To say the least, this past weekend was magical.
June 6, 2016
After a hectic scavenger hunt around London on Thursday, I met up with some friends at Waterloo Station and went to Leicester Square to see Steven Bridges perform magic. After I witnessed him go against the laws of physics by bending forks and making lemons appear out of nowhere, we went to grab a coffee at a local shop. There, I learned about the floods happening in Paris that day. Normally, this wouldn’t concern me, but it just so happened that I had plans to travel to Paris the very next day, so I was a bit concerned. I looked into switching my ticket dates to a different weekend, but in the end, I just decided to stick to my plans and pack a rowboat.
And we were off. Friday morning started annoyingly early at 3:00 AM. But we were going to Paris! Despite the floods, we knew we were going to have an amazing time, so waking up early was so worth it.
We took the Eurostar (a train that notoriously connects England and France via a tunnel that goes under the English Channel) and arrived in Paris at around 9:00 in the morning. After exploring the city for a bit we found ourselves at none other than the Champs-Elysée, which is just as fancy as it sounds. It’s the most famous shopping street in Paris and leads up to the Arc de Triomphe. After realizing we couldn’t afford to buy anything from the stores on the Champs-Elysée, we went back and made plans to visit the Eiffel Tower that night.
We arrived at the Eiffel Tower just before dusk, which was the best time we could have possibly gotten there. We got pictures in front of the tower at both day and night, and the line to go up the tower was relatively short compared to what we were told it would be.
Everything about the tower was magical. The size of it, the view, the lights, and the atmosphere were all like nothing I have ever experienced. After we descended back down, we headed to the Seine and drank champagne as we waited for the tower to sparkle at midnight. The night we spent at the tower was by far the best night of this trip for me.
The next morning I met up with Matt and André, two incredibly amazing people that I have been friends with for over a year but haven’t been able to meet because of how far they lived. Finally getting to meet them for the first time was so magical; I’m surprised I didn’t cry to be honest.
The three of us went to visit the Notre Dame cathedral, and then went to have a picnic in a beautiful Parisian park. The atmosphere of the cathedral and the park made me fall in love with Paris even more, and it was this day that I decided that I need to come back sometime soon.
Sunday, I met up with André and Matt again for the last time before I headed back to London. We visited the Louvre (despite it being closed) and bought macarons at a small patisserie across the street. After this, we parted ways, and I hopped on the Eurostar with only 5 minutes to spare (oops). Although my time in Paris was short, it was still enough to make me fall in love with the city. I know in my heart that I’ll be back someday, so leaving wasn’t as hard as I had originally thought.
When we arrived back in London, it was still fairly early in the afternoon, so I headed out to meet up with my friend Rachel, who was in Leicester Square watching Steven perform. The weather was beautiful that afternoon, and watching the show was even more fun than the first time around. I don’t think I’ll ever get over how cool it is that in Europe, I can spend the morning in one country and the afternoon in another.
This morning we headed back to ACCENT headquarters and got back into the swing of things after such an incredible long weekend. We started the day with a presentation by political cartoonist, Martin Rowson, who brought us through cartoon history all the way from the time of caveman to the present day. He showed us a perspective on political cartoons that I had never considered before; I had never known just how powerful a simple cartoon could be in politics. Martin Rowson was a very opinionated man, but that’s to be expected from someone whose job is to criticize politicians.
In the afternoon, we were visited by a professional storyteller. At first, we all thought this was a bit odd for a bunch of 20-some year-olds, but we soon realized just how important storytelling is in the media. I really enjoyed this presentation and learned a lit more from it than I had expected to.
This past weekend is one that will be in my memory until the day I die. I am so incredibly grateful that I was able to experience this all, and I look forward to what’s to come on the rest of this journey.