Blog: Koch and Skrove Go Dutch (July 2)

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For once, we are going to do a post about a single day of events rather than the usual catch you all up on two weeks of our adventures. As you all know back home we live six hours apart. This came up in conversation with one of our guy friends when we were site seeing the other day. He then proceeded to tell us that we could be in another country in that amount of time, for instance Paris. We looked at each other and said that is AWESOME, and he calmly responded, "OK let's do it"! That was that, we were going to Paris- the city of love!! Tuesday night after practice, we loaded the car with two of our good friends here: Minal (one of our teammates) and Schubert (one of the guys on the baseball team) and set out on our adventure.

Around 10 p.m., we were officially on our way. We had snacks for the trip, but if you really know us, you would not be surprised to hear that they were basically gone before we hit the boarder of the Netherlands and Belgium. The 'plan' was to drive to Paris and find the cheapest hotel we could find to spend the night and get up early to go explore. Let's just start by saying plans are never concrete. We made it to the first hotel right outside Paris around 2:30 a.m. Needless to say, we were tired of the car and all looking forward to getting some sleep. We grabbed our stuff and headed inside, only to find out the hotel was "Complet" meaning full! Ok, no problem we thought... We will just drive further into Paris and find something else. Here is where the adventure really began. Who would have thought Paris would be busy on a random Tuesday night??  Not us...we were WRONG! Dannie has never been rejected that many times in one day let alone her whole entire life. She and Schubert probably walked into every hotel/motel we drove by which was no joke probably around 30! Some had signs on the door which read "Complet", others we had to hit a pager button for someone to open the door since it was so late. Some Dannie and Schubert actually had to knock on the window even after ringing the bell to wake up the sleeping security guard at the front desk. This went on from 2:30-5 a.m. 

We finally excepted failure and parked on a side road in who knows where Paris and slept in the car. Let's just paint a picture for you guys... four of us in a tiny hatchback BMW do not fit "comfortably" at all! We all were up two hours later, so it is now 7:30. Hungry, hot, tired, and all of us having to pee, we were just a happy bunch. We all know how much Alissa loves mornings so she was especially cheery!

We at this point just wanted to find somewhere to park the car for the day and maybe a bathroom. We ended up finding a hotel that had an underground parking ramp, so we parked there for the day used their restrooms and headed off to find some breakfast. We enjoyed some "French" eggs and French fries.. Yes fries.. We were surprised as well, we didn't know our omelets would be served with fries, but we guess "when in France" right. Now that we had some food in our bellies we were all a little more awake and ready to go explore.

Go Gophers!
Go Gophers!

Go Gophers!

Our first stop was you guessed it...the Eiffel Tower. It was around 10 a.m. at this point and the line to ride the elevator up to the summit was so long, probably about an hour or two wait. We were not having that, and the original plan was to walk the stairs anyway. We bought our tickets and started our 1,652 stair climb, which brought us up to the first and second levels of the tower which is around 377 feet up. Once we reached the second level there was an elevator that took us up to the summit. Everyone has to ride the elevator from this point up, we didn't quit.

It was a very cool view that over looked the entire city. Both of us being slightly afraid of heights (a little bit of an understatement) made it easy for Schubert and Minal to see that we were kind of nervous once we reached the top. We took a few pictures and then made our way back down. Once we got to the bottom we were on a mission to find Starbucks because our two hours of sleep and the full day ahead of us was kind of daunting. On our way to find coffee, we continued to be true tourists and enjoy our surroundings. We watched a Spanish dance performance in the square.

The next site we stopped at was the Arc de Triomphe. This is one of the most famous monuments in Paris. It honors those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and the Napoleonic Wars. The names of all the French victories and generals are inscribed on its inner and outer surfaces, and beneath its vault lies the "Tomb of the Unknown Soldier" from World War I. Dannie and Schubert considered playing Frogger across traffic to get there, and for those of you who don't know what the roundabout around the Arc de Triomphe is like, we will help you. It's like a death trap or a black hole once you go in you don't come back out. They do not have lanes for their traffic around there it is just a free for all! To get a better picture of this, you should watch National Lampoon's European Vacation, we know it's not the right country but you get the point and the Arc de Triomphe is about 1,000 times worse with four lanes of chaos. Luckily, Dannie and Schubert were smarter than that and kept looking for ways to get across to the monument. They finally saw the stairs that tunneled underneath the road and brought you up the other side.

At this point, we were all in dire need of Starbucks. We asked some random girl, how to get to the nearest Starbucks. We don't think she really had a clue because she told us to go 20 minutes the opposite direction we thought we should go and then we might find it. Needless to say we didn't listen to her, and we went the way we thought it might be. We found one about five minutes away. That was the energy rush we needed.  

After leaving Starbucks, we continued to walk in whichever direction we felt like. We took the subway to the Musee du Louvre or simply the Lourve which is one of the world's largest museums. We didn't go into the museum, but instead, we went into the square Cour Caree and the oldest part of the Louve. In the square is where the La Pyramide Inversee (The inverted Pyramid) is located. The glass pyramids were cool to see and there were big water fountains scattered throughout the square. We walked across the Pont des Arts Bridge, which has turned into a place where tourists have turned Paris into a place where couples show their never ending love to each other by putting a padlock or "love lock" on the fence of the bridge. The fad took off around two-years ago and has almost 2,000 padlocks of all shapes, colors, and sizes locked on the bridge with messages of eternal love. It was crazy just how many locks there actually were on both sides of the bridge with a railing that was normal height for a walk over bridge...these locks were really packed on there.

All the walking had made us hungry again, so we stopped at a cafĂ© to have the famous French crepes. They were delicious! Alissa had a ham and cheese one and Dannie had a chocolate, nutella, and banana one. This was our last stop before we made our LONG walk back to the car. We might have walked all over the city of Paris by the end of the day for a total of about 10 hours. We got back into the car and made our six-hour trek home!

Overall, the 24-hour trip was awesome! We had a blast site seeing and enjoying each others company. Although we never found a hotel and had to sleep in the car, we wouldn't have had it any other way. We now have some great memories and stories from our 24-hour Paris adventure!

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