Well, here the story begins.
It's actually off scheduled because we planned to depart as early as 8am but we had departed near to lunch time from Lokman's place in Leuven, Belgium. Hence, we packed things super fast. The father busily loaded all the things into the car while the mothers get dressed after cooking and get the children dressed and ready for the journey. Suddenly, there was an incident! From inside the house, I saw hubby was lying on the ground and i nervously ran out to him and hoped he's alright at the same time. hubby had strained his ankle when he slipped off the uneven ground to load the strollers into the car. Hubby sat on a chair after Fathullah and Lokman helped him on his legs. Yes, he cannot walk at that time! Lokman took out the First Aid Kit and Fathullah bandaged his ankle instantly to prevent the wind came in. After relaxing for a while, hubby practiced walking and then he convinced everyone that he could drive. Though deep in my heart, i know he's still in pain but i can't do much. The trip has to be continued for the sake of our friends..and i was relieved he made it. ;)
But As you know that kids get bored quickly so they cant stand being buckled on their carseats for too long even there were tonnes of food. We adults cant stand it too but we can control from being cranky, can't we? So we did stop to eat, pray, rest and let the kids stretch their legs out but unfortunately it took about 1 to 2 hours before we started continue the journey. Hehe we simply took time at our leisure. Of course the husbands aka drivers cannot leave anyone behind. ;p But if you follow any other travel agency, they will not hesitate to leave you if you do not follow the given time. Believe me, the owner from one of the travel agency told us himself. He told the unlucky passenger have to find other transport or alternative to meet them at the next stop point. Huhu. That's why hubby refused to join any travel agency because he knows his wife best! Haha.
Lunch break at the border between France and Belgium.
us enjoyed our lunch and the wind.
Iris and Adam, seronok dpt keluar dpd carseat. hihi
Zahin happy too, being cheeky with Irdina ;)
Anyway, we safely arrived at Sovereign hotel at St. Denis, Paris at evening. Before that, we were kinda lost few times when the signal from iPhone lost in the middle of the journey. Yup, we don't have a proper Sat Nav device like Garmin or Tom Tom since our beloved Garmin had been stolen since last year at our previous neighborhood. And since then hubby just used my iPhone as a navigator. It works excellent in the UK but not in the Europe. We kept loosing the internet signal there..! It's such a wasting time waiting for a signal at the roadside in Paris and had quite numbers of U-Turns. Aiyak!
Since we were on a student budget, we cannot afford more than a 60euro per night room and the hotel was located outskirt Paris. Yea, it's not cheap though but that's the disadvantage from the late booking. (Blame me, because i cant decide early as i was scared if i had a group meeting during the Easter Break) Unfortunately, we did not know this area until we had witnessed in front of our eyes and alive that a man was trying to snatch a japanese tourist's camera bag at one of the bus stop! It was scary especially the japannese was lying on the road next to our car! The man trying to save his bag which was pulled by the bad and maniac man! Even he's shouting and asking for help at the same time BUT no one's coming to help him!!! In fact, there were so many people at the bus stop! Tension ok..they were so coward! Poor the japanese man..;( We did not know what's the ending because we just drove through, did not want to cause a traffic jam. Hope he's fine.
However no matter how uneasy we felt of the area, we still went out for sightseeing that night. This sounds crazy too, i know but we didnt have a choice because Lokman and family really wish to see the Eiffel tower before going back to Malaysia. So we still went out. I think it's already near to 9pm. We prayed so hard so everything will be fine. I admitted i was scared when walking to the underground station. Aihhh it's quite a distance too you know..another disadvantage here. Please take this into account too when you want to book hotel k because in Paris, the underground train or Metro is the best transportation to use. So it is much better to find a hotel which is very near to the train station as well especially when you bring kids.
After buying the tickets at the counter, we went down to the train platform. When the train arrived, lokman's and my family managed to get on it on time BUT unfortunately our friends, Fathullah and family didnt get board on the same train as us!!! Omg, our hearts stopped beating, it happened so fast! The train has a lock, you need to unlock it first to make its door open. Nak jadikan cerita, the lock failed to be unlocked so the door didnt open for them to get into..;( so what we did, we stopped at the next station and waited for them there since we failed to contact them as there was no signal underground. We hoped they did not return to hotel but catch the next train and they did alhamdulillah. So when the train arrived at the next station where we waited, we all got into that train to be reunited with them. Fuh, what a relieved!!
Then to go to the Eiffel tower, we had to change train for three times. It's an hour journey so you can imagine how far it was. Finally we arrived there at around 11 ish pm. and We knew straight away that Eiffel tower will be the only one and last attraction that we could managed to see that night. Huhu.. But whatever it was, we still had fun to see the famous tower blinked beautifully at 12 midnight. It was still the same beautiful feeling i had since my two previous visit! And the most important thing, we were glad that Lokman's wish had been fulfilled. And all of us had taken nice photos with the Eiffel tower as the background! ;)
at Invalides station. tgu next train to go to the Eiffel Tower
Mia familia with Eiffel! Mercy boucoupe Fath!! Love this photo! :)
But dear me, the beautiful feeling ended as soon as we knew that the train operation has stopped as we arrived at the Bir Hakim station. Our smiles stopped right away and we had to think of other alternatives. We followed a girl to the exit. She said we gotta wait for a bus or hail a taxi. 0mg, it's already 1am and there were us in the middle of Paris wandering and looking for a bus stop. Without we realized, we already walked until Trocadero where one can view the Eiffel tower best at. I told myself, i might had a glimpse of the tower as i wished but Unfortunately, the tower was standing still in the dark of midnight. There was no more lights on it, like an hour before. It was looking all dark and sorrow as what we felt during that time. Anyway, there was a souvenier stall still half opened to cheer us a bit! So we quickly begged to the seller not to close his stall yet and managed to buy some souvenirs there! haha Sempat lagik! hehehe..
