour or so later PVP and I hadn’t decided to pretend we’d never met, we decided to rendezvous in the morning and make Sunday March 21 a day of Eiffeling.

Next Morning:

Smoked tofu and lentil salad, Paris

After a hearty breakfast of lentils and smoked tofu in vinaigrette... (Oh, what a bald-faced lie. Breakfast was, as always, the hostel's free honey and/or nutella on a baguette. But how could I resist posting such a pretty *ahem* photo of lentils?)

March 21 was not a pleasant day, weather-wise. And we lucked out, in the bad sense, with that curse of European travelling: The Dreaded Line of Doom.

In short form? We left the hostel at 11am, all we did was ascend the Eiffel Tower, and we got back at four in the afternoon.

I’d expect that on a beautiful day, but not on a drizzly freezing day at the very beginning of the tourist season. There is no way I would have survived the line without the cuddly and conversational company of P.ValuablePilot, because within an hour I’d lost feeling in my feet, was shivering like all crikey and, for anyone who’s seen my facebook photo, indulged in some very Parisian but unHannah-like behaviour.

So. Many. Lines.

A line for the ticket office, another for the elevator to the second level, another for the elevator to the third level, another for the elevator back to the second level, another for the elevator down to the ground… then sweet, sweet freedom.

For the five hours PVP and I spent working our way to the top of the Tower? We spent five minutes, at the most, at said top.

Eiffel Tower view of Paris

The face says “whee, I’m above all of Paris!” but the hands say “my ears are froze, and my nose is froze, and my tail is froze...”

In a way, the adventure was worth it for the exhilarating rush of joy we felt upon escaping the claws of that metal hell-beast. There is something to be said for laughing and clinging together against the wind as you make your way back to your hostel for a triumphant glass of wine.

View of Paris from the Eiffel Tower

Did I mention that, when we left, the line was about a quarter the size of what it had been when we arrived? I thumb my nose at you, European queuing.

And about that plane? Yep. He has a plane. You may well hear more of P.ValuablePilot if he holds true to his word and comes visit me in the next few months.

I’m not going to let him fly his own plane here, though. It’s a wee lil thing, and I’d rather he, you know, survived.

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I’m using an ABC-style categorisation for my Paris “Glimpses of…” posts, rather than numerical ordering, because it feels wrong to call this “Part 1” when I’ve already written about my European City Lover several times over. By doing it this way, my snapshots of/from Paris can constitute something of a breather in between the Paris stories, maybe? I mean, you all want to hear more about gorgeous edibles, friends, tears, and self-inflicted torturous shopping expeditions, right?

These are a few photos from days already covered on the blog. I could pretend this is me selflessly giving you a break from lengthy reading, but the truth is I just returned from an all-day trip to Siena and San Gimignano, and I also just ate an enormous bag of amaretti cookies, so I’m feeling a bit dopey and the thinky thinky is not up to much writey writey.

Ready? Okay! (Points to anyone who gets the reference. Actually, maybe I should pretend there is no reference. Maybe it should be points to people who don’t get the reference?)

Place Blanche, Paris

I’m very much not sure what to make of the Starbucks and the Australian flag found across the road from the Moulin Rouge. Do naked ladies make Americans and Australians feel homesick?

Don’t do it, puppy! You have so much to live for! Kibble, and belly rubs! Everyone knows the world is a wonderful place to be so long as there are belly rubs involved.

Notre Dame playground

I want a boy to clamber on snazzy Notre Dame playground equipment with. Just as well I found one in time for the Eiffel Tower, huh? But that’s a story for another day.

Trocadero gorilla

One of these things is not like the other, one of these things just doesn’t belong...

Eiffel Tower

Even though I know that this is the Eiffel Tower and those specks are people ascending it via rope (why, I do not know), I still get the heebie-jeebies when looking at the photo and have to resist the urge to try and swat the scary spider-things out of my line of vision.

Crispy banana in milk jam?! Um, what? I mean, hang on, yes, wait, no, that is what I meant... what?

Cue me putting on my Poirot hat and moustache… the French menu alongside this delightful piece of English translation read: “Millefeuille de bananes poelees à la confiture de lait”. That, I want. That, I can understand to be a banana and dulce de leche sweet treat. That, I might have ordered.

Dairy-free palmiers! (Almost vegan too, but they had a bit of honey in them.) I wish these had been nicer, but alas, once the novelty wore off, they tasted like little more than sweet oily crumbliness. Luckily for me, I discovered dairy-free (and non-dairy free) cookies that replaced all palmier disappointment in my life.

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Way back in January, when I bought, ate, enjoyed, and reviewed B.T. McElrath’s Chile Limon bar, I also picked up, ate, enjoyed, but didn’t review the same company’s Salty Dog bar. I’ll probably soon have to admit that I can’t blog every chocolate I eat, but for the moment I’m holding onto my stubborn will-to-succeed in order to bring you tales of…

B.T. McElrath’s Salty Dog Chocolate Bar

With thanks to M.HeartsofPalm for the colourful backdrop.

As you may or may not be able to see on the packaging above, this is a 70% dark chocolate combined with butter toffee pieces and sea salt. The butter toffee is mixed through the bar, but the sea salt is sprinkled on its underside. Consequently, while the toffee comes across strongly in the aroma, the first flavour to hit is the salt.

And it seems I opened the chocolate and moved it to a different location.

Once the initial shock of saltiness wears off, the delicate salt flakes simpy serve to broaden and de-cloyify (that’s from the Hannah’s Imaginary Word-of-the-Day Calendar sitting on my imaginary bedside table) the sweetness of the chocolate. Unlike the Moderne Toffee bar, this Salty Dog lacks a strong buttery flavour but makes up for it with a taste not unlike marshmallows and demerara sugar. The toffee pieces in the bar are also far smaller than in the Moderne chocolate, and as such the overall taste is less “chocolate with toffee” than “toffee-flavoured chocolate”.

Mmm, teeth marks. More importantly, toffee bits!

The chocolate itself isn’t overly amazing, but it has a nice sweet richness which plays off well against the toffee pieces and the salt. It’s incredibly munchable, without providing the waves of contrasting flavours that made the Chile Limon bar somewhat of an adventure. It’s still a fun chocolate, but not as much fun as, say, sitting in the sun underneath the Eiffel Tower on a (relatively) warm spring day, eating both pots of a two-pack of coffee ice cream…

Happiness.

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