Taking it Easy (With Lots of Dead People) - The Graduation Adventure Day 11

Sunday, June 1st

So here's a dirty little secret about me.  I'm super lazy.  I know it doesn't seem like it, but in my normal everyday life, all I want to do is to sloth out on the couch, preferably with a glass (ummm...bottle??) of wine.  I don't want to move to even reach for the remote.  I will not lie, on more than one occasion, I have been known to wish for the power of telekinesis.  Kind of like Jean Grey in X-Men (though that didn't end well...or did it??).  Or I think Scott Baio had that power in Zapped.  No matter what, that's always the power I'd choose.  Because I'm insanely lazy.

If you're reading about the silly adventures being had on trips, you might find my laziness hard to believe.  Vacation is one thing.  It kind of doesn't count.  You get up early and go full blast all day and night.  That's vacation.  So what I'm going to say about this moment in the day is going to surprise everyone.  It's 330p on a Sunday afternoon and Elias and I are lounging on the beds in our room.

I know, right!!  Here's the thing though...every time I come back from a long weekend trip, it takes me longer and longer to recover.  As much as I may think I'm the Highlander (...immortal...do I seriously have to spell out all the references to you??), I'm not.  And I'm beginning to feel my "almost 40" age.  Stupid age.  Not to mention, look at the number of we are at so far!!  Holy crap, I...I mean we have a right to be tired.

But before an afternoon nap, we did actually get a few items checked off our list.  After a completely unfortunate breakfast, we headed out to the Catacombs.

And seriously, this breakfast is the worst of the lot.  The dining room is small and decorated from the 1990's, but I wasn't going to entirely hold that against the hotel. I do hold against the hotel the small area for breakfast, the lack of any kind of decent food (I think eggs were in a crock pot, but I chose not to attempt those for fear that they were actually eggs in a crock pot) and a difficult selection for drinks.  We laughed every time we went to breakfast because we would get into the elevator and have to press the -1 button.  That was the feeling of the breakfast.  It was a true negative.

But whatever.  We're not lingering on breakfast.  We're going to the Catacombs.

The Catacombs of Paris are where the bones of up to six million Parisians are held.  The Catacombs were opened in the late 18th century, after exhuming bones from various cemeteries around the city.  It would take nearly two years for all of the bones to be moved.  Once the bones were moved, the Catacombs became a rather creepy place for folks to visit on and off throughout the next 200 years.  And that is the history I did not get at the Catacombs due to Elias and his race through the history of the Catacombs.  Nope.  I got this scoop from Wikipedia.

Our view after a while in line.
Originally, I had offered up the idea of going to the Arc de Triomphe or somewhere else before we went to the Catacombs, but Elias said there would be a line early.  So we made our way over.  And...wow am I glad I listened to him.  The line wrapped around the block when we arrived.  And we were there a good 30 minutes early.  Which meant we had to wait.

The line stretched well behind us too.
We stood behind a group of French-Canadians and in front of a German family.  The German family made me chuckle the whole time.  The dad was not happy about being in line as he would walk to the front of the line, then come back and loudly exclaim how many people were in line.  He would do it in German, of course, but we got the general idea of what was what.

At 10a the line started moving.  Slowly.  It was still another hour before we made it to the front door.  They only let 200 people in the Catacombs at once.  The line did move rather steadily, but we all knew it would take some time.  The fun for us at this point was when newbies would come up to the line and not realize how long they were going to have to wait.  Their eyes began to widen.  They started chuckling nervously.  I mean here's the problem, tickets were not sold in advance.  So...everyone was in the same position.  They were patiently (or not so patiently) waiting.

Once we made it to the front and paid the ticket price, we began the journey down into the bowels of Paris.  Did you know the reason the skyline in Paris is not so high is because of the structure of the Catacombs??  I learned that from Wikipedia too.  Cool, huh??  I say this because we had to go down the stairs.  Down the steep and wind-y 130(ish) stairs.  We took it easy on the way down.  Even with people behind us, it didn't matter one bit.  This was a journey down.  We weren't going to speed up.

It just kept winding downwards...
We walked (raced??) through some tunnels and rooms explaining how the Catacombs came to be before we saw the first of the bones.  This is why I came out of the Catacombs not entirely knowing what it was there for.  The tunnles were a little bit claustrophobic.  And a little slick.  I very much recommend if you're going into the Catacombs, wear shoes with some good traction.  My shoes...didn't have great traction.  So I slid a little.  And let me tell you, you don't want to slip when you're in a room filled with bones.