The souvenir seller pity us but he's convinced that taking a bus was the best solution for all of us. He said not that the taxi charge will be damn expensive since our hotel was faraway but we might have to rent more than three taxis!! Ye la kami kan terlebih muatan! So we didnt have other choice, but to wait for a midnight bus at the nearest bus stop after asked him the direction. Huhu so sad..macam pelarian je rasa! Unfortunately, when we arrived at the bus stop, we knew that bus only came every 1 hour, sad sad sad! So while waiting, we were praying non stop! I prayed so hard and somehow i know Allah will send a help in anyways. It's just the matter of time. So we patiently waited and our kids also fallen asleep on our lap n strollers..mujurla heret jgk stroller.
at the same time, ada few orang kulit hitam kt situ. Ya Allah mmg takut sgt ok! Makin lama makin ramai. Aisey hubby kata takut ktrg kene mug so kami perlahan2 pergi dok kt Lokman n Ftahullah's family at the bus stop. Before that kami dok kt bangku jauh sket dpd bus stop tu. at least tak cukup tpt utk duduk which was some of us kene berdiri but yg ptg dekat dgn diorang sume kan klu something bad happen. I told hubby and myself, let's bersangka baik. Masa tu tiba2 diorang tu dlm 10 org ada kot mmg dah kepung n block ktrg tau kt bus stop tu. astaghfirullah mmg takut sangat.
Sekali tup2 one of them tegur kami siap bagi salam! Kami pon jawab la salam..his friend also asked if we were Malaysian..ya Allah sgt sgt peramah dan baik sgt diorang rupanya. Tengok2 diorang yg tunjuk jalan mcm torist guide gitu siap tolong angkat kan stroller bila bas sampai, sbb nak ke hotel kami, kami kene tukar bas lg sekali. So dioranglah yg guide from the next bus stop to the next, kami ikut aje. Dlm hati rupanya diorang ni lah yang Allah hantar utk menolong kami. Alhamdulillah syukur sgt2! Diorang ni muslim Senegal, tp dah dok kt France lama so dioranglah yg tlg communicate kan utk kami dlm French kt pmandu bas dan ticket attendant. At last we separated at the next bus stop becoz of our different path. Aihh baik kan..klu tiada diorang, tataulah apa jadi. Rasa berjuta kali ucap terima kasih pada diorang pon mcm tak cukup. ;(. May Allah reward and bless them always. Amin!
Alhamdulilllah, We arrived back at sovereign hotel almost at 3am. Itupon takut2 jalan kaki cari jalan ke hotel. We skipped the dark, narrow and deserted alleys. Just using iPhone hubby managed to find the way back to our hotel. ;) but as soon as we reached the receptionist entrance, no one's there! Puas tekan bell tp tade sorg yg dtg. Hampeh. So kami tpaksa guna laluan basement carpark. Itupon after few trials of password (room no kot) then the basement door finally opened for us. Phewww, what a relief but what a night! Huhu..the unfortunate one! it's like a nightmare and i will not forget it for the rest of my life! What an experience.
walking silently through the silence night
So here are some of the tips from our own experience that may be useful for whoever wants to go to Paris:
1. Plan thoroughly. Book hotel 6 months in advance so that you can get a good hotel room at a very low rate and within the city itself. If possible, find one which is near to all the place of attractions. Please consider a near underground train station to your hotel too. ;)
2. Arrange your schedule, plan tentative and stick to it as possible as you can. Travel early in the morning may prevent any difficulties.
3. If you want to sight-see the city by car, buy a good and reliable Sat Nav device which includes the Paris map to make your life easier and smooth journey. ;)
4. Stay longer in the city so that you can cover many place of attractions. 3D2N or more will be fine. One night is a BIG NO. :D
5. Avoid sightseeing over 8pm especially if you bring kids. 8pm kids should go to bed not go sightseeing. Night in Paris might be beautiful but can be quite daunting. Lesson learnt!
6. Take hop on and off sightseeing bus if you can afford, especially if you bring kids or parents. Underground train station can be hassled for them and strollers because there is not many elevator.
7. Always prepare for Plan B or C.
8. Always and always bring your tripod. You will have so much regrets if you dont. :D
Ok that's all. Hope anyone would not repeat the same mistakes like us. Hehe. If i have a free time, I will continue our trip story to Germany next time if God's willing. So much to share, but so lil time for me to do so but i will try my best. :)
Sent from my iPhone4