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My day at the Eiffel Tower

Many years ago, we took a week long trip to Paris. I am one of those people who is not that thrilled with Paris, but it was a big dream of Mario’s to go, so off we went. I was at my heaviest at this time, before I had gone through my 100 pound weight loss transformation. I have had chronic foot problems along with chronic pulmonary problems for all my adult life and the extra weight only exacerbated these.

As with any trip I take, I wanted to find the perfect apartment. The perfect apartment is always one in an old neighborhood, but within good walking distance of everything. I found the perfect apartment in a great neighborhood and we couldn’t wait to get there! We arrived into Paris in the late afternoon and when we got to the apartment, we found out that the owner of the apartment had been trying to contact us all day. We of course were on a flight all day and could not be reached. He needed to tell us that the water heater in the apartment had burst and there was water everywhere!

There went our dream apartment! He told me that he had some other options for us, and that the hotel right next door had a room for us for the night so that we could make other arrangements. The hotel was lovely with a very accommodating staff. After we got checked in, we began looking for another apartment as the ones he offered were too far away from where we wanted to be! At this late stage, there were not many apartments available, but I eventually found one nearby that seemed like it would work.

The apartment I found was on the 7th floor of a 17th century building with its own rooftop garden with 360 degree views of the city including the Eiffel Tower! It was right in the middle of the neighborhood we wanted to be in, but it was going to be a bit of a splurge! What we didn’t know, was that there was no lift in the building! So, we walked the 7 flights of stairs up to the apartment which was unbelievably tiny! There was a very small bed in the middle of the room and the bathroom shower was so tiny, I could not even get into it! The kitchen could not really be called a kitchenette because it was just a hot plate and a coffee maker. We walked up the additional flight of stairs to the rooftop and decided that the view was worth every step and we could make the apartment work!

We soon found out that the bed was very uncomfortable. It was actually some kind of hide-a-way bed with about a 2 inch thick mattress! We tossed and turned all night and eventually fell asleep just before dawn, only to be awakened about an hour later by a construction crew! The carpets on the stairs were being ripped up and replaced and the noise went on from early morning until late at the night every day we were there! The mess we had to walk through each day was even worse and the view no longer really seamed worth it. That and the fact that the owner of the apartment kept ringing us to see of he could use the apartment for some people who wanted to have a dinner on the rooftop! Finally, we could take no more and went back the hotel we started in, thinking all the time that we should have just stayed there from the beginning!

While in the city, we walked and walked and walked and walked. We of course went to the Louvre to see the Mona Lisa and the Venus di Milo! We loved every minute of being in the museum but not as much as we loved Musée d'Orsay with works by Monet, Manet, Degas, Renoir, Cézanne, Seurat, Sisley, Gauguin, and Van Gogh and of my favourites, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. We tried to make use of the sidewalk cafes, but every time we did someone would end up blowing cigarette smoke all over me which immediately gave me respiratory problems! I quickly found that the Parisian sidewalk coulture was quite wasted on me!

Before getting to Paris, I had booked all of our sightseeing adventures including tickets to the Eiffel Tower. On the day of our visit to the tower, we left the apartment early and walked to that area of the city. we spent the morning taking in all the sights around the tower and then made our way to the tower at the prescribed time. My feet were killing me, and I was really feeling the effects of all the walking and the amazing amount of cigarette smoke everywhere! As badly as my feet were hurting, we decided to walk the 700 stairs to the first level viewing area of the tower anyway! We walked all the way around the viewing area and really enjoyed the views and the experience. We had tickets to go to all the way to the top, but at this point my feet were done and I told Mario that he would have to go on alone.

Just a few minutes after he left me, I reached into my pocket only to find that I had his ticket in my pocket! He would not be able to go to the top without it! So, I ran off to find him searching high and low and eventually caught up with him at the head of the line ready to go up to the top. They were just requesting his ticket when I got up to him and at that very moment, I knew I was going to the top anyway! Well, I was so glad that I did of course, but it was exhausting! It was so exhausting, that after we took the elevator from the top back down to the lower level, we of course walked the 700 steps from the lower level down to the ground! The views on the way down were fantastic and I ignored my feet was much as possible!

Once we got to the ground, my feet were so swollen that they would barely fit into my shoes and each step was excruciating! I told Mario that I could not walk the 12 blocks back to the apartment and I would need a taxi. There was a taxi rank just outside of the tower and we climbed into the first taxi and the taxi driver immediately took off and then asked us where we were going? When I told him, he slammed on the brakes and said that he didn’t take short trips, he only took trips the airport. We had quite an argument with him telling me that if I wasn’t such a fat slob, I wouldn’t have a problem walking 12 blocks back to the apartment! After more arguing, I agreed to pay him 10 Euro for the block he had driven us and gave him a 50 Euro note which was all I had.

He took the note and then preceded to tell me that he had no change and so I wouldn’t be receiving any change back. We had more of an argument, so I threw the door open and started screaming for the police. Everyone with several blocks of us turned to see what was happening! I think that the people on the top of the tower even heard me! He told me that I was crazy, and I told him, not yet, but if you don’t give me my money back you are going to see crazy! And he knew I meant it and gave me change!! Well by the end of this little escapade, I had no problem walking back to the apartment because my anger carried me on wings all the way back. And then I realized I had 7 flights of stairs to make it to the top!

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What an experience but it was worth it. You are also an inspiration, Shannon. Congratulations.

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