19 February, 2013


I introduce a post by Mia O'Brien, a journalism major who has utilised one of her weekends to venture over to the continent...

(First off, disclaimer: I am attempting to do this post from my mobile app to preserve that still teetering-on-the-brink-of-life laptop. Let’s see how this goes).

After a fun week filled with Mardi Gras/Pancake Day celebrations, discovering burritos in London, and, of course, a beeping laptop, it was time to begin what I’m thinking might be the best part of my trip to London: the traveling part. First up was the city of love itself, Paris.

I rushed home from work Thursday night (attempted to do a blog post but, of course, computer started beeping), only to remember that my night bus wasn’t leaving until 11… Classic. But when I finally did board said bus, the journey began—and not in the way any of us expected. As opposed to driving through the Chunnel, we had to take a ferry to France because of Chunnel construction… And by ferry I mean cruise ship. The “Spirit of Britain” had a food court, mall, and three bars just to cover the main attractions, and we got to sit on the rooftop deck and watch the lights on the beaches of Normandy slowly come into view (albeit at 3 am). It would take another 3.5 hours to get to Paris now, and, fortunately I slept through it.

And as soon as we got to Paris it was time for the whirlwind adventure to begin. After some skilful navigating on the Metro (props to Taylor on that one, as my memory of the Metro didn’t really come back to me until later—and if you ask Em, even that is questionable!), we got to our really cute hotel, just a 10 minute walk from the Louvre. We grabbed a nice, French breakfast and then headed out to see the sights. When I say we probably walked 4 miles that one day I’m not kidding: we walked to the Louvre, followed by Musee d’Orsay, then Champs-Elysse, then Arc de Triumphe, then Trocaderk Square overlooking the Eiffel Tower… Then we finally took a subway. Hey, it was a beautiful day out so why not take advantage? I will say this: I definitely feel like I appreciated Paris more so this time around. Perhaps because we were on our own, perhaps because I am just older now, but I really felt the full awe of the sights this time around. Sounds cheesy, but hey, like I said, city of love, right?

After a quick nap and shower at the hotel, we ended our day with a nice French dinner (sadly, there was not a single vegetarian option on the menu, the fish was wrapped in bacon… So forgive me God but I caved in and had meat on a Friday in Lent). Delicious beef rotisserie though—and they didn’t even charge Em and I for our chocolate mousse cake! We then went to the tallest hotel in Paris to go to its skyline bar to see the Eiffel Tower light up at midnight. Although I missed being underneath the Eiffel Tower lit up, my fav part of my trip last time, it was an awesome view.

The next morning (amidst intentions to wake up early and go to Notre Dame for mass—a decision I may or may not regret now…) we slept until 8 and then headed to Versailles. After having to take like 4 different trains because the main one wasn’t working, we finally arrived at THE REAL Golden Arches. Just like the main sights, I felt like I really appreciated seeing everything here the second time around—although this may have been due to the fact it ACTUALLY wasn’t raining. I will definitely be back at some point when the flowers are in bloom, though!

We then headed all the way back to the bus depot for our late night bus home. And of course, as no trip with Mobrien can be ordinary (or go without bodily harm), we stopped at a rest stop, raced off the bus, and, of course, in my mad dash for food I wiped out and sprained my ankle. Typical. Fortunately, this was just before the Chunnel so we were really only an hour and forty-five minutes from London so I was soon lying on my bed, on a Saturday night, icing my ankle after spending a day in Paris. Only me, people.

Thanks to the ankle (and the need to sleep), we decided to wait to head to Windsor Castle until next week, instead opting for a day of errands and laundry followed by an outing to high tea at Harrods! The sunsets here have been spectacular lately (shocking I know) and we sat at the Terrace Room. Oh and of course there were scones involved. When is there not?

Looking ahead to this week, the traveling continues with Stratford-on-Avon, Oxford and Warwick Castle this weekend, plus the Chelsea-Sparta Prague game on Thursday! Hopefully, this post goes through… And this way I’ll be able to blog wherever, whenever, from now on!

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