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“KOMM KOMM KOMM MEINE DAMEN!” Says the staunch German hotel manager when we were about to catch our bus for the train to France.

FINALLY!… France…I am here! I am walking on the roads of Paris! A modern city with very deep history. I had never been to Paris and my first visit was a remarkable experience, which I will never forget. Experiencing the most beautiful city, “the city of light” as Paris is referred to as it was one of the first European cities to use gas street lighting. I learnt this from Josephine, a lady I met at this old vintage café when we were on our way to the Palace of Versailles. Claudia and I were so intrigued with the stories she was telling us in great detail and depth about her family heritage and her French heritage. All I could really focus on was listening to her speak English with her French accent. Since I was 13 it was always on my bucket list to go tour France with a Barret, styled nicely with my hairstyle and a hot buttery croissant in my hand whilst capturing the most beautiful sunsets by the Eiffel Tower and now I can tick that off.

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In the course of 3 action-packed days. My journey began on the 28th August 2019 where I caught a train from Munich to Paris. I managed to take a walk to the Norte Dame but unfortunately did not go and explore inside the Cathedral. As well as cruise the Siene River, go up the Eiffel tower and stand underneath the Arch De Triomph. What excited me so much about traveling to Paris was that we traveled by train. I absolutely love trains. Traveling by train made me feel like I was living in the old days, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of playing cards and making a little picnic with my friends in our carriage in the train. Sightseeing and seeing all the different scenery especially coming into Strasbourg Quartiers Centraux and seeing the different design of architecture was amazing. I arrived in Paris at 12:45. As soon as I stepped foot off that train, the smell of fine French pastries filled the air, manipulating me into buying one immediately. I heard my stomach roaring for these pastries and in less than 30 seconds Hannah and I had followed the comforting smell of the freshly baked pastries and bought a hot buttery croissant which did not touch sides! The day went on for hours, it was amazing because we toured Paris in our Birkenstocks flat. Our feet were aching and blisters were forming but it was worth it.

I have to say that my most exciting experience in France was spending the whole day walking around, gathering bits and pieces of delicious pastries, meats, exotic fruits and sweets for our picnic at the Eiffel Tower that evening. Watching the sun set and seeing all the lights magically appear up on the tower gave it a fantasy feeling which did not feel like life but all a dream. We met a few French teenagers on a cruise that night. They were the funniest and wildest teenagers we met. They made our time there so much better and a lot more fun as we got to learn a lot more about the city like the best places to go and watch the sun sets and enjoy a sweet crunchy Dacquoise. They thought us a bit of the local slang. When you go and visit cities and exotic places, you need to make friends with the locals because they teach you so much about the area that you are in.

It amazed me how different Paris/ Europe is so different to South Africa and how everything works quite differently. This is something I would do again to learn more about different cultures and ways of life.

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