Thursday March 27, 2003

la Tour Eiffel
la Tour Eiffel from near my hotel

5:40 PM Thursday: I just took off from Dallas-Ft. Worth. It is 1 AM in Paris. Although business class looks pretty empty, coach is about 80% full. The seat next to mine is empty. Yea!!

This 777 is very comfortable - nice sized seats and plenty of entertainment. Individual screens and 10 TV channels including 4 movies on continuous loop. Also 14 radio stations including one that is all Elton John (over 30 songs). It has a nice flight map which alternates between different sized local maps, total flight map, and info about our speed, altitude, ETA, etc. At times our ground speed gets up to about 640 mph.

My flight arrived on time, about 9:40 AM. I was a bit disoriented when we arrived, but between my careful itinerary and remembering the things I read months ago, got by.

I took one wrong subway on the way to the hotel, but figured it out before the next stop and retraced my route.

The clerk at the Hotel Kensington said my room would be ready in 30 minutes, so I left my bags and walked the few blocks over to la Tour Eiffel. There was no line, so I took the ride to the top. It cost about $11. How much you pay depends on how high you go and if you ride or climb.

Most of the directions were in both French and English. Written ones were also in Spanish. The Italians were on the own. (I think the Germans all speak English) The view was fine, but I don't think I would ever repeat it. It was sunny, but haze kept the visibility down to a couple of miles.

la Tour Eiffel

Arc de Tromphe
Arc de Tromphe

Palais de Chaillot
Palais de Chaillot designed for the 1937 world exhibition

The boat landing in the foreground is where we took the cruise during Mike's Bike Tour.
At the center near the bottom, the roadway goes underground (just to the right of the
end of the bridge. That tunnel is where Princess Diana died.

Hotel Kensington

Back at the hotel, they gave me my room key & the TV remote and I took the narrow (about 30" by 50" elevator to the top floor. They call it the 6th floor, but in the US we would call it the 7th. The hallway lights are normally shut off, but come on for a couple of minutes when you push the button next to any of the doors.

The Kensington is a 2 star hotel. Stars denote levels of features not quality. For example with 2 starts there is an elevator and a certain percentage of the rooms have their own bathrooms. I knew the room was going to be small. It was perhaps 7'x9' with the ceiling dipping down on the window side. Too small for me to get a decent picture. The closet is very tiny (about 1'x2', 3' high on one side and 5' on the other). The bathroom is so small that when you sit on the toilet, your legs are under the sink. But it is clean and cheap and the Eiffel tower is just visible from the room. The pillow is a long hard roll, but I found a fluffy pillow in the closet.

tiny bathroom

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