After class on Thursday we hopped on the Eurostar to Paris.
The Eurostar is a train line that runs through Europe, as the name implies. Luckily, the train leaves from King’s Cross Station, about a 25 minute tube ride from our home base. The Eurostar is a really great way to travel throughout Europe. It is efficient, and it is cheap if you decide to buy tickets early in advanced. In my opinion, one of the strangest things about the Eurostar is that it runs under water when leaving from the United Kingdom.
In Paris, we stayed in a hotel that was within walking distance of the Eiffel Tower (however, pretty much everything is in walking distance if you are up for it). We did the rest of our traveling around Paris via water boat. This was a really great way to travel, because unlike underground public transportation, we were able to see Paris from the perspective of the canals. Of course we did all of the essential touristy attractions, such as the Eiffel Tower and The Louvre. I am not one to be very afraid of heights, but standing at the top of the Eiffel Tower humbled me a little bit. Despite my shaky legs, the views were incredible. A great thing about the Eiffel Tower? Student discounts!
The Louvre is the world’s largest art museum (and also a song by Lorde) in Paris, that doubles as a historical monument. Another great thing about being a student is that you can get into The Louvre for free with your student ID! One of The Louvre’s greatest artifact’s is the original Mona Lisa painting. Based on my experience, here are my directions to the Mona Lisa:
1. To even get to the Mona Lisa, you must follow signs that essentially take you through a maze to get to the painting.
2. If you don’t see the signs (which you will) just follow the enormous crowd of people, also going to see the Mona Lisa.
3. Eventually, you will reach a line of people waiting in line. You will think you have reached the Mona Lisa, at last! But you are wrong. You have only reached the line that leads to the hallway that the Mona Lisa is in.
4. By now, you have reached the hallway. Waiting with anticipation, you see the light at the end of the tunnel.
5. After what feels like weeks of waiting, you reach the end of the tunnel. There is a mass of people. But, where is Mona Lisa?
6. You spot Mona Lisa. A 2×2 foot painting on the other side of the room. A sea of heads separates you from her.
7. You wait 30-40 minutes waiting to get closer, or you leave and sneak a peak at her as you walk by her and through the exit (I did the latter).
The Mona Lisa, like many other things abroad, took me by surprise! Naturally, an amazing artifact had long lines that I was just not prepared for. I have said this before and I will say it again, but make sure to always keep an open mind when studying abroad! There are things you will be disappointed in, and there are things you will be pleasantly surprised by. However, with an open mind, everything that you experience will be a lesson learned or a great adventure!
I wish the best for your own Mona Lisa experience!