Soon enough, the rooms began to fill with bones.  The rules of the Catacombs were pretty firm.  Don't touch the bones.  Don't use flash photography.  People didn't touch the bones, but apparently flash photography was a deal breaker.  Flashes were going off all over the place.


As the first frenzy of bone photography died down, it was kind of surprising how quiet...almost serene the visitors were in the presence of the six million bodies.  Sure, there were the douchey guys taking selfies with the skulls (cue the eyerolling), but it almost became a place of quiet contemplation.  And it was also interesting how the more we walked through the rooms, the less we wanted/needed to take pictures of the bones.  It became less of a side show and more of a reflection of how many people were actually down here.


This is also where you want to have the traction on your shoes.  In one room, I hit a slick spot and while I didn't fall, I did need to brace myself for the possibility of falling.  So my arm (instinictively) reached out to grab the wall.  And...that wall was stacked with bones.  The bright side, my hand hit a plaque.  Which meant I didn't damage any bones.  Thank god.  Seriously.  I did not want to be hauled away by the Paris Police because I couldn't walk without falling into a pile of bones.


Towards the end of the Catacombs, we were nearly by ourselves underground.  Which actually was pretty cool.  And it was good timing, especially since we were faced with walking up close to 90 steep, winding stairs.  And this was a much harder climb than either of us expected.  We were thrilled no one was behind us.  Cause we were panting and taking plenty of time with our climb back to the living world.

While we were in the never ending line for the Catacombs, we saw plenty of people coming back with cups of coffee and pastries from Paul's.  So the decision was made in line that we would find this place for lunch.  Originally, we weren't going to visit one of these locations.  I mean, we saw  Paul's in Washington DC and in San Francisco.  How do we go here in Paris??  Well...quite easily.  We ended up with quiches and flatbreads and we both ended up with a lovely pastry dessert.  It was tasty.  And it was something I would look for back in the States (Update: There are no Paul's in Chicago.  Which...they should get on that one...)

Want. More.
After a lunch at Paul's, we knew it was time to go back to the room.  The original plan for Sunday was to go to Versailles.  But it was past noon...past 1p...it wasn't worth it to go to Versailles today.  Which meant we weren't going to get to Versailles during this trip.  I was originally kind of stressing out over that.  How can we not go to Versailles??  What kind of monsters are we to not visit Versailles??  But we can only do so much.  So the next thought was, oh well, I guess we just have to come back.  Now, we could have done another museum.  Or seen more sights.  But we were worn down.  Which brings us to where we were at the start of this story.  We were in the hotel room.  Curled up in bed.  Maybe one of us took a nap (I won't say who...).  But it was all just a perfect Sunday afternoon.

The downside of taking an afternoon rest in the hotel is that we could have stayed there for the rest of the night.  But there were still sights to see and this was our last night in Paris.  Unfortunately, by this time we basically needed a crowbar to pry us out of the bed.  The hard, uncomfortable bed.  The plan was for food, then scenery.  And as always, food was a bit of a problem.

We did wander a bit.  This time, in our neighborhood.  The good part was finding a place we wanted to try for breakfast tomorrow morning (the decision to bypass our free breakfast was made during our breakfast this morning, when we basically said..."No more.").  After some looking, we did end up at a cafe called Yuppies.  Named for the Yuppies you are thinking of, we slid into an outdoor seat and had a fine enough meal.  Their frites were really tasty.  And we were able to watch our waiter deal with a hobo.  Well...maybe more of a vagrant, less of a hobo.

Across the street from our hotel was the Arc de Triomphe.  The first day, we walked close by to take selfies directly into the sun.  This day, we went up the the Arc de Triomphe to really look around.  And take better selfies, naturally. 



Our main goal tonight was to see the Eiffel Tower at night.  The light show happens at the top of the hour at night.  But here's the problem...it doesn't get dark until after 10p.  Which, if you are like us and don't stay out late, becomes more of a problem.  We are tired!!  

Elias and I arrived at the Eiffel Tower close to 9p and we quickly realized the light show wasn't going to happen in the 9p hour.  So we had an hour to kill.  We took pictures and basically hung out in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, on the banks of the Seine.  Which, if you're going to kill some time, that's kind of a lovely place to do so.

This is my favorite picture of Elias on this trip.
It was not fully dark at 10p, but the Eiffel Tower didn't care.  The lights started to twinkle and we just watched.  It was magical.


This was the latest we'd been out since our night seeing Phantom.  And we knew we had a big day tomorrow.  We were leaving Paris (proper) for the last stop on our epic journey.  And we didn't want to be late.

6/1 - 18,000 steps, 7.8 miles

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