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Far be it from me to toot my own horn, but I may just be the best husband ever.
I’m afraid of heights—that’s not what makes me the best husband ever, of course. But I know that weakness, and I knew it was something I was going to have to deal with because we were going to go up to the top of the Eiffel Tower on our anniversary.
It wasn’t easy.
When you see the Eiffel Tower in person, it seems even taller than you might think, probably because there’s no other buildings that tall in all of Paris. It just sits there, tall and alone and imposing. I mean, the damn thing is 1,063 feet tall.
But, I’m going up there. I’m going to do this.
So we cram into an elevator with a bunch of other people to go up to the second level. I’m not doing bad so far, relatively speaking, but I’m still well over 300 feet off the ground. So I’ll stay back from the edge, thanks.
Next is the elevator to the top. This elevator takes you about 150 miles into the air, the ride lasting somewhere around two years. OK, maybe it just felt that way to me. I’ll give myself some credit; I did look out the glass at one point. That lasted about a second too long and I put my attention back onto the person standing in front of me. Not looking out again, no thank you.
So the top of the Eiffel Tower is essentially two parts. You get off the damn elevator that you’re trapped in for days and come out into a nice, safe enclosed space. There are windows to look out but with actual walls around you, it becomes a nice safe cocoon.
There’s also the outside part above you. I chose not to take that in. That’s all Bessie. I’m going to sit on this bench and keep telling myself that this thing has stood for over 120 years so there’s no way its falling now just because I’m there.
Funny part about it all is this: going back down, no problem. I’m looking around, checking out the scenery, taking it all in. No worries.
But I’ve done it. I’ve gone to (almost) the top of the Eiffel Tower and lived to tell the tale.
And I never have to go up there again.
And I will give credit where it’s definitely due. My beautiful wife knows full well just how afraid I am of heights, and she was very supportive through the whole process.
I’m only the best husband ever because I have the best wife ever. Love you, Toots.
Are you serious? Later that day, we’re back on the Big Bus Tour, and as we’re turning a corner in the Place de la Concorde there’s an explosion.
If you’ve paid attention to the news coming out of France over the past year or two, you can understand why my first thought was the T-word. Turns out I was close, except it was a tire blowing out on the bus and nothing, you know, terroristic.
Still, not the best thing that could happen. Fortunately, there was another Big Bus a few minutes behind us, so we all jumped on that one.
Where are we going? To save some money, we didn’t sign up for any sort of international phone usage. Basically we kept our cell phones in airplane mode the whole time, and only accessed the Internet when we could use the free wi-fi at our hotels.
But that also meant we couldn’t just pull up maps when we needed to, like when we were trying to find the fancy restaurant where we were going to have our anniversary dinner.
Fortunately, we found a nice Indian couple who were able to point us in the general direction of La Fermette Marbeuf—we did have to stop along the way to confirm our directions and, oh, what a shame, buy some macarons from the nice ladies at the patisserie—and we made it to the restaurant on time.
I’m not sure how much the meal would have cost, since we had already paid for it. But it was definitely worth it. The food was magnificent, with the appetizer—green beans with grated parmesan, hazelnuts and balsamic vinaigrette—kicking things off in delicious style. Our main course was veal with “risotto”—I’m pretty sure risotto is supposed to have rice and not just vegetables, but it was still yummy—and I tried soufflé for dessert while Bessie had crème brulee.
When we go back to Paris, I’ll take out a second mortgage so we can eat there again.
Other modes of transportation. Just to show we didn’t only ride the Big Bus, two other ways we traveled while in Paris—we took a river cruise before our fancy dinner and rode in a bike taxi back to the foot of the Trocadero afterwards.
I’ll write more about the cruise on the Seine in a couple days—we took the cruise again on our last night in Paris—and there’s not much to say about a bike taxi other than it’s a neat way to get around, especially at night.