Sunday, July 26, 2015

Au Revoir, Paris

One last day in Paris and so many options of things to do.  We were all tired, exhausted by all those stairs we had climbed. We spent the morning doing laundry, getting ready to leave. Well, that's how I spent the morning. Kip and William raced each other to finish a Sci fi book Kip got from the library on the Kindle. Kip read it on his kindle app and William on the actual kindle. The girls played games on the phones and iPad.  None of them wanted to go out touristing. I let things go until lunchtime, when I dragged us all out to the fair at the Tuileries garden. We blew through the reserves of our cash riding carnival rides: bumper cars, air swing, a crazy scary ride called x factor, the rainbow, and finally the huge ferris wheel with a view of all of Paris from the top.

After the carnival experience I could hardly face the thought of what I wanted to do last - climb the Arc de Triomphe. It was the last item on our Paris museum pass with a large amount of stairs that we hadn't yet done. We could do the sewer tour, the Orsay, some science museums, the music museum, but the only thing with lots of stairs that we hadn't yet done was the Arc de Triomphe. And given that our Paris experience has developed an unintended theme of stairs, this seemed like the only appropriate way to end things.

Before heading there, we found ice cream and sat on the edge of a dormant fountain to enjoy it. It was just what I needed. I felt my blood sugar climb and energy level increase until the thought of 280 more stairs was a challenge I was eager to take.

The staircase at the Arc de Triomphe is a spiral one, of course. Paris wouldn't have it any other way! Only, this one doesn't have a solid center, a column of stone supporting the stairs on the inside. This meant that you could look over the railing in the middle and see all the way down. This totally freaked me out. Every time the kids peered over I imagined them falling to their death. I begged them to stay close to the wall as we climbed.

The smell in the staircase was very European. Hot summer day European. The smell of hot people was very strong and the staircase was very long.  The view at the top was amazing and I was glad we did it, our final Parisian stair climb. We took pictures of the sites below in every direction, like all the other dutiful tourists. We even got the obligatory selfie with the Eiffel Tower in the background.

Selfies are an odd sort of thing. You used to ask other people to take your camera and snap your photo if you wanted a picture of yourself at a famous site. Now, you hold the camera at arm's length and use the image on the screen to place yourself where you want against the backdrop of the site you are visiting. Or use a long stick attached to your camera for am even better angle. There's no need to involve the people around you at all. I almost offered to take the camera for a couple getting a selfie with the Eiffel Tower but I realized they were doing it the way they wanted, the popular way, so I left them to it and simply stepped out of the way.


Janean said...

I still like to have strangers take my photo. You never know what you'll get. I really miss the days of setting my camera on some random object, turning on the timer and then hoping the photo comes out. I don't do that nearly as often anymore. I do appreciate my super long arms, though, as they are like a built-in selfie stick. You've heard that selfie sticks have been banned in some museums, etc?

Mumzie said...

Oh, Kristin, I just love reading about your travels! It's a good thing I'm not with you. I would have to sit at the bottom of all those steps and just wait patiently to see the pictures! I guess none of the countries in Europe have "disability access"? What do the poor people do who can't walk or climb stairs? I'm really grateful for the ADA laws. It sure makes things easier for some of us!
Love, Mom

Kristin Killpack said...

Most of the staircases had elevators nearby. The one in the arc de Triomphe was broken, but most were working.