Within 18 hours, there have been one car ride, two plane trips, and eight different trains (combination of RER, metro, and airport shuttle)!
I arrived in Paris by 9:15, but it takes a long time to get 400 people off an airplane and get them their luggage! Then I had to find the RER and actually buy my pass, and then drop off my backpack at a locker in Gare du Nord. So it was 12 by the time I was actually setting out to explore!
From the moment I first saw it eleven years ago, Notre Dame de Paris has held a special place in my heart. It is just so beautiful, with so much history. Today, though, entering after waiting in a gigantic line, I was filled with sadness at the thought that this amazing and beautiful church, built originally to glorify God, is now just a tourist site. It was sad to think of the thousands, millions of people who have worshipped there over nine decades; now most people who enter the cathedral are not there for worship.
BUT! I found these two little quotes as I was walking around:
As I read them, it was as if the Holy Spirit was whispering to me, my work is not done in this place! Even if it looks like there is none of my work happening, God still has plans. Especially then, God still has plans!
After Notre Dame, I decided to walk along the Seine and just stop briefly to admire whatever caught my attention.
In the end, I walked all the way to the Eiffel Tower, probably about six kilometres. That’s really nothing, distance-wise, especially when you consider I didn’t have my backpack with me! But Paris is full of tourists right now. Seriously – everyone on vacation has come here. I couldn’t walk down the sidewalks without getting stick behind group after group after group. (Then I had the lovely experience of the metro at rush hour!)
I didn’t have free wifi at my hotel yesterday, so I’m actually posting this from the airport as I wait for my next flight. I slept ten hours last night, so jet lag is leaving.
Today – fly to Biarritz, train to Bayonne, bus to St Jean Pied de Port.
Tomorrow – first day of hiking!