Paris and London Field Report from a Loyal Reader

by brian on June 18, 2009

One of’s loyal readers, TJ, took off on a trip to Europe in the last few weeks. Using some of the information he found here, he had a great time.

Here is his field report from London and Paris.

Where did you go and how did you decide to go there?

Me and a friend took a week and went to London and Paris. Our planned trip to Egypt was called off due to the kidnapping of several tourists there. We started kicking around ideas and decided on London and Paris. Neither of us had ever been to Europe and we figured those two cities would be a great place to start our European adventures.

Eiffel Tower – Paris, France

effiel+tower Paris and London Field Report from a Loyal Reader

Prior to this trip, the only time I left the country was to go to the Caribbean or Mexico. Oh I did journey to Kiribati once, but that’s another story.

How long was your trip?

8 days and 7 nights

Did you use hostels? What were your criteria for choosing the ones you stayed at?

We chose to stay in semi- budget hotels instead of hostels. Melody made it clear she had to have at least three star accommodations. We compromised. I chose a two star Holiday Inn Express in London, and a supposed three star regular Holiday Inn in Paris. We established a lodging budget and pretty much met it.

What are two MUST see sights that everyone reading this should visit?

The MUST see sights of the trip were the Eiffel Tower, a Seine River Cruise and standing in the middle of the Champs Elysee looking towards the Arc de Triomphe. A West End theatre experience and the free museums of London should not be missed.

Arc de Triomphe – Paris, France

paris arc Paris and London Field Report from a Loyal Reader

River Seine, Paris, France

riverseine Paris and London Field Report from a Loyal Reader

Any funny, interesting people you met along the way? In the airport, on the streets, cab drivers, at the museums, etc?

We met an Australian backpacker named Kylie in Paris. She was traveling Europe for a year before going home to work and save money for her next sojourn. While backpacking she had managed to drop almost eighty pounds!! For her next trip she plans on backpacking all the way to Alaska.

We also met a crepe vendor on the street. He loved Obama and actually talked us to death about politics and anything else he could.

There was a hotel clerk who demanded we speak French. So I spoke English with a French accent to him.

I wanted to speak with a runner who “hit the wall” during the London marathon. He was in distress and I didn’t think it would be in proper taste to ask him what happened.

London Marathoner down for the count

marathon+runner Paris and London Field Report from a Loyal Reader

Anything people should be wary of, warned about, stay away from?

London appeared to be very clean and safe. We chose the tube or bus for all transportation. I felt safe the whole time.

Big Ben – London, United Kingdom

bigben Paris and London Field Report from a Loyal Reader

The Wimbledon tour and museum were nice but should have been a lot better. It’s a private club, so gift shop prices are high and access to the club is very limited. Unless you are a tennis fan (I am) it can be skipped.

In Paris just beware. We again chose the subway for all our transportation needs. I never felt threatened. However, a cab driver wanted to charge us 80 Euro to go from Gare du Nord to Gare de L’est. It was less than a mile and only one stop on the subway for 1,60 Euro.

Beware of the Gypsy woman. If she asks do you speak English, just keep walking. If you say yes, she starts begging for money. If you say no, she starts begging for money.

Beware of the friendship bracelet. If someone offers to tie some string around your wrist because you are a friend……u really are a friend because they will demand money. Actually, this scam is interesting and I should have tried to speak with one of the purveyors.

Final words of advice?

If you have a desire to travel, plan your trip and just do it. The internet is marvelous for planning. Don’t let your excuses overtake you. It is true where there is a will, there is a way. The world doesn’t begin and end in the US. It begins and ends in NYC. LOL….just playing.

Every year for the past umpteen years I have wanted to go to Europe. For the record I am the de facto travel agent for my friends. They are always calling me to book trips and find fares for them. However, I never would plan the trip I wanted to take to Europe. I always found a reason not to go. The exchange rate is bad. I have no travel companion. I don’t speak the language. I wouldn’t know what to do. I am scared. My momma is scared for me. My daddy said I was forbidden to go. Yeah he said it, and I am very grown!!!

Finally, this was the year I was going to make it happen. When Africa got canceled, I knew I was still going to take a trip and Las Vegas and another Caribbean cruise was not on my agenda this time.

I don’t know what is in store for a major trip next year. Some friends have asked me to plan a group trip to Hawaii. Melody wants to go to Rio and Bahia. Our African connection is planning two journeys to the continent. All of those are good and I may do one or more of them. If they don’t work out, they just don’t. I have a bucket list of places to visit and I will just pick one or two and travel there. If a friend comes along, cool. If not, so be it. London and Paris stoked the fire of desire for travel. I have no intention on letting that flame extinguish.

flambe Paris and London Field Report from a Loyal Reader

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Dave and Deb June 18, 2009 at 9:13 AM

Congratulations on taking the plunge on your European trip. It was a trip to Europe in 1998 that sparked our travel bug. We felt the same way as you. Had done the Caribbean vacation and needed a change. We haven't stopped traveling since! I hope you make it to Egypt, we loved it. Go to the White Desert if you get a chance.


TJ June 19, 2009 at 12:45 PM

Hey Dave and Deb thanks for the shout out. Egypt is on my list of places to visit. I googled the White Desert. WOW that has got to be something to behold up close. It looks like snow in the middle of the desert!


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